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12 Rules for Life

An Antidote to Chaos
Written by: Jordan B. Peterson
Narrated by: Jordan B. Peterson
Length: 15 hrs and 39 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (136 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of 12 Rules for Life, written and read by Jordan B. Peterson.

What are the most valuable things that everyone should know? Acclaimed clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson has influenced the modern understanding of personality, and now he has become one of the world's most popular 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 polarising 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 12 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 listener 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.

©2018 Jordan B. Peterson (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

What members say

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A psychologist's commentary on the Bible

This is a good book with 12 rules that encourage s people to take responsibility of themselves, their family, their community and may be even the world. From the importance of standing up straight (symbolizing facing the world willingly) to doing what is meaningful instead of expedient, to taking care of yourself to allow kids (and those dependent upon you) to take risks and build their own strengths, the book provides rules for facing life with all it's suffering and complexity.

But the book is also a commentary on the Bible. Albeit one written by a psychologist using the framework of Jungian Archetypes. The Biblical stories thus interpreted become not historical but metaphorical.

However as a person coming from a different tradition, it becomes obvious that the rules mentioned in the book and the justification provided for them can be arrived at through any sufficiently ancient text, such as the Gita. The author's use of the Biblical narrative is perhaps due to his familiarity with that tradition and the consequent Western morality which has been framed by the Judeo-Christian framework of which he is a staunch supporter.

Audiobook: The book is narrated by Jordan Peterson himself and the narration is extremely good. If you are one of those who spends a lot of time walking/travelling, this is a good companion

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Magnificently thought provoking.

Since the narrator himself is an author every bit of line is meaningfully orchestrated. Although some rules suggested by the narrator can be labeled biased it will eventually boil to listeners perspective. Most of the arguments made by the author seem very plausible. I personally have experienced the world in line with the authors perception and hence found extremely meaningful and reverberating. Analogies and authors personal life anecdotes make the experience more empathetic. You will thoroughly enjoy the book even on repeated listens.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Makes you think, changes your thoughts

Wonderful experience hearing from the author himself in all the emotions.
A life changing experience from a man who just has shared his life and brought some conclusions for others who can find it quicker to make the world a better place.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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interesting & enriching but preachy at times

I picked the book because the name of the book interesting . while reading I realized that the book is a mix of practical advice, philosophy, origins of man and much more. interesting and enriching but it got preachy at times. nevertheless a good read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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reading it once is not enough.

he teaches you to be awake. and thrive in the chaos around and have a meaningful life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Passionate and inspiring

The book is an insightful read. Jordan puts across his point of view on the rules and responsibilities which we all must adhere to passionately. His examples are insightful and rooted in psychology. I think he could have used simpler language to convey the same messages but nevertheless he puts his point across clearly and strongly.

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My Bible

Thought provoking truth. A book with vision for a better tomorrow. A must have.

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Thought provoking

My first complete listen. Mr Peterson is an exceptional orator. Look forward to more from him. I Wish him good health!

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Change your life.

this book is the best. it tells you to take responsibility for yourself and how use that for betterment of the society

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well articulated with relatable examples

i really love the way the author has titled each chapter and explain the meaning of each rule through his examples

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  • Jarrod
  • 16-01-18

Easily accessible wisdom

Jordan Peterson presents a refreshing voice of wisdom in a crowd of shrill hysteria and politically correct drivel. I was impressed with the combination of common sense advice and surprising insights. There is lots to learn here. If you’re looking for a blueprint for a life well lived, you’ve come to the right place.

33 of 36 people found this review helpful

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  • Martin
  • 20-02-18

Life-changing in every sense of the word

This book has brought me joy, laughter and also tears, grief and profound sadness. Through the wisdom of ancient texts and personal anecdotes, doctor Peterson gave me courage to face my fear of responsibility, take my place in the world and improve the lives of those around me. The performance is deeply personal and precise as is the case with other Peterson's material. I hope I will return to this book for strength and inspiration whenever I need them most.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • M MENGEL
  • 01-02-18

Lit

A candle has been lit in the world to keep the dark at bay.

I’m in awe of Jordan’s capacity to ignore the nonsense hurled at him, and still speak with a white hot passion to help people. It humbles and makes you want to emulate.

Twelve simple rules that get into your subconscious so quickly it feels like they were always there.

