Book Review: Wisdom from one of the darkest places in history

“Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor E. Frankl

This is one of the most depressing books that I’ve ever read, but at the same time one that provides a tremendous amount of life lessons. It is written in 1946 by a brilliant neurologist and psychiatrist who lost his entire life’s work when he was sent to Nazi concentration camps, a brutal experience that he wrote in detail in the 1st half of the book.

With his life’s work destroyed, Viktor Frankl was forced to memorize them all by heart, got to implement them directly in the camps that contributed to his survivorship, and later on able to re-write everything down with the addition of his own experience that form the basis of his Logotherapy, which becomes the 2nd half of the book.

True to his experience and knowledge, Logotherapy is a form of psychotherapy that believes that mental health issues is caused by the lack of meaning in one’s life (hence, the title of the book). And what Frankl does in this book is to attempt to help people find their meaning in life through pretty much every situation imaginable, including in one of the darkest places in history.

The book is so depressing but also very touching, it’s unbelievably dark but truly enlightening at the same time, it’s a relatively thin book but with an immense amount of wisdom that justifies the classic stature that it has since earned.

No wonder that this book is seemingly recommended by almost everyone that I look up to. It also effortlessly becomes one of my top 10 favourite books.