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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)

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Miscategorized. See Religion.

Belongs in Religion, not the Science and Math category. Yes he is an intellectual, but this book isn't science. Packed with references to the Bible, primarily Genesis, and with more and more as the chapters pass. I can see how he may be helpful to lost, young men who need a father-figure to tell them how to be a man and take responsibility. Hold your head up, the strong survive, do something useful, be nice to people, raise nice kids, pet the dog and cat, let kids be kids, except when they are bad,..... It sounds like he belabours every point to repeatedly pound it into our skulls. Some really rudimentary stuff here, presented in a prolonged, intellectualized way with circular references, stretched relationships, some quoted philosophers and thinkers, assumptions, personal anecdotes as evidence, and did I mention...Genesis.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Publisher info is very misleading,

This starts out promisingly enough, with Peterson's analysis including some interesting perspectives on the Bible, including other sources. But by the final chapter he's quoting the Bible chapter and verse - literally. It was a great disappointment, as nothing in the descriptions on the book or in publisher notes declares how much bible-thumping there really is.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Incredible

Will definately read this again multiple times over. Cant reccomend this enough. Incredibly inspiring and enlightening.

10 of 13 people found this review 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.

62 of 85 people found this review helpful

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Bait & Switch in book form

Enjoyed the first chapter. The author outlined a theory of modern behaviour using lobsters as a backdrop. It was unusual and interesting and I could see hints of value from the book and the messages within.

By the 3rd chapter I was getting uncomfortable. We had strayed off the path of exploring the neuroscience and psychology of human interactions or any focus on collective wisdom, and had instead waded deep into Christian dogma and moral lecturing based on scripture.

By the 5th chapter I was yelling at the audiobook as I listened while driving. I could envision the author standing at the pulpit, flecks of foam on his lips, as he lectured on the sins of the new world and the importance of revisiting the rules established by the creator including all those seemingly foolish and innocuous ones. We had long left reason behind. Intriguing insights were replaced with unvalidated and unsubstantiated Christian dogma and preaching about the need to follow the word of God. The bible is quoted frequently - no longer as historical reference or for comparison to other religions - but as truth that must be accepted if we wish to rise above our chaotic lives.

It was painful to push through and the 'wisdom' inherent in the book became less coherent and more fanatical with each successive chapter. If you're looking to reinforce your existing Christian beliefs, then you'll love it. Otherwise I recommend you pass.

82 of 115 people found this review helpful

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  • j
  • 2018-09-04

waste of money. boring.

I would like a refund. This book is horrible, even the examples he uses. Another waste of money. The narrators voice puts you to sleep.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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This book will change the world.

It’s not an overstatement. This book is not just another pretentious self-help book. I have followed Dr. Peterson since he made the videos about Bill C-16 in 2016, and after nearly a year and a half of taking in countless youtube videos, podcasts, interviews, lectures, press articles, and discussions, I can say for certain that this book outlines clearly and concisely what Dr. Peterson stands for in the world. And I am a better person after sorting it out. If you are reading this review trying to decide whether or not this book is worth your time because you heard/read that Dr. Peterson is transphobic, alt-right, anti-women, racist or hiding behind free speech to advance his own agenda...you just haven’t examined the situation at the proper resolution yet and this book will change your life. Thank you Dr. Peterson for writing this book - your timing is perfect.

52 of 75 people found this review helpful

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right wing politics hidden behind psychology

Peterson is a well known psychologist and i wish he had spoken from a place of knowledge about psychology. Instead, he uses his position to put forward such ideas as children should be raised by a couple (necessarily formed by a man and a woman), men are naturally superior to women and woman's sole power comes from her ability to reject men as possible reproductive partners (his sources are studies in the biology and behaviour of animals and his reading of the bible) and diversity is the bane of mankind. He seems to have forgotten to eat the apple of knowledge and therefore not use the human potential to see right from wrong to nuance his discourse. A very disappointing read.

10 of 14 people found this review helpful

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It’s like being scolded by your parent for hours

Perhaps somewhere is this book is buried a message of hope but I can’t seem to hear it because the author sounds like he’s yelling at the listener the whole time from his throne of condescension.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Bible thumper

I like the psychology explaining the rules - it is useful stuff. Absolutely vomited when I realized the whole thing is written in service to a deeply misguided and flawed christian religious view of the world. This writer is a religious bible-thumper. For it to become a best seller on audiobooks is an alarming sign of our times. I'm sad.

14 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • LadyReadsAlot
  • 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.

754 of 842 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.

1,045 of 1,252 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.

355 of 442 people found this review helpful

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  • Carlos Flores
  • 2018-12-17

Incredibly well drawn story

This is a great list from beginning to end, the narration is interwoven in a manner that's captivating and inviting. But I disagree a lot with the author in a way that almost made me left it unfinished.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2018-12-12

WOW

This book hit me like a ton of bricks, I just cant wait to listen to it again. All of the information was so uplifting (even the parts that were calling me on my crap) that I had to keep stopping the recording in order to write things down. Well done Peterson!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jéssica Moraes de Sant'Anna
  • 2018-12-06

Nice book overall, but very infused with religion.

There are some good advices and life lessons, but, if you are not convinced by catholicism or the bible narrative, you'll find it hard to get passed some parts of this book. The author uses religion as a base for some of the points he makes and it's hard to overlook that a few of the things he says are facts are actually leaning more on tradition or faith. A nice experience overall, but would not read ou listen to it again.

7 of 8 people found this review 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!

359 of 448 people found this review helpful

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  • Free Debreuil
  • 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.

359 of 451 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-02-02

Completly eye opening!!!

I've listened to many of self help crap and even read, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F#ck. It didn't matter what I read or listened to, I wasn't finding the answere I was looking for, to a question I truly didn't understand. This book along with Peterson's many online lectures put more into perspective for me than anything has in years of searching. I've identified the Dragon growing ever more powerful in my life and come up with a game plan for slaying it!...This book didn't solve my life problems, it helped open my eyes to the most obvious issues that I'm responsible for correcting....

258 of 328 people found this review helpful

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  • Lisa J. Shultz
  • 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.

6 of 7 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.