20 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Oliver
  • 18-01-18

Deep and enjoyable experience

Peterson goes all in in his effort to lay out his philosophy in a form that resonates on many levels of analysis. The book is simultaneously a compelling map of reality, guide to a balanced and meaningful life, and a deep defence of Western culture, Christian values and healthy masculinity, which are all currently under attack. I think this book is not just an insightful thought provoker, but also a healthy vaccination against dangerous ideological viruses which are unleashed in the modern world.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-08-18

This book has been rated five lobsters.

Amazing book, very deep and thoughtful. It teaches the individual responsibility over ones actions. To speak the truth and many other wonderfully useful things.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Hans
  • 28-03-18

Pure Wisom

Any additional comments?

Jordan Peterson deliver advices, that are ready to implement into our daily life.
He turns his knowledge into wisdom by showing the principles, which we should use as a guide both in the professional and private life.

Idea of taking full responsibility for our choices makes perfect sense and give hope to all of the young people, who got deeply immersed into the nihilist world of mass consumption.

JBP narration makes the whole listening experience even better.

Lessons that you can takeaway from this book could be life-changing, especially if you want to give your life meaning and orient yourself in the world.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anubhav Misra
  • 12-02-18

Spirituality for the reasonable

Would you consider the audio edition of 12 Rules for Life to be better than the print version?

I prefer the narrative power of the author speaking his own words. Hence, yes! I find it much better than the print.

What was one of the most memorable moments of 12 Rules for Life?

The coda(nice choice of words there). Like a sonata form recapitulation, it ties together the multi-themed spiritual sonata that was this book!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The story about the suffering of his daughter and the frailty of li'l children moved me particularly.

"We love not 'despite' the limitations, but 'because' of them. And of course, it more complicated than that"

Any additional comments?

This book is great, not because it's some groundbreakingly new content and idea that have not been expressed before. It is so as it brings back an important aspect in the spiritual quest that is absent from most new age spiritual teachers: FORM! Most spiritual thinkers have removed everything that even resembles any real manifestation so much so that it is almost impossible to have use of what they are saying.

Jordan Peterson brings back the fundamental(archetypal) stories of our experiences back to the social collective consciousness and for that we must thank him.

This book unlike most self-help books, this book doesn't try to explain the title in almost banal detail. It takes the idea and brings it alive through contrast, variation, and storytelling that drives home the title without having to repeat it once. Only thing I can think of that comes close is classical music.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Tim
  • 05-02-18

Precise yet broad.

The book points to exact steps for improvement in your life and then goes into depths I haven't even thought about. Sometimes it was too much for me. But in the end it's a must read.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • 20-03-18

Deep and accessible

I'll have to listen to it again and probably again but some great practical advice based on truth and his genuine real understanding

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Trevor
  • 17-03-18

Outstanding- going to listen again now

More than common sense, the book integrates wisdom and meaning into life. Love the way Biblical narratives are woven into the rules. An effort to re-establish foundational truths in our society. Masterful. Jordan is a man for these times.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Georgia Longford
  • 20-11-18

How have I ever lived without this book?

I've been listening to Jordan a lot on you tube over the past few months. I have watched and learnt so much. Even a simple lesson of watching him pausing and calming himself in aggressive interviews before answering back has been priceless. But through his book, it's so nice to actually listen fully to his train of thoughts. Uninterrupted by idiological arguments from others and explained with references we've all grown up with but never had fully explained in such a way whilst growing up. I feel calmer and ready to face the world and can't wait to listen to again.

Not that it matters to this review.. but I am a woman.. And based on his book.. now proud to be one. Always thought it meant to be less than man. But my role as a human.. if that be it free to choose: mother, bread winner, wife, or friend.. is as equally important to any other role around me. so much more to say but I will leave it there.

Thank you

32 of 35 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew
  • 04-02-18

The Hitchhikers Guide to Heaven

You know when you hear a new song and it stops you in your tracks? I’ve spent my last 15 hours in that state.
I can’t even begin to explain how much I now owe this man for all he has done. I laughed with weakened knees and wept in public places with this complete stranger. I love him.
My fear is that the people who need him most (youngish lefties like me, for instance) will pass him with prejudice and condescension and suffer on.
Buy this book, it will polish your lens.
I will be out there, paying attention to life.
Thanks Jordan. x

351 of 419 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 26-09-18

Loved it, changed my life immeasurably!

This book has genuinely changed my life, I stand up tall, I look people in the eye, I'm combative when need be. I would recommend this to anyone. My anxiety is gone. And the world is respecting me which has lead to a positive feedback loop of happiness.

