This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Man's Search For Meaning" by Viktor E. Frankl. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.
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Are you looking for Man’s Search for Meaning book club questions to help you understand the book’s lessons?
Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning examines how Frankl’s theory of logotherapy can help you get through difficult and traumatic experiences. These Man’s Search for Meaning book club questions can help you examine and evaluate the major lessons from Man’s Search for Meaning.
Try these Man’s Search for Meaning book club questions and exercises.
Man’s Search for Meaning: Book Club Questions
Using these Man’s Search for Meaning book club questions to understand major lessons from Man’s Search for Meaning. The questions are sorted by theme according to lessons in the book.
Choosing in the Face of Powerlessness
Use this exercise to discover choices you can make in a situation that feels like it’s out of your control. Think about the lessons from Man’s Search for Meaning as you answer the questions.
Think of a situation in your life where you felt powerless, like there weren’t any choices you could make. Briefly summarize the situation, and write about how the powerlessness made you feel.
Usually, there are concrete choices available to us – we just might not like them. In retrospect, were there any choices available to you, even extreme ones? What made it hard to see those choices, or to go through with them?
Are you going through a difficult time in your life? If so, could you draw on inner lives, future goals, or freedom to choose to get you through it? Describe how it might help.
Think On Your Deathbed
Use these Man’s Search for Meaning book club questions to start thinking about the meaning of your life right now.
You’re on your deathbed and looking back on your life. What do you hope to see in your life?
What choices are you currently making to create that life now? What changes could you make to start heading in that direction?
The 3 Paths to Meaning
Logotherapy lays out 3 paths that can help you discover meaning in your life. Instead of treating them as hypothetical paths, let’s examine them as concrete questions about where you find meaning with these Man’s Search for Meaning book club questions.
List 3 achievements, accomplishments, things you created, or deeds you’ve done in your life that you’re proud of. Write down why you’re proud to have done those things, and why you believe them to be meaningful.
List 2 people or things in your life you love deeply. Would you be willing to make a large sacrifice for those 2 things? Why or why not?
Write about 1 situation in your life that caused or causes you suffering. Were you able to find meaning in that suffering? If so, what was it? If not, look back at your previous responses–can you relate your suffering to a purpose that connects with one of those answers
Integrate Your Takeaways
Once you’ve completed the book, use these Man’s Search for Meaning book club questions to write out what sticks with you the most from the book. What’s your biggest takeaway?
Think of a time in your own life when you’d have benefitted from knowing this takeaway–what was the situation, and why would this takeaway have helped?
What change could you make in your life right now to help you integrate this takeaway into your existence? (For example, if your biggest takeaway is that every situation has meaning, maybe you could start a journal where you write down one meaningful thing that happened per day.)
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Here's what you'll find in our full Man's Search For Meaning summary:
- How Viktor Frankl survived four Nazi death camps
- Frankl's life-changing advice for coping with suffering
- Why focusing on what you enjoy isn't enough to make your life meaningful