We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life-daily and hourly. Our answer must consist not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.
When Man’s Search for Meaning was first published in 1959, it was hailed by Carl Rogers as “one of the outstanding contributions to psychological thought in the last fifty years.” Now, more than forty years and 4 million copies later, this tribute to hope in the face of unimaginable loss has emerged as a true classic. Man’s Search for Meaning–at once a memoir, a self-help book, and a psychology manual-is the story of psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s struggle for survival during his three years in Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps. Yet rather than “a tale concerned with the great horrors,” Frankl focuses in on the “hard fight for existence” waged by “the great army of unknown and unrecorded.”
Viktor Frankl’s training as a psychiatrist allowed him a remarkable perspective on the psychology of survival. In these inspired pages, he asserts that the “the will to meaning” is the basic motivation for human life. This simple and yet profound statement became the basis of his psychological theory, logotherapy, and forever changed the way we understand our humanity in the face of suffering. As Nietzsche put it, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Frankl’s seminal work offers us all an avenue to greater meaning and purpose in our own lives-a way to transcend suffering and find significance in the act of living.
About Man’s Search for Meaning
A book for finding purpose and strength in times of great despair, the international best-seller is still just as relevant today as when it was first published.
“This is a book I reread a lot . . . it gives me hope . . . it gives me a sense of strength.” —Anderson Cooper, Anderson Cooper 360/CNN
This seminal book, which has been called “one of the outstanding contributions to psychological thought” by Carl Rogers and “one of the great books of our time” by Harold Kushner, has been translated into more than fifty languages and sold over sixteen million copies. “An enduring work of survival literature,” according to the New York Times, Viktor Frankl’s riveting account of his time in the Nazi concentration camps, and his insightful exploration of the human will to find meaning in spite of the worst adversity, has offered solace and guidance to generations of readers since it was first published in 1946. At the heart of Frankl’s theory of logotherapy (from the Greek word for “meaning”) is a conviction that the primary human drive is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but rather the discovery and pursuit of what the individual finds meaningful. Today, as new generations face new challenges and an ever more complex and uncertain world, Frankl’s classic work continues to inspire us all to find significance in the very act of living, in spite of all obstacles.
A must-read companion to this classic work, a new, never-before-published work by Frankl entitled Yes to Life: In Spite of Everything, is now available in English.
About Man’s Search for Meaning
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl’s theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos (“meaning”)-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.
At the time of Frankl’s death in 1997, Man’s Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages. A 1991 reader survey for the Library of Congress that asked readers to name a “book that made a difference in your life” found Man’s Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America.
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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
“Dr. Frankl’s words have a profoundly honest ring, for they rest on experiences too deep for deception… A gem of a dramatic narrative, focused upon the deepest of human problems.” —Gordon W. Allport, from the Preface
“An enduring work of survival literature.” —The New York Times
“[Man’s Search for Meaning] might well be prescribed for everyone who would understand our time.” —Journal of Individual Psychology
“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 great books of our time.” —Harold S. Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People
“One of the outstanding contributions to psychological thought in the last fifty years.” —Carl R. Rogers (1959)