#bookreview – Man’s Search for Meaning – by Viktor E. Frankl

A book that will help you consider your life in a new way. Awarded four stars on Goodreads.

meanThis book is definitely in both my MUST READ and ALWAYS RECOMMEND categories — a book that will spark all readers to consider the life they have lived so far and their own ability to alter the future. But, though the book is less than 200 pages long, it is NOT an easy read, which keeps me from awarding five stars.

Author Viktor Frankl (1905-97) was an internationally known psychiatrist, author, and survivor of multiple World War II concentration camps. He is considered the founder of logotherapy, a branch of clinical psychology that focuses on each person exploring their own personal “meaning of life.”

The book, which Frankl remarkably wrote in just nine days, is divided into two parts:
• The first section recounts his experiences and observations from the concentration camps. He candidly recounts a range of horrors he witnessed and tries to explain why he believes some people were destined to survive, while others were not. While these stories are painful to read (and I had to take a break at times), for me, this was the MOST compelling part of the book.
• The second section is more of Frankl’s explanation of logotherapy as a therapy technique. It is dense and reads much like a textbook.

But the reason I will recommend this book is the value I see in Frankl’s treatment approach. Because instead of concentrating on a person’s past traumas and explaining their impact on current behavior (as many types of therapies do), Frankl asks patients to concentrate on the future, using the power of their mind to reshape and reframe their lives. In this, he seems very forward thinking, especially since he came up with the basics of logotherapy in the 1930s, long before medical science recognized the value of “positive thinking” in treating diseases of the body. Well, this book convinced me that it appears “positive thinking” can also help treat many conditions of the mind.

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