12 Rules For Life Quotes And Summary (Book By Jordan Peterson)

By Maxime Lagacé

Maxime is the founder of WisdomQuotes. He has been collecting quotes since 2004. His goal? To help you develop a calm and peaceful mind. Learn more about him on his about page.

QuotesSummaryIs 12 Rules For Life worth reading?

Here are 123 awesome quotes from the book 12 Rules For Life.

(Plus a short summary at the end)

Why should you read this book by Jordan Peterson?

  • 5 million copies sold worldwide
  • 51,000+ 5-star reviews on Amazon
  • 72,000+ 5-star reviews on GoodReads

But most importantly, you’ll learn:

  • How to have more discipline and order in your life
  • How to be more responsible and courageous
  • How to create meaning by telling the truth
  • And more…

I hope you’ll enjoy these quotes as much as I did.

Here we go!

jordan peterson 12 rules for life

Buy the book here: Audio – Hardcover – Paperback

Rule #1Rule #2Rule #3Rule #4Rule #5Rule #6Rule #7Rule #8Rule #9Rule #10Rule #11Rule #12

The Best Quotes From 12 Rules Of Life

12 rules for live quotes jordan peterson truth builds edifices thousands years wisdom

Truth builds edifices that can stand a thousand years. Jordan Peterson

You should never sacrifice what you could be for what you are. Jordan Peterson

Random wandering will not move you forward. Jordan Peterson

Don’t underestimate the power of vision and direction. These are irresistible forces, able to transform what might appear to be unconquerable obstacles into traversable pathways and expanding opportunities. Jordan Peterson

What shall I do in the next dire moment? Focus my attention on the next right move. Jordan Peterson

What shall I do when my enemy succeeds? Aim a little higher and be grateful for the lesson. Jordan Peterson

We are not happy, technically speaking, unless we see ourselves progressing. Jordan Peterson

It is your actions that most accurately reflect your deepest beliefs. Jordan Peterson

12 rules for live quotes jordan peterson alongside wish free rules structure wisdom

Alongside our wish to be free of rules, we all search for structure. Jordan Peterson

The successful among us delay gratification. The successful among us bargain with the future. Jordan Peterson

How could the nature of man ever reach its full potential without challenge and danger? Jordan Peterson

If you don’t reach for ideals (it’s uncertain that our ideals are attainable) you will never feel that your life has a meaning. Jordan Peterson

To tell the truth is to bring the most habitable reality into Being. Jordan Peterson


More 12 Rules Of Life Quotes (By chapter/rule)

12 rules for live quotes jordan peterson stand straight shoulders back wisdom

Rule #1. Stand up straight with your shoulders back. Jordan Peterson

Attend carefully to your posture. Quit drooping and hunching around. Speak your mind. Jordan Peterson

Every system must play its role properly, and at exactly right time, or noise and chaos ensure. It is for this reason that routine is so necessary. Jordan Peterson

To stand up straight with your shoulders back is to accept the terrible responsibility of life, with eyes wide open. It means deciding to voluntarily transform the chaos of potential into the realities of habitable order. Jordan Peterson

If you start to straighten up, then people will look at and treat you differently. Jordan Peterson

No one likes to be pushed around, but people often put up with it for too long. Jordan Peterson

Walk tall and gaze forthrightly ahead. Dare to be dangerous. Jordan Peterson

12 rules for live quotes jordan peterson treat yourself helping wisdom

Rule #2. Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping. Jordan Peterson

Chaos is where we are when we don’t know where we are, and what we are doing when we don’t know what we are doing. Jordan Peterson

You are important to other people, as much as to yourself. You have some vital role to play in the unfolding destiny of the world. Jordan Peterson

You are morally obliged to take care of yourself. You should take care of, help and be good to yourself the same way you would take care of, help and be good to someone you loved and valued. Jordan Peterson

You need to know where you are to start chart your course. You need to know who you are to understand your armament and bolster yourself in respect to your limitations. Jordan Peterson

Order is not enough. You can’t just be stable, and secure, and unchanging, because there are still vital and important new things to be learned. Jordan Peterson

Chaos can be too much. You can’t long tolerate being swamped and overwhelmed beyond your capacity to cope while you are learning what you still need to know. Jordan Peterson

