Book Plunge: 12 Rules For Life

What do I think of Jordan Peterson’s book published by Random House Canada? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I saw my therapist reading this book one day and when I found it at the local library on audio, I decided to pick it up while driving. The audio version is read by Peterson himself and when I didn’t finish it on time, the book was fortunately on sale on Kindle so I picked it up then.

I remember when I saw the book the first time in the therapist’s office, I looked through the table of contents and some of the rules surprised me. Taking a look, many of us would be able to say to some of them, “Well, I never did that so I’m good.” One that stood out to me was “Do not bother children when they are skateboarding.” Okay. I don’t think I have ever done that so I am good.

However, each rule has a principle behind it and a long chapter where Peterson goes on about the lesson involved. When he talks about religion, though he is not a Christian at this point, he does hold a high respect for Jesus and thinks there is a lot of wisdom in the Bible. His reading of the text does provide interesting food for thought.

Other rules include assume the other person might know something you don’t and compare yourself to who you were yesterday and not who someone else is today. The second is to treat yourself like someone else you are responsible for. Peterson points out that many of us sadly take better care of our pets than we do of ourselves.

Also, watch your friends. Choose friends that will build you up. Many of us especially in the age of the internet make friends way too easily and choose friends that will bring us away from that which is good for us. This is not to say these people are necessarily people with evil intentions, but that their desires are not like our desires and their idea of good is not like ours.

The last rule was an odd one about petting a cat. The only reason I don’t do this is I don’t know if stray cats around here have fleas and I don’t want to risk bringing something home to Shiro. So what is the meaning behind this rule? You have to read it to the end because it’s only at the very end that he explains the lesson.

Much of the book focuses on psychology which shouldn’t be a shock, but there’s a lot of history as well. Peterson looks at events throughout time and finds the parallels that he needs. The man is, no doubt, highly read and very intellectual.

Of course, this material is useless if you don’t apply the rules to your life. This is a process and Peterson himself has said in interviews he struggles with them, especially the one on telling the truth to people, or at least not lying. That can be hard to do in an age where we want to make sure we don’t “Hurt someone’s feelings.”

I wouldn’t mind reading another one of his books after this one. Peterson I find to be a stimulating thinker and on the issue of Christianity being true, I think a meaningful dialogue could take place, especially if the rules are followed. Many of these rules are really common sense rules when studied further and ones we can all benefit from. Go out and get this book and it will be a good topic of discussion if others you know read it as well.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)