12 Rules For Life Summary By Jordan B. Peterson

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12 Rules For Life by Jordan B. Peterson is a must-read book for anyone looking for an inventory of life’s most pressing concerns and the issues that have been present in the human psyche since ancient times.

It brings together timeless philosophical and religious teachings, as well as stories from our cherished tales, and presents them in 12 guidelines to assist us in living life to its fullest.

The author has carefully blended different elements such as philosophy, psychology, history, and mythology into a harmonious mixture that can be implemented into everyday life.

With practical advice provided clearly and consistently throughout the book, 12 Rules For Life provides readers with the fundamental tools they need to create a life full of meaning.

12 Rules For Life Summary

Book Name: 12 Rules For Life (An Antidote to Chaos)

Author(s): Jordan B. Peterson

Rating: 4.3/5

Reading Time: 33 Minutes

Categories: Motivation & Inspiration

Author Bio

Jordan Peterson is an internationally renowned professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, known for his exploration and criticism of contemporary culture.

He's also a licensed clinical psychologist who has become increasingly popular for his videos and public appearances on YouTube, which spark discussion about political correctness and other matters.

His most famous work to date is the book '12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos', which offers practical guidance that draws from life lessons from ancient cultures and religious traditions around the world.

It has since become one of the most talked-about books today, with readers looking forward to learning more from this insightful author.

How Jordan B. Peterson’s List of 12 Universal Values Can Help Us Find Meaning in Life

Jordan B. Peterson's

The road of life is filled with bumps and obstacles, but having a reliable set of rules to live by can make navigating these tough times much easier.

This is why Jordan B. Peterson has written his book 12 Rules For Life, which is full of solid, practical advice to help guide you on your journey.

Throughout the story, he uses various classic texts—such as Pinocchio—as well as references from other philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle to illustrate how we must find balance between order and chaos in our lives.

He also draws on nature for insight; for instance, comparing the lobster’s courage to our own ability to build courage when life throws us curveballs.

Overall, the author teaches us that life is about striving for meaning and following rules that will bring success without compromising our personal values.

Regardless of where you are currently at in life, this book can provide invaluable insight into how to make it through hard times while still staying true to yourself.

How Pecking Orders Shape Human Behavior and Functioning in the Natural World

Hierarchies play an important role in virtually every society around the world, from chickens in a barnyard to humans engaging in competitive activities.

Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe, the Norwegian zoologist who studied the pecking order of chickens, first identified this hierarchical phenomenon.

Using the classic example of lobsters living in captivity, scientists have even observed that different chemical balances exist in the brains of “winners” and “losers” after confronting each other – winners have higher serotonin levels compared to octopamine levels, while losers have a ratio that is reversed.

These same changes can also be seen in humans – those with more serotonin have been found to appear more confident and bold while those filled with more octopamine present tense, curled up postures.

It’s clear then, that on some level, humans recognize physical presence as a sign of prowess and worth.

To gain an advantage within these hierarchies therefore requires one to strike a winning posture – hold your head high!

With good posture you can appear to be bigger and stronger which will clue others into accepting your superiority over them without any further interactions or confrontations necessary.

We Are All Worthless Yet Perfectly Harmonized: Finding Balance in Self-Care


We all have flaws, which can lead to feelings of self-loathing that results in unnecessary self-punishment and the upsetting belief that we don’t deserve to feel good.

This concept has been around since the biblical story of Adam and Eve at least and is represented by the two sides of the Yin-Yang symbol, where a healthy balance between light and dark must be maintained to achieve harmony.

When it comes to taking care of ourselves, we can learn a valuable lesson from this ancient concept and apply it in our own lives with care.

We show our loved ones kindness, love, and compassion – so why don’t we extend that same tenderness and understanding towards ourselves? We must recognize our weaknesses without letting them define us; take action on decisions that are best for us rather than just those which make us feel happy; brush off criticism even when it’s hard; stay strong in moments of adversity.

We cannot fight against chaos because sometimes it is an unwinnable battle – but if we show ourselves the same care as we would a loved one throughout both good times and bad then we can always find peace within ourselves.

The Power of Positive Friendships: Why We Should be Picky About Who We Surround Ourselves With

When it comes to success in life, the people we surround ourselves with can have a huge impact.

The third rule in Jordan Peterson’s book “12 Rules for Life” warns us to choose our friends wisely, as the wrong companions can drag us down and stop us from reaching our potential.

The author includes personal experiences from his own childhood growing up near Fairview, Alberta, where he witnessed how his friend slowly declined because of association with ne’er-do-wells.

Studies have also shown that if you include a problematic employee in a high-performing team, it won’t help them improve; instead their bad habits are likely to spread and bring down everyone’s performance.

Friendships should be built on support and encouragement.

