- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 10233 KB
- Print Length: 403 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (16 January 2018)
- Sold by: Penguin UK
- Language: English
- ASIN: B078C6C7QS
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 10,556 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,219 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos Kindle Edition
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About the Author
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What are the most valuable things that everyone should know?
Acclaimed clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson has reshaped the modern understanding of personality, and now he has become one of the world's most influential public thinkers, with his lectures on topics from the Bible to romantic relationships to mythology drawing tens of millions of viewers. In an era of unprecedented change and polarizing politics, his frank and refreshing message about the value of individual responsibility and ancient wisdom has resonated around the world.
In this book, he provides twelve profound and practical principles for how to live a meaningful life, from setting your house in order before criticising others to comparing yourself to who you were yesterday, not someone else today. Happiness is a pointless goal, he shows us. Instead we must search for meaning, not for its own sake, but as a defence against the suffering that is intrinsic to our existence.
Drawing on vivid examples from his clinical practice and personal life, cutting edge psychology and philosophy, and lessons from humanity's oldest myths and stories, Peterson takes the reader on an intellectual journey like no other. Gripping, thought-provoking and deeply rewarding, 12 Rules for Life offers an antidote to the chaos in our lives: eternal truths applied to our modern problems.
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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
However I have been on the road to recovery in the last few years and was pleased to read that I was already following his antidote to chaos in my own way.
To any one whose life is not turning out the way it should, read this book. It will help you take stock and give you hope that you too can navigate through life's joys and tragedies with confidence.
However, I did not enjoy (nor was convinced by) the chapters/sections that were metaphysical or religiously based.
Perhaps this is a personal thing, but I dont 'get' all of this (re)interpreting the 'meaning' of religious texts.
You'd have to read the book to see what i mean (or see where I've misunderstood) but I would seriously say persevere with the whole thing because there are some absolute gems of wisdom here.
Don't be mislead by the seemingly simple nature of the rules such as Stand up straight with your shoulders back or Tell the truth – or, at least, don't lie. These are merely pithy ways of referring to some challenging ideas on the way to live our lives. This is a book to chew on and to think critically about -- and may provide you with some significant ideas on how to live in the chaos of the modern world.
Psychological theory is placed into context with humanity’s mythical, religious and philosophical framework, alongside clinical and personal experiences that display the humour, sadness and, too often, horror of existence.
The tools offered within Petersen’s ‘rules’ can help us deepen our thinking, reduce extreme perspectives, become more self-aware and, critically, develop greater self-respect.
The single most powerful message I take from this book is for individuals to take complete responsibility for their own decisions, actions and outcomes.
Top international reviews
I enjoyed the anecdotes and personal stories, which mostly come in the second half of the book. Unfortunately, I found the first half of the book hard going and it seems that most of his foundational ideas are taken from Heidegger’s concept of ‘Being’ which Peterson does not try to justify or explain, he just takes it for granted even though apparently Heidegger struggled to explain it (page xxxi).
Peterson gives case after case where we should take responsibility, tell the truth, repair what’s broken, obey rules and standards and have values and moral obligations, yet without once explaining how any of these things can exist given his evolutionary, materialistic view of life.
In particular, he doesn’t seem to take proper account of the is-ought problem and appears to me at least, to commit the naturalistic fallacy in moving from describing the way the world is suffering (is) and then tells us what we should do about it (ought) without proper justification.
I think he should roll back on criticising other people's writing (rule 6: get your own house in order). I quickly got bogged down when rather than illustrate and explain his point he rambled off on some exegesis of the first chapters of Genesis. You can't draw timeless truths from books that are neither timeless nor true and I wish he would get over this thing he has for holy books. When he sticks to evolutionary biology he starts to say interesting and useful things. I enjoyed reading another passage about his hometown I dipped into but trawling through biblical passages waiting for him to make a point is extremely tiresome. My copy will be available soon through a 2nd hand book charity on here if you want it. As new, partially read.
Curious about the title, I purchased on impulse.
I am very glad I did.
I am not Jordan Peterson's "supposed" target audience. (I used supposed because I don't think he actually claims to have one).
I am a liberal, Asian, left leaning moderate with a background in philosophy, theology and film studies. I support the women's right movement, equal pay, and I find the Republican party of today rather distasteful for the anti-science movement they espouse.
That being said, this book spoke to me. It is not an easy read. I had to re-read chapters slowly to fully condense my thoughts. I agree with the critical review that stated you have to be intellectually equipped to really get the most out of this. I had to utilize my background in philosophy and religion to go beyond the surface of what the author was trying to say. This is not a book you can listen to at 2x speed on Audible and hope to retain anything, imo. You need to digest this.
That being said...
Peterson's deft weaving of theology, mythology, and just overall cogent arguments and viewpoints made me really respect and open up my mind to things I never fully thought about. I find it laughable that a Harvard professor/psychologist has been embraced by the "alt-right" when even a moderately close reading of this text repudiates all that they stand for.
