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Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  2,901 ratings  ·  241 reviews
Viktor Frankl is known to millions of readers as a psychotherapist who has transcended his field in his search for answers to the ultimate questions of life, death, and suffering. Man's Search for Ultimate Meaning explores the sometime unconscious human desire for inspiration or revelation, and illustrates how life can offer profound meaning at every turn.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published August 11th 2000 by Basic Books (first published 1974)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
*****************Many readers have confused "Man's Search for Meaning" with "Man's Search for ULTIMATE Meaning" and put their review under the the wrong title. Be aware that these are TWO DIFFERENT BOOKS. They are NOT two different editions of the same book.**************

I'm not sure I was ever convinced that Freud's interpretation of the mind was correct, which renders at least 50% of this book pointless since much of it is dedicated to disproving his ideas.

The arguments in favor of Frankl's o
Brandon Istenes
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
A lot of this book is religious drivel. Frankl’s main intent, I think, is to sell his come-to-Jesus mode of therapy. In the course of this, he does advance a few profound and interesting theses.

For those who don’t find their street-corner proselytizer particularly compelling, I’d recommend reading chapters 1 & 2 (bear with his utterly disingenuous introduction of the spiritual as merely that which is unique to man, which he later labels the noölogical), page 43 (for artists), the first two pages
Greg Talbot
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Thinking I had picked up the storied, heralded "Man's Search for Meaning", I was mesmerized by Frankl's easy way with discussing abstract psychological concepts, and applying them to concrete situations. But the shine did not wear off once I learned it was another "meaning" book by the logo-therapy trailblazer.

Frankl here concerns himself with that murky line between psychological analysis and religious exploration that both intertwine with self-development. His religious discussion is decidedly
Feroz Khan Hamid
Nov 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bro-library, bought
This was a very good book ! I learned that we can find meaning to every single situation and reason, that there might be something other than a whole, wide meaning to life.. And, that we can find meaning in suffering/through it ! Journey on the search for meaning just got a lot more wider and is accompanied by even more clarity
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, life
This book came highly recommended to me. The author is a psychiatrist and neurologist who is also a Holocaust survivor. The book talks about logotherapy, spirituality and the search for meaning in life. Unfortunately it wasn't a book for me or at least not for me at this moment. I found the first third quite confusing and sometimes bewildering (the chapter on dream interpretation...), and while I did find interesting insights in the latter part I found it overall quite difficult to approach.

Dec 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
While vacationing in Brooklyn, a girl whose lent me her couch to sleep on called me a hippie for reading this book. I panicked and tried to convince her, and myself, that I was NOT a dirty hippie. I don't smoke pot, or listen to jam bands, or even love everybody. At the same time, this book really is intensively self-reflective. Frankl's Logotherapy is a great response to life in my opinion, and his philosophy has a lot of value that you can take with you after you're done reading. This book is ...more
Feb 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A profound book. Something I would not recommend to someone who is beginning to explore the field of psychology. One ought to know the basic foundations of Psychology and Philosophy to interpret it completely. But what a book!

I'll share the teaching that touched me the most. Freud would have us believe that we are nothing more than a collection of instincts and drives that are hidden in the unconscious. Victor Frankl claims that there is a spiritual unconscious as well, and like wise there are s
Meredith M
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
A difficult read in parts, yes. Nowhere near as accessible as Man's Search for Meaning, correct. Worth two books in my Goodreads challenge according to my spouse, fine by me. While Man's Search for Meaning had a clarity and uplifting belief in the common humanity of all, this dense collection of psychotherapeutic theory buries the roadmap but for a few striking nuggets.
Short. Heavy. Thought-provoking.
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you are a graduate student or even an undergraduate student of psychiatry, this book will be very likely a page turner for you. I'm not so it was slow going at first unlike the first book, Man's Search for Meaning. The terms and language used are at a higher academic level even for someone with a Masters degree in engineering! But eventually it turned more practical and used examples to make the author's points more understandable. And there were certainly some memorable nuggets that I found: ...more
Alexandrina Satnoianu
“The world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.” - Viktor E. Frankl

Weird, I know, but this quote is not about the coronavirus pandemic, it is about the Holocaust - one of the biggest tragedies of the humankind.

