8 essays from Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules

last updated: Dec 27, 2021

Jordan Peterson is one of the most influential thinkers of our time, for both his following and the controversy that has followed him. If you’re interested in his backstory, there are numerous articles, YouTube videos, and documentaries that will do a better job than I could. It should become quickly apparent that most content on the subject falls readily into two categories: ardent followers and ardent critics.

I decided to read “12 Rules for Life” after watching clips of Peterson on YouTube and deciding that I wouldn’t develop an opinion on the man before reading his work in depth. The following series of 8 essays (plus overture, coda, and foreword) is an attempt to reorganize and distill what I thought were the core ideas of the book into ~8,500 words. I think I’ve captured much of Peterson’s worldview, starting with the quasi-religious and ending with the political, and I’ve tried to misrepresent as little as possible. I suggest reading these in order.

Notes from Overture
Part 1: The Creation Story
Part 2: Stand Up
Part 3: Play the Right Games
Part 4: Pursue What is Meaningful
Part 5: Good Thinking and Good Listening
Part 6: Tell the Truth
Part 7: Helping Others
Part 8: Our Inherited Society
Notes from Foreword: A Rebuttal of Postmodernism
Coda: Peterson’s Proverbs