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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 is the most important and influential Canadian thinker since Marshall McLuhan. His international fame and impact continue to grow exponentially. Peterson's bold interdisciplinary synthesis of psychology, anthropology, science, politics and comparative religion is forming the template for the genuinely humanistic university of the future." (Camille Paglia)

"Jordan Peterson's 12 Rules for Life hits home - from identifying the deeply engrained hierarchical ladder that motivates our decision making to asking indispensable and sometimes politically unpopular questions about your life and suggesting ways to better it. If that's not enough, its first twenty pages give a summary of evolutionary psychology that's breathtaking." (Howard Bloom, author of The Lucifer Principle)

"Firm but caring.... Peterson speaks the way I always wished my father had.... He is the right man at the right time, someone capable of showing young men that cleaning up their room has cosmic significance, and that imposing a little order upon chaos is good for the soul, which in turn is good for the world." (National Review)

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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.

104 of 122 people found this review helpful

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This is my favorite self-help book I have ever read!

In this book, I found what I have been lying to myself about. I have been trying to climb my way up the dominance hierarchy by being successful in the world’s eyes. I’ve been trying to raise my status to make me more attractive to a potential wife. I’ve been doing this by being successful in business, eating healthy, reading books, working out, trying to gain fame, and becoming surface level friends with high status individuals. However, I realized in this book that a lot of it is a farce. I have mainly been doing these things to avoid doing the hard work that terrifies me: deep, meaning relationships. This book isn’t really about that, but a good part of it is about cleaning out your own closet before you try to save the world. I think anyone can read this book and realize another dragon they have been ignoring. I am going to start it again soon, and I have already made hard moves and had challenging conversations towards cleaning up my personal relationships. Maybe a year from now I will actually be someone that someone great wants to marry instead of just looking like someone who is. Thank you Jordan Peterson.

772 of 919 people found this review helpful

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So honest. So well spoken. So ON TARGET.

I just recently discovered this gentleman a year ago. Intriguing personality and so legitimately succinct in his words. A real pleasure to listen to In fact I started over as soon as I finished.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Powerful

It's hard to imagine a more impactful work than 12 rules. There were moments, many moments, when I had to stop the book and think and reflect. As other reviewers have mentioned, the author is brought to tears during the reading. This was not some stunt, the topic he was discussing was so biting and deep that it was impossible not to cry.

It's important not to go into this book pre judging Peterson. His or your ideology is not relevant to the importance of this book. He speaks truth, simple and plain. Of course, it is HIS truth and you must understand it as such. It's also not simple. Peterson has this uncanny ability to talk for an hour and have 20 soundbites you want to remember. It's honestly, uncanny.

I can't possibly recommend this book highly enough. It's interesting, it's funny, it's biting, and it's deep. It will change you, but in a good way!

295 of 361 people found this review helpful

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The cure to find meaning in a meaningless world

If you could sum up 12 Rules for Life in three words, what would they be?

Ancient Modern Wisdom

Who was your favorite character and why?

The underdog lobster has to be the best. Some antidepressants and he's right back in the fight.

What about Jordan B. Peterson’s performance did you like?

I liked his intellectual honesty and also he is a good narrator.

What did you learn from 12 Rules for Life that you would use in your daily life?

If you do not run from your suffering, one day you will overcome it.

Venture into the unknown and slay the dragon of chaos.

Share the treasure.

And become some sort of hero.

How to live a meaningful life, in a practical way.

Any additional comments?

If you like Jordan Peterson, Jocko Willink has similar ideas from a very different perspective, also worth checking out.

313 of 385 people found this review helpful

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No More Shame

The trouble with Peterson is that he's long winded, but won't stop saying meaningful things, won't stop speaking truth, and won't sugar coat reality to make us feel better, and is therefore impossible to stop listening to. That's good.

It's so disturbing to hear a grown man cry during a reading, because it forces us to encounter vulnerability and strength and breaks apart our denial of reality as a place of suffering. That's good.

Only listen to this book if you want direct blunt reality, wisdom, and odd encouragement. Only listen if you want life to never be the same. This book has helped to initiate me as a man, because, perhaps for the first time, I don't feel ashamed of my masculinity, and so have lost some of the guilt around being a man in western culture.

I think this book will mark a turnaround for men (and perhaps women) everywhere who feel disillusioned with life, because here, implicitly, he calls out the gold in men by telling them, "You have something to offer the world." Now I know there is something worth fighting and suffering for, a better tomorrow for me, and for those around me, because I've realized that because I'm a man, I can make a little more chaos into order.

291 of 360 people found this review helpful

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Awesome

This book combines scientific studies, personal experiences, art and myth into a truely powerful and life improving book. Many authors do one of the aforementiond things, but they lack in others. There are plenty of scientific books that tell us what we should do but they don't dona good job of actually inspiring you to do it. There are also plenty of inspirational self help books that ultimately lead to nothing but feeling good for the feeling's sake that lack a scientifically backed basis which can lead to pointing you in the wrong direction or to wonder vaguely. Lastly, there are so many examples, research experiments mentioned that you can go a step further and come up with your own conclusions, which is often much more powerful than someone just telling you what to do. I recommend this book to anyone, even if you already know what to do and what you want, its great to experience a very well written book that can help fortify your motivation and inspiration.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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12 Rules for Life

This is one of the best Audible books I’ve listened too. The author Jordan Peterson portrayed challenges from his life but in a manner that are totally relatable to the listener. He gives solid advice while being extremely respectful. His book should be required reading for the top five books this year.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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This is as close as an Athiest can come to truth

Peterson is the finest practical philosopher of our day. His grasp of complex issues of life and ability to articulate them is unmatched. Sadly he misrepresents Christ and the Bible at key doctrines but wisely acknowledges the value of biblical truth, even if, as he supposes, that Biblical truth is just evolved man's best manifestation of higher moral evolution. Worth the read! Don't throw your Bible out just yet...

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Best audiobook I have ever bought

This is by far the best audiobook I ever bought. Very deep, authentic and healing. I want to give the highest recommendation that I have ever given to any audiobook.

210 of 262 people found this review helpful