This book is one of the most suggested books to read by high performers. In many ways I think people who perform a lot under stress like this because it provides perspective, but it also provides a solution of how to handle the worst parts of your life and/or career that every person goes through. The author, Viktor Frankl, is a jewish psychologist that survived the Holocaust. He was located in four different concentration camps, including Auschwitz, over a span of four years. In this book Frankl writes about his and other experiences in the concentration camps and the psychological affect it had on the people around him. He aims to describe the scenes in those camps during WWII as objectively as possible to provide further insight on how he got to his philosophy (logo therapy). The books describes the brutal scenarios of not knowing the fate of your loved ones, the horrid living circumstances, the verbal and physical abuse, suffering from malnutrition, dealing with diseases, and more. His conclusion is that people who still find and know their meaning, even in the worst of times, will be resilient and have a more fulfilled life. In the second chapter Frankl talks about logotherapy, Frankl own philosphy which is based off of existential analysis (will to meaning). In this chapter Frankl argues that striving to find a meaning in one’s life is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans. His experience and that of others around him during WW II provide substance to his claims.
This is a great book that can serve many lessons for the reader. It’s a quick read and an encapsulating read