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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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

554 of 630 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!

198 of 234 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.

245 of 290 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.

249 of 296 people found this review helpful

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Completly eye opening!!!

I've listened to many of self help crap and even read, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F#ck. It didn't matter what I read or listened to, I wasn't finding the answere I was looking for, to a question I truly didn't understand. This book along with Peterson's many online lectures put more into perspective for me than anything has in years of searching. I've identified the Dragon growing ever more powerful in my life and come up with a game plan for slaying it!...This book didn't solve my life problems, it helped open my eyes to the most obvious issues that I'm responsible for correcting....

184 of 219 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.

185 of 221 people found this review helpful

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Great if you want someone else to do your thinking

This was by far one of the dumbest books I have ever listened to and I couldn’t wait for it to end. It got so many great reviews I kept waiting for some kind of profound piece of knowledge that would tie it all together. Instead I got a bunch of archaic, disjointed thoughts about biology and evolution that illuminated the author’s complete lack of understanding about either. He doesn’t even grasp the very core of atheism and you don’t have to be an atheist to realize this. If you like rehashed primitive talking points then this is the book for you. If you want a fresh look at the world we live in then look elsewhere.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Great Guidance

I've always been a pessimistic person since I was a young kid (I'm 26 now). Although my family who I rarely speak to anymore is and raised me with religion, I am not religious. I've been depressed since high school and struggled to find a validating meaning to life other than to go with the flow and enjoy the roses.

I got this audio book specifically because I'm beginning to feel as though every time I feel like I'm on the right track with my pursuit of happiness and meaning, I'm always proven otherwise. I picked this up in the hopes of finding an antidote to my chaos.

A lot of the rules in this book were generally things I already knew - however hearing someone else not only say them, but also give much deeper meaning and examples for them helped reinforce them for myself. There are a lot of religious references and examples used but they aren't forceful or anything other than just examples.

After finishing this audio book I do feel more confident about myself and have more of a grip on how to manage the balance of chaos and order in my life and within myself. I'd recommend this to anyone who feels like they need an extra or even the first nudge to get them started on identifying what's wrong in their life before you can begin fixing it.

As a side note, I love when authors read their own audio book. Jordan B. Peterson has a teaching voice (duh), but I couldn't help but smile every once in a while when I would start picturing the words come from the mouth of Kermit the Frog. While comparing the rules to my specific chaotic situation, it was additionally comforting to picture Kermit giving me advice. I mean no offense to the author, and this only made my enjoyment of the book larger.

93 of 111 people found this review helpful

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The antidote for our time?

I have been enjoying Dr. Peterson for a couple months now. I have been watching his YouTube videos and specifically have been fascinated by his series on the psychological significance of the Bible. That series has helped me to understand the bible in new, profound ways. As a modern man, I see it through our prism of rational thought and inability to merely accept magical thinking. As a result I have struggled to find fulfillment and joy in Christ. I see in Dr. Peterson's work, a hope that it might be the bridge that helps modern people appreciate and understand the Bible as a valid and vital application for guiding our daily lives.

That being said, much of the book is a repeat of or re-articulation of the ideas from his videos and podcast. Which is to say, if you were particularly frugal, one could get most of the benefits of the book from his videos/podcasts. I also read the book over a two day period, because I could scarcely put it down. As a result, I have a hard time separating the book from his videos/podcasts. So I have a hard time determining its value from the perspective of someone who has never watched his videos.

It will take some time for me to digest the significance of this book. I am hoping that the book can provide precisely what it's title prescribes. I think it might. As far as I can tell, it does. if there are serious flaws, I am not seeing them. That is not surprising. The 12 rules stand on solid, and very ancient rock.

I recommend this book to anyone who is full of angst or is struggling for purpose. Actually everyone. In particular, I think people in their early 20's might be most impacted by the book. I see this could be a great graduation gift.

Thank you Dr. Peterson!

41 of 49 people found this review helpful

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Exactly what you'd expect from Peterson

Would you listen to 12 Rules for Life again? Why?

I already got through the text version, this book starts off a tiny bit slow but each chapter winds up to make a really great argument. Pet that cat and clean your room.

What other book might you compare 12 Rules for Life to and why?

Maps of meaning is pretty good too but it's a bit stuffy.

What does the narrator bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He sounds a lot like Kermit, which is a plus.

What insight do you think you’ll apply from 12 Rules for Life?

I'm going to do my best to imitate a lobster in all walks of life.

96 of 116 people found this review helpful