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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  175,491 ratings  ·  13,921 reviews

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 w
Kindle Edition, 432 pages
Published January 23rd 2018 by Random House Canada (first published January 16th 2018)
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K They say there are no dumb questions. I commend John for pushing the limits of that saying to the breaking point.
Megan It's also probably because he talks about owning your mistakes and not blaming others all the time. Lots of people want to play the victim card and be…moreIt's also probably because he talks about owning your mistakes and not blaming others all the time. Lots of people want to play the victim card and believe they've done no wrong and that's simply not true.(less)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  175,491 ratings  ·  13,921 reviews

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Ryan Boissonneault
I see many five-star reviews here, so here is the contrarian position. I’m giving this one star for a couple of reasons.

1. The content does not justify the length of the book. When you strip away the pseudo-profundity and verbosity, you’re left with rather simple ideas you could find in any self-help book or discover on your own. Rule # 1, for instance, essentially states that females prefer males with confidence and that success breeds confidence and further success. This is rather obvious wit
Sebastian Radu
Jan 26, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

If you've never read a book in your life, you'd think JP is super smart: that baroque style of writing, the never-ending sentences, all those references to science and philosophy - "how does the man do it!?" you ask yourself.
It's simple. The book's actually rubbish but you have nothing to compare it with.

Nov 2018: Since this review is getting traction, please note that these were my impressions right after plodding through this dull book and I'm not going to wast
Feb 01, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
So there is a lot of wisdom in here about how to live your life: don't blame other people, listen and understand other people's perspectives, be honest even though it's uncomfortable, and don't demonize humanity.

And then all the wisdom goes down the toilet in one particular chapter when he makes a farce of his whole argument. Men are being victimized by liberal academics. Not only does he start blaming everybody and anybody, but he completely mischaracterizes the progressive argument or makes a
Charles  Stampul
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jordan Peterson may be the only clinical psychologist who believes that psychology is subordinate to philosophy and the one thing that psychology and philosophy both genuflect before is story. Story, or myth, predates religion and is, in fact, as old as language itself.

In his earlier book, Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief, Peterson connects the stories we share with our earliest ancestors with modern knowledge of behavior and the mind. It’s a textbook for his popular University of To
Martin V
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish this book had been around to read when I was 18.
Feb 02, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book by Jordan Peterson, I won’t be able to do it justice.
12 Rules for Life is a wonderful book. It is typical Peterson with large amounts of insightful information and wit. The book includes information that I knew, did not know, and information I knew but did not know I knew (like a Peterson lecture).
There are three main points that I took away from this book:
1. The world is a horrible place filled with suffering. If you personally don’t suffer, someone you know will.
2. If you want the wo
"Faulty tools produce faulty results."
- Jordan B. Peterson, 12 Rules for Life


I'm generally not a fan of self-help books and this one would have probably never hit my to-read shelf if a good friend of mine hadn't invited me to attend a live Jordan Peterson lecture in Phoenix a little over a week ago (June 1, 2018). The only other exposure I had to Peterson was a wave of seriously negative posts about him by some of my most liberal friends on FB. I was intrigued. Here I have some friends who found
May 07, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm a researcher and the biggest issue with Jordan's work is the way he uses his sources to support his arguments. I've read other reviews on here that discuss all the ways his ideas must be "correct" because he's citing sources. But, you need to look at how he cites these sources. Jordan will introduce a study (often something from the mid-to-late 19th Century, a few studies from the 2000s+, or the bible...so much bible) and then apply it to a completely different context. It's not that you can ...more
Too Sweet to be Wholesome

