Man’s Search for Meaning Summary, Review, Quotes, And Action-Plan

HistoryLifePersonal DevelopmentPhilosophyPsychologyPurpose

Man’s Search for Meaning Summary by Viktor E. Frankl teaches you why it is vital to have a meaning or purpose in life and shares prisoners’ experience of the Holocaust of the concentration camp.

Man’s Search for Meaning
  • Great product!
  • Frankl, Viktor E. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 184 Pages – 06/01/2006 (Publication Date) – Beacon Press (Publisher)

Last update on 2024-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon

Who Should Read “Man’s Search For Meaning Summary”?

  • A 21-year-old trying to figure out his purpose.
  • A middle-aged person who is in a mess and unable to sort out his priorities.
  • Anyone who is curious about his purpose in life.

Man’s Search For Meaning Summary (PDF)

In this article, I will give you an in-depth summary of Man’s Search for Meaning and also share five big ideas I liked in this book.

So without further ado, let’s start quickly.

5 Key Lessons From Man’s Search For Meaning

1) You always have a choice of action under any circumstances.

Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response.~Viktor Frankl

You may surrender or take a stand and choose your attitude to face the circumstances

A man’s attitude can never be taken away from him.

2) Difficult situations allow a man to grow spiritually beyond himself.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.~Viktor Frankl

A man must not see the problematic situation as bad luck.

Instead, one should find the doors of opportunity that the problem opens. 

Not only does this creates room for spiritual development, but it also intensifies one’s inner life.

3) There is no “general meaning” of life.

Every person has a different meaning of life. It varies from individual to individual.

It would be best if you do not search for its general definition.

4) Don’t fight the ideas which haunt you.

If you have any phobia due to some bad childhood experience, then never bother trying to prevent it from happening.

Because if you do so, it will reinforce anxiety. 

Fear may come true that which one is afraid of.~Viktor Frankl

Try to ridicule your phobias.

Using this ironic approach, you will succeed in completely overcoming your fear.

5) Being indifferent to circumstances, sometimes, helps us survive.

Sometimes, not having a care in the world helps us sail through the storms.

It helps us to focus on the most critical tasks. For example: If you stop thinking about what you can’t do for a moment, you will be able to perform the task at hand and be in the present moment. 

Diving Deeper Into Man’s Search For Meaning Summary

This book is divided into 2 parts:

  1. “Experiences in a concentration camp.”
  2. “Logotherapy in a nutshell”

Let’s look at the key ideas from both of these parts…

Part#1: Experiences in a Concentration Camp

Let’s face it:

Reading “experiences” can be a headache.

That’s why I have made it super simple for you.

Almost every inmate had the worst possible experience:

  • Prisoners in the camps were tormented and tortured to death. Their circumstances weren’t any better than pigs.
  • Prisoners were beaten and sent to gas chambers if found unfit for labor.
  • They starved for many days and spent nights without sleeping.
  • Capos in the camp took all their possessions.
  • They existed with their naked bodies, and clothes weren’t any better than rags on a skeleton.

The inmates of the camp went through 3 phases during their camp life:

Phase #1: Shock

The situation of the captives of the camps was so hopeless that they entertained the thought of suicide every day.

Touching the barbed wire fence was pretty popular among the prisoners.

After some time, they stopped fearing death. Even the gas chambers didn’t scare them anymore.

Prisoners in this phase stopped caring about their life anymore. Daily and hourly beatings became routine. They became insensitive to all the harsh blows.

Phase #2: Apathy

Apathy acted as a self-defense mechanism.

Almost all of their emotions were centered on preserving one’s own life and that of other fellows.

Phase #3: Liberation

Well, liberation came to them like a dream. The prisoners dreamt about it every day during their camp life, but it felt unreal and unnatural when it happened.

All that trauma damaged their moral and spiritual health.

The kind people who faced brutality became oppressors and justified their behavior. They lost mental control and forgot their kindness.

They could not digest the fact that they were out of that living hell.

Part #2: Logotherapy in a Nutshell

  • What does “Logotherapy” mean?

