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12 Rules for Life

An Antidote to Chaos
Narrated by: Jordan B. Peterson
Length: 15 hrs and 40 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (4,033 ratings)

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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

What the critics say

"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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A good summary of all his videos.

After having watched Dr. Peterson’s videos, it is good to have single and accessible text that summarizes most of the themes he has spoken about over the years. It is also good to hear his own voice animate the text. You can feel it in your chest when he speaks of “Chris” or of his daughter. I am certain that I will continue to listen to this book, as I have listened to his lectures, for many years to come.

80 of 104 people found this review helpful

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  • Ned
  • 2019-05-04

It will lay you soul naked before you.

A fantastic breakdown of the human ways of life, it points out all the thing we know to be true in such a way you can no longer deny your own short comings and responsibilities.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant humour at times and thought provoking...

... though I don't agree with all of his musings. His honesty and genuine nature flow through his writing. His religious ideals and references took me a little by surprise, based on what I'd read of him previously. Strong gender & gender role opinions, maybe, but not necessarily as controversial as I'd read. His controversy is relative to the extreme times we live in but overall, just a push back on the extremism of today. i think he aims for a balanced view and may just come in a tad on the right, backed by his religious Christian references.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

too religious

The first half of the book was great and then in the second half he ended up preaching solely on Christianity. I felt like I was in a church..

14 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Less than expected

Big fan of Jordan Peterson.
have watched many of his interviews and YouTube videos.
in this book he rambles on for hours about the Bible. Jesus and the devil...
I wouldn't have minded the odd reference to illustrate a point. For much of the book he is just reading scripture.
if you have watched his lectures and YouTube videos you will likely get nothing more from this book.
At points it was painful to listen to.
Disappointed to say the least.

49 of 72 people found this review helpful

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Listening to this was like sitting through church.

Too many hypethetical situations yielding underwhelming common-sense conclusions. He exaggerates deeper meaning behind basic human behaviors. Too many bible references. Few note-worthy revelations.

65 of 96 people found this review helpful

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There is no substitute for experience.

Jordan Peterson is a brilliant man. I very much enjoyed listening to him and will have to go through this multiple times to fully grasp it.

This is also the first book I've tried with audible and I have to admit a really enjoyed it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Thank you!

Thank you Jordan Peterson for speaking the agonizingly obvious truth which our universities and lawmakers seem to so willingly reject, that there are REAL, CONCRETE, ESTABLISHED, UNCHANGING definitions to our moral universe, that they are functionally useful, and that order is a desirable condition. If someone had told me about a psychologist exploring religion, I would have rolled my eyes, and expected some neutered, contrived philosophical fluff, but this was a very refreshing change in tone. Thank you!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A must read

Peterson is shockingly erudite and a surprisingly engaging reader. Don't agree with everything, still brilliant.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent introduction to the mind of Mr. Peterson

Loved the connection made between biblical principles through Scripture and human behaviour applied to today's issues. Much wisdom exists in that approach to life in my opinion.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • TheBookie
  • Michigan
  • 2018-06-04

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.

1,044 of 1,157 people found this review helpful

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  • Bobby n.
  • 2018-02-02

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.

1,096 of 1,313 people found this review helpful

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  • Lisa J. Shultz
  • Breckenridge, CO
  • 2018-12-19

Mixed feelings

This book had a wide range of reviews. People either liked it or didn't. I am a bit in the middle but more favorable than not. Sometimes the author seemed to be close to yelling but mostly just really passionate. He could have been preaching from a pulpit. Often when talking about a rule, he would go off on a tangent and it was really distracting. Sometimes he would pull it all together and sometimes the tangent just seemed like drifting.
I did like that his rules weren't always titled in a way that most self-help books would do. He got a bit out of the box and that kept my interest. The author has a keen intellect but perhaps needs to be a bit more succinct. I think I remember more about lobsters than the rule that he was speaking about. He brought in random stories that were not always woven into an understandable point.
Even though I read the whole book, I cannot recall the 12 rules to recite them to someone else.

29 of 34 people found this review helpful

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  • Chip Beck
  • 2019-01-02

Amazing

Prior to reading this I had a list of 5 books that I considered so enlightening that they were life changing. This is #6.

Chip Beck

28 of 33 people found this review helpful

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  • Idaho1028
  • Boise, ID
  • 2018-12-31

Required

I’m a psychotherapist working with couples and those that’ve experienced trauma. If those I see in my practice were to read/listen and study this work I might be out of business pretty quickly. Forget any political presuppositions and listen to Dr. Peterson.

31 of 37 people found this review helpful

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  • Lane
  • RIO RANCHO, NM, United States
  • 2018-01-31

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!

379 of 471 people found this review helpful

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  • Levi Johnson
  • 2018-01-31

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.

364 of 456 people found this review helpful

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  • Dallas Booher
  • 2018-12-17

Great Book.

Teaches things about you that you already know but sharpens them to a fine point. Then it tells you things you don't want to hear but should.

38 of 47 people found this review helpful

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  • Free Debreuil
  • Tokyo
  • 2018-01-24

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.

362 of 456 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-12-11

Dont examine the book, examine yrself through it!

A self conscious voyage, a plausible idea for self fixing, which is a reliable antidote for chaos. Not a self help book, rather it's an auto critical for our lack of attention on our selves. Passages with Great exegesis of the Bible.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Nilbog
  • 2018-07-15

Great self improvement book

I am following the works of doctor Peterson for quite a while now so my review could be considered as a bit biased. I have really enjoyed reading his book and if you're watching his YouTube content and podcast you will not find that many new ideas here. And even his rules you might say that they are kind of obvious. Yes maybe, but Jordan Peterson has his own style of going from one thing to another without losing your attention, so that he can make a perfect point in the end. He is going to give you information about lobsters, cats, religion, philosophy, his youth experiences and his family because this is what he does best. I do not agree with him on all subjects and neither will you, but I recommend you give him a try, and hope you will be able to have some new perspective about how to be a better version of yourself afterwards.

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  • FABIO FRANCA
  • 2018-06-07

Essentiel!

C’est pour quand la traduction de ce livre en français et portugais? J’aimerais le partager. Il serait bien utile à beaucoup de gens autour de moi.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful