The man’s search for Meaning – One of the Most Influential Books of all time

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The man’s search for Meaning is a 1946 book that is currently considered to be a top ten in the list of the most influential books in the United States.

This is according to a survey that was conducted by the Library of congress as well as the Book of the Month club. By the time the author died in 1997, the book had sold more than 10 million copies! Furthermore, at the time of his death, the book had been translated into 24 different languages.

The book concludes that the meaning of life can and will easily be found in every moment of our lives.

Life according to the book will never cease to have meaning. Will, is true even in cases where the person is suffering or one had died.

The book lay focus on the lives of the inmates who have dreams before they are jailed and think that lives lose their meaning when they imprisoned.

In group therapy sessions identified in the book, the author shows that the inmates will try to protect another inmate who is anonymous to the authorities from fatal retribution. It is for this reason that the author argues out that in every dire condition that a person faces, there is always that person who looks down, be it a family member, a friend or God, who would expect not to be disappointed.

The three psychological reactions

Frankl in the book usually identifies three psychological reactions that the inmates will experience at different degree will they are doing their term.

  • The first reaction is the shock that they experience during the initial admission phase to the camp.
  • The second reaction that the author identifies in the book is the apathy that the inmate receives after becoming accustomed to the existence of the camp. Apathy happens when the inmates starts to value the things that help him and his friends to survive as they serve their term.
  • The third reaction is that of depersonalization. In this case, if the inmate survives, then he is likely to suffer from bitterness, moral deformity as well as disillusionment (Frankl, 1992).

A number of lessons are lessons that are learnt from the book regarding the salvation that man can get as he is trying to get meaning for their lives. 

The salvation of a man can easily be achieved from love and being in love.

This is true since the author has been separated from his wife and had to endure a lot. Since he had suffered a lot being alone, he learnt that you can get used to anything that you face in life.

Those who have a “Why” to live, can bear with almost any “How”

In his book, Frankl tells of the terrifying journey that he had to take to the camps. According to him, he and his fellows were stripped and provided with a complete shave. All their personal possessions were confiscated include his life’s work that he had done relating to logo therapy were burned.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way”

While in the camps, the author provides that one should learn to resist negative influences that are provided by the environment.

There are three ‘whys’ that stand out from Frankl’s writing:

  • Love 
  • Work 
  • Dignity in suffering

Young Viktor Frankl. ieet.org

Lessons learned 

There many things you can learn by reading this book that can’t be described from a book review. Here, we will try to add the main idea of this magnificent piece of art, by summarising the most profound lessons learned that caused us to fall in love with “The man’s search for Meaning”.

  • “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”
  • “The salvation of man is through love and in love.”
  • You can get used to anything
  • You can resist your environment’s influence
  • There is meaning in suffering
  • Without hope, meaning, a future, death will come soon
  • Logotherapy is a practical solution to your problems


If you are seeking a book that could really affect our way of living and thinking this is definetely your choise. If you could only read one book for the rest of the year, this book should be it. 

Read also “About Thе Sun Alѕо Rises (Ernеѕt Hеmingwау)”


Sources: benjaminmcevoy

Feature Image:PRO Hartwig HKD

Giannis Sore

Giannis Sore

Giannis is an IT enginner from Athens.
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