Monday, August 19, 2013

Man's Search for Meaning

I recently was assigned to read this book for my Introduction to Psychology class at BYU. When I saw it on the syllabus I was initially just glad that I already owned it so it was one less book to purchase for the term. I have had this book sitting on my bookshelf for a few years (I don't even remember who it was that gave it to me as a hand-me-down), and I had never gotten around to reading it. I saw that it was written by a psychologist and for some reason that turned me off to it. Then I finally started reading.

This is one of my favorite things I have read in a long time. His thoughts about what gives meaning to a person are so beautiful. The most amazing thing about this book is how it is written. Viktor Frankl is a survivor of several Holocaust concentration camps. As a practicing psychologist at the time, his memoirs are written with the unique perspective of hope during some of the darkest events in history. As you read about the everyday experiences of a camp, you simultaneously learn his prospective on man's ability to adapt and survive.

Without giving away the entire book, I want to share a few of my favorite quotes.

"What is to give light must endure burning."

"But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer."

"Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'."

"Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself."

There are so many more, but I will wait. Let me know if have read this before and maybe we can have a little chat. If you haven't, I really encourage it. You can get it on Amazon for less than $10, so there is no excuse. Enjoy!

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