Good friends will always have your best interests in mind and push you out of negativity if it starts to take hold – this kind of dynamic is essential for individual success, as well as bigger achievements when part of a group.

Just look at what happened when the author left Fairview to go to college – there he became part of a supportive circle which helped him thrive academically and even started up a successful student union!

Self-Criticism and Why You Should Judge Yourself Against Your Own Prior Accomplishments, Not Others


Many of us have an inclination to compare ourselves to others when evaluating our progress.

We can all find someone who is better at something than we are, and it can be discouraging.

However, this type of comparison does not help us in any meaningful way.

Rather than falling down the rabbit hole of comparing your achievements to those of others, use comparisons to your past accomplishments as a measure for your progress instead.

This type of self-assessment allows you to look at how far you’ve come without unnecessary distractions.

The “home inspector” analogy helps illustrate why this approach makes so much sense: if you don’t ask the right questions, identify the necessary improvements and make regular check-ins on your progress, you won’t get the results that you want.

By focusing on yourself and keeping track of improvements, no matter how small they may be, you will be able to see your growth curve over time and adjust accordingly.

Parents Need to Set Rules and Use the Minimum Necessary Force to Raise a Responsible, Likable Human Being

It is a parents’ duty to ensure that their child learns how to be a responsible and kind adult.

It’s not enough to simply be a friend – children need guidance, structure, and discipline in order to learn the values they need.

Allowing them too much freedom can overwhelm them, while too many rules can lead to frustration.

Finding the balance between letting children explore and teaching them right from wrong is key for parenting success.

This means setting limits and enforcing consequences when those limits are broken – but picking punishments that are appropriate for each particular situation and fit the “crime.”

An important way of achieving this balance is having a unified front approach by both parents.

When both parents come together to manage their child’s behavior, it prevents manipulation of one parent by the other.

As well as this, having two sets of eyes ensures any mistakes can be caught quickly with improved parenting decisions in the long-term.

Take Responsibility for Your Life and Find Meaning in Suffering With Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Example

Responsibility for Your Life

The world can be a cruel and unfair place, with many challenges and suffering–but accepting this does not mean giving in to despair.

Leo Tolstoy, in his essay “A Confession“, proposed four possible responses to the injustices of life: ignorance, pleasure-seeking, suicide or struggle—and he saw suicide as the most honest response.

Other people have responded by taking their own lives and those of others in acts known as murder-suicides.

In recent years alone, there have been more than 1,000 shootings across the United States that have left four or more dead.

However, according to the sixth rule for life put forward by author Jordan Peterson in his book 12 Rules for Life, we should take responsibility before we judge the world.

We shouldn’t blame the world for all our misfortunes; instead we should take control of our lives and strive to make something good out of it.

One example of this is Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

Despite having served in World War II and despite being imprisoned by his own state after the war—even being diagnosed with cancer while serving his sentence—Solzhenitsyn still found ways to contribute something meaningful to society such as writing The Gulag Archipelago which exposed the horrors of Soviet camps he had experienced first hand.

In conclusion, although the world is filled with injustices, individuals must recognize that sometimes it’s our own actions that contribute to these wrongs which is why we should not simply blame externally but also accept personal responsibility before accusing others for our lot in life.

The moral lesson behind the story of the monkey who got caught with his hand in the cookie jar can be applied to humans just as easily.

Greed has a price, and it’s one that many people pay when they reject long-term goals for immediate pleasures.

The allure of momentary happiness is something we should strive to resist if we want to achieve our long-term dreams and ambitions.

Sacrifice is often a critical part of reaching success, both big and small sacrifices that create better futures by setting aside something now.

This concept has been around since ancient times, where tribes would put food aside during abundant seasons so they could make it through harder times or help those in their community who couldn’t provide for themselves.

Sacrifice can be seen as a meaningful act and it’s important that we always prioritize purposeful direction over instant gratification.

Take the lotus flower for example; despite starting its life rooted in darkness, it persevered until finally blooming out of the darkness to bask in sunlight.

We too should have the courage and dedication to keep striving towards our goals even when faced with adversity and sacrifice what needs to given up – an approach that is much more productive than allowing momentary desires overtake our pursuits for life-long rewards.

Stop Lying and Embrace the Truth to Find Strength and Meaning in Life

Meaning in Life

We all know that, at some point in our lives, we’ve told a lie, either to ourselves or to someone else.

But why does this happen? It’s often because we think it’ll help us get what we want.

Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler called these lies “life-lies,” and they are things that we do and say in order for us to make poorly thought out goals become a reality.

Unfortunately, pursuing these life-lies can lead to disaster since often times the goals set are completely unrealistic and far from reachable.

In addition, striving toward life-lies is preventing us from reaching our full potential as it limits our desire to learn and grow.

Lies are a common tool of self-deception and should not be taken lightly.

