12 Rules for Life - Jordan B. Peterson

“To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order. It means adopting the burden of self-conscious vulnerability, and accepting the end of the unconscious paradise of childhood, where finitude and mortality are only dimly comprehended. It means willingly undertaking the sacrifices necessary to generate a productive and meaningful reality (it means acting to please God, in the ancient language).”

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote of Chaos is a psychology/self-help book written by Jordan B. Peterson, first published in 2018. Starting from a reply to a Quora question, Peterson decided to write a book detailing his opinions on how we could live our lives more meaningfully. These opinions come in the form of 12 rules, each wrapped by related stories about philosophy, psychology, religions, or his own clinical experience as a psychiatrist and as a person, to help illustrate the rule. At the end of the book there's also a small chapter containing some interesting questions the author had received regarding human and life intricacies, and his answers to those questions.

Let's start with the things I like about the book. A lot of the ideas (or rules) suggested by the author throughout this book are genuinely good advices (Although the author himself said that giving advice is something that we should prevent sometimes). About always striving to be a better version of yourself, to accept your own and life's imperfections, and to struggle against the suffering of our kind. But the accompanying stories are actually what I like the most about them, not the rules themselves. They're relatable, sometimes sad and touched my soul the most. Also I like how the author uses religions, instead of dismissing it, to support his propositions. This is truly a welcome change for me who used to adore Richard Dawkins' idea about religion and God.

Now, as to what I don't like about this book. I think sometimes the author drags the stories longer than he needs to. Some of them feels repetitive to me. I also have some difficulty in following some stories regarding some difficult subjects, like old religions or old philosophies or old authors. Although this, I admitted, is my own fault, I couldn't help but wishing the author didn't delve too much into those seemingly unrelated subjects too much, or perhaps could rephrase the ideas in a simpler manner for peasants such as myself.

Overall, this is a very good read for anyone, really. It's very universal in its message about life and its meaning and suffering. I can't wait to read the continuation of this book.

12 Rules for Life
Jordan B. Peterson
First Published
January 16, 2018