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Book Rec: Man's Search for Meaning

Updated: Apr 9

I know I have recommended several other books on the Holocaust and WWII, but this one is another insightful read about Austrian psychologist Viktor E. Frankl, who survived the Nazi concentration camps. Man’s Search for Meaning is his 1946 memoir about his experiences and psychotherapeutic method.

multi colored criss crossed background with title and author

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. At the heart of his theory, known as logotherapy, is a conviction that the primary human drive is not pleasure but the pursuit of what we find meaningful.

The book intends to answer the question "How was everyday life in a concentration camp reflected in the mind of the average prisoner?"

Discussion Questions

  1. What are Frankl’s views on religion and how does it shape his experiences?

  2. According to Frankl, “An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal.” What is does he mean by this paradox? How can you relate in your own life?

  3. Frankl talks about the best of humanity did not return from the concentration camps. What does he mean by that? How does it reflect life during some of the hardest struggles?

  4. Logotherapy lays out three paths to help discover life’s meaning. What choices are you making to create your own path for meaning in life?

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