The 8th Rule of the 12 Rules For Life states that “Stop Lying & Be Truthful” which reflects the importance of striving toward truthful living instead of being driven by fantasies and delusions of grandeur.

This is not only beneficial to obtaining realistic goals but also essential in order for us to live more meaningful lives as truth is a valuable commodity in our culture.

Socrates’ Idea of Using Conversation to Learn: Listen, Summarize, and Be Open to Change

No matter how wise a person is, life is full of learning opportunities.

Conversations can be one of the most valuable tools in this process, as they provide an opportunity to listen and learn from another’s perspective.

Thousands of years ago, Socrates knew this when he taught that the only thing he was sure of was that he knew nothing; His conversations with others offered him insight into what he didn’t yet know.

When engaging in meaningful conversations, it’s important to treat them as thoughts or discussions and not a competition to win or validate preconceptions.

Listen to what others have to say and take the time to carefully consider their perspectives with an open mind.

It might mean having to adjust original ideas or conceptions, but it presents a powerful opportunity for personal growth.

Recapping out loud what has been said helps ensure accuracy and expands upon memory retention.

Overall, conversations are an excellent chance for growth if treated sincerely and taken seriously.

For best results, approach every conversation assuming you have something to learn from the other person on the other side, benefit from feedback, be willing to adapt and adjust accordingly where necessary – these are indispensable ingredients for healthy dialogue!

The Power of Precise Language to Restore Order and Simplify Complexity

Living life can be an overwhelming and complex experience, but if you take the time to break it down into a more manageable form then it can become easier to confront.

Rule 10 in “12 Rules for Life” by Jordan Peterson speaks about using precise language as a way of doing this.

This means being specific with your words so that you gain a better understanding of what is happening.

For example, when confronted by a problem such as a broken-down car while driving, simply cursing or expressing rage will not help the situation.

To face it head on, you must be precise in what is wrong with the car and explain each issue clearly.

The same approach should be taken when dealing with physical ailments; precise language should be used to explain any symptoms or issues experienced.

This will make it easier for doctors to properly diagnose the issue and find a proper solution.

Outside of medical issues, precision in language can also improve relationships.

If someone does something that bothers you then speaking to them about it using precise language will help them understand and clear up any misunderstandings quickly.

This can also create more trust between both parties involved which leads to stronger relationships overall.

The Dangers of Hatred for the Patriarchal System and Suppressing Masculinity

Patriarchal System

It’s understandable to want to combat the bad aspects of oppressive male domination, but it’s important that we avoid going down a path where we suppress human nature and don’t attach blame indiscriminately.

George Orwell referred to this when he talked about socialism as an attempt to fight the powerful at any cost.

Similarly, Max Horkheimer from the Marx-based Frankfurt School suggested that education should focus on social change rather than empowering women.

It’s true that many men have done awful things throughout history and there needs to be a healthy outrage towards this behavior, but it shouldn’t be overstated or attributed to all men; in fact, it can often lead to unjustly punishing good qualities in young males such as independence and bravery.

As novelist Chuck Palahniuk illustrated in his book Fight Club, unchecked aggression becomes a temptation if traditional masculinity is held back – something that could lead people towards right-wing extremism.

No mother would want her son stripped of his chance to develop autonomy and problem-solve without being judged.

We need an understanding approach towards what it means to be male while also confronting oppressive behavior – not one or the other.

In doing so, hopefully everybody can benefit from acknowledging the bad along with unlocking positive qualities within us all.*

Appreciating the Good Moments in Life requires an Appreciation of Pain and Suffering

We all know life can be difficult and full of sorrow.

But it’s important to remember that even in times of darkness, there are still moments of joy.

To get the most out of life, it’s essential to take time to enjoy and celebrate those small joys.

Take the example from the author’s daughter.

Despite her suffering from severe arthritis since age six – with constant pain, multiple surgeries, and joint replacements – she was eventually able to find relief through a new physiotherapist.

This meant greater mobility and a reduction in her pain level.

It’s easy for us to focus on the bad when life gets tough but by taking time to appreciate these lighter moments, we can build up our strength and resilience for when darker times come.

It’s also important to recognize that without adversity, moments of peace are meaningless – they would have no value at all if it weren’t for hardships we have gone through.

Wrap Up

The 12 Rules for Life provides readers with an essential set of principles and insights on how to navigate life’s many obstacles.

It encourages people to be honest, truthful, and avoid being selfish and prideful.

Most importantly, it reminds all of us that it is only us who can improve our lives; no one else can or should do the work for us.

Above all things, Rule # 1 – “stand up straight with your shoulders back” – may just be the most important takeaway from this book as straightening your posture symbolizes a sense of self-respect and optimism for a better future.

This is applicable both in difficult situations and when life quiets down again – always strive to stay standing tall!

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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