Book Review: Man's Search for Meaning - by Viktor Frankl


Very famous book by Dr. Frankl, often cited as a major influence on their lives by people. The first part describes his life as a prisoner in Auschwitz, the second part his thought on how to live and the meaning of life.

My notes

He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.

Life is not primarily a quest for pleasure or a quest for power, but a quest for meaning.

The greatest task for any person is to find meaning in his or her life.

Three possible sources for meaning:

  • in work (doing something significant)
  • in love (caring for another person)
  • in courage during difficult times

You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you.

What you have experienced, no power on earth can take from you.

No one has the right to do wrong, not even if wrong has been done to them. One is commanded and ordered to “be happy.” But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to “be happy.” If you want anyone to laugh you have to provide him with a reason, e.g., you have to tell him a joke. In no way is it possible to evoke real laughter by urging him, or having him urge himself, to laugh.