I will admit this right off the bat. I knew nothing of Jordan Peterson, or any of his ideology before reading this book. I must have existed in a vacuum, as I merely picked this book up as it was given as an “Amazon Recommends.”Curious about the title, I purchased on impulse.I am very glad I did.I am not Jordan Peterson’s “supposed” target audience. (I used supposed because I don’t think he actually claims to have one).I am a liberal, Asian, left leaning moderate with a background in philosophy, theology and film studies. I support the women’s right movement, equal pay, and I find the Republican party of today rather distasteful for the anti-science movement they espouse.That being said, this book spoke to me. It is not an easy read. I had to re-read chapters slowly to fully condense my thoughts. I agree with the critical review that stated you have to be intellectually equipped to really get the most out of this. I had to utilize my background in philosophy and religion to go beyond the surface of what the author was trying to say. This is not a book you can listen to at 2x speed on Audible and hope to retain anything, imo. You need to digest this.That being said…Peterson’s deft weaving of theology, mythology, and just overall cogent arguments and viewpoints made me really respect and open up my mind to things I never fully thought about. I find it laughable that a Harvard professor/psychologist has been embraced by the “alt-right” when even a moderately close reading of this text repudiates all that they stand for.Peterson is direct. He has opinions. I don’t always agree with them. But he is genuinely expressing himself, and the belief that we should all try to be better. We should all try to be more compassionate, and most of all, we all should try to understand our humanity a little more each and every there.There’s no division in this book; there’s just deep anguish at the current state of humanity and its capacity for evil. There’s some exasperation at the way things are currently constructed in society that is in many ways lost. And most of all, there’s compassion and a belief that if we all got together in a room and truly talked, the world would be a better place.I would shy away from the noise around Peterson in the headlines, on Youtube, and in how the idealogues use him (or even his own personal media narrative) to justify their twisted beliefs. Don’t let the fact that the “Alt-Right” has co-opted this man to make him a mascot. Just read the book independently and make your own judgments. You’ll be glad you did.
I found his position on women to be very disappointing. Btw I’m a guy. It was very bad. I don’t want to support an author like that. I wish I could get my money back honestly and that’s a first.
I tried. This book had so many excellent reviews.I just don’t understand.I was following nicely about lobsters and posture. It made sense.I ignored the tone, which was borderline yelling.I ignored the sweeping generalizations.I ignored the biblical passages that started to overtake every paragraph in a quasi word-salad way. I’ve studied the Bible since I could read. I know when something is off.I can only compare this book to a very long sermon, where I’m trying to follow along, and derive some wisdom. As the hours wear on, everyone is shaking their heads in agreement and I just want to go home.All I could hear were illogical statements that left zero room for elasticity and nuance. I am a human being. We all are. The author seems to set that aside and preach on…and on…and on.I felt alienated, confused and finally could take no more. I got up and left the church that this book pretends not to be.I could not have disliked this self-help book more.Never again.
I first heard about Peterson when he was debating on bill C-16. Not long after, I discovered he had a YouTube channel full of lectures and talks. At that point of my life I was truely bitter. A 23 year old man, contemplating life. At the time, I was in a relationship for 4 years. I seemed happy, but was in deep frustration and depression. My grandmother (which raised me since I was born) was diagnosed with cancer, the worst kind of it. An incurable one. I had a decent paying job (well above the average), but still something was missing. I had become nihilistic. I accepted the absence of a higher meaning, and truely believed at that point that life had little meaning. I was petrified of the thought of having a child. All of the aforementioned degraded my relashipnship with my parents and little sister to minimalistic contact.I decided, quite impulsively, to buy this book.I just finished reading it (actually, a few minutes ago). This book has an unmeasurable significance to me. It rekindled my interest in living, made me aware of my own faults and virtues. My nihilism has come to a halt, and I could proudly say that I’m on my way to finding my purpose in life, whatever it might be.
I don’t usually write reviews, but the thing is I like Jordan Peterson but this book is so far from the standard he sets in his dialogue that I have to express disappointment. I felt like most paragraphs were rambles that made me think “What the hell does this have to do with the actual rule?” So much of this book felt painful to read because of how dull and pointless it was.Please don’t read this book. It will ruin your perception of Dr. Peterson.
I quite like Jordan Peterson. I think he has interesting things to say. I think he’s unfairly criticised, often for things he hasn’t said. I was curious what he had to say here so I went as far as paying money to find out, which was a mistake.I think he should roll back on criticising other people’s writing (rule 6: get your own house in order). I quickly got bogged down when rather than illustrate and explain his point he rambled off on some exegesis of the first chapters of Genesis. You can’t draw timeless truths from books that are neither timeless nor true and I wish he would get over this thing he has for holy books. When he sticks to evolutionary biology he starts to say interesting and useful things. I enjoyed reading another passage about his hometown I dipped into but trawling through biblical passages waiting for him to make a point is extremely tiresome. My copy will be available soon through a 2nd hand book charity on here if you want it. As new, partially read.
