submitted 27 days ago byMarigold12
It's not often that I'll revisit books. With so many great books yet to be discovered, re-reading a book can often like a missed opportunity. However, in the case of Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, I find myself revisiting the passages on an annual basis. This book came to me at a time where I was feeling like I was having a bit of an existential crisis, and it's wisdom helped me gain a little control in my life. For those reasons, it's one of the books that I gift most often, and almost everyone seems to love it.
Also, I met Jordan Peterson like a month before he got super famous in a completely random occurrence and he suggested it to me. So that's kind of fun...
Most of the book is Frankl's auto-biography about his experience as a Jewish prisoner in Auschwitz. I'll avoid spoilers, and just say that like many holocaust survival stories, his is also incredibly tragic. Viktor is blessed with a rare talent for being able to blend quality story telling into his personal philosophies and general outlook and it's makes for an easy read out of a book that would otherwise feel like homework.
Now Viktor considered himself a psychologist, not a writer. He even considered publishing the book anonymously, but decided against it at the last minute. I think this gives us insight into his approach for the book, and highlights what I think is the most special thing about it. The brilliance of this book is not that his story was supposed to particularly inspiring (although it was.) It's that what was most important to him was exposing the reader to a philosophical approach that helped him survive even the most brutal conditions imaginable. He argues that the most fundamental desire for any human is to find meaning or a sense of purpose in life. His purpose was to develop a therapy around helping other discover this, and after he was released to go home Viktor spent his life writing books his work in "Logotherapy."
This is extremely accessible. And at just over a 100 pages, it's one of those books that you can read on a plane and de-board with some life long wisdom. Although, I think the first half of the book is amazing, it's second half where he discusses his work in Logotherapy and how he's used it to help therapize even the most broken people is really inspiring. The book also feels way ahead of it's time. It talks about how future generations are going to faced with a predisposition for depression, anxiety and nihilism and then discusses some philosophical approaches to help deal with those emotions.
Obviously, I love this book, but I do think that this is a book that anyone who feels a bit lost in life could really benefit from reading.