Man’s Search for Meaning has been listed by many as one of the most influential books written on meaning and purpose in life. Throughout the book, Viktor Frankl, a neurologist, and psychiatrist who survived the Holocaust, describes his experience in Nazi concentration camps and the psychological tools he used to cope with the extreme conditions. Even though Frankl’s experiences in the concentration camps were incredibly difficult due to the physical and psychological toll that the conditions took on him and his fellow prisoners, Frankl also describes how he was able to maintain his sense of hope and dignity, which he attributes to his belief that there is meaning and purpose to be found in even the most difficult of circumstances.

The message of Man’s Search For Meaning is that the meaning of life can be found through suffering and that the primary human drive is not pleasure, but the search for meaning and purpose. Therefore, Frankl developed a psychological theory called logotherapy, which is based on the idea that the primary human drive is not pleasure, as Freud believed, but the search for meaning and purpose. According to logotherapy, meaning can be found in three different ways: by creating a work or doing a deed, by experiencing something or encountering someone, and by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.

Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering in life, but we can choose how to respond to it. By finding meaning in our suffering, we can transcend it and find a deeper sense of fulfillment and purpose. He also emphasizes the importance of personal responsibility and the need to take action in the face of adversity.

The book has been widely read and has been considered a classic in the field of psychology. It offers a unique perspective on the human experience and provides valuable insights into the nature of suffering and the search for meaning.


My book review for Man’s search for meaning is coming up

“Man’s search for meaning”

Asked Questions

  • I won’t consider Man’s Search For Meaning a sad book. Even though the story is based on Frankl’s experience in Auschwitz, the writing is focused on providing the reader with wise observations about human behavior amid critical times. The universal theory he developed called logotherapy, is intended to help people overcome general anxiety.

  • First of all, the central theme of Man’s Search for Meaning is about this possibility of finding meaning in life, despite the circumstances.

  • Sadly, Victor Frankl died 2 september 1997, Wenen, Oostenrijk. He died after a catastrophic heart attack.

  • Yes, logotherapy remains a relevant and valuable psychotherapeutic approach in today’s society.

  • Viktor Frankl was born on March 26, 1905, and he was sent to Nazi concentration camps during World War II. He was arrested in 1942 and spent time in several camps, including Auschwitz. He was in the concentration camps for about three years. Therefore, during his time in the concentration camps, Viktor Frankl was in his late 30s and early 40s.

  • Logotherapy is a psychotherapeutic approach developed by Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor. In a nutshell, logotherapy is based on the premise that the primary motivational force in human beings is the search for meaning in life. Frankl believed that people are driven by a desire to find purpose and meaning, and that this quest for meaning is a fundamental aspect of human existence.

    Key principles of logotherapy include:

    1. Search for Meaning: Logotherapy emphasizes the importance of finding meaning in all circumstances, even in the face of suffering. Frankl argued that individuals can find purpose in their lives through their experiences, relationships, and contributions to society.
    2. Freedom of Will: Frankl emphasized the concept of “freedom of will,” suggesting that individuals have the freedom to choose their attitudes and responses to life’s challenges, regardless of external circumstances.
    3. Responsibility: Logotherapy encourages individuals to take responsibility for their lives and the choices they make. It promotes the idea that even in difficult situations, individuals can choose how they respond and find meaning.
    4. Holistic Approach: Logotherapy considers the whole person—body, mind, and spirit. It addresses the spiritual dimension of human existence and seeks to connect individuals with a sense of purpose beyond themselves.
    5. Existential Vacuum: Frankl introduced the concept of an “existential vacuum,” suggesting that a lack of meaning and purpose in life can lead to a sense of emptiness and dissatisfaction.

    Overall, logotherapy seeks to help individuals discover and pursue their unique meaning and purpose in life, thereby fostering psychological well-being. It is particularly relevant in situations where individuals may be confronting existential questions or struggling with a sense of meaninglessness.

  • Viktor E. Frankl (1905–1997) was an Austrian psychiatrist, neurologist, and Holocaust survivor, best known for his contributions to existential psychology and his groundbreaking work, Man’s Search for Meaning. He was born in Vienna and became a prominent figure in the field of psychology due to his unique perspective on human suffering, resilience, and the search for purpose in life.

    Frankl’s most significant contribution to literature and psychology is his development of logotherapy, a form of psychotherapy that emphasizes finding meaning and purpose in life as a way to overcome personal struggles and mental health challenges. The core premise of logotherapy is that the primary human drive is not pleasure (as suggested by Freud) or power (as suggested by Adler), but the search for meaning.

    Man’s Search for Meaning is his most famous work, published in 1946. In this book, Frankl shares his personal experiences as a Holocaust survivor, having endured the horrors of Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz. He reflects on the psychological and emotional challenges faced by himself and others in the camps and explores how the will to find meaning, even in the midst of unimaginable suffering, played a crucial role in survival.

  • Man’s Search For Meaning has been translated into more than 50 languages and sold over 16 million copies worldwide. It has not only been widely read and discussed but has also garnered numerous awards and accolades over the years. Some of the notable awards and recognition include:

    • The Library of Congress Book Award: In 1991, Viktor Frankl was awarded the Library of Congress’s Living Legend Award for his significant contributions to literature.
    • Rollo May Award: In 1991, Viktor Frankl received the Rollo May Award from the American Humanist Association for his outstanding contributions to existential psychology and humanistic philosophy.
    • Gold Medallion Book Award: In 1985, the book received the Gold Medallion Book Award in the Inspirational category from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association.
    • National Jewish Book Award: In 1985, the book was awarded the National Jewish Book Award in the Jewish Thought category.
    • United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Award: The book is also recognized by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as one of the “Most Significant Books of the Century.”

Praise in the media for Man’s search for meaning

“One of the ten most influential books in America.” — Library of Congress/Book-of-the-Month Club “Survey of Lifetime Readers”


“Viktor Frankl’s timeless formula for survival. One of the classic psychiatric texts of our time, Man’s Search for Meaning is a meditation on the irreducible gift of one’s own counsel in the face of great suffering, as well as a reminder of the responsibility each of us owes in valuing the community of our humanity. There are few wiser, kinder, or more comforting challenges than Frankl’s.” — Patricia J. Williams, author of Seeing a Color-Blind Future: The Paradox of Race


“An inspiring document of an amazing man who was able to garner some good from an experience so abysmally bad… Highly recommended.” — Library Journal


“One of the outstanding contributions to psychological thought in the last fifty years.” — Carl R. Rogers (1959)

List of awards

Man’s Search For Meaning by Viktor Frankl is now on my list of favorite books. Find some of the awards it has won.

Man’s Search For Meaning Reviews:

Five stars!

I was able to read this book and it touched me to the core and I came out of it as a changed person. Very few books have ever had that effect on me, and it is relevant on so many levels. It will encourage people to be true to themselves and not keep dark secrets under wraps they suffered as children, often causing pain they carry for a lifetime and in many cases destroy lives – I salut the twins, Marcus and Alex Lewis for their bravery to come forward and share their lives journeys with us. Beautiful job by Hodgkin who tells the story with so much integrity. Even though shocking, this story is inspiring, and empowering and will bring about change. Bravo!


Intriguing coming-of-age story

This is an intriguing coming-of-age story, that reads like a psychological thriller. I have to say that I loved the book more than the documentary, but the story is either way very upsetting yet beautiful. I admire their courage of putting a story that’s so deeply personal out there.


Leave your review for Man’s Search For Meaning:

No reviews yet. Leave a review.

Want to read books related to Man’s search for meaning?

You might also like these book recommendations…