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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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What listeners say about 12 Rules for Life

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

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.

453 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.

185 people found this helpful

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A must read for many, if not all, North Americans.

Far too many here are complaining of meandering or of the biblical quotes or "overtones" without realizing that North America has always been religious. It's only recently that this has fallen out of favor. Even if it does not "jive with your world view" that does not mean it is useless to you. Being able to view and understand topics from other worldviews is important, and is a skill nearly everyone seems to have lost in my lifetime. I feel those who reviewed the book poorly have the most to learn from the book. If you can't get past the lobster analogy from chapter one, you may not be as big brained as you think, and perhaps should try listening to the book again, this time with an open mind. Just a thought...

164 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing.

I'm fascinated by Dr. Peterson's agility in real-time interactions in many YouTube postings. However, this book makes it apparent that he's best able to cast his impressive intellect to the nature of very specific questions within the rigors of other-created time spans. I mean he's impressive when on the clock. In this book he isn't. Rather he has time to digress and his digressions become meanderings that kept making me murmur, "Get to the point.... Please."

Too often this collection of essays on separate topics (rules) are similar to Sunday sermons delivered by average, but well intentioned, preachers. I'm hoping he'll produce another book where perhaps he can take counsel from an editor to better focus his topics AND their reasonably observed limits.

While there are some flashes of intellectual excitement in 12 Rules For Life, frankly, too much of this book put me to sleep.

142 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.

60 people found this helpful

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long winded, rambling, kinda hard to keep up

long winded, rambling, kinda hard to keep up as the author covered many topics and considerations in each chapter

38 people found this helpful

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Very Helpful for the Unguided

12 Rules to Life helped me out so much during my time of crisis. It gives structure to people that may have negative or no beliefs at all. Great perspective can be gained by Jordan Peterson's interpretations of many known stories and overall collection of knowledge as a psychologist.

89 people found this helpful

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A bunch of long winded, over complicated babble

this book is a bunch of long winded, over complicated, pseudo intellectual babble. It is full of drawn out and often unneeded examples and tangents. the "12 rules" are actually simple and pretty good but the writing takes these simple ideas and over complicates them.

48 people found this helpful

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Fact check and read other sources

Sometimes on long drives I get bored and listen to extremist christian and far right AM radio. It is primarily for entertainment (often times through rage induced criticism that I later share with my girlfriend while she tries to change the subject).

Following those radio programs and their personalities led me to Jordan Peterson and this book. I thought I might dig a bit deeper than I normally would, but instead of finding some crazy out there rhetoric, I found a believable self-help book written by a narcissist.. one that a lot of people read.

It's so convincing because he intermingles fact with fiction in such an elegant way that it is sometimes difficult to untangle the two. I'd have given him a 5 star rating for his intellectual skills and clever writing, but that would be unethical.

This is not peer reviewed, this isn't openly questioned and refined by the experts and scientists who's data and results he uses. This book contains the single perspective of someone who thinks they have the ultimate intellect. Someone who thinks they have the ability to put all of the data together and come to definitive conclusions about how we should live our lives.

The idea of a single self help book that guides you to a successful life is super tempting, but the reality is, that's too easy.

16 people found this helpful

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interesting way to look at life

I'm glad I found JBP. The lessons in this book are certainly worth implementing day to day.

45 people found this helpful