I like Jordan Peterson a lot. I’ve particularly enjoyed his explanations and verbal jousting with some of his interviewers, so I was looking forward to reading this book to understand more about his opinions.I enjoyed the anecdotes and personal stories, which mostly come in the second half of the book. Unfortunately, I found the first half of the book hard going and it seems that most of his foundational ideas are taken from Heidegger’s concept of ‘Being’ which Peterson does not try to justify or explain, he just takes it for granted even though apparently Heidegger struggled to explain it (page xxxi).Peterson gives case after case where we should take responsibility, tell the truth, repair what’s broken, obey rules and standards and have values and moral obligations, yet without once explaining how any of these things can exist given his evolutionary, materialistic view of life.In particular, he doesn’t seem to take proper account of the is-ought problem and appears to me at least, to commit the naturalistic fallacy in moving from describing the way the world is suffering (is) and then tells us what we should do about it (ought) without proper justification.
If you have not noticed, there is a problem in our society. True, there are many problems, but one is particularly pressing. This is nihilism, the absence of meaning in the sense of both ultimate goals and present values. Nihilism stands behind much of the purposelessness, joylessness, and moral chaos of our society. It has been particularly devastating to young males in North America, the audience for whom Jordan Peterson’s writing and videos appear to be created and by whom they are most eagerly received. Peterson offers meaning, order amidst the chaos of our society; he proffers purpose, a way forward towards fulfillment; he even offers happiness, the reward that comes at the end of the intentional pursuit of meaningful living.Let’s be clear, what he is offering is a gospel, good news for the lost and oppressed. He is saying that hope, joy, and purpose can be found! But the gospel he offers turns out to be no gospel at all; it is a false gospel that leaves an even bigger hole than the one it was intended to fill. What is his answer? Take responsibility for being; take control of your present and choose to move forward in the future. Do not blame others for your circumstances or depend on another for rescue, but choose to walk the fine line between the chaotic unknown and the orderly known world by pressing forth to craft your own meaning.This, he claims, is what the individual soul longs for and is how we can lead to a collective flourishing—over against the atrocities of the 20th century (e.g. xxxv). The 12 rules he outlines all unpack this charge—”take responsibility for your being”—from different angles. Instead of summarizing his rules, I think it will be more profitable to consider his agenda as a whole and why his gospel is no gospel at all.If you have studied philosophy, you will quickly notice that Peterson is heavily influenced by the existentialist tradition mediated through Heidegger, finding himself very close to the “Christian” philosophers Paul Tillich and Rudolf Bultmann. In Peterson’s brand of existentialism, the traditional questions of philosophy are collapsed into ethics, into the question of how should and do we live. Epistemology, the questions of truth and how we know it, and metaphysics, the question of standards for truth and the reality of experience, are collapsed into the central imperative of existentialism, “take responsibility for Being.” “Being,” capitalized by Peterson (following the tradition of Heidegger) refers to the “totality of human experience,” both individual (my experience) and corporate (our experience) (xxxi). How Peterson thinks “taking responsibility for Being” should be done is unpacked through the 12 rules explained in the book. The definition employed early in the book is helpful: “We must each adopt as much responsibility as possible for individual life, society and the world” (xxxiii).In the tradition of the old liberal theologians (namely Adolf Harnack) and the existentialist Rudolf Bultmann, Peterson presents his philosophy of life in Christians terms, redefining doctrines of depravity, atonement, original sin, and faith in terms of existentialism (e.g. 55, 59, 189-90, 226). This brings us to the first problem of the book. Many Christians I have talked to see Peterson’s concern for Scripture and its centrality for western society as a refreshing breeze in modern thought. But It becomes clear early on (e.g. 43, 359) that Peterson’s interest in Scripture is not that of a Christian nor of a sort that is compatible with Christianity. Instead, Scripture is a deposit of ancient wisdom, insights spewed forth from the depths of Being itself (think of Being in the corporate sense above) (e.g. 104).The wisdom Peterson finds in the Bible is conveniently his own existentialist Jungian (as in the psychological system of Carl Jung) philosophy (e.g. Rule 2). It is not only that he rejects the inspiration and authority of Scripture, but he rejects its ability to communicate clearly. Instead, the Scriptures are demythologized to discover the moral teaching that is being communicated by its myths (xxvii, 34-35). This brings us to the second major issue.Christians should be concerned with Peterson’s handling of Christian doctrine and Scripture, let alone his false Gospel. Yet not even the non-Christian will find a plausible gospel here. Instead, those who follow Peterson’s rules are bound to find