Melinda Bixler-Man’s Search for Meaning

Author of Book: Viktor E. Frankl
Date Read: September 12, 2023

Book Report

Why I read it:
I read this book because it was recommended by several people I admire and respect.

What I learned from it:
-Even when all other liberties are removed, we retain the freedom of thought. Our thoughts and perceptions have a tremendous influence on our lives.
-People who continue having hope and feel a sense of purpose have a better chance of surviving the most challenging and painful times. Absent hope and a reason to live, many people don’t make it through that situation.
-Survival of the body is extremely influenced by the mind.
-Logotherapy describes the process of surviving through pain and hardship. It further evaluates and describes the benefits of finding hope during (what feels like) an impossible situation.

Summary of the book:
The book recounts the lives of men who were prisoners of Nazi concentration camps. It tells of the abuse, torture, treatment, death, and psychological destruction of prisoners. They witnessed murders of other prisoners as well as deaths related to Typhus and other illnesses. Millions died. Few survived and it’s believed that through hope some found purpose and meaning in their lives. Logotherapy is Frankl’s philosophy that evolved as a result of his concentration camp experiences.

The ability to survive the most difficult times is strengthened by the mind. With a will to live and even a small sense of purpose, we can overcome situations that may psychologically and physically destroy some people. Additionally, it’s even possible to find the positives – silver lining – that’s disguised within tragic situations. Even when a season of life feels impossible, the strength of our spirit, mind, and attitude can lead us through it.

How will reading the book contribute to success inside prison and after release:
The prison houses people from all walks of life. For many, it’s the lowest, most difficult point in one’s life. Here there is sadness, loneliness, fear, and regret. As an inmate, I can relate to this book. I must admit, though, unlike concentration camps most would argue that we deserve this. Additionally, we don’t face the fear of death each day like Nazi prisoners did. Knowing that I can overcome this with dignity and self-respect is powerful. I know the power of my thoughts and each day I make an effort to find the good that comes from that day. My attitude and how I harness my thoughts strengthen my sense of purpose and provide the foundation on which I rebuild my life and reputation.