Over the course of our history, man has certainly experienced some dark days. If you’ve ever felt hopeless or lost at any time in your life, Man’s Search For Meaning, by Viktor Frankl, is a must-read. In fact, it might just be the best book about the meaning of life ever written.
What The Book Is About
Dr. Viktor Frankl talks about his experience living in one of the infamous Nazi concentration camps. He goes into graphic detail about his whole journey, starting with the train ride to the camp and ending with his freedom. He talks about the actions he had to take to survive, but more importantly, he talks about why he thinks he survived, while a lot of others failed to do so.
Dr. Viktor Frankl explains that he was indeed very fortunate to survive, and luck had a lot to do with that, but there were countless times when he could have given up and allowed himself to die but didn’t.
One key reason for why he believes he survived was hope. Throughout his stay in the Nazi concentration camp, he held on to the hope of seeing his wife once again. He observed that a lot of other people in the camp started losing their will to survive, and coincidentally, those who stopped hoping for something, gave up and passed away.
Mr. Frankl associates these circumstances with depression. According to him, there is usually a gap between one’s current state and his/her goals. If the gap becomes too large, people will often lose hope and spiral down into depression. The objective is to stay hopeful and have a strong reason to keep going on, so that if you ever find yourself very far away from your goals, you find the strength to continue.
The book can be summarized in one word: hope.
What The Book Teaches You
Man’s Search For Meaning is jam-packed with life-gems you can fold into your life philosophy. Here are a few notable lessons from the book:
1. He who has a ‘why’ to live can bear almost any ‘how’.
Many people struggle through life because they look for the ‘hows’. This leads them to burn themselves out or leads to them giving up prematurely. Frankl reiterates that the “why” is more important. If you can find your reason, the path will reveal itself to you.
2. Your hope and spirit are your last line of defense.
Even in the darkest of times, even when a person has nothing but the clothes on his back, even when you are stripped of a name and defined by a number, no one can take away your spirit.
3. When you are stripped of everything, you realize what really matters.
Frankl had all of his material possessions taken away from him. But these items, which we in modern times tend to care way too much about, are not important. What matters most to him is whether or not he will ever see his wife again.
4. It’s all about your attitude.
Some things, we just cannot change. There will be things that will happen which you cannot control. The only thing you can control is how you respond to the situation presented to you.
There are many more lessons that you can pick up from the book and I strongly suggest that you read it for yourself. You may find the reading a little disturbing because the imagery is real and graphic, but by persevering, you really will learn a lot about life, happiness, and meaning.
War And Life
Frankl has experienced some of the worst circumstances imaginable. Entombed within the concentration camps during the worst way in history would break and did break the spirit of the toughest men and women.
Reading Man’s Search For Meaning should be on everyone’s bucket list, as the book helps you understand what it really means to be human. The book also serves as your eyes during the war and it takes you on a trip to one of the darkest times in history.
If you’re ever feeling down or overwhelmed by the crazy and bleak state or our world, especially now in 2020, Frankl’s book will comfort and inspire you. It is, after all, the best book about the meaning of life that you’re likely to ever find.
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As a huge fan of Viktor Frankl, I’ve got the paperback and the audio book and recommend them both. It all depends on what type of learner you are.