Book Review: Man’s Search for Meaning

by Viktor Frankl🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Recommend to those who wish to strive for something more

First of all, there is a danger inherent in the teaching of man’s “nothingbutness”, the theory that man is nothing but the result of biological, psychological and sociological conditions, or the product of heredity and environment. Such a view of man makes a neurotic believe… that he is the pawn and victim of outer influences or inner circumstances.

Viktor Frankl Man’s Search for Meaning

Let’s talk about the meaning of life! Ha! Easier said than done, right? Yet Frankl does it well and in a way that is applicable.

I don’t even know where to start with this book. It is part memoir, part synopsis of his theory of psychotherapy called “logotherapy.” I’ve read many books on people’s time in Nazi camps, but this memoir sets itself apart. Frankl looks at his experiences through a doctor’s eye, a scientific eye. He believes that not only can we find meaning in life, we can find meaning even in the worst of suffering.

The rift dividing good from evil, which goes through all human beings, reaches into the lowest depths and becomes apparent even on the bottom of the abyss which is laid open by the concentration camp.

Viktor Frankl Man’s Search for Meaning

The book isn’t very long. The forewords and afterwords probably double the book’s size. (But don’t skip! There’s good stuff there, too!!) I almost want to go back and read it again because there’s just so much practical stuff there about living that I don’t think my brain processed it all. It was almost like reading someone who had looked into a crystal ball at the excesses of our time and said: “That’s not the way. This is the way.”

I found it a great comfort that his logotherapy could be summed up by saying man’s true drive in life is not pleasure but meaning. If you can find the meaning of your life– or even A meaning, A purpose– you can face even the harshest of misery… as Frankl did in the death camps.

© 2021 Katie Baker


12 thoughts on “Book Review: Man’s Search for Meaning

    1. Me too, honestly. 😊 This book did touch a lot on the small p purposes though, and having a better attitude in the face of adversity and suffering. Definitely a thoughtful read.

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      1. I agree, and started reading Frankl- in the light of Christ. In Hebrews 5:8, I think “suffered” is synonymous with “experienced.” That is, all of life’s experiences are from God. That’s my take.

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      2. I like Frankl’s start in Part One:
        “This book does not claim to be an account of facts and events but of personal experiences..”
        Not unlike the Bible, do you think? Because I believe God inspired the writers, not the writings. I may be wrong.

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      3. Personally, I believe God inspired both, but like you say, I could be wrong!

        It is interesting that Frankl points that out. I think he makes the distinction because he didn’t see the camps as his main focus but rather the avenue of example for the point he was making about life and human experience. And quite possibly, he makes the distinction because he realizes not everyone took away the same things from the experience that he did.

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