This book was recommended to me recently by a dear friend who said it had changed her life – quite the statement! After reading it, all I can say is: Where have I been? Seriously.
It is quite amazing that for a self-confessed bookworm I had never come across this book before. Especially because this is exactly the sort of book that I fall in love with – the ones with profound meaning that change the way you look at life. It has sold 9 million copies and for a very good reason. You will miss your stop if you read it on your commute so beware. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
I guess I can’t be aware of every book in existence (plus, I am terrible at researching and googling things). I was just annoyed that I didn’t come across this gem earlier in my life. I am thinking back to my bratty high school years, where I thought the world owed me something special. This book provided a clear lesson: Life owes you nothing, the real question is what you can offer life.
The author, Viktor E. Frankl, was a professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Vienna and spent three years as a prisoner in concentration camps during World War II. This brutally honest account of his experiences during that time will keep you in awe throughout the whole book. His wisdom and harsh truth will be a reality check. It was for me.
The main “aha moment” was reading that when a prisoner lost hope it was the beginning of the end for them. We all know that having hope keeps you alive but hearing it from a concentration camp survivor really drives the message home. You feel like you can see things a bit clearer and realise how important hope is in our lives.
The other important lesson was to look for meaning in your life, or (in the case of the prisoners) the meaning in their suffering. Without meaning we can easily give up. Meaning is what keeps us going, no matter what the odds or pain we suffer. No one, not even the inhuman Nazis could take this away from prisoners.
I highly highly highly highly highly recommend this truly amazing book.