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BOOK REVIEW Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl

guy93777

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most people read books or wach movies but they don't change anything in their lives.

the problem is not people but this : Regression toward the mean - Wikipedia

a movie or a book is just that : an evening with emotions . the next day, the laws of life take control back .

our habits of thinking come back : regression toward the mean

this is why it is so difficult to change anything. only things like a " F*** this event " can really change our lifes.
 

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OliverR

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most people read books or wach movies but they don't change anything in their lives.

the problem is not people but this : Regression toward the mean - Wikipedia

a movie or a book is just that : an evening with emotions . the next day, the laws of life take control back .

our habits of thinking come back : regression toward the mean

this is why it is so difficult to change anything. only things like a " F*** this event " can really change our lifes.
Like with anything it takes a process, a series of micro events that eventually lead to a macro change. Reading 1 book one time probably wont change much. But reading 1 book a week for a year or two or three will definetly see some change in you.

It is said that your life looks like an average of the 5 people you hang out most with. You can also tweak that and say that your life is an average of the 5 ideas you spend most time with. Many people dont have access to successfull people enough to spend some real time with them. But you do have a chance to read biographies, tactics, immerse yourself in their world and thinking patterns and eventually you will see a change.

The brain is a dynamic organ. Ideas In = Ideas Out. With enough time the more you read the more neural pathways you will create around those ideas and over time those pathways will grow stronger and replace old ones/ideas/mentality/mindset. You can physically rewire your brain over time, which is why for me reading is important because I understand that. And also things that used to not bother me at work or were a mere blip on the radar over time the more I read/learn/take action the more of a F*ck this moment they became and over time that lead to a F*ck this event which forced me out of my comfort zone to take action on my ideas.

So 1 book is a brick, on it's own it probably wont do much but act as a temporary kick in the a$$. Multiply that brick by the houndreds, you will get a wall, go further you will get a house.

/end rant
 

OliverR

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Sry went off topic before. Regarding the book. I read it a few years ago. Powerful story on it's own. One of the key takeaways I still remember and found valuable in this book was the notion of how you should take the worse thing that ever happened to you and figure out how it was a positive event or even the best thing. Or any negative event in your life and how to make peace with it and turn it into a positive frame. One example was how one's significant other died and you reframe it in away that at least you saved him/her the pain of mourning for you had you gone first.

Not sure I would read it again any time soon, but at least for me that was the main actionable item I took away from there.
 

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halfway done with the book, very interesting concentration camp inside story of course but also mixed feelings.

The part about the 12 year old kid forced to stand in the snow and losing his toes to gangrene made me clench my teeth in anger for a bit, it breaks me to hear stories of children suffering.

Regarding the author's attitude about the place, the weird mix of going with the flow of it, finding the bits of hope, distraction, optimism, humor, etc, Im not sure how to feel about it.

On one hand i can see how a man gotta go to weird places psycologically to plain and simple SURVIVE in such inhumane conditions, but on the other hand i get a bit of a lack of defiance in the author.
He did mention that when the guard insulted his character, that's when he snapped back, cause to him that indignity was much worse than pain, but i'm not sure thats enough.

I guess its all a matter of survival, he gotta do what he gotta do, but the part where he says he loudly cheered for one of the lead guards poetry reading because he knew it would reflect positively on him and help him survive, i dont know how i feel about that.

On some level im thinking its better to go out fighting and try to fukin kill the first SS officer to lay a finger on me, but who knows how id act in reality.

I wonder what a guy like David Goggins would do in a concentration camp condition, probably strategically play the sheep game and secretly plot an escape or something.

I'm curious how captured Soviet soldiers behaved in the camps, cause they had a different more aggressive and violent mentality regarding Nazis. Don't know if the author will discuss but we'll see.
 

luniac

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also @MJDemarco, its hard to find this thread sometimes, it was on the front page before, but now its not i think?
I gotta search "book" and scroll to find this thread again.
 

luniac

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so, finished the book.
Got some mixed feelings.
You know the whole concentration camp part felt a little odd to me, so i googled victor frankl and apparently i'm not the only one with reservations.
There's a whole wikipedia section questioning the authenticity of his concentration camp story.