You need to place one foot in what you have mastered and the other in what you still need to know. This is the position where the terror of existence is under control where you are secure but also alert and engaged. Jordan Peterson

You must help a child become a virtuous, responsible, awake being, capable of full reciprocity – able to take care of himself and others, and to thrive while doing so. Why would you think it acceptable to do anything less for yourself? Jordan Peterson

You must determine where you are going, so that you can bargain for yourself, so that you don’t end up resentful, vengeful and cruel. Jordan Peterson

You must discipline yourself carefully. You must keep the promises you make to yourself, and reward yourself, so that you can trust and motivate yourself. Jordan Peterson



12 rules for live quotes jordan peterson make friends people want best wisdom

Rule #3. Make friends with people who want the best for you. Jordan Peterson

[True friends] will encourage you when you do good for yourself and others and punish you carefully when you do not. Jordan Peterson

If you surround yourself with people who support your upward aim, they will not tolerate your cynicism and destructiveness. They will instead encourage you when you do good for yourself and others and punish you carefully when you do not. Jordan Peterson

If you have a friend whose friendship you wouldn’t recommend to your sister, or your father, or your son, why would you have such a friend for yourself. Jordan Peterson

A good, healthy person is an ideal. It requires strength and daring to stand up near such a person. Jordan Peterson

You should choose people who want things to be better, not worse. Jordan Peterson


12 rules for live quotes jordan peterson compare yourself yesterday someone today wisdom

Rule #4. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday not to who someone else is today. Jordan Peterson

Much of happiness is hope, no matter how deep the underworld in which that hope was conceived. Jordan Peterson

Failure is the price we pay for standards and, because mediocrity has consequences both real and harsh, standards are necessary. Jordan Peterson

We are not equal in ability or outcome, and never will be. A very small number of people produce very much of everything. The winners don’t take all, but they take most, and the bottom is not a good place to be. Jordan Peterson

No matter how good you are at something, or how you rank your accomplishments, there is someone out there who makes you look incompetent. Jordan Peterson

Winning at everything might only mean that you’re not doing anything new or difficult. You might be winning but you’re not growing, and growing might be the most important form of winning. Jordan Peterson

Aim small. You don’t want to shoulder too much to begin with, given your limited talents, tendency to deceive, burden of resentment, and ability to shirk responsibility. Jordan Peterson

To see we must focus and to focus we need to pick one thing above all else on which we focus. Jordan Peterson

Life doesn’t have the problem. You do. If your life is not going well perhaps it is your current knowledge that is insufficient not life itself. Jordan Peterson

You cannot aim yourself at anything if you are completely undisciplined and untutored. Jordan Peterson

If changing games does not work, you can invent a new one. Jordan Peterson

12 rules for live quotes jordan peterson not let your children anything dislike wisdom

Rule #5. Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them. Jordan Peterson

Children need to be shaped and informed. Jordan Peterson

Children can be damaged by lack of attention as much as by abuse, mental or physical. Jordan Peterson

We feel more negative about a loss of a given size than we feel good about the same sized gain. Jordan Peterson

You love your kids, after all. If their actions make you dislike them, think what an effect they will have on other people, who care much less about them than you. Jordan Peterson

It is an act of responsibility to discipline a child. It is not anger at misbehavior. It is not revenge for a misdeed. It is instead a careful combination of mercy and long-term judgment. Jordan Peterson

Infants are like blind people, searching for a wall. They have to push forward, and test, to see where the actual boundaries lie. Jordan Peterson

Children need to be well socialized by age four (at this age, peers become primary source of socialization). Jordan Peterson

It is the primary duty of parents to make their children socially desirable. Jordan Peterson

12 rules for live quotes jordan peterson set your house order criticise world wisdom

Rule #6. Set your house in perfect order before you criticise the world. Jordan Peterson

Start to stop doing what you know to be wrong. Jordan Peterson

Say only those things that make you strong. Jordan Peterson

Do only those things that you could speak of with honour. Jordan Peterson

If you cannot bring peace to your household, how dare you try to rule a city? Jordan Peterson

Have you made peace with your brother? Jordan Peterson

Are you treating your spouse and your children with dignity and respect? Jordan Peterson

