Book ReviewPhilosophy

Man’s Search for Meaning

A powerful and insightful book by Victor E. Frankl that recounts his experiences as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves

Shoukat Lohar

“Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor E. Frankl is a powerful and insightful book that recounts the author’s experiences as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps during World War II, and the insights he gained from those experiences.

The first part of the book is a harrowing account of Frankl’s time in the concentration camps, including Auschwitz, and the unimaginable suffering and horrors he witnessed and endured. He describes the daily struggle for survival, the brutal conditions, and the constant threat of death.

However, what sets this book apart from other memoirs of the Holocaust is Frankl’s exploration of the psychological and spiritual dimensions of his experiences. He argues that even in the most extreme circumstances, human beings retain the capacity for choice and meaning, and that it is this capacity that enables us to endure even the most unbearable suffering.

Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it

Frankl describes his discovery of what he calls “logotherapy,” a form of psychotherapy that emphasizes the search for meaning and purpose in life. He argues that this search is fundamental to human existence and that it is the key to our mental and emotional well-being.

Throughout the book, Frankl reflects on the lessons he learned from his experiences in the concentration camps, and how they shaped his approach to life and his work as a psychiatrist. He emphasizes the importance of personal responsibility and the need to find meaning in life, even in the face of adversity.

Overall, “Man’s Search for Meaning” is a deeply inspiring book that offers profound insights into the human condition. It is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit, and a reminder of the importance of hope and purpose in our lives, no matter what challenges we may face.

Some excerpts from Viktor E. Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning:

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

“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.”

“Man’s main concern is not to gain pleasure or to avoid pain but rather to see a meaning in his life.”

“Live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now.”

“The truth that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire.”

“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, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself.”

“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather he 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.”

I hope these excerpts give you a glimpse of the profound insights Viktor E. Frankl shares in his book.


About the Author

Shoukat Lohar-Sindh CourierShoukat Lohar is Assistant professor in English at Mehran University of Engineering and Technology Jamshoro Sindh. He can be accessed at





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