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A Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl

My Rating of “A Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor Frankl: 7 / 10

A Man’s Search for Meaning is a book I have read twice. The first time I didn’t necessarily have my mind in the right place, however, I did for the second read. This is a book that is recommended by many people (think Tim Ferris, Tony Robbins amongst others) yet it has taken me years to get around to reading and reviewing it!

The book is broken down into two parts. The first is Frankl’s experience during World War II. He was a holocaust prisoner and survivor of four concentration camps (including Auschwitz). His provides a unique perspective as an inmate coupled with his psychiatric background. There is a little bit of controversy on his opinion about being positive through situations. That said, although I’ve not been in prison, I believe in optimism and it has typically worked for me with my hard times. One cannot argue with Frankl’s journey given what happened to him and his family.

The second part of the book is on logotherapy. There is much written about it on the Internet therefore I’ll defer to those source. Suffice to say it is centred on the motivation of individuals to find meaning in their lives.

It’s no surprise that this book has been translated into 24 languages and has sold over 10 million copies; that was at Victor Frankl’s death in 1997. The book has been extremely influential (e.g. the top ten influential books in the US based off surveys from the Book of the Month Club and Library of Congress). It will also continue to leave a legacy with future generations.

Three key takeaways from the book:

  1. To live is to suffer. To survive is to find meaning in the suffering.
  2. Love Frankl’s quote on living: “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
  3. There is a constant theme in the first part of the book on how the human body can deal with (and get used to) anything. Quite apt given what we are going through with covid-19.

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