Jordan Peterson is a global phenomenon. He is good in print; even better in interviews. As a psychoanalyst, he has decades of experience and professional credibility (I find his Jungian approach far more interesting than Freudian or various cognitive methods). As a Canadian he is presumed a certain integrity often denied to other English-speaking experts. As a man, he is engaging and fast on his feet with no defensiveness even under intense pressure. In 12 Rules for Life
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I ignored Jordan Peterson for a while, since his name usually came up in culture war contexts where the rule is that every generation gets approximately five talking points to endlessly yell at each other. But then he published a book, and a bunch of my academic friends started screeching a few octaves higher than usual, and a few of my well-adjusted friends started reading the book, so I decided to check it out. I recognize that being inclined to agree with a critic of postmodernism entirely be ...more
Jan 28, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I cracked it open only to discover a study of the bible and christian religious stories while expecting a book on psychology, deceiving. Didn't finish it. ...more
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, review
Dr. Jordan Peterson has outdone himself.

Spanning across religion, mythology, politics, literature, and evolutionary psychology...

Intertwined with personal anecdotes, clinical correlates, and a good mix of dark humor...

With passion, with rage, with love, Peterson has masterfully crafted a cross-disciplinary exploration into the essence of the human condition:

What it means to tread on the precipice of order and chaos, of destruction and creation. What it means to transcend our primitive animalisti
Leo Robertson
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
2022 update: Hello again! This review has inadvertently become my most popular.
This book was pretty important to me a few years ago. Don't know what I'd think of it now.
I do know what I think of the guy who wrote it now. This is not a review of him!

I’ve highlighted more paragraphs in this book than any that I’ve read in the last… very long time!

As should be expected, this is the literary equivalent of a kick up the ass. Like true originals, if you’ve heard him speak before, you’ll find it imposs
Douglas Wilson
As I wrote on Twitter, this book contains pockets of silliness connected by long stretches of common grace on fire. Really worthwhile.
Brendan Monroe
Where have all the genuine intellectuals gone?

Christopher Hitchens' death in 2011 left a huge gap that nobody has yet managed to fill, though many have tried. If anything, the absence of a voice like his these past years has shown just what a unique and profound thinker the man was. He was a colossus and, sadly for us, all too difficult to replace.

The era of Trump, Fake News, and both left and right hysteria demands a Hitchens-esque figure who can rise above it all and tell us what's what, but
I was really prepared to pick up this book with an open mind in order to understand what so many people have found compelling about it. After finishing, I have to say that for the most part I am more mystified than when I began. "12 Rules for Life" is technically what its advertised as, a self-help book with twelve axioms for the reader to follow in order to improve their quality of life. As far as they go, the axioms, which the chapters are named after, are harmless and actually serve as good r ...more
Gary Moreau
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a magnificent book. And part of that magnificence comes from the fact that it is “complete” in the same sense that All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten (Fulghum, 1989) was complete. The rules are simple: from “stand up straight with your shoulders back,” to “do not bother children when they are skateboarding.” They are, however, all-encompassing. When you finish reading it (and it is a long book) you are sure to ask, “What else is there to say?”

At the risk of grave oversim
Dan Graser
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Far from the banal, "self-help," or, "life-coaching," images this book's title may suggest, psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson has crafted here a series of seemingly blunt and practical suggestions that look, at least superifically, as if they are ideas you and society at large already appreciate. However, the importance of this tome lies in the depth behind each of these simple suggestions and the weight of philosophical, psycho-analytical, experiential, and rhetorical/literary evidence Peterson ...more
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

“A list of the people who ought to be killed...Starting with these people who read self help books…why do so many people need help?! Life is not that complicated. You get up, you go to work, eat three meals, you take one good shit and you go back to bed. What’s the fucking mystery?!"

