By Viktor E. Frankl
#8420. One of the great books of our time. Harold S. Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People
One of the most influential works of psychiatric literature ever written some would say even more important than Freud! The book begins with a lengthy, austere, and deeply moving personal essay about Frankl’s imprisonment in Auschwitz and other concentration camps for five years, and his struggle during this time to find reasons to live.
The second part of the book, called “Logotherapy in a Nutshell,” describes the psychotherapeutic method that Frankl pioneered as a result of his experiences in the concentration camps.
Sigmund Freud believed that sexual instincts and urges were the driving force of humanity’s life; Alfred Adler believed it was the desire for power and feelings of superiority; Frankl, by contrast, believes the primary human drive is not pleasure but the pursuit of what we find meaningful.
Frankl’s logotherapy, therefore, is much more compatible with Western religions than Freudian psychotherapy. This is a fascinating, sophisticated, and very human book. At times, Frankl’s personal and professional discourses merge into a style of tremendous power.
“Our generation is realistic, for we have come to know man as he really is,” Frankl writes. “After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips.”
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.
At the time of Frankl’s death in 1997, Man’s Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in 24 languages. A 1991 reader survey by the Library of Congress and the Book-of-the-Month Club that asked readers to name a “book that made a difference in your life” found Man’s Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America.
165 pages. Softcover. 2006. $15.00. SPECIALS: 10 copies for $139.95; 100 copies for $1,259.95.