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A Summary of 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, by Jordan Peterson



Jordan Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist, cultural critic, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. He rose to fame in the early 2010s for his criticism of political correctness and his opposition to compelled speech. He has written several books, including "12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos," which is a self-help book that offers practical advice on how to live a meaningful and fulfilling life.


The book covers a wide range of topics, including personal responsibility, self-discipline, and the importance of having a sense of purpose. Here is a brief overview of the 12 rules outlined in the book:

  1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back: This rule is about taking responsibility for your own life and not being a victim. It also means being aware of your posture and body language, which can affect your confidence and mindset.

  2. Treat yourself like you would someone you are responsible for helping: This rule is about being kind to yourself and not being overly critical. It also means being mindful of your own well-being and taking care of yourself.

  3. Make at least one thing better each day: This rule is about taking small steps towards improvement and progress, rather than trying to make big changes all at once.

  4. Compare yourself with who you were yesterday, not with who someone else is today: This rule is about focusing on your own progress and not comparing yourself to others. It also means being mindful of your own strengths and weaknesses.

  5. Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them: This rule is about setting boundaries and being a good role model for your children. It also means being mindful of your own behavior and how it might affect your children.

  6. Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world: This rule is about taking responsibility for your own life and not blaming others for your problems. It also means being mindful of your own behavior and how it might affect others.

  7. Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient: This rule is about having a sense of purpose and not just going through the motions of life. It also means being mindful of your own values and what is truly important to you.

  8. Tell the truth, or at least, don't lie: This rule is about being honest and having integrity. It also means being mindful of your own words and actions and how they might affect others.

  9. Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don't: This rule is about being open-minded and not being too quick to dismiss others' ideas or perspectives.

  10. Be Precise in your speech: This rule is about being clear and concise in your communication. It also means being mindful of your own words and how they might be received by others.

  11. Do not bother children when they are skateboarding: This rule is about respecting the autonomy of others and not trying to control their behavior. It also means recognizing that everyone has their own unique path in life.

  12. Pet a Cat when you encounter one on the street: This rule is about being open to new experiences and taking the time to enjoy the small things in life.

These 12 rules are not meant to be a one-size-fits-all solution, but rather a guide to help individuals navigate the complexity of life. It emphasizes on taking personal responsibility, developing self-discipline, and having a sense of purpose, which can ultimately lead to a more meaningful and fulfilling life.


Peterson's work primarily focuses on the psychological and philosophical underpinnings of human behavior and culture, including the role of masculinity, the concept of the "hero's journey," and the use of archetypes in storytelling. He has a large following and has been both praised and criticized for his views on a variety of social and political issues.


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