This book sprung from a list of 40 brief rules that Jordan Peterson wrote on quora. The list itself is freely available and worth a read in itself. Some rules will speak more to people than others. Some will seem a little obscure. It is against this backdrop that i bought this book pretty much immediately on kindle as soon as it was released about 10 months ago. That and i had been watching bits and pieces of his maps of meaning lectures on youtube at the time.
So what do i think of the book? Its not a classic, its just good. Peterson does meander a bit and go off and tangents. Many times when i was reading 12 rules i found myself asking what has this got to do with the actual rule at the start of the chapter. But thats just his style if you happen to watch his youtube lectures. Petersons will be talking about one thing and then go off on a tangent and all of a sudden be talking about something completely different. But the thing with his lectures is that his deliver is rather good that you are not necessarily aware that he just flipped topics on you. He can weave a slightly hypnotic spell when speaking. But with writing Jordan doesnt have the same delivery punch and it becomes a bit more obvious that he is changing topics and waffling on. To me there was a lot of filler in this book and it really could have been a lot shorter and more to the point. In fact i think it really needed to be.
There is also the issue of hype surrounding Jordan Peterson that i have become increasingly uncomfortable with. Some people will have you believe he is one of the greatest minds of our time which i just cant agree with, especially when i see him talk on topics outside his area of expertise, or politics, or in debate with someone as smart as sam harris who can pull him up quickly when he starts to obfuscate and go off on tangents. At times the atmosphere around Jordan can all feel rather cult like and this makes me uncomfortable and wary. But in the end i would say its a good book with some useful advice and anecdotes. Go read his 40 rules list first and watch some of his youtube interviews and lectures. Then buy the book. I personally got more out of the former than the latter but who knows you may be different
Praise for Jordan Peterson: "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 "One of the most important thinkers to emerge on the world stage for many years." --The Spectator
What does everyone in the modern world need to know? A renowned psychologist answers hard questions with a unique combination of ancient wisdom and clinical experience.