Even the logotherapy origin story was modified in further editions of the book, originally said to originate directly from his concentration camp experience, but later on revised to say that it got started even before the war.

Supposedly Frankl did some weird post death lobotomy experiments in the camps at the behest of the nazis or something, i didn't read too deep into it.
After the war Frankl stayed in Austria and was criticized by the jews for being sort of forgiving to the people who were complicit in his incarceration, but whatever to each his own right.


Regardless of all that, it was still an interesting read, even though im skeptical regarding philosophical psychotherapy type stuff.
He talk about the modern epidemic of "lack of meaning" in people's lives, that feels accurate to me.
He mentions that this "existential vacuum" is based on depression, aggression, and addiction, which hit close to home for me, cause ive had problems with addiction and depressive feelings.

But then again, this could be a case of picking the right vague terminology that's almost always correct in a general sense right?

A lot of logotherapy seems like straight up common sense stuff, and sometimes logical psychology trickery.

Take his story of the man who's wife died and now he's so depressed about it. Frankl was like "well what if you died instead, how would your wife feel?", and the man says "well she'd feel terrible and depressed", and frankl says "well now she won't have to feel terrible and depressed because she died first"
LOL i mean hey whatever works right, the man felt better.

I do agree with one major point Frankl made regarding giving up. If you truly give up, its all over.
In the concentration camps, those individuals who completely gave up, their immune system became weaker and they succumbed to camp conditions and died.
As long as you have some goal to shoot for, you can endure the suffering and be better for it.


So yea all in all an interesting read, although personally i'd rather read a straight up day to day autobiography of his concentration camp experiences, versus a condensed version as a plug for his logotherapy follow up.
Supposedly he was in the camps for years, what an interesting story that would be to read in its entirety.
 
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Tommo

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I cannot write about this as Viktr said it better in every sentence.
Here are a few.
:I bet you got a lot of money out of people
As it happens I did most of my work for no money at all in clinics
The questioner then assaulted him physically.

Of all of you,he is the only one who must fear the next selection so don't worry.

This tiny book is so full of paragraphs that make you wonder what the F*ck went on and could it happen again if people do not get unscripted
 
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MJ DeMarco

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also @MJDemarco, its hard to find this thread sometimes, it was on the front page before, but now its not i think?
I gotta search "book" and scroll to find this thread again.
It's in a variety of places now, sidebars, in your What's New folder.

Halfway through the book, starting the Logotherapy section tonight.
 

ChrisV

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On some level im thinking its better to go out fighting and try to fukin kill the first SS officer to lay a finger on me, but who knows how id act in reality.
The problem is that pretty much none of them knew they were going to die. Actually Hitler had no intention of killing them at first. See in Hitler's little mind he thought the Jews were responsible for WW1 and he always said if the Jews caused another world war, he'd extinguish them. At first he just had them confined to work camps before the war started. But when WW2 started he was like "SEE... THEY F*ckING DID IT AGAIN" (yes, Adolf, the Jewish population started an entire World War from the confines of their little work camps... it had nothing to do with the fact that you were trying to conquer all of Europe... Again, no one said he made any sense)... So when 'the Jews started WW2' (from their labor camps) he enacted 'the final answer to the Jewish question,' which of course involved the systematic extermination of 6 million people. But even then most of them didn't know they were going to be killed. They took very rigorous precautions to not let them know what was going on, so as to avoid a mass panic and escape attempts. They were put into showers because of a 'lice outbreak' but these showers were of course were not water showers, but Zyclon-B showers. They were also soundproof so that no one on the outside could hear their screams. That's a lot of the reason people didn't fight back. He did it so gradually that people just felt like their best chance of survival was to make no waves.
 

