Thursday, November 5, 2009

Man's Search for Meaning

Author: Viktor E. Frankl

First line: This book does not claim to be an account of facts and events but of personal experiences, experiences which millions of prisoners have suffered time and again.

Why you should read this book: In this classic, seminal, and controversial volume, the author relates his experience as a prisoner in various Nazi Concentration Camps during World War II, focusing on the psychology of the prisoner, the perspectives that allowed individuals to survive suffering and seeming hopelessness, and the basis for logotherapy, which he developed before the war and honed while interned. Modern editions include a chapter outlining the framework of logotherapy, which insists that humans must create their own meaning, whether they do so through action, experience, or dignity in the face of suffering, along with a final chapter which speaks to modern maladies resulting from the enforced ideal that one must "be happy." This book ought to be required reading for anyone over the age of fourteen, but especially for those who have ever suffered from depression or a sense of meaninglessness in life.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You find nihilism warm, cozy, and comforting.

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