I read this book just a couple of years ago, after a friend encouraged (nagged) me to read it. It’s his favorite book, and he told me I’d love it. I didn’t feel like I needed to read it since he quoted it every five minutes.
It’s a short book, at about 165 pages, but it packs a huge punch.
The book is about Viktor Frankl’s experiences in a concentration camp during World War II. He asserts that how prisoners imagined their future affected their survival and longevity. He stated that he started writing about logotherapy, his psychotherapeutic theory, before he was imprisoned. He believed that part of the reason he survived is because he felt that he had to finish the manuscript.
He believed that meaning could be found in every moment of life, and that meaning could be found, even in suffering. People can choose to change themselves, even in the worst situations.
Part I of the book was an analysis of his experiences in the concentration camp. Part II discusses his theory of logotherapy.
I’d highly recommend this book to everyone. It’s accessible to people who aren’t in the field of psychology, and it’s touching and thought-provoking. Once I’d read it the first time, I was sorry I hadn’t read it sooner.
Anyone can be content with life and find meaning when things are going well, when all basic needs are being met, when they’re surrounded by loved ones. But to find meaning in life when everything has been stripped away is something else entirely. I hope that I’ll never have to find out who I’d be under such horrific circumstances. But to know that the human spirit can endure under such conditions fills me with hope.
It’s an amazing book.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
― Viktor E. Frankl