12 Rules For Life Summary – Jordan Peterson’s self-help Bestseller

This is a summary of Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. Jordan Peterson is a renowned university professor who wrote this book intending to help young men in particular. He breaks down the wrongs of society: why things are the way they are before going into depth on the way they should be.

Summary of 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote to Chaos

A general summary of rules for Life’ is that each chapter is a rule that is impertinent to follow for success. Jordan writes using stories from his past and uses references in the animal kingdom to prove his point on the way things are.

Each rule is almost like an essay, and Jordan brilliantly goes into detail to prove his point of why he thinks each rule is so important.

Jordan Peterson 12 Rules For Life Summary

It’s a New York Times bestseller that has sold over 4 million copies worldwide. The reader can learn about things that Peterson has seen to be true and things he has learned about human psychology from his years as a professor and psychologist.

The best rules from the 12 Rules For Life

Stand up straight with your shoulders back

I don’t want to give away too much of the book, but one rule is: stand up straight with your shoulders back. This has been proven to increase testosterone in males, and Jorda Peterson n uses an interesting comparison with how lobsters who are alpha males stand tall after they defeat another lobster and the lobster who is defeated slinks away dejectedly.

We aren’t lobsters, but the fact remains the same: if you want to portray an alpha image, you need to carry yourself as someone important. We don’t live in the animal kingdom, and unless you live in an extremely rough area, there often isn’t any threat of violence walking around in public. So why not stand confidently and proud?

Treat Yourself like Someone You are Responsible for Helping

Another thing Jordan Peterson covers is how people take care of their pets better than they take care of themselves. He goes into detail about how a study was done comparing how we value ours pet health more than our own. When pets were diagnosed with an illness and required medicine, more people voted they would make sure their pets got their medicine than take medicine themselves if they were diagnosed with something.

This is an interesting look at human psychology: how we don’t treat ourselves right. We don’t think we are worth taking care of and we often put off things we know that are good for us. I can attest to this myself; if I run out of cat food, I get some the next day, but I often opt out of going to the store to pick up healthy food when I run out of groceries for myself.

Befriend People Who Want the Best for You

Jordan Peterson goes in-depth about friends he grew up with that had great potential but didn’t live up to it. He tells a relatable story of growing up in a small town and wanting to get out and go somewhere with his life. Some friends were headed somewhere, and others knew they didn’t have the intelligence to pursue higher education and would end up working in oil fields.

Later in life, he runs into someone he knew growing up who had potential but was hanging out with a loser. He writes about the psychology of someone who is always trying to help others: is it a narcissistic need to surround yourself with people doing worse than you to feel better about yourself, or a hero complex where we think we can save others? He argues this doesn’t make you a hero, and you need to help yourself before helping others.

Peterson goes into more on this later in another rule; he discusses having your own house in order before criticizing the world. He even goes into depth about the importance of something as simple as making your bed: he makes a brilliant analogy. This is in a later chapter; I don’t want to ruin too much of the book because I believe Jordan’s words do it better justice than mine.

Who Should and Who Shouldn’t Read The Book 12 Rules For Life?

Peterson is known for his right-wing beliefs and wrote this book for men (young men in particular). He saw the plight of young men and what they face in the world today and wrote this to help the next generation. I’m not sure if women will get as much out of this as men, and I also believe those who are more left-wing would have a problem with some of Jordan’s opinions.

Review of 12 Rules For Life

I think Jordan Peterson’s wisdom and well-written words make a tremendous read for a young man trying to make it in this world; I wish I had read it years ago. No book is perfect and there are some flaws in some of his theories and interesting counter-arguments you could make, but it has some expert knowledge and life lessons. Anyone open-minded would benefit from reading this book.

Some issues with self-help books of this nature – as Jordan Peterson says in his own words – is that life is a zero-sum game. For others to succeed in this competitive world, there have to be losers. Not everyone is going to be successful, no matter how many books they read. But that’s just the nature of the way things are, and at its core, it’s an influential book with a lot of insight that can help many people.

Should You Read the Complete 12 Rules For Life?

I may take a bit of time to finish because self-help books aren’t always fun to read and can almost seem like work to get through, but that is essentially what this book preaches: putting in work to better yourself. Each chapter has something positive to teach, and it’s a brilliant book for young men of this generation – who seem so lost – to check out. Overall, I think it’s a great book and would highly recommend it.

Marilyn Nissen
Written by Marilyn Nissen

Marilyn Nissen is the founder of BestSellerSummary.com, a highly reputable book summary and reviews website. With over a decade of experience in summarizing and reviewing books, Marilyn is a trusted authority in the book industry.