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luniac

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The problem is that pretty much none of them knew they were going to die. Actually Hitler had no intention of killing them at first. See in Hitler's little mind he thought the Jews were responsible for WW1 and he always said if the Jews caused another world war, he'd extinguish them. At first he just had them confined to work camps before the war started. But when WW2 started he was like "SEE... THEY F*ckING DID IT AGAIN" (yes, Adolf, the Jewish population started an entire World War from the confines of their little work camps... it had nothing to do with the fact that you were trying to conquer all of Europe... Again, no one said he made any sense)... So when 'the Jews started WW2' (from their labor camps) he enacted 'the final answer to the Jewish question,' which of course involved the systematic extermination of 6 million people. But even then most of them didn't know they were going to be killed. They took very rigorous precautions to not let them know what was going on, so as to avoid a mass panic and escape attempts. They were put into showers because of a 'lice outbreak' but these showers were of course were not water showers, but Zyclon-B showers. They were also soundproof so that no one on the outside could hear their screams. That's a lot of the reason people didn't fight back. He did it so gradually that people just felt like their best chance of survival was to make no waves.
hmm i find it hard to believe that Hitler wasn't aware he was responsible for WW2 lol
 
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MJ DeMarco

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Finished the book last night.

A very powerful read, from his camp experience to the psychoanalyst portions in the back half demonstrating the importance of MEANING in one's life.

I thought the existential vacuum that modern society is now dealing with was spot on. It explains depression, addiction, drug use, and stupid allegiances to stupid entertainment like sports and HBO dramas -- people are simply searching for MEANING in their tired little existential vacuum of meaningless.

Some notable things for me...

The idea of marching ten miles in blizzard conditions with no shoes and tattered rags for clothing was unbearable for me. I can't imagine such horror. The great detail on how the prisoners would vie for an INTERIOR space in the march just to be shielded from the weather elements and maybe grab a degree or two of increased temperature.

The story about the grieving widow who missed his spouse... when the widow realized that his suffering spared his wife from suffering the same grief, his suffering diminished. By giving meaning to the suffering, he reduced it.

Paradoxical intention -- doing the opposite of what you're trying to accomplish. The story of the boy who stuttered and the only time he did NOT stutter was when he TRIED to stutter. Interesting! This parallels how when we try to fall asleep we often can't -- our intention forces anxiety. Yet, if we try to stay awake, we might be better inclined to sleep because the anxiety is lessened and our intention isn't forcing the issue.

The story about his camp friend who was near death and had a dream they would be liberated by X date. That guy survived up until that DATE and died a day later. This was a powerful demonstration on how important it is to have a HOPE, a VISION, and MEANING for living.

This book hardened my confirmation bias for my own work where I preach the importance of having a MEANING and PURPOSE (and entire section in Unscripted) and that even in failure, striving for something better than a mundane pencil-pushing existence can bring meaning to one's life.

For instance, DeMarco's selling a dream is often a negative critique for anyone who writes books about living extraordinarily.

What those critics fail to understand is that HAVING A DREAM and actively PURSUING it, is the DREAM itself.

It is the MEANING.

It is the PURPOSE.

All things in life can having MEANING and our minds are the conductor.

It is only when life loses its meaning is when depression and escapes are sought.

I thought the book gave a powerful reflection in today's culture, from how most people live meaningless lives and can't see the joy in anything -- art, nature, a hot shower, a kiss from a loved one. Instead, they're on the internet losing their minds that Game of Thrones Season 8 sucked.

I can't imagine my life being so empty that the best use of my time is crying about a baseball game.

Anyhow, a great book -- even if you don't agree with the meaning aspect of it, read it to grab some perspective on how GREAT you have it.
 

