Man's Search for Meaning

Man's Search for Meaning

Book - 1997
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A prominent Viennese psychiatrist recounts his experiences in a Nazi concentration camp that led to the development of his existentialist approach to psychotherapy.
Publisher: New York : Washington Square Press, [1997], c1984.
Edition: Rev. and updated.
ISBN: 9780671023379
0671023373
Branch Call Number: 150.195 Fra
Characteristics: 221 p. ; 18 cm.

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ghreads
Aug 30, 2015

This book has 2 parts. The first details Frankl’s personal experiences in the Nazi concentration camps. We all know, in general terms, what went on there but hearing what a single individual had to endure daily is truly mind-boggling.

The second part of the book describes the principles and techniques of Logotherapy. Logotherapy is based on the assumption that man’s greatest need is for meaning in his life, not pleasure as Freud believed or power as Alfred Adler taught. Frankl, a psychiatrist, had already formulated the basics of his Logotherapy ideas but the experience in the camps provided rich research material for him.

The book is written in simple straight-forward language and is easy to read.

I was somehow disappointed by the book. I read it because I repeatedly encountered references to it in my other reading and on the radio. These references created rather high expectations which were not fully met. This is probably because I found no earth-shatteringly new concepts. I already knew that what man seeks is meaning and satisfaction, not pleasure. Perhaps I knew this because of Frankl’s work and vast following – the concepts have permeated our awareness.

The book is certainly worth reading for its insights but I wouldn’t rank it as one of the greatest books of all time.

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