Occasionally we are blessed to read a book that has the rare power to change lives and and connect with a person’s heart and soul. Victor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” is one of those rare books. Although written nearly 70 years ago and depicting one person’s survival in the Nazi concentration camps it has a universal message for all people in all times. Victor Frankl was a Jewish psychiatrist working in Vienna when the Nazis came to power. Although he had the opportunity to obtain a visa to the USA and thus to freedom he chose to decline it as he felt God calling him to honour his father and mother and patients in Vienna. Subsequently he was imprisoned in Auschwitz and other concentration camps. Despite being written in the most dreadful of circumstances Frankl insists that life is meaningful and that we must learn to see that life is meaningful despite our circumstances. Through numerous examples he depicts the incredible power of the human spirit to endure and even survive the most terrible ordeals when we have true meaning to our lives. We all have the capacity to choose to do good no matter how lamentable our past has been. Perhaps Frankl’s most enduring insight is that forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing – your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. One cannot always control what happens to us in life but we can always control how we feel and how we act about what happens to us.
If you only read one book this year make sure this is the one. After you read it don’t forget to pass it on to someone else!