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Extended Audio Sample Man’s Search for Meaning: An Introduction to Logotherapy, by Viktor E. Frankl Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.00000574202641 out of 54.00000574202641 out of 54.00000574202641 out of 54.00000574202641 out of 54.00000574202641 out of 5 4.00 (57,471 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Viktor E. Frankl Narrator: Simon Vance Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2010 ISBN: 9781455171996
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Victor E. Frankl's book, Man's Search for Meaning, is a classic in which he details his experiences in a concentration camp during the Holocaust and applies his psychotherapeutic techniques to explain how a search for meaning can help human beings through the most difficult times. According to Frankl, there are three stages that every prisoner goes through—shock, apathy and depersonalization/disillusionment if they survive the camp. Based on his experiences, Frankl came up with logotherapy, in which a person must keep imagining the positive outcome s/he wants to bring about.

According to Frankl, even in the darkest of times, when the prisoner has every reason to lose hope, they can keep going if they find some meaning in life. Frankl describes how his thoughts of his wife whom he loved kept him going during a march when the prisoners were being moved from one location to another. He found that maintaining hope was what differentiated prisoners who didn't make it through the camp from those who did.

He also found that people in general are either decent or indecent (used to mean "not decent" and not "lewd"). This applied to prisoners as well as guards or those in charge of running the camp. There were guards who behaved decently and prisoners who would abuse their fellow inmates for personal gain.

Once the prisoners were released from the camp, they often reacted in unpredictable ways, feeling disillusioned if the thing that gave them meaning was no longer present e.g., if the spouse whose memory they had held on to had died. Sometimes, the decent ones turned indecent and wanted to inflict pain on anyone associated with their incarceration.

Man's Search for Meaning is a truly inspiring book which shows how even people who go through horrific experiences can keep the faith and keep going by finding something meaningful in their lives.

Victor E. Frankl was born in Vienna and got interested in psychology early. When he attended Gymnasium, the Austrian equivalent of a preparatory high school, he wrote a paper on the psychology of philosophical thinking. He went on to the University of Vienna where he studied medicine and specialized in neurology and psychiatry. He was especially interested in counseling those who were depressed or suicidal and started several programs to help those who suffered from these problems. He and his wife were both taken to concentration camps in 1944; Frankl survived the experience but his wife didn't. A few years later, Frankl remarried and lived to be 92, when he died of heart failure. He lectured and taught all over the world and received 29 honorary degrees.

Man’s Search for Meaning is the chilling yet inspirational story of Viktor Frankl’s struggle to hold on to hope during the unspeakable horrors of his years as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of those he treated in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Through every waking moment of his ordeal, Frankl’s training as a psychiatrist lent him a remarkable perspective on the psychology of survival. As a result of these experiences, Dr. Frankl developed a revolutionary approach to psychotherapy known as logotherapy. At the core of his theory is the belief that man’s primary motivational force is his search for meaning. Frankl’s assertion that “the will to meaning” is the basic motivation for human life has forever changed the way we understand our humanity in the face of suffering.

Frankl’s riveting memoir was named one of the Ten Most Influential Books in America after a 1991 survey by the Library of Congress and Book of the Month Club. This revised and updated version includes a new postscript: “The Case for a Tragic Optimism.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • “An enduring work of survival literature.”

    New York Times

  • “If you read but one book this year, Dr. Frankl’s book should be that one.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “A fascinating, sophisticated, and very human book…Frankl’s personal and professional discourses merge into a style of tremendous power.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “Much like a first aid kit, this recording has the potential to save lives…This classic, carefully read by Simon Vance, is a vital aid to the troubled of all ages.” 

    Library Journal

  • “One of the great books of our time.”

    Harold S. Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People

  • “Perhaps the most significant thinking since Freud and Adler.”