It is a psychological therapy given by Victor E Frankl.

Logotherapy = Logos + Therapy

Logos means ‘MEANING.’ 

Therapy is the treatment of any condition or illness.

“Human nature is guided by the pursuit of meaning in life.”

Lack of meaning in life is the primary source of mental problems like stress, anxiety, etc.

In short, Logotherapy will help you to reach meaning in life.

If you pay a little attention, you’ll find that people who don’t have any purpose in life keep wondering, “Why do I even exist?”

I believe the goal of a Logotherapist should guide a purposeless person.

And help him discover some purpose.

It’s also true that life itself doesn’t have any general meaning.

But a person can give meaning to it. And thus provide himself a direction.

  • How does Logotherapy help in becoming fearless?   

It is the characteristic of fear that it precisely produces what a person is afraid of.

Paradoxical Intention: Instead of avoiding fear, one must try to make it happen.

For example:

If you fear that you will stutter upon the stage, then force yourself to stutter. If you fear lousy handwriting, try hard to write ugly.

Using Paradoxical Intention, you can fight phobias.

Why this often works?

It works because when you see that your scary thoughts don’t hold much power, you realize that your thoughts don’t reflect reality.

When you force yourself to do the impossible, you also train your mind to push its limits.

You realize that you are the one holding yourself back.

Notice the word ‘paradoxical’ here.

Paradox means contradiction.

When you are going against your thought, you are contradicting yourself.

You are seeing another side of the coin.

And those paradoxical efforts bring you closer to reality.

When you see the reality, there is the only truth.

And if your fear isn’t real, it’s going to vanish or lose its effect.

  • How does Logotherapy help in becoming more productive in life?

When you have a meaning or purpose in your life, you know your priorities well, which helps in becoming more productive in life.

  • How does Logotherapy help in fighting existential vacuum?

Existential Vacuum!


Allow me to explain.

Have you ever felt the emptiness inside your heart when you feel bored during leisure hours?

That very feeling of the total meaninglessness of life is the Existential Vacuum.

Thus Logotherapy which solely focuses on finding meaning in life helps fill this vacuum.

Man’s Search For Meaning Review

Man’s Search for Meaning
  • Great product!
  • Frankl, Viktor E. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 184 Pages – 06/01/2006 (Publication Date) – Beacon Press (Publisher)

Last update on 2024-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon

This is a compact book that throws light on the fundamentals of life.

Viktor’s insights help the reader relate to the hopeless condition of the prisoners.

How the author paints the picture of the horror of the camps is remarkable.

It gives the reader the motivation to find meaning in life.

Action-Plan To Find Your Purpose In Life

action plan

The fundamental idea behind this book is to find meaning in life. Therefore your objective should be to find the purpose in life.

Here is how you can do it:

  • List the things you enjoy doing. It can be anything like reading, playing, etc.
  • Now narrow down your list by selecting only those things which humankind needs right now.
  • Finally, ask yourself honestly if it will add any value to you and the others?

That’s it. You have your ultimate purpose.

What else can you learn on Blinkist Non-fiction summary App?

  • Why most prisoners accepted their fate? And why some choose to stay alive?
  • How focusing on your inner lives can help you fight the adversity in the outer world?
  • How ordinary people cope with extraordinary situations?
  • How terrible experiences can change your worldview?

Blinkist is a non-fiction summary app with over 3000+ titles, audiobooks, and more… I highly recommend this app.

Click here to Sign Up and Start Blinkist 7-days risk-free trial

Suggested Reading

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Now it’s your turn

I hope you found this summary extremely valuable.

And hopefully, you now understand how to find meaning in your life.

If you liked this summary, click one of the buttons below to share this article with your friends and family members to add value to their lives. Thanks!

Shami Manohar

The Brain Behind

I am Shami Manohar, the founder of WizBuskOut. My obsession with non-fiction books has fueled me with the energy to create this website. I read at least one book every week on topics such as business, critical thinking, mindset, psychology, and more.

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