Jordan Peterson – Rules for Life

Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson – Rules for Life – Contents

  • Jordan Peterson Biography
  • Jordan Peterson – Big Idea:
    • 12 Rules for Life
  • Interesting Facts and Insights about Jordan Peterson
  • Career Advice Quotes by Jordan Peterson
  • Business Advice Quotes by Jordan Peterson
  • Leadership and Management Advice Quotes by Jordan Peterson
  • Jordan Peterson Inspirational Quotes
  • Jordan Peterson Insights
  • Books by Jordan Peterson
  • Questions about Jordan Peterson
  • Jordan Peterson – Videos

Jordan Peterson Biography

Jordan Peterson (born 1962) is a clinical psychologist and a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. His main areas of study are abnormal, social, and personality psychology. Peterson’s particular interest in the psychology of religious and ideological beliefs and the improvement of personality and performance.

Peterson’s first book, “Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief” in 1999, examined several academic fields to describe the structure of systems of beliefs and myths, their role in emotion, and the creation of meaning.

Peterson’s second book, “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos,” was published in 2018. “12 Rules for Life” provides life advice through essays on abstract ethical principles, psychology, mythology, religion, and personal anecdotes. The book topped bestseller lists and has sold over three million copies.


Jordan Peterson – Big Idea: 12 Rules for Life

“12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” is a book by clinical psychologist and psychology professor Jordan Peterson. The book is divided into chapters with each title representing a specific rule for life.

The central thesis is that “suffering is built into the structure of being.” Thus we have a choice either to withdraw or to face and transcend it. However, living in a world of chaos, it is better to seek meaning rather than happiness. Happiness is a side effect. When it comes, accept it gratefully. But it’s fleeting and unpredictable.

The book advances the idea that people are born with the instinct for ethics and meaning and should take responsibility to search for meaning above their interests. The necessary requirement is to “conduct .. life in a manner that requires the rejection of immediate gratification, of natural and perverse desires alike.”

The “12 Rules for Life are summarised in the following chapter headings:

  1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back
  2. Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping
  3. Make friends with people who want the best for you
  4. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today
  5. Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them
  6. Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world
  7. Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)
  8. Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie
  9. Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t
  10. Be precise in your speech
  11. Do not bother children when they are skateboarding
  12. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street

Interesting Facts and Insights about Jordan Peterson

  • Born: Jordan Bernt Peterson was born in 1962, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
  • Bernt: Peterson’s middle name, Bernt, is named after his Norwegian great-grandfather.
  • Parents: Jordan Peterson’s mother was a librarian, and his father was a schoolteacher.
  • Early Reader: Peterson was 13 when he was introduced to the writings of George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and Ayn Rand by his school librarian
  • NDP: Jordan Peterson worked for the New Democratic Party (NDP) in Canada throughout his teenage years, but grew disenchanted with the party and left the NDP at age 18.
  • College: Peterson entered the Grande Prairie Regional College to study political science and English literature, but later transferred to the University of Alberta, where he completed his B.A. in political science in 1982.
  • Europe: After college, he took a year off to visit Europe, where he began studying the psychological origins of the Cold War, 20th-century European totalitarianism, and the works of Carl Jung, Nietzsche, Solzhenitsyn, and Dostoevsky.
  • Psychology: Jordan Peterson received a B.A. in psychology in 1984 from the University of Alberta.
  • Ph.D.: Jordan Peterson earned his Ph.D. in clinical psychology, 1985, at McGill University, Montreal.
  • Harvard: Peterson worked at Harvard University, teaching and researching as an assistant professor in the psychology department from 1993 to 1998.
  • Toronto: In 1998, he returned to Canada and eventually became a full professor at the University of Toronto.
  • Academic Papers: Peterson has authored or co-authored more than a hundred academic papers and has been cited over 8,000 times in other academic papers.
  • Clinical Practice: Peterson, for most of his career until recently, has had an active clinical practice, seeing people a week.
  • YouTube: Peterson began recording his lectures “Personality and Its Transformations,” “Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief,” and uploading them to YouTube in 2013.
  • Social Media: Jordan Peterson has been active on social media, with a large following of his YouTube videos.
  • Podcast: Peterson started his podcast in 2016, “The Jordan B. Peterson Podcast.”
  • Bill C-16: In 2016, Jordan Peterson released a series of videos in which he criticized Bill C-16. The law adds gender expression and gender identity as protected grounds to the Canadian Human Rights Act, and also to the Criminal Code provisions.
  • Biblical Lectures: Peterson began “The Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories,” a series of lectures published as videos and podcasts, in 2017.
  • 12 Rules for Life: Jordan Peterson’s book “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos” was published in 2018. The book topped bestseller lists in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom, and has sold over three million copies.
  • New Projects: As a result of new projects, Jordan Peterson decided to put the clinical practice on hold in 2017 and temporarily stopped teaching as of 2018.
  • Family: Peterson married in 1989 and has a daughter and son.

