Insights from Viktor Frank’s book “Man’s search for Meaning”

I was quite fascinated to read this book when I found out that Viktor Frank’s book “Man’s search for Meaning” made it to a list of “the ten most influential books in the United States according to a survey conducted by the Book-of-the-Month Club and the Library of Congress. At the time of Frank’s death in 1997, it sold over 10 million copies and had been translated into 24 languages.

Viktor Emil Frankl (26 March 1905 – 2 September 1997) was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. The book is his memoirs from his experiences at the  Auschwitz concentration camp from 1944 to 1947.

The book is just 154 pages, but the way it decodes the demarcation line for the pain and suffering both physical and mental, humans can suffer in life is disturbing. The experiences shared by him from the camp about his own and other’s prisoners take us through a trauma and explores human’s potential to pain and agony. The entire coda of the book is that the meaning of life is found in every moment of living; life never ceases to have a meaning, even in suffering and death.

  • You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you feel and do about what happens to you.
  • We are never left with nothing as long as we retain the feeling to choose how we will respond.
  • Life is being at the dentist. You always think that the worst is still to come and yet it is over already.
  • The ultimate cause of my friend’s death was that the expected liberation did not come and he was severely disappointed.
  • The attempt to develop a sense of humor and see things in a humorous light is some kind of a trick learned while mastering the art of living.
  • He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.
  • 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.
  • What is called self-actualization is not an attainable aim at all, for the simple reason that the more one would strive for it, the more he would miss it?
  • Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answers to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.
  • The salvation of man is through love and in love.
  • What is to give light must endure burning.


The book ends with Frank’s two lines as below:

Since Auschwitz, we know what man is capable of.

And since Hiroshima, we know what is at stake.



9 thoughts on “Insights from Viktor Frank’s book “Man’s search for Meaning”

  1. Thank you! I just finished this book…you wrote a nice review! This a statement I live by! “You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you feel and do about what happens to you.” I am in addiction recovery so on a daily basis I must choose to seek the light!

    Liked by 1 person

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