Book Review: 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos


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.


This book is equal parts philosophy and self help, though if you think about it all philosophy really is self help. I enjoyed reading it because Peterson is so well read, and he pull quotes brilliant minds from the past to help him discuss topics.

I know Peterson is a controversial figure across social media and he briefly talks about some of the topics that have made him so in this book, but I don’t think it discludes this book from being well written and well thought out at all, in fact, I think it adds to it.

I don’t agree with Peterson on everything, but if you’re reading something based heavily in philosophy I’d be stunned if you found yourself agreeing with anyone fully. I’m also a big believer in reading into other points of views, especially when they’re well researched, which this entire book is. I found it insightful, and I liked some portions so much I wanted to quote them across all of my social media platforms. Some portions on the other hand I found much to long. There is no doubt in my mind that some of these topics could have been discussed in a briefer manner, and I wish a few of them were, but I still enjoyed it. I still found it worth reading.

It made me step back and look inside myself, which is exactly what it was made to do. Whether you agree with Peterson on the current topic at hand, you do find yourself fully diving into it, and fully taking note at the reason you believe the things you do. It touches on a number of big topics, like religion and politics, while also touching on some universal truths that have been proven over the course of history. He doesn’t abandon his history as a psychologist¬†but builds onto it with different and equally important subjects.

All in all, this book deconstructs really important messages in an easy to read form, and for that reason I rated it four out of five stars.

Note: I read a lot more books than I post here. I try to only post ones that are relevant to this blog and might appeal to readers of it. To see other books I’ve read check out my Goodreads account.

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