Career Advice Quotes by Jordan Peterson

“If you don’t say what you think then you kill your unborn self.”

“Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.”

“Work as hard as you possibly can on at least one thing and see what happens.”

“Perhaps you are overvaluing what you don’t have and undervaluing what you do.”

“Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient).”

“Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.”

“Power is competence.”

“Don’t compare yourself with other people; compare yourself with who you were yesterday.”

“If you don’t stand your ground, then all that happens is people push you backward.”

“If you dare to do the most difficult thing you can conceptualize your life will work out better than it will if you do anything.”

“Can you imagine yourself in 10 years if instead of avoiding the things you know you should do, you actually did them every single day – that’s powerful.”

“You must determine where you are going in your life because you cannot get there unless you move in that direction. Random wandering will not move you forward. It will instead disappoint and frustrate you and make you anxious and unhappy and hard to get along with, and then resentful, and then vengeful, and then worse.”

“So, attend carefully to your posture. Quit drooping and hunching around. Speak your mind. Put your desires forward, as if you had a right to them – at least the same right as others. Walk tall and gaze forthrightly ahead.”


“Can you imagine yourself in 10 years if instead of avoiding the things you know you should do, you actually did them every single day – that’s powerful.”

– Jordan Peterson

Business Advice Quotes by Jordan Peterson

“If you fulfill your obligations every day you don’t need to worry about the future.”

“The successful among us delay gratification and bargain with the future.”

“You don’t get to choose not to pay a price, you only get to choose which price you pay.”

“Face the demands of life voluntarily. Respond to a challenge, instead of bracing for catastrophe.”

“Don’t be a slave to stupid rules.”

To master new technology, you have to play with it.”

“The creative person, by contrast, is always open to new possibilities.”

“The multiplication force of technology on cognitive differences is massive.”

“Assuming if there’s such a thing as reality if you have a false relationship with it, how can you do anything but fail?”

“If you can’t understand why someone is doing something, look at the consequences of their actions, whatever they might be, and then infer the motivations from their consequences.”


“Don’t compare yourself with other people; compare yourself with who you were yesterday.”

– Jordan Peterson

Leadership and Management Advice Quotes by Jordan Peterson

“He whose life has a Why can bear almost any How.”

“When you have something to say, silence is a lie.”

“Dialogue is the pathway to truth.”

“Make friends with people who want the best for you.”

“Humility is the recognition of personal insufficiency and the willingness to learn.”

“Notice that opportunity lurks where responsibility has been abdicated.”

“I don’t tell people, ‘You’re okay the way that you are.’ That’s not the right story. The right story is, ‘You’re way less than you could be.'”

“Don’t underestimate the power of vision and direction. These are irresistible forces, able to transform what might appear to be unconquerable obstacles into traversable pathways and expanding opportunities.”

“You should take care of, help and be good to yourself the same way you would take care of, help, and be good to someone you loved and valued.”

“The way that you make people resilient is by voluntarily exposing them to things that they are afraid of and that makes them uncomfortable.”

“Ideologies are substitutes for true knowledge, and ideologues are always dangerous when they come to power because a simple-minded I-know-it-all approach is no match for the complexity of existence.”

“You can only find out what you actually believe (rather than what you think you believe) by watching how you act. You simply don’t know what you believe, before that. You are too complex to understand yourself.”


“Don’t underestimate the power of vision and direction. These are irresistible forces, able to transform what might appear to be unconquerable obstacles into traversable pathways and expanding opportunities.”

– Jordan Peterson

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“Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.”

– Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson Inspirational Quotes

“It’s better to do something badly than to not do it at all.”

