12 Rules for Life

An Antidote to Chaos
Narrated by: Jordan B. Peterson
Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (57,330 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

What does everyone in the modern world need to know? Renowned psychologist Jordan B. Peterson's answer to this most difficult of questions uniquely combines the hard-won truths of ancient tradition with the stunning revelations of cutting-edge scientific research.

Humorous, surprising, and informative, Dr. Peterson tells us why skateboarding boys and girls must be left alone, what terrible fate awaits those who criticize too easily, and why you should always pet a cat when you meet one on the street.

What does the nervous system of the lowly lobster have to tell us about standing up straight (with our shoulders back) and about success in life? Why did ancient Egyptians worship the capacity to pay careful attention as the highest of gods? What dreadful paths do people tread when they become resentful, arrogant, and vengeful? Dr. Peterson journeys broadly, discussing discipline, freedom, adventure, and responsibility, distilling the world's wisdom into 12 practical and profound rules for life. 12 Rules for Life shatters the modern commonplaces of science, faith, and human nature while transforming and ennobling the mind and spirit of its listeners.

©2018 Jordan B. Peterson (P)2018 Random House Canada

Critic Reviews

“Jordan Peterson, has become one of the best-known Canadians of this generation. In the intellectual category, he’s easily the largest international phenomenon since Marshall McLuhan.... By combining knowledge of the past with a full-hearted optimism and a generous attitude toward his readers and listeners, Peterson generates an impressive level of intellectual firepower.” (Robert Fulford, National Post)

“Like the best intellectual polymaths, Peterson invites his readers to embark on their own intellectual, spiritual and ideological journeys into the many topics and disciplines he touches on. It’s a counter-intuitive strategy for a population hooked on the instant gratification of ideological conformity and social media ‘likes,’ but if Peterson is right, you have nothing to lose but your own misery.” (Toronto Star)

“In a different intellectual league.... Peterson can take the most difficult ideas and make them entertaining. This may be why his YouTube videos have had 35 million views. He is fast becoming the closest that academia has to a rock star.” (The Observer)

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not 12 rules if life. just biblical garbage

not impressed. i was looking for a psychology style book. not a bible lesson. total garbage! books with this much biblical reference should not be considered psychological in nature and it should be in the description. i wouldn't have wasted my money on this book if the description was accurate.

53 people found this helpful

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  • 02-07-20

Closeted Catholic

Mr. Peterson obviously yearns for his childhood and the delightful sting of a Nun's ruler.

25 people found this helpful

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A grift by a grifter

This is a series of pseudo profundities for men who can’t deal with the modern world and slow tip to the left. Jordan is a man terrified by postmodernism and doesn’t listen to his own advice but instead gorges himself on beef and benzodiazepines to escape the reality he can’t come to terms with.

15 people found this helpful

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An antidote to boredom

It just non-sensical rambling of his wandering incoherent thoughts. There is nothing new here, just a re-hashing of other peoples ideas in a list. Sorry, you can't simplify life into a list of 12 rules. The bible references irked me the most. Painful to listen to. A semi-popular quora answer doesn't justify a 15 hour book. I honestly don't understand all the 5 star ratings. The first chapter is about how lobsters mate and how that is a good example of how we should live our lives too. Sorry, human life is a bit more complex than survival of the fittest, I guess I'm just too stupid to understand the analogy.

45 people found this helpful

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Makes you think about how you are looking at your life

I feel that Jordan Peterson balances perfectly between science and his own life experiences.

It’s like a good late night talk with a really smart person. The type that when you go to sleep you would like to reevaluate how you are living your life. But you are happy that this talk happened.

14 people found this helpful

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Just jibber jabber.

Hard to follow and a struggle to finish. Just a lot of rambling. Didn't learn much.

24 people found this helpful

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Fairly religious view toward the "Rules for Life"

While the author does a decent job at still bringing his "rules for life" to a broadly relevant sense, the deeper explanation of the "rules" are often rooted in religious biblical quotations. I felt this detracted from the overall applicability of the meaning as it was a bit of a turn-off for listeners who may have varying strengths in religious beliefs.

