12 Rules for Life by Jordan Peterson is a book about how to live a good life. The most memorable thing about it is that you should have a resemblance of order within your life. Because without order, everything else quickly falls to pieces and problems arise. And problems hurt.
To me, most of the rules can be summarized as the central idea of all self-help, namely sacrificing present pleasure for future pleasure. Or as Jerzy Gregorek has said it best:
Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices hard life.
Nonetheless, do the 12 rules serve as a rule of thumb and as a reminder for important, yet often forgotten truths. I for one, have a handwritten copy pinned to the wall at my desk, because it helps as a reminder.
The 12 Rules:
- "Stand up straight with your shoulders back."
- "Treat yourself like you are someone you are responsible for helping."
- "Make friends with people who want the best for you."
- "Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today."
- "Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them."
- "Set your house in perfect order before you criticize the world."
- "Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)."
- "Tell the truth – or, at least, don't lie."
- "Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don't."
- "Be precise in your speech."
- "Do not bother children when they are skateboarding."
- "Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street..."
If rephrased for what they are they sound a bit lame and not all that insightful. They are basic truths that most people already know about:
Care for yourself, don't lie, pursue meaningful work, learn from others, think and speak clearly, don't be a dick, make good relationships, don't compare yourself to others, enjoy the moment, take care of your children and have posture.
The hard part, like always is not that we don't know those ideas, but that we constantly forget them in the struggle of day to day life. And hence people buy books such as this one. As a reminder of these basic, but again and again forgotten, ideas.