“Man’s Search for Meaning” has been sitting on my bookshelf collecting dust since a mentor recommended it to me two years ago. I was hesitant to read another Holocaust story but have discovered that I have spent two years without the appreciation for attitude and perspective that this book has now given me and I am excited to move forward while applying these new, very valuable lessons in my life.
“Man’s Search for Meaning” uncovers perspectives on suffering, purpose, and tragedy written through the lens of hope and meaning which Victor E. Frankl saw and felt for life. Frankl shares his torturous experience in death camps, but has the understanding to acknowledge “the ‘size’ of human suffering is absolutely relative” (44) and that in order “to bear witness to the uniquely human potential at its best, [one must…] transform a personal tragedy into a triumph” (112).
He identifies that “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” (66). Frankl’s mindset through the most difficult times, that he had the power to decide how he responded to situations, find meaning in it, and move forward, is exemplified through his personal story as well as through his detailed analysis of logotherapy, a therapy focused on the search for one’s personal meaning in life.
Frankl asks you to “ Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!” (109). Applicable in both a personal and professional space, “Man’s Search For Meaning” is a reminder to make conscious choices that align with one’s core values.
This is one worth reading, and one worth keeping. My copy is filled now filled with notes in the margins and already has a list of coworkers interested in borrowing it.