“Man’s search for meaning is the primary motivation in his life,” Viktor Frankl attests.
Man’s Search for Meaning has sold over 10 million copies, been translated into two-dozen languages, and was voted one of America’s 10 most influential books by the Library of Congress. It is, first of all, Frankl’s memoir of life in Nazi death camps, then an exposition of his trademark theory, known as logotherapy: this has it that “the primary human drive is…the pursuit of what we find meaningful,” according to its publisher, a notion that “continues to inspire all to find significance in the very act of living.”
A Jewish psychiatrist and neurologist, Frankl lost his wife, parents, and brother in the concentration camps, and was himself under constant threat of going to the gas chambers. “This is, if ever there was one, a story that could excuse someone believing that life is meaningless, and suicide a reasonable option,” British writer Tom Butler-Bowdon ventures. “Yet Frankl emerged an optimist.”
“As faith in traditional religions and other myths continue to erode,” Australian Lachlan Dale writes in his review, “books like Frankl’s are vital in helping establish new ways of living and forging meaning in the world.”
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Beacon Press, 2006 (first published in German in 1946)