33 of 40 people found this review helpful

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  • Garym213
  • 19-01-18

Exceptional book... original and thought provoking

So many books of this type can be a bit light, they can be built around one or two ideas. This is not the case with this one. Peterson is on a different level, his authenticity, original insights and forthright manner elevate this book to the point of being exceptional. He is no prisoner to group think or moronic fads, his points are clear, he is very exact in the way he communicates. The aforementioned make this a book one of the best I have read in a long time and set it in a class of its own with this genre. Highly recommend, not for the closed minded.

211 of 264 people found this review helpful

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  • Leandro Henrique Lourenço da Silva
  • 12-01-19

Great book for people who want to sort their lives

Life is suffering, so we must do what we need, not what we want. Listen, tell the truth and above all read this book.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Richard C.
  • 10-12-18

Life changing - maybe

Articulates everything that you ever thought about but couldn’t make sense of, or ever have an intelligent conversation about.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Lewis
  • 25-01-18

A fantastic book by a extremely insightful man.

I have recently been through the death of a parent, a divorce and loss of employment. Any one of these events will put your world into chaos. All 3 at once can bush you to your limits. This book puts it all into perspective. Chaos in life will come to us all. Maybe this book can make the journey back to order that little bit easier. Jordan Peterson I commend you for your insight into the complexity of being.

118 of 155 people found this review helpful

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  • Yathoom
  • kuwait
  • 06-12-18

Story infused rules!

I loved the narration of this book. It's lovely when the author add his attitude and views of what's written in his own voice. The material and ideas of the book are nice, and deeply thaught in humanity scale and religious prospective at times. I am a Muslim and I can relate to the situations that Peterson describes. I thought all people of faith would find interesting views of the rules that the author proposes. If you love stories and philosophy, this is a nice book for you to read. If your an atheist, you would have a lot of views to consider and nigate. Either way I think many people would enjoy reading these views.

30 of 39 people found this review helpful

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  • James Cartwright
  • 06-02-18

Should come with warning - Contains Religion

I have nothing against religion and Christianity - I infrequently attend church.

However, I expect logical reasoning in books such as these to be predicated on science and rational argument.

In large parts of this book Peterson reads from long sections of the Bible and theologises for longer still.

It is in these sections that his delivery resembles a lay preacher not a professor of science.

A shame because the moral lessons do not require this religiosity- they are logical without faith.

412 of 547 people found this review helpful

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  • iain sallis
  • 16-03-18

It was great until...

I was really looking forward to a meaty ‘question yourself and your life’ type of book, the author started the first chapter with wonderful and insightful psychological arguments...then he mentioned Jesus?
I thought this strange, but carried on the the next chapter, again, with some fantastic insights into humanism ...then it happened again...the bible??
I started seeing a pattern, by chapter 7 it was a full on bible lesson...which is when I called it a day.
A real shame as I thought his initial rules and thoughts were great, it just turned into a sermon.

188 of 256 people found this review helpful

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  • Christopher
  • 21-01-18

Fascinating Read

Psychologist and controversial public figure, Jordan B. Peterson, undertakes his first serious attempt to distill his ideas about life into a book for a general audience. Although, perhaps not one for the typical audience of such books. Jordan's various essays are fascinating, lengthy--and at times wandering--discussions of what it means to be human and how to live in this world we inhabit. The explanations for his suggested 'rules' are not for your typical Oprah Book Club reader longing for simple answers, and dumbed-down explanations. There is no woo-woo or hoo-rah here. Instead, Peterson draws particularly on a unique combination of Jungian psychology and Darwinian evolution to explain how he believes the world works, and what that may mean for each of us as we move through life.
This is an unusual work, unlike other popular psychology books I've read, for it presents an engrossing and intellectually fascinating take on the modern human condition, rather than just offering a few anecdotal (or researched but overly-simplified) quick fix ideas. There is no concessions to pandering here, and the explanations he provides are at times uncomfortable for they strip away some of the masques we wear and facades we build around our humanity. What is beneath is not always pretty, but evidently is a side of our humanity Peterson believes we each ought to confront, for it is the healthy assimilation of these elements into the psyche that allows us to move courageously in the turbulent, chaotic world. We must each embrace the chaos within, should we wish to confront it in the world. This book is Peterson's attempt to show us how it's done.

115 of 135 people found this review helpful

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  • James
  • 16-02-18

Great advice but a little long-winded at times.

