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Man's Search for Meaning is a 1946 book by Viktor Frankl chronicling his experiences as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps during World War II, and describing his psychotherapeutic method, which involved identifying a purpose to each person's life through one of three ways: the completion of tasks, caring for another person, or finding meaning by facing suffering with dignity.
|Author||Viktor E. Frankl|
|Original title||Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager|
|Translator||Ilse Lasch (Part One)|
|Publisher||Verlag für Jugend und Volk (Austria)|
Beacon Press (English)
|1946 (Vienna, Austria)|
1959 (United States)
|Followed by||The Doctor and the Soul: From Psychotherapy in Logotherapy|
Frankl observed that among the fellow inmates in the concentration camp, those who survived were able to connect with a purpose in life to feel positive about, and then immersed themselves in imagining that purpose such as conversing with an (imagined) loved one. According to Frankl, the way a prisoner imagined the future affected his longevity.
The book intends to answer the question "How was everyday life in a concentration camp reflected in the mind of the average prisoner?" Part One constitutes Frankl's analysis of his experiences in the concentration camps, while Part Two introduces his ideas of meaning and his theory called logotherapy.
According to a survey conducted by the Book-of-the-Month Club and the Library of Congress, Man's Search for Meaning belongs to a list of "the ten most influential books in the United States." At the time of the author's death in 1997, the book had sold over 10 million copies and had been translated into 24 languages.