    American Journal of Psychiatry

Listener Opinions

  • 3.333333 out of 53.333333 out of 53.333333 out of 53.333333 out of 53.333333 out of 5 grayling | 1/7/2017

    " This book was really about life in a Germany death camp. There was some "meaning" but mostly jewish prison camp review. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elle | 2/17/2014

    " I was pensive for two straight days upon completion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pavol | 1/30/2014

    " I especially loved the first part of the book and I am definitely going to read it again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Becky Louise | 1/26/2014

    " Definitely an inspiring read about a man and his ideas of why he survived Nazi concentration camps. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marianne | 1/23/2014

    " Inspiring way to look at life. I use this in my classes when teaching about positive psychology. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily Eidbo haynes | 1/18/2014

    " A very intriguing look at suffering. Always an opportunity to grow. I don't agree what he sees as the ultimate meaning of life; however, I do applaud his optimistic attitude and am humbled by his commitment to his fellow man. We can all learn much from his story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patrick Marshall | 1/16/2014

    " This book changed my life, and gave me a better way to understand and interact with my own existence. Frankl's undying optimism, even in the face of tragedy, is both realistic and inspiring. I can't recommend this book highly enough. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jamie Johnson | 1/5/2014

    " Read as part of an existential reading group, the resilience of the human spirit in the face of unrelenting horror still inspires and intrigues two years later. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren | 12/27/2013

    " Really an interesting book! Definitely recommend reading! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeff Dumas | 12/15/2013

    " A powerful read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ann | 11/6/2013

    " This book changed my life when I read it about 15 years ago. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rosemary Walker | 10/29/2013

    " A book to treasure, share and learn from "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Thomas Hidya | 5/14/2013

    " This is a must-read book for every single human being, as it shows what we are capable of, for better or for worse. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Molly | 12/10/2012

    " Amazing. I need to read 3 more times and underline some passages. I'm loath to call it self-help, but it is that- and more. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 World-weary Pastor | 9/21/2012

    " This will change your life, and put you on the path to meaning. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alison Chudleigh | 4/17/2012

    " powerful for anyone who is curious about the power of mind over matter "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dalal Al sindi | 7/16/2011

    " One of the most inspiring and moving books. Frankl is a very positive and strong writer who survived ww2, he talks about the philosophy of meaning an being. The questions he raises are very bold and striking. One of the best holocaust books out there! Highly recommended. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Leanne | 5/23/2011

    " This book was so interesting to read. Viktor talks about his experiences in concentration camps in psychological terms. It has changed my view on life. I only give it 4 stars because at times the book was hard for me to read because of his terminology. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jordan | 5/22/2011

    " Profound. While I would not say that it changed my fundamental outlook on life, meaning, or suffering, I would say that it corrected my perspective back towards an outlook that I've always had. A book that I will almost certainly read again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tristan | 5/16/2011

    " This book changed my outlook on life when I was 18 and going through some hard times and helped put my life in perspective. I recommend to anyone who questions their life, morals and values. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Craig | 5/11/2011

    " I learned a lot from this book. Victor Frankl's account of life in the concentration camp is heart-rending and deeply insightful. I recommend it to anyone. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 5/11/2011

    " Interesting combination of memoir and standoffish observation of horrific events. Really appreciated some of the insights and conclusions but sort of an odd read overall. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 5/9/2011

    " For me, Frankel's book is an exceptionally lucid, accessible exploration of existential philosophy--and this, in the setting of a Nazi concentration camp. Required reading for anyone leading an examined life.
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kerri | 5/9/2011

    " I have no words...

    This book put a lot in perspective for me. Everyone should read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tara | 5/9/2011

    " Written while in a Nazi concentration camp this book beautifully explains our constant search for meaning. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 5/8/2011

    " I actually read this book a few years ago. This is another book I plan to re-read. Excellent book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dom&Karen | 5/2/2011

    " Dom: Second time I have read this book. Re-read it this time because it came up in a psych class I am taking. I think I appreciated it a lot more from this new perspective. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gary | 5/2/2011

    " THIS BOOK HELPED ME WITH FORGIVING THOSE WHO HURT ME. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Teresa | 4/29/2011

    " Reread this for the first time since college. The most compelling part, of course, is how Dr. Frankl survived the Nazis. However, the logotherapy section is also interesting. Perhaps it is better suited for a more serious student of psychology, but I appreciated what Frankl was trying to convey. "

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