12 Rules

12 Rules

Trying something different, reading 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote for Chaos by Jordan Peterson

I am 1 and a half chapters into the book and I wanted to jot down some notes and casual observations.  I really want to give this book a fair shake and I will only comment after I read each chapter, not during.  I want to read to understand, not read to respond.

Forward: Skipped, written by some religious nut, don’t care.

Overture: So pretentious of a naming, I had to skip

Chapter 1, Lobsters, lobsters, lobsters, obvious self help drivel, somehow more lobsters.  Jesus, man, enough with the fucking lobsters. Verbose does not begin to describe the writing style.  You could cut 90% of the chapter and still convey the same information. His writing style is very jarring.  There are copious run-on sentences and and a pseudo intellectual style, immediately followed by simple, almost child like, sentence structure and vocabulary.  My impression is that this book was written for readers with limited education.  The peppering of simple sentences allows a less educated reader to follow along and believe they can comprehend his dreadful intellectual style.

Speaking of intellectuals, if you do have some higher education under your belt, which includes several writing classes, this book is very difficult to slog though.  As I mentioned before, run-on sentences are the rule, not the exception. He uses complicated words when simpler would do.  I am legitimately confused by his level of cognitive dissonance  In one section there are Bible quotes, the next going into the evolution of brain function over hundreds of millions of years.  I forgot to mention; at the end of several pages of evolutionary history is a childish Bible reading.  Pure Sunday school type reading, Genesis, Exodus, etc. with no real vigor and again, cognitive dissonance.  You can’t call it a book of myths and stories and then proclaim God scrambled our languages when the Tower of Babel fell.

Much like the Bible, this book beats you into submission with the repetition of metaphors.  The concepts are very simple, yet Dr. Peterson decides to provide up to NINE different examples to reiterate a simple point over and over and over and over and over and over.

I have to write as part of my job, I am an engineer, and part of being an engineer is writing procedures and reports.  Part of those reports are endnotes and references.  A little bit of free advice here:  Do not cite a source which does not apply to your statement.  I checked several of your sources and they either were not applicable or contradicted what you said.  A few were legitimate, but many were not.  I think the end notes were included to somehow convince the casual reader that there was a level of intellectual vigor went into compiling this book.  I was surprised to actually check the sources (why include them if you didn’t want to me check them?) and they often led to contradictions or a misrepresentation of what the original source was trying to convey.

This first chapter felt like an entire book.  A book to convey 2 simple pieces of self help.  Spoilers here: 1. Wake up at the same time every morning and eat a high protein and fat breakfast.  2. Stand up straight with your shoulders back and stand with confidence.  Fake it till you make it.  Yes, I know there is extensive research into acting a way will actually make you feel that way.  In case you were looking for something deeper, that’s it.  Wake up, eat a good breakfast, and stand up straight.

One last thing, LOBSTERS ARE FUCKING LOBSTERS.  They don’t have a brain, no less a brain that can melt (!)  Yes, he claims lobsters have brains and some sort of complex social system.  They can’t, they only have 800,00 neurons or so.  It’s a stupid analogy.  Who gives a shit if they have serotonin?  They are mostly water as well. So what?

Chapter 2:

Ugh, fuck, I thought the first chapter was bad.  About 20,000 rambling words on the Genesis story of Adam and Eve, from what I can tell, was completely pulled out of his ass.  In case you didn’t know, the entire story of Adam and Eve and the Serpent is one chapter of Genesis, in this case, Chapter 3.  This entire byzantine chapter is based on one man’s interpretation of 740 words.  The entire story of Adam and Eve is 740 words.  Entire books have been written, by far better authors, about 740 words.  I had to skim most of this chapter.  I don’t give two shits about Adam and Eve.  It’s a child’s story, total Sunday School stuff.  I wish Peterson would dive into more difficult parts of the Bible, if he continues to use the Bible as a primary source.  One other point, if you want me to take you seriously, don’t use a fucking emoticon.  He really uses a 🙂 in this stupid chapter.

Spoilers:  The last half page is devoted to the meat of the chapter, which is more or less the title “Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible For Helping”.  That’s it, just follow that advice.  Nothing wrong with that, but the arguments are weak and have surprisingly little to do with the other 95% of this rambling chapter about Adam and Eve.

Chapter 3:

That’s it, I’m done, I can’t stand any more of this drivel.  As soon as you tell me, as an atheist, that I don’t know what I believe, and I am not really an atheist, I am done with you.  No more.

This was the most soul crushing, depressing book I have ever encountered.  The tone is incredibly negative, especially considering this IS A SELF HELP BOOK!!!!!  I skimmed through random parts of the book, and every passage is terrible.  Quoting HITLER and mass murders.  I just can’t do it.  I was getting depressed reading this book and I had to stop.  I don’t have his negative view of the world and hatred of humans that Peterson has.  It is an unreadable book, full of outdated information, childish Bible interpretations, and mundane advice.  I hate this book and will never finish it.