Action Mike

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Glad I read this post. I find the topic and what has been discussed very interesting to me and will pick up the book and read it. I need to visit the book section more often!
 

guy93777

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I thought the book gave a powerful reflection in today's culture, from how most people live meaningless lives and can't see the joy in anything -- art, nature, a hot shower, a kiss from a loved one. Instead, they're on the internet losing their minds that Game of Thrones Season 8 sucked.
we can only live according to our level of understanding

most people can't really understand what we are saying here about the meaning of life

why ?


here is the answer :

each circle is a level of consciousness

the geometry of consciousness from Drunvalo Melchizedek

25700

each circle is a level of understanding the meaning of life .

plants
animals
humans ( people who never question anything . 80 %% of the population )
advanced humans ( people here . 20 % of the population )
spiritual masters
aliens
and so on

this is infinite


25699
 

ChrisV

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we can only live according to our level of understanding

most people can't really understand what we are saying here about the meaning of life

why ?


here is the answer :

each circle is a level of consciousness

the geometry of consciousness from Drunvalo Melchizedek

View attachment 25700

each circle is a level of understanding the meaning of life .

plants
animals
humans ( people who never question anything . 80 %% of the population )
advanced humans ( people here . 20 % of the population )
spiritual masters
aliens
and so on

this is infinite


View attachment 25699
I love this guy.... He comes off as a troll, but if you actually read his posts there's a lot of insight. Although this ones not that great and we don't even know for sure if aliens have ever been here, let alone have higher level of consciousness than us.
 

ChrisV

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stupid allegiances to stupid entertainment like sports and HBO dramas -- people are simply searching for MEANING in their tired little existential vacuum of meaningless.
Well keep in mind that humans are natural hunter/gatherers. Agriculture and the industrial revolution has really taken us out of our element, but our ancient drives still exist. Jonathan Haidt says "sports is to war as pornography is to sex," and I think that metaphor extends to all forms of entertainment.
 

C.Hamp

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I think it's interesting that this book and Goggin's book are being talked about recently here.
I read this one several years ago, Goggin's more recently. As I think about it, I wonder what is the "meaning" in Goggin's life?
It's one thing to survive a tortured life. It's quite another to BE the torturer in your life. Goggin's childhood was terrible, by any account. It seems to be the motivation behind his adult lifestyle. And yet it paled in comparison to Frankl. Talk about two diametrically opposed responses! Whew.
When I read Goggin's book and watched a lot of the podcasts that include him I started out mighty impressed. But that soon faded. Especially now that I contrast it directly with Frankl.
 

guy93777

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I love this guy.... He comes off as a troll, but if you actually read his posts there's a lot of insight. Although this ones not that great and we don't even know for sure if aliens have ever been here, let alone have higher level of consciousness than us.

you know, maybe i am a troll or maybe i am so advanced that people can't really understand what i say

in either case, this statement is true anyway " we can only live according to our understanding "

this is true whether you think i am a troll, a genius or anything

ultimately, you look at reality with your current level of awareness and understanding.


by the way this is a good thing to be seen as a " dumb troll" because it gives the " troll" a lot of opportunities for his goals.

who would think that a troll can achieve things ?


you think that i am this :

25705


maybe i am this or maybe i am the next card :

25706


who really knows ?


.
 
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MJ DeMarco

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When I read Goggin's book and watched a lot of the podcasts that include him I started out mighty impressed. But that soon faded. Especially now that I contrast it directly with Frankl.
It's like zooming in on a small part of a picture and liking what you see... but when you zoom out and get the entire picture, the picture that was painted ain't so picturesque. Reminds me of the old proverb, "throwing out the baby with the bath water."

In some respect, the Goggins story mimics our social media culture where we advertise our greatest achievements where they are liked, applauded and looked at from afar. We see a microcosm of life.

Yet the aggregate reality (the life behind the pictures, including the pictures that don't make it to social media) tell a much different, darker story.
 

JohnCS

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As selected for this month's book reading per the vote here.

Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl



As for the format for this discussion, we will not RATE like normal since this material is very different than business books.

Simply share your thoughts, your takeaways, and how (or if) the book was able to change you, or shift your perspective.
One of the most powerful books i've ever read. Going to re-read now that we're discussing here.

