Review of 12 Rules for Life

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  • Controversial
  • Engaging
  • Inspiring


Clinical psychologist and university professor Jordan B. Peterson draws from religion, philosophy, neuroscience and anthropology to formulate “12 rules” for living a meaningful life. He believes that if people don’t uphold a hierarchy of values, they will fall into paralysis and, consequently, despair. Jordan is well-read, brilliant and unafraid to address complex issues in a sharp, readable voice. His rules seem familiar because many derive from Christian ethics – which, Peterson says, inform overall Western culture – most notably the duty to accept suffering and to alleviate it. Jordan sees culture as part of biological evolution and therefore inescapable. He also has faith. This may undermine his thinking for certain readers and make it seem like gospel for others. Readers may be daunted by his references to God and philosophy, not to mention his controversial remarks about men and women – such as in Rule 11 – and his thoughts on using force to discipline children. Peterson rarely lapses into academic jargon and never lacks sincerity. Throughout, his message is clear: You must accept responsibility for your own life. Peterson bravely and confidently attempts a blueprint to help you do just that.

About the Author

Clinical psychologist and University of Toronto psychology professor Jordan B. Peterson, PhD, also wrote Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief. His lectures on myth and personality are popular on YouTube.


The “12 Rules”

To engage in the world and make it a better place for yourself and others, Jordan Peterson insists you must put your own house in order, determine your aims in life, confront your fears and live in truth. Those are lofty goals and humankind has fought to achieve them since the dawn of consciousness. Peterson has neither the first nor last words on these topics, but he has carefully read most authors who preceded him on this quest and subsumed their wisdom.

 To follow that path, he urges you to abide by these 12 rules:

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    R. P. 1 month ago
    Good advices accumulated in a wrong way, author could have used a lot much simpler vocabulary to make it easy to understand and apply in life. Summary maker should also try to make it simpler. And not just pick up Word-bla-blas from the book.
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    R. t. 4 months ago
    The opinion of another ringing throughout the summary. I have no desire to hear any opinion other than the authors, that is not your duty. Also, "ok boomer" is not an argument, that comment was nothing more than emotional fuled idiocy.
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      Rauzin Erica 4 months ago
      Thanks for your comment. When we can secure summarization rights from a book's publisher, we write an abstract with no opinion, except in our proprietary recommendation paragraph. However, when we can't secure the rights (or can't secure them yet...), we write a review because commentary doesn't require rights. This is the best way to bring our readers a well-rounded selection of important and useful books. Whether in reviews or summaries, we work equally hard to make sure our reporting of the book's content is accurate. In reviews, we react to that content as well as reporting it. And we never say, "Ok, boomer."
      E. Rauzin, Senior Managing Editor, GetAbstract
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    C. L. 6 months ago
    Clear bias shows through in this review, calling the author's age and life experiences into question, all because the reviewer disagrees with the author's opinion. <br> <br>I was under the impression this service handled content reviews objectively. Makes me question quality of other reviews.
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      Rauzin Erica 6 months ago
      Thank you for your comment. We have reviewed the review, and we don't find that it calls Peterson's life experiences into question in an inappropriate way. The review says that Peterson, like all of us, brings his experiences to bear in forming his philosophy.
      However, we did make one editing adjustment in response to your comment. When the review said that Peterson shows his "age," I believe the better construction, and the reviewer's more precise meaning, would be to say that he shows a "dated attitude" in his comments about gender roles. And, the reviewer notes, this is a rare lapse.
      We understand that readers won't agree with every opinion in a review, but the reporting about the book's content is solidly factual, and the opinions are clearly stated as such. We do want them to be fair, however, and we appreciate that you called our attention to a statement that could be misconstrued. We don't ever want to be sexist, and we don't want to be ageist either. Thank you for your feedback. We appreciate it. E. Rauzin, Senior Managing Editor, getAbstract
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      Christopher LaChance 6 months ago
      Thanks for for replying and acting so quickly! Makes me feel better about quality for sure.