Man’s Search for Meaning

By Viktor Frankl,

Book cover of Man’s Search for Meaning

Book description

One of the outstanding classics to emerge from the Holocaust, Man's Search for Meaning is Viktor Frankl's story of his struggle for survival in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. Today, this remarkable tribute to hope offers us an avenue to finding greater meaning and purpose in our own lives.

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Why read it?

26 authors picked Man’s Search for Meaning as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

In apposition to the Levi book I listed first, Frankl becomes more of what he already is, which is a transformation of a completely different sort. The author’s professional life becomes magnified, his thought processes on suffering become exponential. The Holocaust experience affects him so much, so deeply, that he emerges with a new field of thought that shakes up the foundational thought on mental health that Freud had well established. One is not a slave to his own mind; one can attain mastery under any circumstances with certain shifts of reason. Resonant for all time, and certainly for our…

At first glance, this book might seem like it would send you into a thought spiral. Just focus on the positivity that’s interwoven and you’ll see that Frankl offers so many tools to help alter the way you view the world. Based on the author’s own experience of living in a concentration camp, Frankl found a way to find daily purpose and positivity, even in the most barbaric of environments. Even on my darkest days, this book gave me insight into the importance of identifying and focusing on the optimistic elements of your life to help you push through, even…

I chose Viktor Frankl”s extraordinary book, Man’s Search for Meaning, because, like Dr. Eger’s book, it reveals the indomitable nature of the human heart. The first part of this book is a condensed memoir on the years he spent in a concentration camp during WW2. The second part unpacks, thread by thread, what he learned from this experience, what made the Nazis do what they did, and why some victims can choose life while others perish. Like Dr. Eger’s book, his thesis is the same—ultimately, we have the choice. I also chose this book because my father was one…

I love this book, written by a secular Jewish psychiatrist: a brilliant, short autobiographical account of his experiences as a prisoner in Auschwitz. Frankl tells what he observed there—how some people survived the worst kind of situation imaginable. While not himself a participant in religious tradition, Frankl came to the conviction that “finding meaning” is a fundamental human need. What’s original—and illuminating—is his insight that such meaning cannot be some generalized cliché. Instead, it must engage each person’s own situation, and the specific kind of meaning found in our own life. And when there’s none to “find,” he powerfully demonstrates…

This book helped me gain a deeper understanding of how it is important to keep one’s mind in a positive headspace and how that aids you in life. I have always tried to be a positive person and set goals for myself in my life, and reading this book just reinforced the importance. A key point in the book was how having a vision and purpose sets one up for success in the long haul. I believe that finding out what our purpose is in life is something all people truly desire to know. The author also gives many examples…

One summer, during an IWWG conference, a member recommended I read Man’s Search for Meaning. She related to how I wrote about humanity and inhumanity in my own book and knew I would find Frankl’s memoir meaningful. My Polish immigrant parents did not suffer in Concentration Camps as Victor Frankl did, but as teenagers, they were taken prisoners during WWII and survived Siberian Work Camps. To comprehend the extremes of human suffering, survival, and a person’s ability to hold hope when it seems there is none, one must read Frankl’s book. He says, “we cannot avoid suffering but we…

From Anna's list on our human struggles and triumphs.

He who has a why can bear any how has played a profound quote in my life. In this book, you learn about the importance of having a vision, holding on to that vision, feeling immensely positive, and seeing it happen. This is something I have been teaching my clients for the past 3 years due to this having a profound effect on me in my own.

From Vic's list on self-help on personal development.

If to people I love I could only give a single book, this would be it. I’ve read it three times and will revisit it until I die. Imprison a man in hell on Earth where the souls of his loved ones rise from the smokestacks of the crematorium within his sight. His friends die starving and beaten in the mud. What’s left of human dignity? Is there anything redeeming? Is there a chance for forgiveness, or even beauty or love? This tragic account of an appalling time is one of the greatest books ever written. I improve as a…

The ultimate book about spiritual survival, written by concentration camp survivor and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl. They say this book was written in nine days, and you’ll read it in one sitting; more than a story of the horrors of daily life in Auschwitz, this is a handbook for dealing with every kind of despair. Gwen has applied Frankl’s insights in her forensic practice to help offenders discover meaning in the harm they’ve done to themselves and their victims and seen how doing so can transform mental anguish into finding some purpose in life, a freedom we all have – even…

From Eileen's list on managing mental suffering.

This is by far the heaviest tome on my list, and I’m not referring to its physical weight. Frankl is a Holocaust survivor. The cover sub-title is, The Classic Tribute to Hope from the Holocaust, and those few words speak volumes. It’s a tough book to get through, for sure, but it is absolutely worth the effort. In the face of unspeakable challenges, Frankl’s journey, introspection, and endearing and enduring hopefulness epitomize what a real-life hero looks like.

From Christopher's list on heroes that we can relate to.

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