I recently finished listening to 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson, narrated by Jordan B. Peterson on my Audible app.
I thought it was very powerful in terms of taking personal responsibility for your own life – and to make your life (and the lives of your family and community) stronger.
Growing up with a Jewish father, a Lutheran mother, I went to a (nominally) Anglican school and ended up an Athiest. One of the things that I particularly liked about this book is that it explained a bunch of Judeo/Christian religious stories less in the context of “A happened, and then B happened, and then C happened” but more in the context of “this is what A means and this is what B means.” I think that I grew up to become a mostly functioning member of society with a poor appreciation of the value of religion – because so much of my “religious” instruction was delivered in the context of telling chronological stories, rather than using it as a tool to tell archetypal stories. “12 Rules for Life” uses a bunch of Judeo/Christian stories to explain and persuade and offer context to many challenges in life – and in that sense, while it is not a religious book, it provides a wonderful springboard to tell stories about the challenges that many of us will experience in life. In that sense, much like Nicholas Naseem Taleb’s books, this doesn’t use try to even claim that our shared cultural/religious heritage is meant to document literally true history, but rather, to give and pass along a bunch of useful heuristics for living.
Those lessons are important to many of us: the great religions represent many thousands of years of accumulated wisdom. Of course, we learn and can build upon that wisdom – but they represent a useful starting point in thinking about what is right, and what is wrong.
Peterson’s book is similar, in many ways – in a way, it is about applying these lessons and making better decisions in life. We can all use a little more wisdom and new tools to make better decisions in life, can’t we?