Man's Search for Meaning: Book Review & Summary

Explore the profound insights of 'Man's Search for Meaning' by Viktor E. Frankl. Discover a captivating book review, summary, and in-depth analysis.
Welcome to an insightful journey through the world of 'Man's Search for Meaning - Book Review, Summary, & Analysis,' written by Muhiuddin Alam on the book recommendations and reviews site,
Over the years as a leading authority on literary expertise, I've created numerous book reviews, many of which can be found on this site. I'm also a regular contributor to other websites and publications.

I have received many requests to review the book 'Man's Search for Meaning' which was written by Viktor E. Frankl'. In response, I'm pleased to offer my expert Reviews, Summary, and Analysis in this article.

So, when I suggest this book, it's because I've read a lot and want to share the best ones with you. I'm all about making your reading experience awesome. Trust in a guide deeply immersed in the literary books and stories. I love books just like you do!

Content Introduction

We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life daily and hourly. 

Our answer must consist not of talk and meditation but of right action and right conduct. 

Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and fulfill the tasks that it constantly sets for each individual.

Man's Search for Meaning --at once a memoir, a self-help book, and a psychology manual is the story of psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's struggle for survival during his three years in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. 

Yet rather than "a tale concerned with the great horrors," Frankl focuses on the "hard fight for existence" waged by "the great army of unknown and unrecorded."

Viktor Frankl's training as a psychiatrist allowed him a remarkable perspective on the psychology of survival. In these inspired pages, he asserts that "the will to meaning" is the basic motivation for human life. 

This simple yet profound statement became the basis of his psychological theory, logotherapy, and forever changed the way we understand our humanity in the face of suffering. 

As Nietzsche put it, "He who has a why to live for can bear almost anyhow." Frankl's seminal work offers us all an avenue to greater meaning and purpose in our own lives way to transcend suffering and find significance in the act of living.

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, 

Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl's theory of logotherapy, from the Greek word logos ("meaning")-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.

At the time of Frankl's death in 1997, Man's Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages. A 1991 reader survey for the Library of Congress that asked readers to name a "book that made a difference in your life " found Man's Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America.

Beacon Press, the original publisher of Man's Search for Meaning, is issuing this new paperback edition with a new Foreword, biographical Afterword, jacket, price, and classroom materials to reach new generations of readers.

Book: Man's Search for Meaning

  • Originally published: 1946
  • Author: Viktor Frankl
  • Genres: Biography, Autobiography, Personal Narrative
  • Pages: 200
  • Language: German
  • Original title: Ein Psychologe erlebt das Konzentrationslager

About the Author: Viktor E. Frankl 

Victor E. Frankl (Frank.VE, 1905-1997), MD, professor of neurology and psychiatry at the Medical University of Vienna, and a chief specialist at the Vienna Medical School for Neurological Integrative Medicine for 25 years "And "existential analysis", it is called the third Vienna school of psychotherapy after Freud's psychoanalysis and Adler's individual psychology. 

He holds professorships at Harvard, Stanford, Dallas, and Pittsburgh, and teaches Significance at San Diego International University in California. Frankel has published 39 works that have been translated into 34 languages. 

His work "Live the Meaning of Life" is one of the "Top Ten Most Influential Books in America".

Book Summary

I once thought obsessively about "What is the meaning of life?" If I had known about this book back then, people around me wouldn’t have been annoyed by me. Chattering about the "meaning of life" is almost a symptom of mental illness. Who in the right mind has nothing to think about?

It turns out that as early as 1946, Viktor E. Frankl had clearly answered my question. He has a clear and tested view of the meaning of life, and he is convinced of it; after reading "Man's Search for Meaning", I couldn't help but be convinced.

No long explanation is as good as a good story. After reading this book, I can also say that any obscure and difficult theory is inferior to a good story, including medical theory.

"Man's Search for Meaning" was first published in 1946. Frankl is a German Jew, psychiatrist, and scholar. In 1942, he was imprisoned in Auschwitz by the Nazis and later imprisoned in other concentration camps. 

Fortunately, he survived and served three years of hard labor, during which his wife and parents were killed. After regaining his freedom, he distilled his experiences in prison into this small book. 

The original German version was originally called "Say Yes to Life Anyway - A Psychiatrist's Experience in a Concentration Camp", and the English version is titled " "Man's Search for Meaning", there is a very good translation in Chinese, a triptych, which is translated into "Living for Meaning".