“Be grateful in spite of your suffering.”

“You’re not everything you could be, and you know it.”

“I don’t think that you have any insight whatsoever into your capacity for good until you have some well-developed insight into your capacity for evil.”

“You’re going to pay a price for every bloody thing you do and everything you don’t do. You don’t get to choose to not pay a price. You get to choose which poison you’re going to take. That’s it.”

“You cannot be protected from the things that frighten you and hurt you, but if you identify with the part of your being that is responsible for transformation, then you are always the equal or more than the equal of the things that frighten you.”


“Notice that opportunity lurks where responsibility has been abdicated.”

– Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson Insights

“Love is the desire to see unnecessary suffering ameliorated.”

“Accept the terrible responsibility of life with eyes wide open.”

“To learn is to die voluntarily and be born again, in great ways and small.”

“Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.”

“Once someone has spent enough time cultivating bad habits and biding their time, they are much diminished. Much of what they could have been has dissipated.”

“The purpose of life is finding the largest burden that you can bear and bearing it.”

“Free speech is not just another value. It’s the foundation of Western civilization.”

“The narrow bandwidth of TV has made us think that we are stupider than we are.”

“To suffer terribly and to know yourself as the cause: that is Hell.”

“And if you think tough men are dangerous, wait until you see what weak men are capable of.”

“The connection between psychology, mythology, and literature is as important as the connection between psychology and biology and the hard sciences.”

“When you start to realize how much of what you’ve constructed of yourself is based on deception and lies, that is a horrifying realization.”

“In the West, we have been withdrawing from our tradition – religion, and even nation-centered cultures, partly to decrease the danger of group conflict. But we are increasingly falling prey to the desperation of meaninglessness, and that is no improvement at all.”

“The poor and stressed always die first, and in greater numbers. They are also much more susceptible to non-infectious diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. When the aristocracy catches a cold, as it is said, the working class dies of pneumonia.”

“Women select men. That makes them nature because nature is what selects. And you can say, Well it’s only symbolic that women are nature, it’s like no, it’s not just symbolic. The woman is the gatekeeper to reproductive success. And you can’t get more like nature than that, in fact, it’s the very definition of nature.”


Books by Jordan Peterson

  • 12 Rules for Life Paperback, by Jordan B. Peterson, 2019
  • Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief Paperback, by Jordan B. Peterson, 1999

Books Recommended by Jordan Peterson

  • Literature/Philosophy
    • Beyle, Marie-Henri (Stendhal): The Charterhouse of Parma
    • Bronte, Emily: Wuthering Heights
    • Bulgakov, Mikhail: The Master and Margarita
    • Cary, Joyce: The Horse’s Mouth
    • Chandler, Raymond: The Big Sleep
  • Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry
    • Becker, Ernest: The Denial of Death
    • Ellenberger, Henri: The Discovery of the Unconscious
    • Eysenck, Hans: Genius
    • Frankl, Viktor: Man’s Search for Meaning
    • Freud, Sigmund: An Outline of Psychoanalysis
    • Freud, Sigmund: The Interpretation of Dreams
  • Religion and Religious History
    • Burton Russell, Jeffrey: Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World
    • Eliade, Mircea: A History of Religious Ideas (Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3)
    • Eliade, Mircea: Myth and Reality
    • Eliade, Mircea: Myths, Dreams and Mysteries
    • Eliade, Mircea: Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy
  • The State of the World: A 21st Century Update
    • Deaton, Angus: The Great Escape
    • Lomborg, Bjorn: How to Spend $75 Billion to Make the World a Better Place
    • Norberg, Johan: Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future
    • Pinker, Steven: Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress
    • Ridley, Matt: The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves

Questions about Jordan Peterson

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“I happen to be a big fan of Western civilization; I think it beats the hell out of tyranny and starvation.”

– Jordan Peterson

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“I don’t tell people, ‘You’re okay the way that you are.’ That’s not the right story. The right story is, ‘You’re way less than you could be.'”

Jordan Peterson

Jordan Peterson – Videos

Jordan B. Peterson on 12 Rules for Life

Jordan Peterson: What Kind of Job Fits You?


“Perhaps you are overvaluing what you don’t have and undervaluing what you do.”

– Jordan Peterson

Image Credit: Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]