Book review – fabulous read on finding meaning and purpose in life

Subtitled the “The Classic Tribute to Hope from the Holocaust”. Victor Frankl, a Jewish Psychiatrist and a survivor of Nazi concentration camps writes in this classic book that we choose to be who we are, if we choose wisely we can triumph even in tragedy.

Frankl starts the book with his biographical story of his life in Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War. The conditions were horrific and prospects for survival were bleak. He uses matter of fact language to convey the awful situation, where every normality is replaced by abnormality- but there still remains space for the acts of saints.

In the second half of the book takes these experiences and their understanding as the basis for development of what he calls Logotherapy. At its heart is a belief that striving to find a meaning to ones life is the primary motivational force within people. In the camps: “All the familiar goals in life are snatched away. What alone remains is ‘the last of human freedoms’ – the ability to choose one’s attitude in a given set of circumstances”.

Choosing your attitude was key to the inmates’ abilities to survive, those that did had a clear vision of surviving for work yet to be done. Frankl argues that we have power to shape our attitudes and responses to the challenges life presents us and that we grow, thanks to these challenges. A quick, yet possibly life-changing read.