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?

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

Through the eyes of the writer, I saw compassion, understanding, and a strong spirit of survival as he endures life in a concentration camp.

Living in the twenty-first century, I cannot fathom how people survived and made their way through the holocaust. Today, I deal with what car to buy, what type of mayonnaise is best, or how much time I have to wait for the bus. I think I take a lot for granted because I have never experienced the fears and life-and-death nightmare of war firsthand.

I hope I can say, I might understand a bit about transcendence…

Frankl’s concept of finding meaning in suffering and the idea that our primary drive in life is not pleasure but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful deeply resonates with me.

The book underscores the belief that even in the most difficult of circumstances, we have the freedom to choose our attitudes and responses, a concept that is central to high-performance psychology.

From Michael's list on illuminating the path towards mastery.

Reading Mr. Frankl’s story of surviving the holocaust and being able to find purpose in the direst of circumstances puts everything in perspective.

Not only is it mind-blowing to think of what he (and others) went through, but he also managed to create meaning and find a way to inspire others. It’s truly remarkable. 

I first came across this book when I was studying at university, and it captures a theme of existentialism – “to live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in suffering”.

One of my favorite quotes from this book is “Those who can find a ‘why’ to live, can bear any ‘how’”. I loved the realistic message that life can be hard, but it also gives hope that we can get through tough times and connect with what matters to us. It opened the door to thinking about what is meaningful to me, and what will make the…

The two most powerful forces in our human experience are hope and each other.

In the direst of circumstance, Frankl describes how hope – a belief that tomorrow can be better – and each other can give us the energy, inspiration, and meaning to persevere when the going gets toughest.

Man’s Search for Meaning is a chronicle of twentieth-century evil, and how one man overcame it.

Viktor Frankl’s grisly ordeal in four Nazi death camps, and his capacity to survive their horrific conditions, is a mind-numbing account of our darkest period in history. This ninety-three-page narrative exposes an unparalleled genocide, and the power of the human spirit to transcend insurmountable odds.

This book helped me understand “the power of why” in my life: when we have a reason to keep going, nothing can stop us.

Despite the dreadful experiences in Nazi concentration camps, Viktor Frankl survived because he had found the importance of purpose and meaning in life, even in dire circumstances. We too can tap into resilience, find meaning in our lives, develop our capacity to endure suffering so we can be transformed and healed.

If we are seeking personal growth, wisdom, and a better understanding of ourselves and our place in the world, we should read Man's Search for…

Frankl was a Holocaust survivor. He was moved through several of the most notorious Nazi death camps. He emerged with a theory about the meaning of life that is profound and inspiring.

He believed that the real human drive is not for power or for sex, but for meaning. And that our search for meaning starts outside ourselves, with other people. In other words, we all ultimately want to help other people. This idea was key to me in my early grief, because life initially felt meaningless after the crash.

Without Ruby and Hart in the world, it felt like…

From Colin's list on helping cope with grief and loss.

Victor Frankl was a neurologist and psychologist who had been imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp, and lost his bride to the gas chambers.

Frankl argued that, even faced with dreadful situations, we can still choose how to act, think, and feel. He described a dying woman choosing to spend her final hours not fearing death but admiring a budding tree outside her sickroom window, which she saw as a sign of immortal life.

Frankl developed the idea of self-transcendence, emphasizing that the more you can devote yourself to another person or an important cause, the more you can transcend…

Nazi atrocities and the experience of surviving Auschwitz would not seem to be an uplifting book, but for me, with my history, it was.

It's a reminder that no matter how tough a hand life has dealt you, someone else has always had it worse. Not only did Frankl survive, but he took what he learned and gave the world a great gift: one of understanding suffering, understanding our main drive in living, and he developed a therapeutic technique, transforming adversity into meaning.

I read his book in college and it fast became the blueprint for my existence—not to avoid…

From Shelly's list on turning sobriety into a super power.

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