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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 (5,362 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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    4 out of 5 stars

What is the chapter about again?

Jordan goes really in-depth into his personal life and psychological teachings. But quite often halfway through the hour-long chapters I would catch myself going like "Wait, what's the chapter about again?" He digresses very often but then somehow manages to tie it back to the original purpose of the chapter. Great read, but you have to really pay attention and sometimes listen to the chapters 2 or 3 times to fully grasp and process everything that's talked about.

16 people found this 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..

61 people found this helpful

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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.

91 people found this helpful

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Brilliant!!!

As good as it gets when it comes to learning more about your inner self :)

8 people found this helpful

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A guide for human race

I used to be religious, depressed and suicidal. I became an atheist (it actually helped with my chronic pain, but not depression) at the age of 27 and was lost, until I came across Dr Peterson's videos on YouTube. After reading his book, I believe I became a better person.

For the unfortunate who were born into poverty, went through pain, violence and betrayal their entire life, he is our father.

If there is an afterlife I will testify to your god to what you did for me Dr Peterson, from the depths of hell.

2 people found this helpful

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Well articulated and accessible.

This book was my first foray into audiobooks, and I enjoyed it immensely. Jordan Peterson, while quite controversial at this point in time, does a really good job of giving the general public 12 great rules to live by (no matter your personal or religious background) without being too preachy. He makes apparent his personal belief in Christianity, and sites bible verses many times, but never comes across as preaching. Rather, he uses the bible and other stories to substantiate his claims and give insight to the values outlined in the book. I myself, not being extremely religious myself, was not too bothered by this fact and was still able to appreciate what the author was trying to illustrate.

Jordan Peterson talks about life, in its deepest regard in this book, sometimes a lot more intimate than I was expecting. I found myself laughing to myself when he would talk about a topic that was all too real and relatable in my own life.

Having said this, Peterson is well learned and articulate with words, and is not afraid to use his knowledge of the English language in the book. You have to really pay attention to what he is saying at some points to really gather the meaning. Peterson is no stranger to tangents...

All in all, the author does a great job in enunciating effectively and keeping the listener engaged. Strongly recommend this book to anyone looking to gather more meaning and understanding of this thing we call “Life.”

2 people found this helpful

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You might not be ready to be humbled

The thing is, no one truly ever is.

Study this book and come out a different person.

2 people found this helpful

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Wow!

What a masterpiece! This was a book that challenged my views on many things. Mr. Peterson really got me out of my comfort zone with this work, and shattered some of my misconceptions of the world. He really got me thinking outside the box. As well, he provided some answers for having a good life. He has an incredible philosophy, and unmatched style of delivery. I recommend this book to anyone seeking to get their life in order.

6 people found this 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.

75 people found this 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.

82 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-02-16

not 12 rules if life. just biblical garbage

not impressed. i was looking for a psychology style book. not a bible lesson. total garbage! books with this much biblical reference should not be considered psychological in nature and it should be in the description. i wouldn't have wasted my money on this book if the description was accurate.

23 people found this helpful

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  • W
  • 2020-02-07

Closeted Catholic

Mr. Peterson obviously yearns for his childhood and the delightful sting of a Nun's ruler.

12 people found this helpful

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  • lamasheen
  • 2019-07-26

An antidote to boredom

It just non-sensical rambling of his wandering incoherent thoughts. There is nothing new here, just a re-hashing of other peoples ideas in a list. Sorry, you can't simplify life into a list of 12 rules. The bible references irked me the most. Painful to listen to. A semi-popular quora answer doesn't justify a 15 hour book. I honestly don't understand all the 5 star ratings. The first chapter is about how lobsters mate and how that is a good example of how we should live our lives too. Sorry, human life is a bit more complex than survival of the fittest, I guess I'm just too stupid to understand the analogy.

30 people found this helpful

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  • TheBookie
  • 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.

1,318 people found this helpful

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  • J. Fedorowicz
  • 2020-02-14

A grift by a grifter

This is a series of pseudo profundities for men who can’t deal with the modern world and slow tip to the left. Jordan is a man terrified by postmodernism and doesn’t listen to his own advice but instead gorges himself on beef and benzodiazepines to escape the reality he can’t come to terms with.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Elle H
  • 2019-08-30

Just jibber jabber.

Hard to follow and a struggle to finish. Just a lot of rambling. Didn't learn much.

13 people found this helpful

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  • John Ribeiro
  • 2019-08-20

too long.

he goes into way too much depth to explain his perspective. I wonder if the summary was all that I needed.

5 people found this 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.

1,181 people found this helpful

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  • Susanna
  • 2018-12-22

Makes you think about how you are looking at your life

I feel that Jordan Peterson balances perfectly between science and his own life experiences.

It’s like a good late night talk with a really smart person. The type that when you go to sleep you would like to reevaluate how you are living your life. But you are happy that this talk happened.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Lane
  • 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!

416 people found this 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.

1 person found this helpful

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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.