The first edition of the book was reprinted, and Frankl added two additions, mainly adding a summary of medical theory. By the time of Frankl's death in 1995, 10 million copies had been sold and translated into at least 24 languages. 

The book uses the experience of concentration camps as the main body, with medical theory as an auxiliary explanation. The title also became "Man's Search for Meaning: 

An Introduction to Logotherapy". Logotherapy is logotherapy or existential therapy. It is a psychotherapy method founded by Frankl and is known as the third school of Vienna psychotherapy. 

The first school is Freud’s psychoanalysis, and the second school is Albert’s rational-emotional behavior approach. Frankl founded this school and it was this book that laid the foundation. Powerful, right?

Where is the strength? The reason is that it is a touching story. There are countless records about the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. 

This book is unique among many documents because it is both the author's personal painful experience and a scientist's calm observation summary. The author said from the beginning that he did not want to write a true record of the concentration camp. 

He only wanted to answer one question: "What is the psychological process of an ordinary prisoner living in a concentration camp every day?" The objects of his observation are unknown people, including himself. Ordinary prisoners and their reactions to their environment.

What fascinates me most is the author's sincere yet detached perspective. He was based on his own heart and tried his best to be honest and not deceived; at the same time, he used the professional and calm attitude of a doctor to transcend the harsh environment at that time and did not feel sorry for himself, complain, or talk. 

This kind of writing style/attitude not only makes people feel his tough heart and excellent and pure mind but also makes people fully understand his inhuman situation. He does not need to talk, and his emotions are already abundant. 

Such a state has actually reached a considerable height in literature; such a person can only be described with diamonds, or Chairman Mao's beautiful words: a noble person, a pure person, a moral person, A person who is free from vulgar taste and a person who is beneficial to the people. Everything fits!

There is a passage in the book where the author walks to the railway construction site in the ice and snow, with an empty stomach, wearing leaky shoes, and feet covered with frostbite. He was beaten and scolded by the prison warden. 

His mind was full of resentment: Will there be a few more beans in tonight's "dinner"? Will he be transferred to another strange and cruel plumber later? How long can the "shoes" under his feet last? . .

He suddenly realized that these thoughts were so trivial and humble and of no benefit to his own living condition. So he changed his mind and began to analyze his situation from a professional perspective and study his mental state from a professional distance. 

In fact, not many people can achieve such a transformation. I believe that this kind of dissociation is a habit he developed in the concentration camp, and the foundation of this book was laid in this way.

Sometimes, he is free from the current environment and talks to his beloved wife in his heart, filling his chest with love. At that time, it makes no difference whether his wife is still alive or not. Being able to use imagination to detach from reality is a unique ability of human beings, which helps people survive in extremely harsh environments.

Really touched. Therefore, the theory he said was accepted unconsciously. Story + no pretense + plain language = theory of psychotherapy.

His theory is this: Man's search for meaning is the original force in his life. This meaning is unique and unique, and only people can and must practice it; only when it is practiced can it satisfy people's will to seek meaning. 

The task of "logotherapy" is to help people find the meaning of their lives. The meaning of life is different for everyone, and the meaning of life at each stage is also different. It must be found by the person himself. 

Once found, he can hope to get rid of the neurological symptoms caused by the emptiness of life. The meaning of life is a real thing. For example, a mother lives for her children.

There are three ways to find the meaning of life: 1. Creation and work; 2. Realizing value (such as love); 3. Suffering. Frankl firmly believes that everyone can find their own meaning in life, either through creation and work, or experiencing something or loving someone, but in extreme cases, when all joy is deprived of themselves, suffering itself is unavoidable That's the meaning of life. He learned the third way from his experience in the concentration camp.

Under extremely harsh conditions, when a person is deprived of only his body and mind, he still has the freedom to choose how to face the environment, whether to actively and difficultly use every condition to survive or to give up the desire to live. , bow to fate. The choice of attitude is the only complete dignity and meaning. And people can choose to say "yes" to life.

Frankl is therefore a pessimistic optimist. He knows that life is actually meaningless, but he is willing to inspire all mankind to find meaning for themselves. The mission of his school of psychiatry is to use various methods to help patients find their own meaning in life. Compared with psychoanalysis, which regards people as passive products of the objective environment, Frankl puts people's subjective will in a more important position.

