12 Rules For Life Book Summary - 12 Rules For Life Book explained in key points
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12 Rules For Life summary

Jordan B. Peterson

An Antidote to Chaos

4.3 (3701 ratings)
33 mins

Brief summary

12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson is a self-help book that provides a set of simple yet profound rules to live by, drawing on psychology, philosophy, and mythology. It offers practical guidance on how to deal with chaos and find meaning in life.

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    12 Rules For Life
    Summary of 12 key ideas

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    Hierarchies are a common facet of life in societies around the world, so give yourself an advantage with good posture.

    You’ve probably heard of the phrase, “the pecking order,” right? But do you know where it originated?

    It comes from the Norwegian zoologist Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbe, who was studying barnyard chickens in the 1920s when he noticed that there was a clear hierarchy among these birds. At the top were the healthiest, strongest ones that always got to peck first when the chicken feed came. At the bottom were the weakest chickens, with their feathers falling out, who only got to peck at the leftover crumbs.

    Pecking orders like this aren’t limited to chickens; they occur naturally throughout the animal kingdom.

    Lobsters, for instance, whether they’re in the ocean or raised in captivity, will aggressively fight over the best and most secure spots for shelter.

    Scientists have found that these competitive conflicts will lead to the winners and losers having different chemical balances in their brains. Winners will have a higher ratio of the hormone serotonin to octopamine, while the ratio in losers will tilt in the opposite direction.

    These levels can even affect the posture of lobsters: more serotonin will lead to the winners being more agile and upright, and more octopamine makes losers tense and curled up. This difference will factor into further confrontations, as the upright lobsters will appear bigger and more intimidating, causing the tense ones to remain submissive.

    As you may have guessed, similar hierarchies and cycles of winning and losing play out among humans.

    Studies have shown that those in the grips of alcoholism or depression are less likely to enter a competitive situation, which only reinforces more inactivity and continued low self-esteem and depression.

    Conversely, those on a winning streak often present a swaggering and confident body language, which can help them keep their streak alive. Just like lobsters, humans are constantly measuring themselves up against each other, and we associate a person’s intelligence with their physicality.

    So if you’re trying to give yourself an advantage, follow the first rule: hold your head high and strike the posture of a winner.

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    What is 12 Rules For Life about?

    12 Rules For Life (2018) provides readers with an inventory of life’s most pressing concerns and the issues that have been present in the human psyche since ancient times. Author Jordan B. Peterson has collected some of the most enduring philosophical and religious assertions, as well as the lessons from our most cherished tales, to provide us with 12 guidelines to ensure a life of meaning. Drawing on philosophy, psychology, history and myth, these are clear and consistent principles that everyone can live by.

    12 Rules For Life Review

    12 Rules For Life (2018) by Jordan B. Peterson is a thought-provoking exploration of principles that can lead to a meaningful and fulfilling life. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Packed with profound wisdom and practical advice, it offers concrete rules that can help improve various aspects of our lives.
    • By combining scientific research, philosophical insights, and personal anecdotes, the book provides a well-rounded perspective on complex issues.
    • It attracts and retains our attention through captivating storytelling and relatable examples, ensuring that the book is anything but boring.

    Best quote from 12 Rules For Life

    To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order.

    —Jordan B. Peterson
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    Who should read 12 Rules For Life?

    • Students of psychology
    • Readers seeking meaning in their lives
    • People interested in the lessons of mythology

    About the Author

    Jordan Peterson is a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, as well as a clinical psychologist and cultural critic. He has garnered widespread publicity and media coverage for his often controversial YouTube videos and public appearances, in which he critiques political correctness.

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    12 Rules For Life FAQs 

    What is the main message of 12 Rules For Life?

    The main message of 12 Rules For Life is to find meaning and purpose in life through personal responsibility and self-improvement.

    How long does it take to read 12 Rules For Life?

    The reading time for 12 Rules For Life varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is 12 Rules For Life a good book? Is it worth reading?

    12 Rules For Life is a thought-provoking and insightful book that offers practical advice for improving oneself. It is definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of 12 Rules For Life?

    The author of 12 Rules For Life is Jordan B. Peterson.

    What to read after 12 Rules For Life?

    If you're wondering what to read next after 12 Rules For Life, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • How to Talk to Anyone by Leil Lowndes
    • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
    • The 48 Laws of Power (new version) by Robert Greene
    • Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
    • 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do by Amy Morin
    • All It Takes Is a Goal by Jon Acuff
    • Beyond Order by Jordan B. Peterson
    • The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma
    • The Daily Laws by Robert Greene
    • The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss