Man's Search for Meaning

Man's Search for Meaning

An Introduction to Logotherapy

Book - 1992
Average Rating:
Rate this:
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-known as 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 English-language 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.
Publisher: Boston : Beacon Press, c1992.
Edition: 4th ed.
ISBN: 9780807014271
Branch Call Number: 150.195 FRA
Characteristics: 154 p.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Mar 16, 2018

The most vivid and horrifying portrayal of Hell I have ever read. Most frightening of this depiction is that Hell is a real place - and it had the names Auschwitz, Dachau, and Mauthausen - and the author lived there for several years, which he describes in the first half of this book. Somehow, the author, Viktor Frankl, found the will and resolve to make his time in Hell mean *something*, and then explains how this could even be possible in the second half of the book.

This book moved me. Perhaps not because of the clinical psychological approach Frankl details for attributing meaning to life, but because it exposes the reader to the types of absolute horror which humans are capable of inflicting on each other.

Not for the faint of heart, but a very important must-read nonetheless.

Mar 15, 2018

Two of Frankl's tenets (1) that each of person is unique and irreplaceable (2) there is purpose
for each person's life bring hope , optimism and clarity regardless of spiritual background.
A hard but worthwhile read.

Feb 22, 2018

I think this book was a tad overhyped for me. I really liked the accounts of world war 2, but the logotherapy chapter was a bit loose and could have been delivered better. In all I enjoyed it, and there were some great life lessons, but I left wanting more.

Feb 18, 2018

A wonderful account of resilience, the human spirit an Frankl's observations. This book is a must read.

Dec 20, 2017

Great book.

One of the best ones out there in general.

Really happy I picked this up.

Nov 30, 2017

I decided to listen to the CD version of this book, thinking that perhaps it might help my perspective. I have been looking at the problems unfolding in here America (and around the globe) with such pessimism -- evidence of looming environmental, catastrophes, growing income disparities, injustices that just seem to be increasing, more impediments to free speech, along with information fatigue in citizens, while a massive transfer of more and more of, "the commons" to private control is accelerating like never before...
I thought that, Man's Search For Meaning, might help me to appreciate that not only have there been darker times/places, but that, even under the most horrific of conditions, the human spirit has an incredible ability to continue on. That was why I got this book. It is an extraordinary book, so powerful that at times I had to stop the CD simply to think about and process what was being said.
Although at times the narrative was darker than I imagined it would be, the narrative combined with the author's analysis -- as a psychiatrist -- was both illuminating and reassuring: The human being is capable of adapting to and surviving through some pretty extraordinarily dispiriting, dehumanizing and degrading experiences. In that, I found a bit of hopefulness -- along with the reminder that even though we may ourselves be headed for some enormous challenges as a nation, at least for right now and for many of us, things really are SO MUCH better then what many others have had to endure.
It is worth noting -- that many scholars believe an important part of what led up to the Holocaust -- was the declining social and economic conditions in Germany following WWI -- a scary thought now as we watch the neoliberal movement remove public safety nets, and shift wealth increasingly away from the masses and towards the most privileged, while Facebook and other technologies remove privacy and make big brother monitoring of us easier and easier -- but I diverge.
The take away is that while we often can't control the events that happen to us, we do have a choice about how we react to those events.

LPL_PolliK Sep 26, 2017

A classic work of philosophy. Frankl survived four camps during the Holocaust and he turned his experience into his life's work, logotherapy, while asserting that the key to survival is a sense that one’s life has meaning. Frankl theorizes three key concepts frame our sense of meaning in the world: work, love, and suffering. A poignant read that transcends the horrors of the camps and illuminates our world and search for meaning, even today.

Jul 26, 2017

I highly recommend this book to anyone. It enabled me to put things into perspective and remind myself what I am living for, what really matters. The first section Frankl describes his experience in the concentration camps, followed by an introduction to logotherapy (Frankl's branch of psychoanalysis), followed by an afterword of the author's life. I usually like to read up on the author prior to reading their books, however it worked out just fine in this case.

Jul 19, 2017

The view of a psychologists who survived Auschwitz and other concentration camps. Moving observations into human behaviour but sometimes too generalized. A worthwhile reading.

Jul 04, 2017

Yes, it has its content and phrasing that is (politically?) inappropriate in today's western culture, and perhaps especially in Canada's where we display some uniquely progressive politics.

But it is genuine. Frankel wrote this quickly, and soon after being released from hell (hell because it was caused intentionally by fellow humans, not only because of how he was treated).

Let him ruminate with his 1930's-academic mind. Let him struggle to make sense of it with his personal world view. He describes something we cannot imagine, but should try to.

Because it can happen and does happen all over the world and could happen here. Just look at your neighbours and yourself (and me) for bigotry and group-think.

I salute his concise reply to his fellow inmates on the reason to continue to hold on, that we are each part of a family that we are important to and to which our actions have a positive or negative impact. It is a truth that remains true not just as you want to die in a nazi death camp but true afterwards as you become free to make something of your life and choose how to live.

For balance, I recommend Sheldon Solomon and others' "The Worm at the Core: The Role of Death in Life".

View All Comments


Add a Summary

Apr 01, 2008

Personal narrative of time in Nazi concentration camp, including insights about how he was able to cope psychologically with the ordeal.


Add a Quote

Jul 20, 2014

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." Viktor Frankl

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at ORL

To Top