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Book Review: Man's Search for Meaning
Author: Debbie May
Friday, April 8, 2016

Man's Search for Meaning
by Viktor E. Frankl

Are you looking for a book that offers insight and theory into how to persevere and succeed in life or business? If you answered yes then I highly recommend this book. It nudged my inner soul into deeper thought and the search for personal meaning. – Debbie May

Debbie May’s Favorite Quote from this Book:  
“Don't aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one's personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one's surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it”.  

Book Summary
Man’s Search for Meaning is a moving and inspirational memoir of the author’s personal survival while imprisoned for 4 years in Nazi death camps. Despite Frankl’s own parents and pregnant wife being killed he emotionally survived. He poignantly writes of his own experiences and those around him. Following the end of the war Frankl became a psychotherapist with his theory developed during his time in camp and wrote this book. His observation is that one cannot avoid suffering but one can chose how to cope. Frankl theorizes that it is not the strongest man that survived their stay in Auschwitz but instead those that coped with a deep desire for meaning and purpose. It is this meaning and purpose that drives our life, happiness and success.  

Implications for Business
When I am a guest speaker at conferences or in college courses, the number one question I am asked is, “how did you grow a business from a struggling basement operation to a thriving company that employs over 75 people in just over 15 years?” I have pondered the answer for many years and it wasn’t until I read Frankl’s book that I realized it is because I always had a vision and purpose. I wanted to help others in a way that I had been helped.  

When our second daughter was born with severe disabilities a very kind soap maker shared with me her recipes and supplier list. She encouraged me to sell my products for profit. I followed her advice and the result in just one year was being able to pay-off our medical bill while avoiding bankruptcy and foreclosure. It was just 2 years later when I stopped selling soap for profit and moved into the supply business. I wanted to help others in the way that I had been helped.  

It was not long after that I formalized our mission in writing: “We believe that by providing high quality products and outstanding service we can inspire customers to live the American Dream of small business ownership.” If you have a desire to start your own business or grow a business, I encourage your to define your purpose of your company. Why do you do what you do?

Future Reading Assignment:
Enjoying our book club? Read along with our assignment for next month’s issue of Handmade Magazine

The Must-Have Customer, 7 Steps to Winning the Customer You Haven’t Got  by Robert Gordman

Have you read this book? Share your thoughts with us. We may use your quote in our Handmade Magazine Book Club review. Email us at:

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