By Freelance Contributor | Strong Female Leaders
Reading Time: Approx. 5 minutes
Target Audience: Professional Women, Entrepreneurial Women

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About Jordan Peterson and the 12 Rules for Life
Too much chaos in your life? Canadian Psychologist and Professor, Jordan B. Peterson, can help with that. In his bestseller, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, Peterson offers life advice through essays, prolific writing, and personal experiences. Though criticised for the unorthodox style of writing, 12 Rules for Life has sold over three million copies worldwide since its debut in 2018. The book's success also elevated Peterson's popularity from a respected professor in acedemia to a household name in pop culture. Now Peterson travels the world to promote his book, give speeches, and promote himself as a brand. Not bad for an academic who lived his own advice and took a shot at doing something new.
The idea for writing 12 Rules for Life grew out of Peterson's experience on a website named Quora. One day he ran into a rather peculiar question that asked: "what are the most valuable things everyone should know?" From his original answer that listed 42 rules, Peterson reduced to 12 rules, and then developed them into the following chapters in the book:
1) "Stand up straight with your shoulders back"
2) "Treat yourself like you are someone you are responsible for helping"
3) "Make friends with people who want the best for you"
4) "Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today"
5) "Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them"
6) "Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world"
7) "Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)"
8) "Tell the truth — or, at least, don’t lie"
9) "Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t"
10) "Be precise in your speech"
11) "Do not bother children when they are skate-boarding"
12) "Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street"

What we loved?
You must be rolling your eyes by now. Who does this guy think he is, preaching to people about how to live their lives? Be surprised, though, to learn that Peterson is far from the average preacher. In fact, what makes this book most interesting is Peterson's unique teaching style and filter-free communication, which may have been derived from his clinical experiences from treating psychologically damaged patients. For example, instead of seeking happiness, as so many of us who are accostumed to the "Facebook" version of happiness are used to hearing, Peterson asks us to seek meaning instead. And he does so by painting, ever so vividly, this picture of the world of chaos and order that we are stuck in, and highlights the fact that all human beings have this dark impulse that manifest only under certain circumstance. But, we also have a light, and we turn it on when we seek for the right things in life.
That is brutal honesty, and some people appreciate it.

Another interesting factor about the 12 Rules for Life is how Peterson challenges us in the most intrinsic way. Of course, his intention is to surface the underlying lesson to strive for personal responsibility. Because at the end of the day, good or evil, light or dark, we make our own choices. From contributing positively to the world to disciplining our children to choosing our friends wisely, who we are right now is built upon the small choices that we make everyday. And from these small-scale personal choices, we then build outwardly our communities, societies and the world.
His advice is "have some humility...If you cannot bring peace to your own household, how dare you try to rule a city?” Instead of a polite and glossy advice, he dares us, and does so bluntly, intending to jolt us out of the constant elation. For those of us who can take that type of criticism, it is actually good advice.
What can the book could improve on?
The book has more than a handful of critics, and they dubbed Peterson as neurotic, baroque and scolding. If you prefer a softer approach to the self-help genre, then 12 Rules for Life probably won't resonate with you. However, if you enjoy a more forthright and borderline controversial writing style, with a sprinkle of intellectualism and practical life lessons, then this book for you.
Parting Thoughts
We recommend this book because it tells the same life lessons that we hear everywhere else in a differently and perhaps more effective tone. Because of Peterson's academic background and experiences working with real patients, he does bring more genuine perspective. Peterson may have accumulated wealth and a following from publishing the If you do try it, be open minded and get ready to be entertained.

12 Rules for Life

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