- American comedian George Carlin, from ‘Complaints and Grievances’

Well, he’s probably down there now, that curious George, reproachfully screaming up at
Unlike what the title suggests, this book is not a self-help book, even though it does help the self a lot; rather it's the deep views of a serious thinker about life's most important questions. At a time where the truth of many opinions are based on the loud voices that preach them and the forces that bully the oppositions, Peterson's original thinking is a breath of fresh air. Even if you don't agree with him in everything, you will definitely learn many things from him and more importantly yo ...more
Richard Nell
Feb 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, because of the endless politicization of this man, a couple things to know about me, if you're trying to determine what 'team' I'm on:

Stop it. I'm not on a team. I hate teams. I despise identity politics of any kind. Facts are facts and truth is truth regardless of where it comes from, and anything that turns an individual into a 'group' is basically a bad thing in my book (and Peterson's, incidentally). I also think free speech is about the most important thing in a free society. I don'
mark monday
Voyage to the past with Doc Peterson: a time of lobsters and dominance hierarchy, a time of myths and legends and religious texts, a time of bootstrapping and individualism and Jung and curtailing your pretentious nihilism, just clean your damn room and don't be such a whiny loser. A time when men were men and women were women, when there was nothing to get hung about, strawberry fields were forever. Will you enjoy this journey through time & space? Mileage may vary, so here is a handy guide:

I bought this thinking it was a self-help book - it sort of is, but really it's a tour around some of the most important impulses of the human mind. The fundamental insight from this book is that our norms and culture exist for a reason and that attempts to interfere with those are likely to have profound detrimental impacts on society as a whole and individuals who won't know how to relate to other people properly. Sadly, it's all very true. ...more
Cindy Rollins
Jun 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, audiobooks
I liked this book way better than I expected to. Instead of modern self-help rah-rah stuff, it was a wonderful contribution to the Great Conversation for modern readers. So many allusions to my own favorite literature. In one chapter he kept saying "things fall apart" and I kept thinking, "the centre cannot hold" finally he said it. Yeats. It was five stars from there on in my mind.

One of my favorite things about this book was the look at the Bible almost from the outside. That was a refreshing
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Awfully verbose, incoherent, and hurried text without any content original enough (on top of his online lectures) to grant writing this lengthy book. The rule about telling the truth stands out as a notable exception.
Steve James
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
12 Rules (whittled down from an original 60 something) is about how to improve how you live. Each rule is explained in detail, and Peterson goes into the meaning of each subject philosophically, psychologically, and using varied examples from life. Although far more accessible, 12 Rules follows on from Peterson’s other book, Architecture of Belief, and examines the mythology, biblical similes and ancient stories, as well as evolutionary systems which, after all, have guided us behaviourally and ...more
Jul 14, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

I heard some of his lectures on youtube, so this is not the review of his book.

He is smart and sophisticated. Under his carefully, controlled sophistry, he has to say this.

1 He is against sexual rights. He has big reservations about the diversity of human bodies. The demands of trans people threaten him.

3 If you listen carefully, he thinks that marriage is only for men and women.

4 Back to religion. ( This is one of the ways to influence and shape 'white people' and include them in Peterson's c
Dan Case
Jan 27, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Disgustingly boring. Could not, for the life of me, listen more than 25% of the book. I’ve enjoyed talks from Peterson but definitely not this book. I love others books on similar topics but really this book could’ve been condensed. There were too many unnecessary paragraphs and reiterations.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ever get stuck in a boring conversation with someone who talks too much and doesn't know when to quit? This book is like that.

Good lord, you'd think the author was getting paid by the word. The book is so verbose, and so full of unnecessary big words with equally unnecessary qualifiers and adjectives, it reads like a parody of what lay people think hipster grad students sound like.

You could take all the paragraphs of any chapter, scramble them into a random order, and you would never know.
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Jordan B. Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist, self-help writer, cultural critic and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. His main areas of study are in abnormal, social, and personality psychology, with a particular interest in the psychology of religious and ideological belief, and the assessment and improvement of personality and performance.

Peterson grew up in Fairvie

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“When you have something to say, silence is a lie.” 472 likes
“To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order. It means adopting the burden of self-conscious vulnerability, and accepting the end of the unconscious paradise of childhood, where finitude and mortality are only dimly comprehended. It means willingly undertaking the sacrifices necessary to generate a productive and meaningful reality (it means acting to please God, in the ancient language).” 464 likes
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