Do you have habits that are destroying your health and well-being? Jordan Peterson

Are you truly shouldering your responsibilities? Jordan Peterson

Have you said what you need to say to your friends and family members? Jordan Peterson

Are there things that you could do, that you know you could do, that would make things around you better. Jordan Peterson

Have you cleaned up your life? Jordan Peterson


12 rules for live quotes jordan peterson pursue what meaningful expedient wisdom

Rule #7. Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient). Jordan Peterson

Aim up. Pay attention. Fix what you can fix. Jordan Peterson

Life is suffering. That’s clear. There is no more basic, irrefutable truth. Jordan Peterson

Don’t be arrogant in your knowledge. Strive for humility, because totalitarian pride manifests itself in intolerance, oppression, torture and death. Jordan Peterson

Become aware of your own insufficiency — your cowardice, malevolence, resentment and hatred. Jordan Peterson

To have meaning in your life is better than to have what you want, because you may neither know what you want nor what you truly need. Jordan Peterson

If the world you are seeing is not the world you want, therefore, it’s time to examine your values. It’s time to rid yourself of your current presuppositions. It’s time to let go. Jordan Peterson

You may come to ask yourself, “What should I do today?” in a manner that means “How could I use my time to make things better, instead of worse?” Jordan Peterson

To the best of my ability I will act in a manner that leads to the alleviation of unnecessary pain and suffering. Jordan Peterson

12 rules for live quotes jordan peterson tell truth least dont lie wisdom

Rule #8. Tell the truth – or at least don’t lie. Jordan Peterson

Reality cannot be improved by falsification. Jordan Peterson

What saves is the willingness to learn from what you don’t know. Jordan Peterson

An inauthentic person continues to perceive and act in ways of his own experience has demonstrated false. Jordan Peterson

If you say no to your boss, or your spouse, or your mother, when it needs to be said, then you transform yourself into someone who can say no when it needs to be said. Jordan Peterson

If you will not reveal yourself to others, you cannot reveal yourself to yourself. Jordan Peterson

Everyone needs a concrete specific goal – an ambition, and a purpose – to limit chaos and make intelligible sense of his or her life. Jordan Peterson

If your life is not what it could be, try telling the truth. If you cling desperately to an ideology, or wallow in nihilism, try telling the truth. If you feel weak and rejected, and desperate, and confused, try telling the truth. Jordan Peterson

We can open our eyes and modify what we have where necessary and keep the machinery running smoothly. Or we can pretend that everything is alright, fail to make the necessary repairs, and then curse fate when nothing goes our way. Jordan Peterson

Set your ambitions even if you are uncertain about what they should be. Jordan Peterson

12 rules for live quotes jordan peterson assume person listening know wisdom

Rule #9. Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you don’t. Jordan Peterson

True thinking is rare — just like true listening. Jordan Peterson

It’s amazing what people will tell you if you listen. Jordan Peterson

Memory is not a description of the objective past. Memory is a tool. Memory is the past guide to the future. Jordan Peterson

There is no audience, there are individuals. Jordan Peterson

When you’re involved in a genuine conversation, you’re listening, and talking — but mostly listening. Listening is paying attention. Jordan Peterson

If you listen without premature judgment, people will generally tell you everything they are thinking — and with very little deceit. People will tell you the most amazing, absurd, interesting things. Very few of your conversations will be boring. Jordan Peterson

The conversation of mutual exploration requires people who have decided that the unknown makes a better friend than the known. Jordan Peterson

A conversation where it is the desire for truth itself – on the part of both participants – that is truly listening and speaking. It’s the state where you are stable enough to be secure but flexible enough to transform. Jordan Peterson

Your wisdom consists not of the the knowledge you already have but the continual search for knowledge which is the highest form of wisdom. Jordan Peterson

The purpose is not to remember the past. It’s to stop the same damn thing from happening over and over. Jordan Peterson

12 rules for live quotes jordan peterson precise your speech wisdom

Rule #10. Be precise in your speech. Jordan Peterson

Say what you mean, so that you can find out what you mean. Jordan Peterson

Courageous and truthful words will render your reality simple, pristine, well-defined and habitable. Jordan Peterson

