Man's Search for Meaning Summary 2023 - Deepstash

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Man's Search for Meaning Summary

About Man's Search for Meaning Book

A prominent Viennese psychiatrist before the war, Viktor Frankl was uniquely able to observe the way that he and other inmates coped with the experience of being in Auschwitz. He noticed that it was the men who comforted others and who gave away their last piece of bread who survived the longest - and who offered proof that everything can be taken away from us except the ability to choose our attitude in any given set of circumstances.

The sort of person the prisoner became was the result of an inner decision and not of camp influences alone. Only those who allowed their inner hold on their moral and spiritual selves to subside eventually fell victim to the camp's degenerating influence - while those who made a victory of those experiences turned them into an inner triumph.

Frankl came to believe that man's deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose. This outstanding work offers us all a way to transcend suffering and find significance in the art of living.

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Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

“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.”



Frankl’s Traumatic Life

Frankl was a professor and psychiatrist from Vienna. He and his family were persecuted as Jews in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Frankl himself was lucky as he was one of few to survive but his family wasn't.

In the camps Frankl himself was kept alive by a combination of factors, like - sheer luck, hoping to see his family again, and his decision to let fate take its course. He understood that making an active decision to change his fate could potentially lead to death coming sooner.


Logotherapy to Spread Freedom

Logotherapy guides one to find their purpose and meaning in their lives. This meaning differs by individual and can change from hour to hour.

Meaning can be found in even the smallest of details. So, don’t spend all your waking hours searching for an all-encompassing meaning of life. Instead, search for meaning in everyday tasks and in the relationships you have with your friends and family.

It does not matter what life throws at you. What truly matters is how you choose to handle these situations. 

Everyone must find unique meaning in their lives and then go out and fulfill it.


To live is to suffer; to survive is to find meaning in suffering. If there is a purpose in life, there must be a purpose in suffering and dying. But no man can tell another what this purpose is. Each must find out for himself and accept his answer's responsibility.


"When we can no longer change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. That is why man is even ready to suffer, on the condition that his suffering has meaning."



He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how

He who has a why to live can bear with almost any how

To live is to suffer; to survive is to find meaning in suffering. If there is a purpose in life, there must be a purpose in suffering and dying. But no man can tell another what this purpose is. Each must find out for himself and accept his answer's responsibility.

All the familiar goals in life are snatched away. What alone remains is "the last of human freedoms".

If hundreds of thousands of people reach out for a book whose very title promises to deal with the question of a meaning to life, it must be a question that burns under their fingernails.

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Experiences in a Concentration Camp

Experiences in a Concentration Camp

How was everyday life in a concentration camp reflected in the mind of the average prisoner?

Most of the events described here did not occur in the large and famous camps but in the small ones where most extermination occurred.

For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one's dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself.


This book shows that even if in extreme situations there is always hope and something to fight for.

About the Book

When i started reading this book i had no idea that i was going to encounter something so stunning. Although the book is not very long (like 100 pages) its content contain very deep meanings and makes you think about life, time, mercy, hope, freedom and evilness on every single page.


About the Author

Viktor Emil Frankl was an Austrian neurologistpsychiatristphilosopher, writer, and Holocaust survivor. He was the founder of logotherapy, a school of psychotherapy that describes a search for a life's meaning as the central human motivational force. 


In 1942, just nine months after his marriage, Frankl and his family were sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. His father died there of starvation and pneumonia. In 1944, Frankl and the surviving members of his family were transported to Auschwitz, where his mother and brother were murdered in the gas chambers. His wife died later of typhus in Bergen-Belsen. Frankl spent three years in four concentration camps.


This describes what in essence makes human life worth living.

At the heart of the book

Man can survive any how as long as his why is strong enough


You never lose the ability to choose

No matter the situation, we have the ability to choose how we react, we always have the choice to choose our attitude. As long as you hold onto this, no matter what happens, we would have lived well.


You decide to act

It is not the circumstances but an inner decision that leads to man’s behavior. We may blame our circumstances but the truth is our inner constitution was not strong enough. You can always control what you do in your limited capacity.


We all are buffeted by this question time after time, What is the meaning of this life?

What Is The Meaning Of Life?

What Is The Meaning Of Life?

Have you ever wondered what is the meaning of life? It’s hard to define the meaning of life in a general way that everyone can relate to. But I found a book that almost nailed it. Man's Search for Meaning by E viktor frankl.


3 Ways To Discover The Meaning Of Life

3 Ways To Discover The Meaning Of Life

So according to him, you can discover the meaning of life in three different ways.

No.1)By finding a work that not only excites you but also adds to the community.

When you turn your passion into a profession and inspire others to do the same, you find immense meaning in life.

No.2)By falling in love or experiencing things like goodness, truth and beauty. I know it sounds cliche but it is what it is.

No.3)In the attitude you take towards unavoidable suffering. How do you deal with the darkest of times because life is full of suffering?


Responsibility Gives Meaning

Responsibility Gives Meaning

Here’s another way to look at this. Maybe it is not you who is asking the question, maybe it is life that is asking you "What sort of meaning are you going to give this life."

And You will not find the answer in some abstract philosophy because the meaning of life is not something vague but very real and concrete just like your life’s task. So If you wake up every day and respond to life by being responsible to your daily tasks and duties. Then You find profound meaning in Life. People have found immense meaning in responsibility.



The meaning of life is to give life meaning



Man's Search for Meaning

Man's Search for Meaning

Have you ever wondered about the meaning of your life? Viktor Frankl, in this book believes that humans have a natural desire to find meaning in life, which he calls the "will to meaning" and that they are motivated by this force.

This book willchallenge your beliefs and inspire you to seek meaning in your own life, even in the face of adversity.



When we are unable to change a situation,

we are challenged to change ourselves



Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl is a profound exploration of human resilience and the search for purpose in the face of suffering. Here are some key insights from the book

Finding Meaning in Suffering

Frankl, a Holocaust survivor, argues that even in the most extreme circumstances, individuals can find meaning and purpose in their lives. He emphasizes the importance of finding meaning in suffering as a way to endure and transcend difficult experiences.


The Will to Meaning

Frankl introduces the concept of the "will to meaning," suggesting that humans are driven by a fundamental need to find purpose and significance in their lives. He posits that this search for meaning is a primary motivating factor for human behavior.


Freedom of Choice

 Despite external circumstances, Frankl argues that individuals always retain the freedom to choose their attitudes and responses to life's challenges. He believes that this freedom of choice is a fundamental aspect of human dignity and resilience.


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.



Those who have a 'why' to live, can bear with almost any 'how'.



Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.



Most Striking Quote

Most Striking Quote

“Don’t aim at success—the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue…as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a course greater than oneself.”

When you go beyond your own personal aspirations, become less self-centered and more others-oriented, the act of living a life of service towards others and elevating the quality of others' lives through your kindness will create a byproduct of happiness. At the end of the day, true success is found in the relationships we nurture.


"We dislike talking about our experiences. No explanations are needed for those who have been inside, and the others will understand neither how we felt then now how we feel now."



Page 56

At times, lightning decisions had to be made, decisions which spelled life or death.


Page 66

"There's only one thing I dread: not to be worthy of my sufferings."


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