Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life is a 2021 self-help book by Canadian clinical psychologist, YouTube personality, and psychology professor Jordan Peterson, as a sequel to his 2018 book 12 Rules for Life.[1][2][3][4][5]

Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life
First edition cover
AuthorJordan Peterson
Audio read byJordan Peterson
IllustratorJuliette Fogra
PublisherRandom House Canada
Penguin Allen Lane (UK)
Publication date
March 2, 2021
Media typePrint, digital, audible
ISBN9780735278332 (hardcover)
LC ClassBJ1589 .P446 2021
Preceded by12 Rules for Life 

Overview edit

Background edit

Peterson's original interest in writing his last book, 12 Rules for Life, grew out of a personal hobby of answering questions posted on Quora; one such question being, "What are the most valuable things everyone should know?", to which his answer comprised 42 rules.[6][7]

Essentially psychological in their intention, the rules in both books are told using particular episodes of Peterson's clinical experience. Moreover, Peterson has stated that these rules were "explicitly formulated to aid in the development of the individual," though they may also prove useful at "levels of social organisation that incorporate the individual."[8]

Peterson states that both books are predicated on the notion that chaos and order are "the two fundamental elements of reality", and that "people find meaning in optimally balancing them". The difference between the two books, according to Peterson, is that the first focuses "more on the dangers of an excess of chaos", while the second is more concerned "with the dangers of too much structure". Peterson says that 12 Rules "argues for the merits of a more conservative view of the world" while Beyond Order "argues for the merits of a more liberal view".[8]

Writing edit

While Peterson was writing the book, his wife was diagnosed with terminal kidney cancer, though she recovered. Additionally, drug treatments for his depression led to a benzodiazepine dependence for which he was treated in Russian and Serbian rehab facilities with ketamine and an induced coma. During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, his daughter reported that he had contracted COVID-19.[9][10]

Publication edit

In November 2020, shortly after the book's announcement, multiple staff at the Canadian division of Penguin Random House protested against the publication of the book. At least 70 anonymous messages were made to the publisher's diversity and inclusion committee, with "a couple" in favour of publishing.[11] Beyond Order was subsequently released in March 2021.[12]

12 Rules edit

The book comprises twelve chapters, the titles of which suggest "rules for life".

  1. "Do not carelessly denigrate social institutions or creative achievement."
  2. "Imagine who you could be and then aim single-mindedly at that."
  3. "Do not hide unwanted things in the fog."
  4. "Notice that opportunity lurks where responsibility has been abdicated."
  5. "Do not do what you hate."
  6. "Abandon ideology."
  7. "Work as hard as you possibly can on at least one thing and see what happens."
  8. "Try to make one room in your home as beautiful as possible."
  9. "If old memories still upset you, write them down carefully and completely."
  10. "Plan and work diligently to maintain the romance in your relationship."
  11. "Do not allow yourself to become resentful, deceitful, or arrogant."
  12. "Be grateful in spite of your suffering."[13]

Reception edit

Suzanne Moore of The Telegraph rated the book four out of five stars, saying that Peterson is "at his best when telling stories of his clinical practice" and finding the book, like its predecessor, "hokey wisdom combined with good advice". Moore also said that there was "not much here for women at all" nor any "real analysis of how power operates", and that "the rules are really nothing to argue about".[9]

James Marriott of The Times wrote about the book: "Ideas that flit and glimmer in Peterson's videos look bloated and dead when strapped to the page." Believing Peterson to be famous for his personality rather than his "bonkers" philosophy, Marriott said that Peterson "may have mistaken his personality for a philosophical system", and said Peterson's Harry Potter analysis contained the "most entertaining absurdities" of the book.[10]

Andrew Anthony of The Guardian wrote: "Viewed in the most favourable light, Peterson's rules are an attempt to locate people within society, to acknowledge the systems and structures that have long existed and, instead of seeking to tear them down, encourage his readers to find their most functional position within them". Anthony criticised that "The problem arises when his ragbag of common sense dictums ... are taken themselves to be a kind of gospel."[14]

On the other hand, Larissa Nolan of The Independent called it "a psychology book on another plane, a self-help book de profundis, from a beautiful mind. That he wrote it during the greatest crisis of his life is a testament to the power of what he preaches."[15]