Since visiting Auschwitz in 2016, I try to read every year a Holocaust-related book. Thanks to the book club, I read ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor Frankl.

By 1939 he was head of the department of neurology at Rothschild Hospital
Whole And
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An extraordinarily difficult yet profound book.

Victor Frankl takes us by the hand and walks us through some of the most devastating inhumane conditions imaginable. Be warned, this is not an easy read by any means. The scenes and stories told will reach your core and make you wonder why humans beings were ever created if they could do such terrible things to one another as described in the concentration camps.

However, you will walk through Dr. Frankl's way of thinking as well. The inner world wi
David Roberts
Jul 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book I read to research this post was Man's Search For Ultimate Meaning by Viktor Frankl which is a very good book which I bought from kindle. This book is the follow up to Man's Search For Meaning also by Viktor Frankl and the best book I have ever read. In that book it was about his experiences in a concentration camp during World War 2 and how he found meaning to his existence whilst there which led to him developing logotherapy and becoming a celebrated psychiatrist and psycho therapist. ...more
Bj Conner
May 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this so long ago, forgive my broad summary. He takes the three part composition of the Soul from Freud, who was IMHO taking Plato's system and translating it from Greek into Latin: Logos, Eros, Ethos: Ego, Id, Super-Ego; and turns that two dimensional analysis into a three dimensional one. Indeed, we can even add past, present, and future to make the complexity of the Soul more visual. Building a system to explain our Inner World, Frankl scratches the itch of explaining ourselves to ourse ...more
Kent Winward
Nov 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Frankl's logotherapy is invigorating when compared with other forms of psychotherapy. Frankl is working in the old Freudian/Jungian world views, but psychology's shift to things like CBT or ACT surrender meaning to utilitarian approaches. Ironically, it shows up in business books like Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, but it is as if therapy shys away from meaning. It is such an important part of what it is that makes us human, that it is a crime our mental healt ...more
Jul 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Great for 5-10 minutes YouTube videos, not great for a book. Lots of outdated and incorrect information, with only a few sentences or ideas as highlights.
Dennis Berard
When in the concentration camp after they have killed everyone you know, taken everything from you, and I mean everything, Victor Frankl still has a choice, he still has something. Nearly all of us would've had nothing. Similar to the hope expressed in the shawshank redemption but so much more desperate. Mr. Frankl takes us with him on this journey. How could anyone human behave that way? But throughout all the pain and suffering the one thing they could not take from Victor was his soul. Victor ...more
May 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Doreen by: Scott or Matt...I forget
Amazing, intuitive, human observations make this book one that everyone should read. It took me a while to finish this book. I didn't want to rush through and miss the nuances that provide such a thorough presentation of man's need to have meaning in his life. I now understand that every single person has a meaningful life and it's just a matter of recognizing it. Under the most stressful, dangerous, life-threatening circumstances imaginable in life, I can see that life always holds meaning.

Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I consider it Destiny's timing that I got my hands on this book at a time when the world seems to be spiralling out of control more than ever. Two powerful set of thoughts are what I am taking away with me after the last page has been read. The first thought - " 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."
the second
Erik Stronks
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
This book, while full of engaging philosophical ideas, feels rather outdated. The empirical science, the psychiatric viewpoints and the ethical concepts feel distinctly mid-twentieth-century. Unsurprisingly, that is when most of the book was written.
The last few chapters, added later as ideas and concepts evolved and science progressed, are a much better read.

