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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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Really tried, but couldn’t

I really… really tried to finish this book, but at exact mid way through I just dropped it. At first I thought about returning it, but I thought I should keep on going, as I thought I would get used to it, but it never happened. The narrator’s voice is just not made for this. Maybe if someone else read it… truly annoying and boring reading. The story, well, for several times I just felt it was too religiously related. And that is just not what this book should be about (or so I thought). So if you are not into reading (or in this case, listening) to religious themed things, this is not a book for you. Can’t put into more words other then I really… really tried, but could not go any further with this book.

26 people found this helpful

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Not for me

Maybe I had high expectations to understand the meaning of life. However, it felt like a religious zealot was shoving down religious propaganda down my throat.

19 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.

27 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.

12 people found this helpful

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  • JR
  • 2020-05-02

Not impressed

I have shut this book at the third chapter. I couldn’t honestly say it would get better but I’m not willing to find out. This book in audible format would be best suited for a sleep aid.

9 people found this helpful

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Talky fellow, isn't he?

I tried twice to get through this. Failed twice. I've read a lot on similar topics, but they've managed to deliver their points effectively with far fewer words. I agree with another reviewer here who said they'd forget what the chapter was about by approximately the halfway point of each chapter. I also agree that he gets too religious later on. Additionally, I feel that his views are outdated and sometimes too much from the perspective of a white male. Standing taller and looking dangerous (rule 1) does not generally play out well for you if you are a black man. If you are a women, you are likely to be called a b$^&#, not strong and assertive. I also disagree and his interpretation of Yin and Yang. I'm a Dr. of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and my studies explained Yin is, yes, feminine, but also nurture and storage and stillness. Yang is masculine and movement and dispersement. That would make Yang chaos and Yin order. I do think, however, that he has a poetic use of words.

7 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.

7 people found this helpful

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a bit shrill and belligerent

Many parts are exhaustingly rambling, and others are too emotional, smacking of social media posts...This isn't really a scientific book. Disappointing.

5 people found this helpful

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I wish I could say I found at least 1 golde nugget

Kept hoping something good was around the corner, but alas, nothing. Dry and depressing

4 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..

80 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.

142 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.

129 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.

88 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.

56 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.

37 people found this helpful

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  • Juche1
  • 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.

110 people found this helpful

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  • George
  • 2020-05-11

Ruined by religious extremism

When a book that is not supposed to be a Bible review becomes a Bible review, that's a ruined book. I was able to make it through the first 3 rules because 80% of the content is an apology of the Bible.

27 people found this helpful

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  • eccentricbiped
  • 2019-07-22

Bible-thumping chimpanzee in a dinner jacket

This Jordan Peterson guy lost me at 'there are no atheists' and yet 'atheists can kill anyone, and the ones who don't have Christian values'. Is this guy for real? What lunacy! This book feels like an intellectual book for dummies, and the ideas are drowned by salad bar words to inflate his "intellectualism". It's really off-putting.

50 people found this helpful

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  • Mr. Barker
  • 2020-01-28

Tangential and repetitive

This book is a platform for the author’s religious interpretations. The text is extremely tangential and repetitive.

24 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.

18 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.

2 people 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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  • 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.

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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.