When Beacon Press first published Man's Search for Meaning in 1959, Carl Rogers called it "one of the outstanding contributions to psychological thought in the last fifty years." In the thirty-three years since then, this book - at once a memoir, a self-help book, and a psychology manual - has become a classic that has sold more than three million copies in English language editions. Man's Search for Meaning tells the chilling and inspirational story of eminent psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, who was imprisoned at Auschwitz and other concentration camps for three years during the Second World War. Immersed in great suffering and loss, Frankl began to wonder why some of his fellow prisoners were able not only to survive the horrifying conditions, but to grow in the process. Frankl's conclusion - that the most basic human motivation is the will to meaning - became the basis of his groundbreaking psychological theory, logotherapy. As Nietzsche put it, "He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how." In Man's Search for Meaning, Frankl outlines the principles of logotherapy, and offers ways to help each one of us focus on finding the purpose in our lives. This new edition of Man's Search for Meaning includes a new preface by the author, in which he explains his decision to remain in his native Austria during the Nazi invasion, a choice which eventually led to his imprisonment. It also includes an updated bibliography of books, articles, records, films, videotapes, and audio tapes about logotherapy.
Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl is among the most influential works of psychiatric literature since 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. Freud believed that sexual instincts and urges were the driving force of humanity's life; Frankl, by contrast, believes that man's deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose. 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."
Internationally renowned psychiatrist Viktor E. Frankl endured years of unspeakable horror in Nazi death camps. During, and partly because of, his suffering, 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.
Cited in Dr. Frankl's New York Times obituary in 1997 as "an enduring work of survival literature," Man's Search for Meaning is more than the story of Viktor E. Frankl's triumph: it is a remarkable blend of science and humanism and "an introduction to the most significant psychological movement of our day" (Gordon W. Allport).
From the Back Cover