12 Rules For Life

Updated: Jan 24

Jordan B. Peterson

What are the most valuable things that everyone should know?

Clinical psychologist and worldwide phenomenon Jordan Peterson provides us with twelve profound and practical rules to help us live a good, successful life and not get wound up in the suffering that is intrinsic to our existence.

What’s it about?

In recent years, Canadian clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson has become an internet celebrity due to his views on political and social topics. He’s sharp, combative and a prolific culture warrior. He shot to fame with his reluctance to supporting a bill to call transgender people by their preferred pronouns (unless they asked him to). While his views have marginalized him in his academic community, they have bolstered his reputation in conservative circles.

In 12 Rules for Life, he attempts to answer the toughest questions of life and existence by the tales of ancient tradition with the revelations of cutting-edge scientific research. Combining stories from the Book of Genesis, which spoke about the creation of the world and humanity to the essays of Nietzche, Jung and Dostoevsky, Peterson discusses discipline, freedom, adventure and responsibility and provides lessons on friendship, parenthood and fitting in society.

He attempts to distill the world’s wisdom into twelve profound and practical rules to give us an antidote to the chaos surrounding us, in our lives and in society.

What I liked about the book?

Being a clinical psychologist, Jordan Peterson delves really deep into his ideas and takes a while to get to his point. At times it feels like you’re going nowhere with all this information but towards the end of the chapters when he pieces it all together, it’s like a “Woah!” moment, making it a fascinating read at times.

Peterson gives us a realist’s view of the world. You’re bound to suffer. It’s inherent to our existence. But we can still find order amidst all the chaos and hope in the smallest of things.

Even though it’s got the tag of a self-help book, Peterson offers us a glimpse of different ideas about society, suffering and religion based on the work of Nietzche and Dostoevsky which are quite interesting to read about.

The book certainly gives you a lot to think about in life and how you decide to go forward and pursue your goals.

My favorite part of the book was definitely the epilogue, where Peterson describes his answers to questions every individual will have, such as “What should I do with my life?” or “What should I do about my parents?”. He uses the epilogue to summarize all the 12 rules and offer us a roadmap to figuring our shit out.

“You can only find out what you actually believe (rather than what you think you believe) by watching how you act. You simply don’t know what you believe, before that. You are too complex to understand yourself.”

What did I not like about the book?

This book was a challenge for me to read, with its slightly higher than normal language, and long sentences. I found myself zoning out quite often, which is not so easy.

As I said in my first point of what I liked, Peterson takes different stories and delves deep into the point he’s trying to make, building up our intrigue. It’s certainly enjoyable when he gets it right but so often in the book, he misses the mark and makes it frustrating for the reader.

Most times, when a book is 350+ pages long, it validates its length with its content. Not this one. It’s typical of Jordan Peterson to provide a lengthy backstory to prove his point and while those are fun to watch in the video clips of his lectures, it felt quite unnecessary to do that in this book. He could have made the same point in lesser pages.

My verdict-

It’s clear that this book has its flaws. But the question to ask here is “If you read this book and follow his advice, will it improve your life?” Definitely,

While the points made by Peterson could have been made in a simpler, more concise manner, they do make the book an interesting read. Not only does it make you question your friendships and the role of religion in life, but it also gives you a framework through which you can move forward with your life. While not one of the best books I’ve read, I certainly enjoyed the challenge of reading this and it has given me a lot to think about in terms of how I want to live my life.

Rating - 7/10

You can check out this book for yourself by clicking on the link below!

Thank you for reading my review. Hope you enjoy the book!

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