I was not able to finish the book, as it got to the point where the religious quotations became too much of an overtone. I would highly recommend this book for those with strong ties to biblical text as the material will likely resonate with their worldly perspective. However, I would caution those who may not find that as useful of a lens through which to evaluate the world.

10 people found this helpful

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Not Your Average 'Self Help' Book

I won't lie an say this was an easy text to listen to. Not even close. Jordan Peterson does not throw his proverbial punches. He says it exactly how he sees it and then elaborates his position at great length with personal anecdotes, scientific research, and professional experience he has had as a psychologist.

If you are willing to do some hard self- and social-analysis, this book may truly change the way you view the world. It may not. I guarantee if you go into it objectively and willing to consider Peterson's extremely well thought-out and carefully worded advice, you will gain something from this book. Even when you disagree, which I certainly did at times, you can gain another clear and honest perspective -- and that is always valuable, in my humble opinion.

It is evident and worth noting that the author has strong political beliefs and values, as well as a Christian background and moral foundation. But he does not harp on any religion being right or wrong-- at all. So be assured that you can find value as a Buddhist, a Muslim, an athiest, or any other spiritual foundation you may have personally.

As for his political stance, as a political 'swinger' myself (as in I vote for the candidate's platform, apparent values and plan, NOT party affiliation), I found Peterson's beliefs to be heavily Right leaning, but don't be fooled by outside accusations of him being anti-liberal, sexist, etc. While he clearly feels strongly against certain political constructs, his views struck me as being more pro-humanity than any other petty label. Again, he backs his points with evidence of many types and explains why he believes as he does. This is how discourse begins, and how blind idealism without logic or critical analysis, ends. Peterson invites a conversation about how people often wear metaphorical blinders and how we might remove them and truly see each other's unique and often valid perspectives. This is how we as a society can grow. That said, sometimes I felt his points were specifically aimed at certain hot-button issues, which valid and valuable, got a tad soapbox-y.

Regardless of how I personally feel about his 12 Rules (which, to be clear, I mostly agreed with, at least in principle, if not always practice), I feel the book is absolutely valuable for EVERYONE to read. I will certainly be re-listening to it.

My biggest beefs with it is:
(a) sometimes the sentences were so dense with meaning I would have preferred to read them, rather than only listen. But that's just how I comprehend complex and often abstract ideas the best. That's just me. But it would be fantastic if the text was available with the audio.

(b) I just have to say -- the focus on women as mother's more than anything else cuts straight to a very personal place for me -- as I am unable to bear children -- so I personally felt a lot more like I was being indirectly told that I had fundamentally failed at something critical for my existence, failed my family, and society after finishing the book -- at least according to Peterson's greatest valuation of the feminine. I am confident that wasn't his intent AT ALL, so I am not offended, just saddened that it was not broached as a side-note as he went into great detail about mothers and women primarily as child-raisers. Biological motherhood is not always a 'choice' we can make, but society as a whole seems to view women primarily (and historically) in terms of their ability to produce offspring. That perspective needs to be reevaluated by everyone, in my humble opinion, including Mr. Peterson. I would like to hear his thoughts on that sensitive, and often devastating, subject. Are childless women still to be held in such high esteem? Or is that our only real value after all? I certainly hope not.

Regardless, I still gained a lot of perspective from this book, a lot to think about, and some of his points really spoke to me in powerful and positive ways, regardless of my gender. So thank you, Jordan Peterson for sharing your opinions, experiences, and values in such an open and deeply considered way.

1,373 people found this helpful

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Bible-thumping chimpanzee in a dinner jacket

This Jordan Peterson guy lost me at 'there are no atheists' and yet 'atheists can kill anyone, and the ones who don't have Christian values'. Is this guy for real? What lunacy! This book feels like an intellectual book for dummies, and the ideas are drowned by salad bar words to inflate his "intellectualism". It's really off-putting.

15 people found this helpful

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too long.

he goes into way too much depth to explain his perspective. I wonder if the summary was all that I needed.

6 people found this helpful