In The Atlantic, Helen Lewis commented that Peterson's popularity is because of, not in spite of, "his contradictions and human frailties". Lewis wrote: "he is one of notably few prominent figures willing to confront the most fundamental questions of existence ... He doesn't offer get-rich-quick schemes, or pickup techniques. He is not libertine or libertarian. He promises that life is a struggle, but that it is ultimately worthwhile."[16]

Use of critics' reviews in the book edit

Beyond Order has been criticized by literary critics for the way that it portrayed their reviews on the book's back cover. On a social media post, James Marriott, who had called Peterson's philosophy "bonkers" on several occasions, shared a photo of the back cover of the book, which quoted him describing the book as "a philosophy of the meaning of life". He referred to the book's use of his words as "amusing". On another occasion, New Statesman writer Johanna Thomas-Corr described the complimentary portrayal of her review in the book as "horrifying" and a "gross misrepresentaion".[17][18]

Following the complaints shared by Peterson's critics, the Society of Authors (SoA) published a statement about the misrepresentation of negative reviews on book covers. In the statement, SoA chief executive Nicola Solomon called the practice "morally questionable" and said that readers and authors "deserve honest, fair marketing from publishers. We can’t get that by undermining and misrepresenting one writer to boost the sales of another. It puts off reviewers from reviewing and readers from buying."[19]

References edit

  1. ^ "Penguin to publish sequel to Peterson's 12 Rules for Life in March | The Bookseller". Retrieved 2020-11-24.
  2. ^ Jameson, Greg (24 November 2020). "Jordan Peterson's Beyond Order 12 More Rules for Life arrives March 2021". Retrieved 2020-11-26.
  3. ^ Marsh, Sarah (2019-03-20). "Cambridge University rescinds Jordan Peterson invitation". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-11-26.
  4. ^ Strimpel, Zoe (2020-11-29). "How did Jordan Peterson become one of the Left's most maligned figures?". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2020-12-18.
  5. ^ "Jordan Peterson's "12 More Rules For Life" surges into Amazon top 10 after flurry of pre-orders". Newsweek. 2020-11-26. Retrieved 2020-12-18.
  6. ^ Byrne, Katie (June 13, 2017). "Well-being: Help is at hand". Irish Independent. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  7. ^ "What's So Dangerous About Jordan Peterson?". Retrieved 2020-11-26.
  8. ^ a b "‘I have been sorely tempted towards bitterness': Q&A with Jordan Peterson." The Australian. 2021 February 27.
  9. ^ a b Suzanne Moore, Suzanne Moore (February 27, 2021). "Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life, review: Jordan Peterson is back with a self-help book that is not here to hug you better". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  10. ^ a b Marriott, James (March 2, 2021). "Beyond Order by Jordan B Peterson review — stick to YouTube videos, Jordan". The Times. Retrieved March 2, 2021.
  11. ^ "Staff at Jordan Peterson's publisher protest new book plans". the Guardian. 2020-11-25. Retrieved 2020-12-18.
  12. ^ "Beyond Order by Jordan B. Peterson". Penguin Random House Canada. Retrieved 2021-03-03.
  13. ^ Peterson, Jordan (March 3, 2021). "Out Now! Beyond Order: 12 More Rules for Life". Jordan Peterson's YouTube channel. Retrieved 2021-03-07.
  14. ^ Anthony, Andrew (2021-03-07). "Beyond Order by Jordan Peterson review – a ragbag of self-help dictums". The Guardian. Retrieved 2022-06-06.
  15. ^ Nolan, Larissa (April 10, 2021). "Beyond Order: A flawed masterpiece from a beautiful mind". The Independent. Retrieved 2022-10-11.
  16. ^ Lewis, Helen (April 2021). "What Happened to Jordan Peterson?". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2022-10-11.
  17. ^ "Critics angry at 'gross misrepresentation' of reviews on Jordan Peterson book cover". The Independent. 2023-08-17. Retrieved 2023-09-27.
  18. ^ "Jordan Peterson: Critics complain over 'misleading' book cover quotes". BBC News. 2023-08-16. Retrieved 2023-09-27.
  19. ^ Creamer, Ella (2023-09-01). "Society of Authors calls use of bad reviews for book blurbs 'morally questionable'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2023-09-27.

Further reading edit

Book excerpts


External links edit