I can't disagree with Frankl. From my half-life life experience, I also believe that the attitude you use to deal with the environment you are in, whether it is good times or bad times, actually determines the trajectory of a person's life. 

The so-called "character determines destiny." Of course, there are times when you feel depressed, disappointed, and pessimistic. There is no need to feel ashamed. You should learn to pull yourself out of negative emotions and truly believe that "tomorrow will be better." Tomorrow will really be fine.

Different ages have different pursuits in life. It is good to pursue ideals when you are young; it is also normal to pursue your wife and children when you are older. Frankl said that different stages of life have different meanings of spiritual sustenance, which is true.

In the past few weeks, I haven't been able to watch many movies, and I haven't been in the mood to read. Fortunately, I came across this good book.

Book Review & Analysis

I saw a passage on the Internet a long time ago: "We come to this world with our own cries and leave this world with the cries of others", I remember the first time I saw it, it was still a shock. 

Most of us have thought about "death" and "why to live" during adolescence, and that was our first inquiry about the meaning of life, the first real meaning of our spiritual world. growth on.

One day I was hanging out on Facebook, and in three or four different groups, I saw someone posting and asking: "What is the meaning of life?", or simply saying "I don't know why I live, so I don't want to live anymore"— - At the age of thirteen, I also once did not want to live because of similar problems.

What is the meaning of life?

Some people say that the moment we fall from our mother's body, we are doomed to die. Whether you are a dignitary, a celebrity, an emperor, or a beggar on the street, you are bound to die one day. the endpoint. Immortality does not exist. 

All the wealth you have earned through hard work and hard work today will be turned into nothingness at the moment when your body is wiped out. No one can stop the development of this natural law, including Qin Shihuang and Chairman Mao included.

It's very frustrating to say that, no matter how much we struggle and struggle, it can't change that the end of life is destined to be an empty end, whether you are a multi-millionaire or a slum alcoholic, in the end when you lie in the morgue, are nothing, and the same cold, the same naked, no difference.

That being the case, why should I live seriously? Why work so hard? Why should I bear all the pain that life has brought me? Anyway, in the end, they all have to die, and they all have to face nothing.

Yes, in fact, the original intention of my writing these words is to explore this question, that is:
  • we know that we will eventually die, so why should we live so seriously?
  • We know that in the end, we must have nothing, come and go naked, why work so hard?
  • We know that the pain of life will become nothing in the end, why should we endure so much additional pain and hardship in silence?
First of all, I don't agree with Freud's "birth instinct" theory. I always feel that most of his theoretical theories are actually "first discovering the incomprehensible phenomenon, and then inventing a theory in order not to be confused by the phenomenon. to explain".

I think that the reason why people know everything is empty and still live strong is because of the ideological nature of the human species.

Humans are the only thinking species in the world. After tens of thousands of years of evolution, human beings habitually find patterns in all kinds of noisy things and make use of them. 

This characteristic enables human beings to have the ability to adjust themselves. At the same time, human beings are also willing to delay. Enjoy, and the interval between this extension can be very long. This is what makes humans different from other species.

Furthermore, and more importantly, I think each of us has a mission to come into this world and a task we need to complete.

Just as an ancient prince was born, whether he liked it or not, he shouldered the mission of ruling the country and the people, so ordinary people like us, whether we like it or not, will also shoulder our own mission in life.

If you were born with a disability, your mission in life is to live a positive and optimistic life, to touch and inspire healthy people with your indomitable spirit to face the challenges of life, so that they can be more motivated by your spirit Face their own life and let them feel the beauty of life because of your actions! Your life task is to spend your whole life facing and solving the various inconveniences that life brings to you, to sharpen the strong will of human beings from the body, and to experience the pride of walking with a rough destiny!

If you suddenly suffered a tragic accident and changed from a healthy person to a disabled person in an instant, this can also be understood as one of your many life problems, that is, life hopes that through this encounter, you will rethink your way of life and some inconveniences. 

For the belief system that you are aware of, your mission in life is to use unremitting efforts and strong will to get yourself back on your feet until one day, you successfully stand up and use the positive experience in the process of reinventing yourself. 

The spirit of reaching others, motivating them to face setbacks, inspiring them to meet challenges, to achieving the sublimation of the meaning of your life.

And we ordinary people encounter the most confusion about love. The person you love so dearly will never come back to you one day. He will either become someone else's partner or leave our world, so you feel that without him, your life seems to have no meaning. 