Peterson is direct. He has opinions. I don't always agree with them. But he is genuinely expressing himself, and the belief that we should all try to be better. We should all try to be more compassionate, and most of all, we all should try to understand our humanity a little more each and every there.
There's no division in this book; there's just deep anguish at the current state of humanity and its capacity for evil. There's some exasperation at the way things are currently constructed in society that is in many ways lost. And most of all, there's compassion and a belief that if we all got together in a room and truly talked, the world would be a better place.
I would shy away from the noise around Peterson in the headlines, on Youtube, and in how the idealogues use him (or even his own personal media narrative) to justify their twisted beliefs. Don't let the fact that the "Alt-Right" has co-opted this man to make him a mascot.
Just read the book independently and make your own judgments. You'll be glad you did.
I may have found myself re-reading certain sentences or paragraphs I struggled to take in, and used my dictionary more regularly than in a game of scrabble as he uses some words I’ve never heard spoken but it was totally worth the read.
I like him a lot (from what I’ve seen on YouTube and his words in this book) and wish him every success as he seems like he truly wants to help us all be better.
This is not a book to attempt at a fast pace. Take your time, digest what he’s trying to get across and you’ll get the most out of it.
It’s a bit like giving up smoking... you have to really want to give up to truly commit. I got to a point this year where I really wanted to make a change and this book offers a highly informed helping hand to set you on the right path.
Prior to this I’d read The Chimp Paradox which I’d also recommend for those who are trying to sort themselves out.
Let’s be clear, what he is offering is a gospel, good news for the lost and oppressed. He is saying that hope, joy, and purpose can be found! But the gospel he offers turns out to be no gospel at all; it is a false gospel that leaves an even bigger hole than the one it was intended to fill. What is his answer? Take responsibility for being; take control of your present and choose to move forward in the future. Do not blame others for your circumstances or depend on another for rescue, but choose to walk the fine line between the chaotic unknown and the orderly known world by pressing forth to craft your own meaning.
This, he claims, is what the individual soul longs for and is how we can lead to a collective flourishing—over against the atrocities of the 20th century (e.g. xxxv). The 12 rules he outlines all unpack this charge—"take responsibility for your being”—from different angles. Instead of summarizing his rules, I think it will be more profitable to consider his agenda as a whole and why his gospel is no gospel at all.
If you have studied philosophy, you will quickly notice that Peterson is heavily influenced by the existentialist tradition mediated through Heidegger, finding himself very close to the “Christian” philosophers Paul Tillich and Rudolf Bultmann. In Peterson’s brand of existentialism, the traditional questions of philosophy are collapsed into ethics, into the question of how should and do we live. Epistemology, the questions of truth and how we know it, and metaphysics, the question of standards for truth and the reality of experience, are collapsed into the central imperative of existentialism, “take responsibility for Being.” “Being,” capitalized by Peterson (following the tradition of Heidegger) refers to the “totality of human experience,” both individual (my experience) and corporate (our experience) (xxxi). How Peterson thinks “taking responsibility for Being” should be done is unpacked through the 12 rules explained in the book. The definition employed early in the book is helpful: “We must each adopt as much responsibility as possible for individual life, society and the world” (xxxiii).
In the tradition of the old liberal theologians (namely Adolf Harnack) and the existentialist Rudolf Bultmann, Peterson presents his philosophy of life in Christians terms, redefining doctrines of depravity, atonement, original sin, and faith in terms of existentialism (e.g. 55, 59, 189-90, 226). This brings us to the first problem of the book. Many Christians I have talked to see Peterson’s concern for Scripture and its centrality for western society as a refreshing breeze in modern thought. But It becomes clear early on (e.g. 43, 359) that Peterson’s interest in Scripture is not that of a Christian nor of a sort that is compatible with Christianity. Instead, Scripture is a deposit of ancient wisdom, insights spewed forth from the depths of Being itself (think of Being in the corporate sense above) (e.g. 104).
The wisdom Peterson finds in the Bible is conveniently his own existentialist Jungian (as in the psychological system of Carl Jung) philosophy (e.g. Rule 2). It is not only that he rejects the inspiration and authority of Scripture, but he rejects its ability to communicate clearly. Instead, the Scriptures are demythologized to discover the moral teaching that is being communicated by its myths (xxvii, 34-35). This brings us to the second major issue.
Christians should be concerned with Peterson’s handling of Christian doctrine and Scripture, let alone his false Gospel. Yet not even the non-Christian will find a plausible gospel here. Instead, those who follow Peterson’s rules are bound to find themselves in deeper despair than that which drove them to Peterson in the first place.
Throughout the book he takes the stance of an old man dispensing wisdom, a scholarly authority dispensing his knowledge. Yet unlike the old person speaking from life-long experience or the authority speaking hard-earned truth, Peterson’s book does not escape the category of opinion. That is, he never offers a credible reason why we should believe the philosophy he offers.
