Really 2 books in one...the first part deals with the author's experience as a Nazi concentration camp victim. The second part deals with a form of psychotherapy called "LOGO-THERAPY". All in all, a thought provoking book. Highly recommended.
In "Man's Search for Meaning", Dr. Frankl utilizes his experiences in Auschwitz to establish the backdrop for a brief study of his psychotherapeutic doctrine Logotherapy. Being generally aware of the content, I was originally hesitant to order the book. I had been reading upbeat material and was hesitant about reading what promised to be 'darker' material.
Once I started reading "Man's Search for Meaning" it was difficult to put down. The book is hopeful and positive. It is very well written and easy to read. Dr. Frankl does not go into in-depth detail about concentration camp life, choosing to leave that for historians and other authors, but writes about his experiences effectively to illustrate points, and every one is shared with a purpose. This is done in the first half of the book where he covers his concentration camp experience from 'registration' to release.
The second half of the book was added in later years, the primary portion is a brief summary of his logotherapy theories was added in 1963. Then a subsequent section was added in 1984 which outlined specific topics of interest relating to his approach, titled "The Case for A Tragic Optimism."
His psychotherapy model presents an alternative to the more classic Freudian and slightly less known Adlerian approaches - suggesting man's "will to meaning" is the foundation for his mental health and not his "will for pleasure" or "will for power".
Personally, I find his approach appealing to both my rational and intuitive selfs and find myself wanting to learn more about his theories. Regardless of whether you agree or not, his theories represent a more hopeful approach to human psychology. The primary question that I am left with, being a psychology graduate - why was this not required reading somewhere along the way? Great book, highly recommended.
This book is very well written. It is a compelling narrative. I love how he is so devoted to his wife; saying that his time with her outweighed everything that he had been through in the concentration camp. It is so sad that she was already dead the whole time. "Love is as strong as death." I like how he describes that the life in the concentration camp exposes both the good and the evil in man. In his explanation of Logotherapy, Frankl expounds that we all must answer for our own life and we all must take responsibility. I like the idea of personal responsibility for all things we do and experience. The meaning of our life can be understood by three principles; 1)creating a work or doing a deed, 2)experiencing or encountering someone, 3)the attitude we take about unavoidable suffering. I like how he explains that suffering is not essential to finding meaning in life but that sometimes it is unavoidable.
This is a man who survived Nazi concentration camps and found a way to come out of it without being demoralized. Dr. Frankl learned to put his life's work to the test by finding a way to transcend suffering and find meaning in life, even while living an intolerable existence. While living in the camps he taught others to use this mental toolbox to survive in more positive state of mind also. The theory exercised a tremendous influence on the entire field of phsychiatry and psychology.
A testimonial to the human spirit and its ability to endure, even in the face of great evil. This book will chill you to your soul yet lift up and resurrect your faith in mankind's capacity to overcome even the most daunting odds. The pictures these words paint here are not pretty but the reality they define is a inspiration to those that question our fundamental capacity to cope with such tragedy.
While this book can be heartwrenching at moments, I think its a must read for anyone.
Mr. Frankel's approach to his own experience is written in a non persuasive way, but rather in a more matter of factly manner. As his story unfolds, there are layers of phycological reflection that will creep up and help reflect an appreciativeness of life and freedom.
I really enjoyed this book. I have taught and practiced the idea of not allowing your circumstance control who you are. One can not always control what happens to them, but one can control their reaction to it. Good read.
Excellent book. Frankl's observations and comments are worth remembering. I wasn't sure I could read another book about this awful time period, but the reading was valuable and certainly worth it.