themselves in deeper despair than that which drove them to Peterson in the first place.Throughout the book he takes the stance of an old man dispensing wisdom, a scholarly authority dispensing his knowledge. Yet unlike the old person speaking from life-long experience or the authority speaking hard-earned truth, Peterson’s book does not escape the category of opinion. That is, he never offers a credible reason why we should believe the philosophy he offers.The nihilism to which this book responds emerged from a vacuum of truth and meaning; with god dead, as 20th century thought claimed, no objective standard was left for truth and meaning. It was quickly discovered that humanity was insufficient to the task of formulating their own meaning (and formulating your own truth is a contradiction in terms). Instead of returning the reader to an objective foundation, Peterson suggests that taking responsibility for being will produce its own meaning (199-201, 283).The problem, of course, is that meaning is not something that can emerge of its own accord. Peterson suggests that meaning will emerge as you take responsibility for being, yet this hardly seems the natural order of things. We are motivated to do something because we see it to be meaningful. We set goals and achieve them when we are assured they have meaning; we do not find meaning by setting goals. Without transcendence, without a God who orders reality, authoritatively sets out good and bad, right and wrong, there can be no meaning. Meaning is intrinsically tied with morality, pursuing what is good and true, and eschatology, pursuing the proper end. Without a purposeful plan for history, a distinct direction and a standard by which to evaluate progress in that direction, their can be no meaning.By leaving meaning and truth (157-159, 230) in the hands of the individual, Peterson never manages to offer a reasonable or satisfactory answer to the problem he is attempting to solve. If truth is the story you tell with your life (230), what foundation is there for the hundreds of moral evaluations he makes? What reason do we have to trust his advice, listen to his opinion, when there is no foundation for the claims he makes?Peterson offers some genuinely good advice and surely many people need to hear his call to take responsibility for life and do something with it (though I doubt those who need to hear this the most will bother reading the book). However, by giving no firm foundation for his advice, he ultimately sets the reader on the path to inevitable despair and disappointment. The advice may work for season, maybe two, but when some success is reached or when hardship comes, they will be confronted once again with meaninglessness. Like the rich and famous, they will discover at the end of their goals the same void from which they fled.There is ultimately only one good news, and Peterson’s philosophy is not it. The good news is that Jesus Christ has acted to save us from the wrath of God not that we can save ourselves and society from hopelessness and despair. The good news is that Jesus Christ will one day return and bring an end to all pain and misery and bring justice to all the atrocities of our time and beyond; the good news is not that we will work together to forge a better future. The good news is that Jesus Christ redeems us, calls us, and commissions us to live for Him in this world, giving us meaning. He has revealed the truth, and only this truth will set us free. Believing in Jesus Christ is the only escape from Nihilism, not a vague hope in “the intrinsic goodness of being” and confidence in our own ability to craft truth and meaning.
I want to thank Mr Peterson for writing this book.I may have found myself re-reading certain sentences or paragraphs I struggled to take in, and used my dictionary more regularly than in a game of scrabble as he uses some words I’ve never heard spoken but it was totally worth the read.I like him a lot (from what I’ve seen on YouTube and his words in this book) and wish him every success as he seems like he truly wants to help us all be better.This is not a book to attempt at a fast pace. Take your time, digest what he’s trying to get across and you’ll get the most out of it.It’s a bit like giving up smoking… you have to really want to give up to truly commit. I got to a point this year where I really wanted to make a change and this book offers a highly informed helping hand to set you on the right path.Prior to this I’d read The Chimp Paradox which I’d also recommend for those who are trying to sort themselves out.
I couldn’t finish this. I got as far as Rule 11 and thought to myself why waste more time. I’m some sort of media hermit obviously and hadn’t heard of the author until a friend waxed lyrical about how he regularly ‘beat’ interviewers and ‘opponents’. The style of writing may appeal to some but to me it was like syrup. As for the content, it was basic on psychology . Lobster behaviour is interesting to illuminate a tiny amount of human behaviour from a (taken for granted) evolutionary point of view, but in terms of offering an insight into human psyches (a very tiny insight would be the goal of humble thinkers) it fails to leave the ground. Among all the cloying rhetoric is the author’s anger towards progressive politics which he dismisses in the usual way of libertarians – that is, without analysis or apparent knowledge. The star given here is in recognition that the text provides a small insight into the state of public consumption of shoddy, third-rate soi-disant intellectuals.