I really appreciated a lot of the advice and I really respect Jordan Peterson. Most of the chapters start off strong with personal and clinical anecdotes, only to be followed by 30 minutes of biblical studies... As someone who isnt religious and grew up in a non-religous home, in a mostly non-religous country, it became a little much. I can appreciate some of these christian references and enjoy exploring their ideas. But it wasn't long before I'd find myself lost in thought rather than listening as the point had already been made prior to the bible being pulled out.

103 of 123 people found this review helpful

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  • greg watts
  • 08-01-19

“To say anything is to say nothing at all”

He mentions in his book something along the lines of “to say anything is to say nothing at all” with regards to the level of pain his daughter experienced.

In the same spirit of that line....
October before last, my fiancé at the time and myself listened to one of Jordan’s lectures/podcasts relating to having kids on the drive down the coast to our wedding.
We’d been together for 10 years before we were married and had planned not to have kids.
After listening, we decided “if it happens on the honeymoon it happens, if not, back to our careers”.
We’ll it happened so thanks to this guy my new wife and I now have a 6 month old son who we love more than we knew possible.

This humble carpenter attempting to find the words to express gratitude for the difference made in my life by a stranger I’ll never meet, on the other side of the globe, wouldn’t do it justice.

To say that I am grateful is “almost to say nothing at all”.

For both the inspiration and now the instruction manual, my new family and I thanks you.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Wouter Chömpff
  • 05-02-18

Contains timeless answers to life’s timeless questions

I rank this amongst the top 10 most important books in my life. I wish it was written years ago, since its timeless wisdom is useful in every phase of life.

Peterson is the first author who offers credible answers to the nihilistic questions that tend to creep into every critical mind: why bother when life is unpredictable, unfair and short? Why get out of bed when all your work can be undone by one drunk driver? Why have children that are destined to suffer, sometimes immeasurably?

Please pick this one up. If it doesn’t bring you the value it did to millions already, at least you’ll know what the fuss is all about.

49 of 61 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-02-18

Great rules for life. Attention turns off towards the later chapters.

The first half of the book was really impactful and the rules were really practical. But the later chapters/rules I felt they weren’t really anything I could relate to and I was just listening to finish the book. Also, there are a lot of religious stories and comparisons which were awesome for the few chapters. I’m not someone who hates religion but.... a bit too much for me.

16 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-03-19

Is he a clinical psychologist, or a Priest?

I bought this book due to the increasing hype around Jordan. Disappointingly, It's just that; a hype.

I could relate to and confirm that the advice he gives, as a parent and psychologist, on chapters concerning children are very good as this is my professional field and I did refer some parents to the specific chapters.

I am, though, poorly disappointed at the amount of, rather lack of, evidence which comes in the form of Bible literature. He is a psychologist yet, this book seems to have been written by a priest.

3 of 12 chapters seemed well. Was told in a mostly entertaining & easy to absorb manner.

23 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • Martin Castilla
  • 31-07-18

Boring, religious content not openly disclosed.

Bought this given the high number of downloads and high ratings. I've listened to a couple hours and - honestly - have rarely been so bored reading/listening to a book. Plus, about an hour in Peterson mentions "Mathew 25.10" or such religious reference. That was interesting and relevant, but then he makes another reference to a religious text (bible or book of something or other), and I thought oh no, not another religious reference. Since then, the whole tone and text is a religious reference to Adam & Eve, the significance of the snake, and apple tree, god this and Jesus that. It turns out - as far as I can tell, suffering it - that it's a Sunday morning sermon, and equally as electrifying. I wasted my money on this turkey, and will request a swap. It should clearly be marked for its high religious content and references - not what I thought I was buying at all.

87 of 119 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-02-19

Does not live up to the hype . . . RETURNED IT.

I have heard Jordan on numerous podcasts, and in dynamic discussions he shines. But this book, the stories and performance are uninspiring and bitter.

This is a Sunday church sermon at its worst.

Beyond the extensive use of Biblical stories, Peterson’s support for his rules rely heavily on stories, overlooking extensive published research that would have offered greater credibility (Gladwell, Arieli, Taleb and Harris are all superb at this).

Clearly Peterson resonates with many listeners, maybe suitable for the first step into self reflection. But not likely to resonate with those who are already established on the journey of seeking to become a ‘better person’.

My first returned Audible purchase.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 27-03-19

Couldn’t finish it

Some good tips but way too in depth and far too much talk about Christianity and bible stories.

26 of 37 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-01-18

This book will shatter you into a million pieces

everything you thought you knew will be shattered
you will be ripped apart and scattered
and also put back together and made whole

37 of 53 people found this review helpful