Daniel Jason Harrington-Man’s Search For Meaning

Author of Book: Viktor E. Frankl
Date Read: February 24, 2024

Book Report

Introduction: Having lost my freedoms, my family, and my possessions, admittedly by my own actions, I initially allowed my sufferings to hold me back. I blamed the system, my drug addiction and lack of education, and in doing so I became a victim. Viktor Frankl’s “man’s Search For Meaning” allowed me to see that others who have gone through far worse for no reasons of their own, were able to use their suffering and circumstances as opportunities for growth, and if they could do it so could I.

Summary: This story is about a man named Viktor Frankl who was confined to the Nazi concentration camps. A life of losses and of torture. One of grief. Yet, Mr.. Frankl and other inmates sought each day to find meaning in their suffering. Frankl walks us through the stages an inmate can go through during incarceration and how a man can allow it to make him stronger or weaker.

Key Lessons:

  1. Attitude is everything – Given a watery soup and small rations of bread, tortured and worked often to death, the men would walk through the huts comforting each other. giving away their las piece of bread.
  2. Being a catalyst for change – Viktor Frankl was often cold and hungry, tired and irritable, and in no mood to give psychological explanations or preach sermons. Yet, he made use of his unique opportunity, knowing encouragement was more necessary than ever. This reinforced the knowledge that I can go along with the complaining here about circumstances, or, encourage men to seek out opportunities available to us and create a positive environment.
  3. Using Our Experiences – What you experience no power on earth can take away from you. I can follow in the footsteps of those who have used their prison experience to become success stories, making our incarceration meaningful.

Viktor Frankl sums it all up by saying that man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment. Small moment-to-moment choices lead to monumental results. If we suffer then we must find meaning and purpose in that suffering, seeking opportunity for growth. Otherwise it is for nothing.
During my incarceration I have developed skills and a core set of values that enable me to not only help others, but find fulfillment in doing so. My life is now inline with those values and each day is lived with purpose. I have found meaning in my suffering. I would encourage you to read this book if you have not already done so.