The world reveals itself to us as something to utilise and something to navigate through – not as something that merely is. Jordan Peterson

Confront the chaos of Being. Take aim against a sea of troubles. Specify your destination, and chart your course. Admit to what you want. Tell those around you who you are. Narrow, and gaze attentively, and move forward, forthrightly. Jordan Peterson

Act out what you say, so you can find out what happens. Then pay attention. Note your errors. Articulate them. Strive to correct them. That is how you discover the meaning of your life. Jordan Peterson

Don’t ever underestimate the destructive power of sins of omission. Jordan Peterson

12 rules for live quotes jordan peterson bother children skateboarding wisdom

Rule #11. Do not bother children when they are skateboarding. Jordan Peterson

People don’t seek to minimise the risk, they seek to optimise it. Jordan Peterson

Boys’ interests tilt towards things; girls’ interests tilt towards people. Jordan Peterson

They were trying to become competent — and it’s competence that makes people as safe as they can truly be. Jordan Peterson

When untrammeled — and encouraged — we prefer to live on the edge. There, we can still be both confident in our experience and confronting the chaos that helps us develop. Jordan Peterson

Children in father-absent homes are four times as likely to be poor. Jordan Peterson

Children living with married biological parents are less anxious, depressed and delinquent than children living with one or more non-biological parent. Jordan Peterson

Overprotected, we will fail when something dangerous, unexpected and full of opportunity suddenly makes its appearance, as it inevitably will. Jordan Peterson

Too much protection devastates the developing soul. Jordan Peterson

12 rules for live quotes jordan peterson pet cat encounter street wisdom

Rule #12. Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street. Jordan Peterson

Put the things you can control in order. Repair what is in disorders, and make what is already good better. Jordan Peterson

People are social and antisocial. Jordan Peterson

People need both: cooperation (for safety, security and companionship) and competition (for personal growth and status). Jordan Peterson

Being of any reasonable sort appears to require a limitation (nobody likes all perfect). Jordan Peterson

When you love someone, it’s not despite their limits. It’s because of their limitations. Jordan Peterson

And maybe when you are going for a walk and your head is spinning, a cat will show up and if you pay attention to it then you will get a reminder for just fifteen seconds that the wonder of Being might make up for the ineradicable suffering that accompanies it. Jordan Peterson


12 rules for live quotes jordan peterson shall with life paradise concentrate wisdom

What shall I do with my life? Aim for Paradise, and concentrate on today. Jordan Peterson

Summary of 12 Rules For Life by Jordan Peterson

  • 12 Rules For Life is a fantastic self-help book
  • It’s targeted mainly to a young male audience seeking guidance, meaning, and purpose
  • It’s written by Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist, podcast host, and best-selling Canadian author
  • The lessons? Live with integrity. Be responsible. Be disciplined. Be courageous. Do your best. Find meaning through suffering.
  • A little caveat: this book could have been shorter and more direct. Jordan Peterson goes deep into personal anecdotes, psychology, mythology, and religion.

Is 12 Rules For Life Worth Reading?

Yes, this book is worth reading.

You’ll learn a ton from Dr. Jordan Peterson.

But don’t hesitate to skim the parts that feel too long.

And most importantly, don’t hesitate to reread parts that were too abstract and profound.

Learning is understanding.

Buy the book here: Audio – Hardcover – Paperback

Further Readings

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I hope you enjoyed these great quotes from 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote To Chaos, by Jordan Peterson.

If you did, please share them with a friend today who might need some discipline and order in his/her life!

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Author Bio

maxime lagace

Maxime Lagacé started collecting quotes in 2004 after he lost his girlfriend in a car accident.

In search of meaning, he dived in the self-improvement world, psychology and trail running.

Books, blogs, quotes and nature became his guide.

He started journaling, reflecting, writing his thoughts, feelings and quotes.

His goal was to understand his pain, his depression, his fears, his lack of motivation and inspiration.

He finished his software engineering degree in 2007 at the École de Technologie Supérieure de Montréal.

A few years later, he started his first website to share his love of quotes.

Maxime is a father of two, husband, and INFJ.

Other notable interests of Maxime are health (mental and physical), meditation, bananas, SEO, human potential, and education.

You can find him on X, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube.

Last update

November 23, 2022

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