A no bullshit self-help book that might actually help people. (Ever wondered why there is a thriving market for self-help books? – Because they don’t help. If they did, sales would stop.)
What is particularly cool about Peterson’s book is that it takes science and evolution for granted and refers to both of them. Peterson knows his neural and cognitive science, clinical psychology and the evolutionary background for our brains, which, oddly enough, is not a common phenomenon among people who write books about how to improve our lives and find happiness.
The book is rich in diversions down various scientific roads, and one must laud him for bringing science to a massive group of readers who would probably not otherwise open a science book. This is why the part about the evolution is so cool: Peterson brings the Darwinian gospel to the US and nobody seems to have noticed.
Finally, Peterson does not offer happiness. He demands responsibility and taking life seriously and taking your challenges upon yourself. The book as well as many of his videos is a big fat “Grow up!” and we all need that from time to time.
Oh, and one more thing: Peterson’s “Overture” has the best explanation that I have seen so far, why there are sound psychological reasons for nationalism, and if people feel they cannot trust each other, they start fighting (quote below).
“People who live by the same code are rendered mutually predictable to one another. (…)
It isn’t precisely that people will fight for what they believe. They will fight, instead, to maintain the match between what they believe, what they expect, and what they desire. They will fight to maintain the match between what they expect and how everyone is acting.”
Jordan B. Peterson
12 Rules for Life