If you're non-religious, and especially if you've read any of the works of recent 'new atheists', it shouldn't be hard to punch a lot of h
James Johnson
Oct 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book was a disappointing follow-up to the author's book, Man's Search for Meaning. Frankl dispenses a few useful nuggets of wisdom but puts too much stock in religion and god; effectively diminishing his own philosophy. His attempt to define spirit and god in a broad sense make those concepts completely useless and arbitrary. The author's ignorance of atheism and agnosticism is frustrating, to say the least. After reading this book, I feel embarrassed on Frankl's behalf.
Motahareh Nabavi
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Frankl is a very strong writer and the topics discussed in the book were of personal interest to me. I spent the past couple days reading and reflecting on this book and discussing it with friends. It's quite a dense book and the author assumes prior knowledge in the field of psychology, and although I wasn't able to comprehend everything, I still got quite a lot out of it that will continue shaping my understanding of the mind and the spiritual self.
Melissa Bird
Oct 29, 2016 rated it liked it
This read a lot like a psychology textbook. Maybe that is basically what it is used for, but I just was expecting more of a story. There were still great little nuggets in the book and it was thought-provoking, I just wasn't quite expecting all the academic vocabulary and research.
May 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
some very wise insight into human needs, and what can give us peace, comes from his tragic experiences as a prisoner in the nazi concentration camps during the holocaust.
Maria Carmo
This book is a must read... Viktor Frankl shares his experience in the camps, but then teaches us how to transform suffering into MEANING.

Maria Carmo

4th. October 2012.
Patrick Kelly
Sep 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-read-books
Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning
By Viktor Frankl

- [ ] Split into four parts

- [ ] He breaks down psychoanalysis a bit - there is something wrong with the brain and the therapist has the tools to unlock what is wrong
- [ ] Religion is an act of faith and finding/placing meaning
- [ ] He criticizes the dogma of the religious leaders that spend their time proving that their followers have to believe in them and no one else - it is more about power than about faith.
- [ ] You cannot force people t
Tom Quinn
I must confess to harboring a lot of skepticism towards Frankl's ideas here. If I may crudely paraphrase his thesis as outlined in the preface: in times of distress many people experience spiritual feelings which therefore suggests the existence of god. And because the feelings of awe and zeal that we experience when communing with Something beyond ourselves are expressed as mental stimulation, the study of spirituality becomes the domain of psychiatry and not solely theology. Hmm.

Well, Frankl,
Maxwell Foley
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was listening to podcasts the other day, and on two separate podcasts the host recommended the book "Man's Search for Meaning" by Viktor Frankl. Taking that as a sign that it must be a pretty damn good book, I went to my local library and picked up a copy. It was only after I saw the byline "by the author of Man's Search for Meaning" that I realized I had picked up an entirely different book with an extremely similar title.

I decided to read it anyway because it was short. The book seems mostl
Mark Valentine
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Second reading: The first time I read this was about 15 years ago. Lately, I recommended it so enthusiastically to a friend that he read it and reported back to me that it was incredible and raved about it so much that I thought I needed to read it again--the book that I recommended--because he made it sound so good.

Yes, it is about giving back to life, life I have received and not be living life for the experience only. Freud had his Pleasure Principle and Adler his Power Relationship but for F
Sebastian Pereyro
Apr 19, 2020 rated it did not like it
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Viktor Emil Frankl M.D., Ph.D., was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor. Frankl was the founder of logotherapy, which is a form of Existential Analysis, the "Third Viennese School" of psychotherapy.

His book Man's Search for Meaning (first published under a different title in 1959: From Death-Camp to Existentialism. Originally published in 1946 as Ein Psycholog

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“Man is originally characterized by his "search for meaning" rather than his "search for himself." The more he forgets himself—giving himself to a cause or another person—the more human he is. And the more he is immersed and absorbed in something or someone other than himself the more he really becomes himself.” 126 likes
“A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth-that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which a man can aspire.

Then I grasped the meaning of the greatest secret that human poetry and human thought and belief have to impart: The salvation of human is through love and in love.

I understood how a man who has nothing left in this world still may know bliss, be it only for the brief moment, in the contemplation of his beloved. In a position of utter desolation, when a man cannot express himself in positive action, when his only achievement may consist in enduring his sufferings in the right way-an honorable way-in such a position man can, through loving contemplation of the image he carries of his beloved, achieve fulfillment.

For the first time in my life I was able to understand the meaning of the words,"The angels are lost in perpetual contemplation of an infinite glory.”
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