"A man who becomes conscious of the responsibility he bears toward a human being who affectionately waits for him, or to an unfinished work, will never be able to throw away his life. He knows the 'why' for his existence, and will bea able to bear almost any 'how'."
 

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Andy Bell

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A little late to the book review, but finished this one off last night.

Coming from a long military background (great grandfather died in the battle of stalingrad)(grandfather was high ranked in the red army, he had a blue number tatoo on his arm I asked my mother about it but she said he never talked about it, he wasent Jewish but may have been captured)(father went to kgb academy) and ww2 stories from my grandmothers side (Belarusian Jewish) I had heard alot of concentration camp stories in my life and nothing had really hit home until my trip to Israel last year where one of the women in our tour group at the holocaust museum broke down crying and told us about how half of her family had been killed. I was always recommended this book and had never picked it up thinking I had soaked up enough on the topic, boy was I wrong.

Finally going through it I think I got something out of it more than what I could get out of a tv show or any holocaust movie or documentary I had seen. Theres something about reading that makes you use your own imagination and puts you into the story in only a way you could imagine it. I cringed when I imagined myself 5 people to a bunk bed sleeping side by side, conditions that any ordinary person would go crazy in but for them became normal. I also thought about his explanation of the human limits, where he described that you cant really imagine what the human body and mind can suffer through and come out of. Like where he described how not sleeping to him was always thought to be a death sentence but then he realized how far the human body could really go without sleep.

The second half with logotherapy I tried to think of ways I could apply his ideas, my personal WHY is not as strong as I would like it to be and I have found trouble finding more, this book helped me think a bit more. A point was where he mentioned the patient talking about how they could not have kids and he consoles saying procreation does not have to be your reason to go on, it can be but its not all there is. That one hit home I know alot of people that just look for a way to have kids just to have a why and I feel myself being pressured by friends and family and when I mention I dont want kids right now I get a response...well what else is there?

I think I came out of this book a little wiser and more compassionate, I would recommend it to anyone stuck in life, or in a bad situation.
 

Brian Suh

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A powerful book on so many levels. While I doubt I'll ever find myself in the desperate circumstances that Dr Frankl experienced, most all of us can easily identify ourselves as members of what Thoreau aptly described as the mass of men leading lives of quiet desperation. Frankl's experiences, and the practical lessons for coping that he teaches, are powerful lessons for all of us.

I re-read this book every year or two, and I gift it frequently.

I found it quite interesting when he talked about how one of the worst parts about being in the camp was the complete loss of control of any aspect of the prisoners' lives, and how without something to strive for or a purpose, so many people just gave up and died that might have otherwise lived.

Also, after his notes and manuscript were taken away from him, and how the desire to write and publish this manuscript gave him a thread of some hope to a life beyond the death camps, there's something we can all learn from that, especially in the context of what's typically discussed on this forum. He demonstrates that without challenges or meaning in our lives, the absence of them can literally kill us. And that having a "why", no matter how tenuous it may seem at the dark and desperate moments, when pursued it can grow into something that has a positive influence on millions.

He wrote: " What man actually needs is not a tension-less state, but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. What he needs is not the discharge of tension at any cost but the call of a potential meaning waiting to be fulfilled by him."

Look at overnight celebrities and lottery winners. Even when provided everything they could need to sustain them for the rest of their lives, the lack of focus/purpose/meaning eats away at them and the usually crash and burn hard.
“One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful.” - Freud
I can remember the times where I felt lost and hopeless and finally had ENOUGH and started to improve my situations were the times I was the happiest even thought it didnt felt like it. Then when I got everything I wanted I became arrogant. That obviously leads to failure as you need to be humble and work hard to succeed not arrogant and lazy. Then I became soft and lost everything again and now I am back up but with a different perspective.

We all need hope for a better future in order to be happy. It is a curse of the human race but its better to work with our dna then against it.
 

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