Dr. Viktor Frankl’s most widely read work is Man’s Search For Meaning, a keenly observed account of his experiences in the Nazi death camps during Word War II.
Originally intended for limited private circulation, the slim book has since been translated into 24 languages.
Frankl’s concentration camp experiences profoundly influenced his life’s work after the war, leading to his development of logotherapy, a new clinical approach to helping patients rediscover meaning in their lives.
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival.
Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished.
He wrote the book in 1945 in nine successive days and “with the firm determination that the book should be published anonymously.”
Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argued that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose.
Frankl’s theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos (“meaning”)-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.
At the time of Frankl’s death in 1997, Man’s Search for Meaning had sold more than 10 million copies in twenty-four languages.
In this rare clip from 1972, Frankl delivers a powerful message about the human search for meaning.
A 1991 reader survey for the Library of Congress that asked readers to name a “book that made a difference in your life” found Man’s Search for Meaning among the ten most influential books in America.
Beacon Press, the original English-language publisher of Man’s Search for Meaning, recently published an elegant new edition with endpapers, supplementary photographs, and several of Frankl’s previously unpublished letters, speeches, and essays.
In 2016, CBC The Sunday Edition aired a one hour special which included Chris Martin, Mohamed Fahmy, Anna Redsand and more! Seven decades after it was first published, it continues to inspire readers like my university age son. He had to talk about it with me. He showed me that he had written the following quote on post-it notes and put it up in his room. What sentence affected him? This one:
“He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.”
Watch our conversation on Global TV The Morning Show national edition here.