Valpeo Blog

Valpeo’s Must Reads for the holiday season N°1

Are you hoping to find some time for a good book this end of year? Or are you looking for a great gift idea? If so, you could probably use some well-thought-out tips. Every week of December, Valpeo's partners will share their tips for a top read this holiday season. This week: discover the Stefan Peetroons’ suggestion.

Man's Search for Meaning - Viktor Frankl

1. In my opinion, this book is a must read because it is one of the great books of our time. 

Victor Frankl was a professor in the fields of neurology and psychiatry. He was very aware of the extent to which we, as human beings, are subject to biological, psychological and sociological conditions. But, in addition to being a professor, he was a survivor of four Nazi death camps and as such, he bore witness to the unexpected extent to which human beings are capable of defying and braving even the worst of conditions imaginable.

2. What is the key message of the book?

Frankl concluded that the meaning of life is found in every moment of living: life never ceases to have meaning, even in suffering and death. Victor’s imperative was ‘live as if you were living for the second time, and had acted as wrongly the first time as you are about to act now’. Key takeaways – out of many – that human potential, at its best, always allows for:

1. Deriving from life’s transitoriness an incentive to take responsible action. 
2. Deriving from guilt the opportunity to change oneself for the better.
3. Turning suffering into achievement and accomplishment.

After reading Man's Search for Meaning, I finally fully understood Gandhi’s words: ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’ Finding the meaning for one’s life lies not in the pursuit of pleasure (Freud) or power (Adler), but in letting go of inner drives such as achievement or power, and orienting yourself more towards caring, trustworthiness and tolerance. 

In essence, self-transcendence is the key. Our Valpeo’s values orientation survey – evidence-based on the extensive research by professor Shalom Schwartz and his ‘theory of basic human values’ – exposes our personal values and provides direction on the shifts we personally could make to find more meaning in life:

3. Who should read this book?

Probably, everybody could benefit from reading this book … Here are three more reasons why:

1. If you have a ‘why’ to live for, you can bear almost any how: your purpose gives you strength.
2. There is meaning in suffering: finding meaning is therapy for your soul.
3. You have the choice to choose your attitude in any situation.

Keep an eye on our blog page for more book recommendations and other insights from Valpeo.

Book info: Man’s Search For Meaning. The Classic Tribute To Hope From The Holocaust, Viktor E. Frankl, Beacon Press, ISBN 10: 0807014273