The nihilism to which this book responds emerged from a vacuum of truth and meaning; with god dead, as 20th century thought claimed, no objective standard was left for truth and meaning. It was quickly discovered that humanity was insufficient to the task of formulating their own meaning (and formulating your own truth is a contradiction in terms). Instead of returning the reader to an objective foundation, Peterson suggests that taking responsibility for being will produce its own meaning (199-201, 283).
The problem, of course, is that meaning is not something that can emerge of its own accord. Peterson suggests that meaning will emerge as you take responsibility for being, yet this hardly seems the natural order of things. We are motivated to do something because we see it to be meaningful. We set goals and achieve them when we are assured they have meaning; we do not find meaning by setting goals. Without transcendence, without a God who orders reality, authoritatively sets out good and bad, right and wrong, there can be no meaning. Meaning is intrinsically tied with morality, pursuing what is good and true, and eschatology, pursuing the proper end. Without a purposeful plan for history, a distinct direction and a standard by which to evaluate progress in that direction, their can be no meaning.
By leaving meaning and truth (157-159, 230) in the hands of the individual, Peterson never manages to offer a reasonable or satisfactory answer to the problem he is attempting to solve. If truth is the story you tell with your life (230), what foundation is there for the hundreds of moral evaluations he makes? What reason do we have to trust his advice, listen to his opinion, when there is no foundation for the claims he makes?
Peterson offers some genuinely good advice and surely many people need to hear his call to take responsibility for life and do something with it (though I doubt those who need to hear this the most will bother reading the book). However, by giving no firm foundation for his advice, he ultimately sets the reader on the path to inevitable despair and disappointment. The advice may work for season, maybe two, but when some success is reached or when hardship comes, they will be confronted once again with meaninglessness. Like the rich and famous, they will discover at the end of their goals the same void from which they fled.
There is ultimately only one good news, and Peterson’s philosophy is not it. The good news is that Jesus Christ has acted to save us from the wrath of God not that we can save ourselves and society from hopelessness and despair. The good news is that Jesus Christ will one day return and bring an end to all pain and misery and bring justice to all the atrocities of our time and beyond; the good news is not that we will work together to forge a better future. The good news is that Jesus Christ redeems us, calls us, and commissions us to live for Him in this world, giving us meaning. He has revealed the truth, and only this truth will set us free. Believing in Jesus Christ is the only escape from Nihilism, not a vague hope in “the intrinsic goodness of being” and confidence in our own ability to craft truth and meaning.
I DIVERGE. This book has great insights even if you don't think you have any issues a "self-help" book could help with. Other than that, if you do buy and read this, it will definitely show how maliciously some media have misrepresented Jordan Peterson.
Das Buch ist untergliedert in 12 Regeln. Jede dieser Regeln wird mit reichhaltigen Erzählungen versehen. Peterson versteht es wie kein zweiter Anknüpfungspunkte zwischen Psychologie und Mythologie zu spinnen. Er formuliert, wie man es aus seinen Vorlesungen kennt, bereits bekannte, archetypische Wahrheiten und macht bewusst, worauf es in einem tugendhaften, ehrlichen und engagierten Leben ankommt.
Kleine Ergänzung: Unbedingt die englische Originalausgabe lesen. Der Goldmann-Verlag hat anscheinend das Buch in der deutschen Übersetzung sehr verwässert. Was Schade ist, da dann aus 12 Rules for Life einfach nur ein x-beliebiger Ratgeber wird - obwohl das Buch weit darüber hinausgeht.
Mittlerweile ist eine überarbeitete deutsche Übersetzung erschienen. Mich würde interessieren, ob die dem Original endlich nähergekommen ist.
Ich verstehe sehr wohl, dass einige Menschen das Buch als unstrukturiert empfinden mögen, da Peterson als extrem schneller Denker seine Leser nicht mit seinen Gedankensprüngen verschont. Es ging mir tatsächlich mindestens dreimal so, dass ich noch mal nachgucken musste, in welchen Kapital ich mich eigentlich befand. Auch, wenn ich nicht in allen Punkten mit Peterson übereinstimme (Homoehe und Kinder homosexueller Eltern und das Übersknielegen von Kindern), gehört das Buch zu dem Besten, was ich in den letzten Jahren gelesen habe. Es hat meinen müden Geist dermaßen beflügelt und zum Nachdenken angeregt, dass es einfach eine Wonne war. Oft war ich auch traurig, weil ich mich ertappt fühlte und konfrontiert mit mir selbst. Aber gehört das nicht zum Reifen dazu? Ich kann das Buch jedem Menschen, der differenziert denkt und nicht gleich Panik bekommt, wenn jemand nicht die eigene Meinung vertritt, ans Herz legen.