If someone were to ask me what one book I would recommend from this year’s 52-book Books of Titans reading list, I would say Man’s Search for Meaning. This book was moving, powerful, and it encompassed most of the main lessons learned from the other books this year. It was also personally challenging, presenting the idea that if a person has a why, they can live through any what, no matter how devastating.
For author Victor Frankl, his “why” of helping others find the meaning of their lives, made it possible for him to survive four different concentration camps, including Auschwitz. Frankl had everything taken from him, including his pregnant wife and life’s work (he carried the notes for a book with him, but that too was taken). He talks about the mindsets that allowed some people to survive and others to give up in the camps.
In one especially painful section of the book, Frankl tells of being awoken by the shrieks of another prisoner who was having a nightmare. Frankl decided not to wake the dreamer because whatever the depths of the nightmare, it could not have been worse than what he was experiencing in the camps.
I first read this book in college. It’s one that I’d like to start reading every few years from now on.