Before I say anything about the book, I want to admit that without a doubt this is one of the most influential books (and it is recommended to be read at least once in our lifetime), and one of the most powerful psychological books I’ve read.It was written on 1946 by Viktor Frankl,, a neurology and psychiatric professor at the university of Vienna Medical School, and Distinguished professor of Logotherapy at the U.S. International University. During the World War II he spent three year at Auschwitz Dachau and other concentration camps, which he amazingly describes it in the part one of the book, by trying to tell us, how they survived mentally and how every day in a concentration camp influenced their mind.
Part two of the book, on the other hand introduced us to ways of finding ‘the meaning of life’ and his theory called logotherapy.
“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.”
According to author everyone can find the meaning of life in every moment of living, even in suffering and death. Book in general describes three stages of people who think that they have no meaning to live. The first phase is depersonalization, respectively the readjustment period. This is shown in part one when they try to readjusted to a prisoners life, and the second part when they try to adjust to freedom.
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
The second phase is the danger of deformation, when people face reality which might be different from the one they believed in. Frankl uses the analogy of a diver suddenly released from his pressure chamber.
“An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behavior.”
And the third phase is the hardest one to overcome, the struggle of the prisoners with two fundamental experiences which could also damage their mental health: bitterness and disillusionment
“So live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!”
After I finished reading this book, I become more self-critical of any future endeavors which would take up a lot of my time. If anything has no meaning for me, I’m simply not doing it, and in this way I’m doing more of the things I love, and I’m happier. For anyone looking for purpose in life, this would be my recommendation to you.