“He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.” This quote from Nietzsche summarizes Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. A good friend of mine recommended this book to me in one of my lowest points of my life, and I’m very glad that he did. Frankl was a psychotherapist in Austria when he and his family were sent to a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Frankl survived being a prisoner in Auschwitz and this book records the cruel treatment he endured with an added psychological perspective.
Frankl is the founder of “logotherapy” a psychotherapeutic method grounded in the “logos” or meaning. Frankl believes that people require meaningful existence and without it goes the will to live. He uses his personal experiences as a Holocaust prisoner to explain the importance meaning brings to man’s survival. The latter half of the book gets into some introductory explanations of logotherapy but was not intended to be a complete defense for the method.
Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning is a fantastic read. Unlike other books in this genera it is neither an overload of convoluted esoteric terminology nor a book of lofty self help material. The reader will find herself identifying at some level with Frankl and come away with more insight into the importance of having meaning in life.