Mans Search For Meaning By Victor E. Frankl

This classic bestseller is broken into two parts. The first tells the chilling stories from Victor’s experience at concentration camps. The second half goes deep into his psychiatric studies following those tough times. The two parts are linked together and show how meaning, even in the most harshest and hopeless of times can be found. 

Rating: 4/5

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KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • To live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering. 
  • Don’t aim at success— the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you’re going to miss it. 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.

  • A man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering it is great or little. 
  • Logos is a Greek word which denotes “meaning.” Logotherapy focuses on the meaning of human existence as well as on man’s search for such a meaning. 
  • What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for a worthwhile goal, a freely chosen task. 
  • You must realize that the world is a joke. There is no justice, everything is random. Only when you realize this will you understand how silly it is to take yourself seriously. 
  • What matters is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a persons life at a given moment. 
  • “What is the best chess move in the world?” There simply is no such thing as the best or even a good move apart for my particular situation in a game in the particular personality of one’s opponent. The same holds for human existence. 
  • “The best.” in Latin is called optimum. 

Optimism in the face of tragedy allows for:

1. Turning suffering into a human achievement and accomplishment

2. Deriving from guilt the opportunity to change oneself for the better. 

3. Deriving from life’s transitoriness an incentive to take responsible actions. 

  • Optimism is not anything to be commanded or ordered, similar to laughter. If you want anyone to laugh you have to provide him with a reason. In no way is it possible to evoke real laughter by urging him. 
  • Live as if you were living for the second time and had acted as wrongly the first time as you are about to act now. 

  • Everything great is just as difficult to realize as it is rare to find. 

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