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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 listeners say about 12 Rules for Life

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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.

42 people found this helpful

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Some good, lots of bad

JP is great at interviews and performs the reading of his book well, in a way that sounds engaging. I also liked his first chapter where he discusses brain chemistry and observed effects in social situations.

I didn't expect this book to have an overwhelming amount of religious discussion and religious interpretation. Ancient religious beliefs are open to a myriad of interpretations and I don't see why this author's interpretations are any more valid than any other anthropologist, sociologist or person of faith.

In many cases, especially when he discusses techniques about raising children I found myself groan, disagree or when he promoted physical force feeding a child who won't eat I was outraged (I work with children for my full time job and can propose 1000 better ways than what he proposed).

Overall, I think that the author way oversteps his areas of expertise and misleads his audience towards false ideas when it comes to society, childrearing, politics, anthropology and religious convictions. He portrays himself as a messiah or speaker of God more than once in his book to give himself credibility but I don't think that this is enough to validate his interpretations or opinions.

In the end, I enjoyed the parts where he discusses about his clinical psychology practice and brain chemistry, but found many other parts to be bad.

33 people found this helpful

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What a drag

I am not interested in religious verses. The story of adam and eve drags on and on. who are kane and able? I dont care.! I thought this would be a motivational and a spiritually enhancing book. But sadly it turns out to be a long and boring church lecture. I listened to it for 8 hours and can't bear it any longer. Dont know why its rated so highly. what a waste of time and money.

30 people found this helpful

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Read the Quora post and save yourself some sanity

I suffered through the whole book, because a dear friend asked my take on a specific part of it, and I struggled to stay open and listen. It was a real struggle though. This is just someone's ideology without any supporting facts or reasoning. you'll hear absolutist views, endless church sermons, privileged blindness and patriarchal views frequently; something that makes you question the validity of what he provides as rules (and makes sense without his interpretations). save yourself the time and sanity, as well as the credit, and read something that's worth your attention.

25 people found this helpful

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it's basically a Bible study heads up

Really enjoyed the first chapter... then he starts going on about the Bible endlessly. justsoyouknow

23 people found this helpful

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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.

45 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.

19 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.”

18 people found this helpful

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Yap, Yap, Yap !

Lots of talk about nothing ! Ramblings, and musings with no real content ! Some big words thrown in there to make the author sound intelligent. Which he is, but If I wanted to hear someone ramble on, about religion and the bible I’d just listen to Jimmy Swaggert. Not for us already confident level headed people ! If we’re going to read about the Bible, I’d say the 10 commandments are far better rules to live by !

16 people found this helpful

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A waste of time.

Can't bring myself to finish it. Self-confirming drivel which attempts to draw on poor readings of history to make dubious points. If he'd stayed within his expertise it could have been fine.

13 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-02-09

Fairly religious view toward the "Rules for Life"

While the author does a decent job at still bringing his "rules for life" to a broadly relevant sense, the deeper explanation of the "rules" are often rooted in religious biblical quotations. I felt this detracted from the overall applicability of the meaning as it was a bit of a turn-off for listeners who may have varying strengths in religious beliefs.

I was not able to finish the book, as it got to the point where the religious quotations became too much of an overtone. I would highly recommend this book for those with strong ties to biblical text as the material will likely resonate with their worldly perspective. However, I would caution those who may not find that as useful of a lens through which to evaluate the world.

455 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.

186 people found this helpful

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  • Alex Accardi
  • 2020-12-28

A must read for many, if not all, North Americans.

Far too many here are complaining of meandering or of the biblical quotes or "overtones" without realizing that North America has always been religious. It's only recently that this has fallen out of favor. Even if it does not "jive with your world view" that does not mean it is useless to you. Being able to view and understand topics from other worldviews is important, and is a skill nearly everyone seems to have lost in my lifetime. I feel those who reviewed the book poorly have the most to learn from the book. If you can't get past the lobster analogy from chapter one, you may not be as big brained as you think, and perhaps should try listening to the book again, this time with an open mind. Just a thought...

165 people found this helpful

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  • Ted
  • 2019-11-01

Disappointing.

I'm fascinated by Dr. Peterson's agility in real-time interactions in many YouTube postings. However, this book makes it apparent that he's best able to cast his impressive intellect to the nature of very specific questions within the rigors of other-created time spans. I mean he's impressive when on the clock. In this book he isn't. Rather he has time to digress and his digressions become meanderings that kept making me murmur, "Get to the point.... Please."

Too often this collection of essays on separate topics (rules) are similar to Sunday sermons delivered by average, but well intentioned, preachers. I'm hoping he'll produce another book where perhaps he can take counsel from an editor to better focus his topics AND their reasonably observed limits.

While there are some flashes of intellectual excitement in 12 Rules For Life, frankly, too much of this book put me to sleep.

142 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.

60 people found this helpful

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  • Matthew Thompson
  • 2019-10-06

long winded, rambling, kinda hard to keep up

long winded, rambling, kinda hard to keep up as the author covered many topics and considerations in each chapter

38 people found this helpful

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  • Ryan Hall
  • 2018-12-15

Very Helpful for the Unguided

12 Rules to Life helped me out so much during my time of crisis. It gives structure to people that may have negative or no beliefs at all. Great perspective can be gained by Jordan Peterson's interpretations of many known stories and overall collection of knowledge as a psychologist.

89 people found this helpful

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  • Danny
  • 2019-09-03

A bunch of long winded, over complicated babble

this book is a bunch of long winded, over complicated, pseudo intellectual babble. It is full of drawn out and often unneeded examples and tangents. the "12 rules" are actually simple and pretty good but the writing takes these simple ideas and over complicates them.

49 people found this helpful

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  • Taco sauce
  • 2021-04-16

Fact check and read other sources

Sometimes on long drives I get bored and listen to extremist christian and far right AM radio. It is primarily for entertainment (often times through rage induced criticism that I later share with my girlfriend while she tries to change the subject).

Following those radio programs and their personalities led me to Jordan Peterson and this book. I thought I might dig a bit deeper than I normally would, but instead of finding some crazy out there rhetoric, I found a believable self-help book written by a narcissist.. one that a lot of people read.

It's so convincing because he intermingles fact with fiction in such an elegant way that it is sometimes difficult to untangle the two. I'd have given him a 5 star rating for his intellectual skills and clever writing, but that would be unethical.

This is not peer reviewed, this isn't openly questioned and refined by the experts and scientists who's data and results he uses. This book contains the single perspective of someone who thinks they have the ultimate intellect. Someone who thinks they have the ability to put all of the data together and come to definitive conclusions about how we should live our lives.

The idea of a single self help book that guides you to a successful life is super tempting, but the reality is, that's too easy.

18 people found this helpful

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  • Lucian Effbe
  • 2018-12-16

interesting way to look at life

I'm glad I found JBP. The lessons in this book are certainly worth implementing day to day.

45 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.

3 people found this helpful

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  • J.Carver
  • 2020-11-18

The best book I've read in my entire life

Loved every single moment of it. Already re-read chapters multiple times. Jordan Peterson is a brilliant man and his Rules for Life encompass so much good and meaning that I could summarize my views on life with this single book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • MERNIZ
  • 2020-06-03

BS

This book is BS, pure and simple.
Much ado about nothing. The author's words are all empty, even his voice and his accent are annoying.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Emmanuel
  • 2020-07-23

Marvelous

Very good book, great countent and reader. I would certainly recommand this work to all people looking forward to enhance their way of living and their vision of life.

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  • Alina Paun
  • 2020-04-14

great book

Loved the pragmatism. Amazing examples and structure.A different spin to life rules and totally different perspective.

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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.