12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson is a book I picked up after watching several YouTube videos of Peterson’s. He has been quite the academic rock star recently with nearly 40 million views as well as podcast and television appearances. His rise is partly due to his becoming a vocal opponent of Canada’s C-16 bill requiring people to use preferred pronouns for “non-binary” students.
“These laws are the first laws that I’ve seen that require people under the threat of legal punishment to employ certain words, to speak a certain way, instead of merely limiting what they’re allowed to say,” Peterson says.
Aside from the firestorm surrounding his free speech fight, what I find most interesting about Peterson’s appearances, videos and this book is how he takes some extremely dry and stodgy subjects and makes them entertaining.
In his 12 Rules, Peterson begins with “1. STAND UP STRAIGHT WITH YOUR SHOULDERS BACK.” The Canadian clinical psychologist, cultural critic, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, then goes on to explain through examples such as the hierarchy of lobsters the reasons for the rule. He delves into the brains of lobsters (and humans) and the effect serotonin plays in these hierarchies. What his example shows however is that power is not a social construct but something wired into us.
Rules like the above example and “5. DO NOT LET YOUR CHILDREN DO ANYTHING THAT MAKES YOU DISLIKE THEM” may make it feel like a self-help book but that is not why Peterson has gotten so popular. It is really because the self-proclaimed“classic British liberal” makes so many statements that drive the Left absolutely bananas. His belief in God alone is enough to make Social Justice Warriors apoplectic.
For my money, this book is much more than self-help (although it is the meatiest helping of that I have ever seen.) Because it doesn’t fill you with rah-rah emotion or coddle you intellectually, 12 Rules is a really good read.
Be warned however as “7. PURSUE WHAT IS MEANINGFUL, NOT WHAT IS EXPEDIENT” will cause you to dig deeper into some hard subjects/actions, this book and his talks have already greatly expanded my reading list.
In the short term, this book likely won’t be an antidote to the chaos in your life, the principles explained here will.
As a bonus, here is a “gateway” video to begin your dive into Jordan B. Peterson. Sorry for the lost time these videos will cause, but you’re welcome for the introduction. 🙂
Come for the life-lessons, stay for the smack down of unthinking liberals.
by Chris Doelle