But his departure may be a life issue you have to face. Life hopes that this way will allow you to re-understand yourself, re-look at your original life, and allow you to reflect on yourself, and improve yourself. 

Or life is to use this way to let you experience the strong emotions and experience the beauty and abundance of life due to this incomplete love. This is a life lesson that you must go through in the course of your life. Facing it with a smile, surpassing it, and accepting it is far more meaningful than escaping and sticking to it.

Yes, most of the time we are ordinary people, we are healthy, we have both parents, we have college degrees, we have good jobs, and our lives are smooth, but we can't see what the meaning of our life is, let alone find it. mission in life. 

Just like a story, I heard before, a white-collar worker from a foreign company with a career and family that everyone envied went to a psychiatrist because she really didn’t know why she was alive, so she was so painful that she wanted to end her life.

In fact, the meaning of life is to find your mission in life and to see those unexpected setbacks that we cannot control as life issues that we must face.

A film director's life mission is to express his outlook on life through images and have a positive impact on society, or simply tell stories to people to relax them;

a housewife's life mission is to take care of the family wholeheartedly, Create the warmth of the family, feel the happiness of peace, support the husband to make him happy, raise the children to make him healthy physically and mentally, and finally become a useful person to society.

A realist's life mission is to create wealth and achieve a great cause that can affect the world, while an idealist's life mission is to improve himself and explore the possibilities of life.

Everyone, according to their own circumstances, can find their own purpose in life. In my opinion, if you want to make your life full of value, hope, and freshness, and to achieve the sublimation of the meaning of life, the most important point is to become a person who is beneficial to others - of course, the premise is first to Be able to meet the needs of yourself and your family.

Yes, helping others as much as you can during your lifetime will make your heart softer, you will like yourself more, and you will fully feel the energy of love - this is a valid source of the meaning of life - the meaning of life is On the premise of caring for yourself, help others feel the beauty of life!

Another important meaning of life also comes from memory.

I think one of the happiest things is that one day when you are old, you look back at your life and find that you have sincerely paid for many people, you have created so many beautiful stories through your hands, and I have created so many excellent castles with my heart, that kind of relief and satisfaction is the meaning of life.

And the most terrifying thing is that when you are old and remember, you find that although you have lived for eighty years, you have only lived one day, and then repeat this day for eighty years, that's all, at that time, life It really doesn't make sense.

We are indeed destined to die from birth, but on the line from birth to death, we can make him different through our own choices. I can paint him the color I like and dress him in The clothes I like, one day, this line of mine will become colorful, and before I finally leave this world, I will tell future generations its colorful secrets, so that they can inherit my wisdom and let them because of me Wisdom and fewer detours, to create more for this world. Just as Darwin's wisdom has benefited us to this day.

There is just one fact that we must be clear about, that is, it is very likely that we have spent our entire lives and have not been able to contribute wisdom to future generations. Yes, we are too ordinary, too small, but it doesn't matter, I just need to work hard to give, work hard to create, and let the final result be managed by the universe, no matter what the final result is, we will accept it calmly.

Yes, the birth and death of everything have their natural laws. Compared with the entire universe, we humans are very small. When we were young, our teachers and parents taught us to say, "Fate is in your hands", but when I grew up, I realized that fate is only partially in my hands, and I can decide whether to leave the city where I have lived for more than ten years and start anew. I have been here, but I can't decide whether the war is happening around me. I can decide whether to marry a man or a woman, but I can't decide who my parents are.

Life, before striving to create, first requires our wholehearted acceptance.

Accept the way your parents raised you, that is the best way of parenting in his era Spend a happy or painful childhood, accept yourself as you are, whether you are tall, short, fat, or thin, whether you are beautiful, ugly, black and white, this is your appearance, the original appearance, he actually exists, whether you admit it or not, He is like this.

So is life. Accepting yourself is like accepting the natural comings and goings of life, accepting yourself is like accepting that we will die one day.

Finally, let me talk about my life mission.

Chatting with a friend on messenger one night, she said that I am like the sun, full of passion for life at all times, every time she sees me and chats with me, she can feel the beauty of life.

At that time, I was very moved by what she said, not by her words, but by my existence.

Isn't it? If my mission in life is to give people hope, to give people the warmth and splendor of the sun, then I will do it, and I will accept the fact that I cannot be perfect, and I tell myself: I can do it Do as much as you want.

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