This week, Richard from Brompton Library is review Jordan B Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life. Over to Richard…
I discovered Jordan Peterson’s 12 rules for life by chance last year, whilst working in the library, knowing nothing about the author. The title with its premise of self-help and promise of easy answers engaged my cynicism straight away. But then after reading the blurb’s reference to psychology and philosophy – Peterson is a trained Psychologist – I decided to explore further.
If you’ve heard of Jordan Peterson, you will know how controversial this author is. The 12 rules form chapter headings that deal with taking responsibility for yourself, putting your own house in order before criticising others, choosing friends that are supportive, pursuing what is meaningful in your life, being truthful and so on. He refers to Lobsters, Heidegger, Existentialism, Post Modernism, literary texts by Dostoevsky and Tolstoy and the old testament from the Bible. This is a rattle-bag of meditations and moral guidance. Peterson challenges a lot of current ideological thinking and comes across, at times, as reactionary. I enjoyed parts of the book, less so, other parts, but in terms of exploring meaning and values, I think the book is a useful read.
After having read 12 Rules… I started seeing him in debates all over the internet. Most interestingly were the reactions he provoked in other people – some of them incredibly hostile. Anything that challenges preconceived ideas and dogmatic thinking has merit in my opinion. The whole Jordan Peterson phenomenon including his critics, is a good example of current popular culture in action. Some responses to the book are also interesting – try this link, for example: