Ron Dart, in a review for The Ormsby Review, saw the book as “an attempt to articulate a more meaningful order for freedom as an antidote to the unpredictable. Chaos of our time”, but although “necessary” with exemplary advice for men and women, it is “hardly a sufficient text for the more difficult questions that afflict us in our too human journey and that must be read as such”.   In a review for the Financial Times, Julian Baggini wrote: “In headline form, most of its rules are simply timeless common sense. The problem is that when Peterson fills them, they carry more stuffed animals than meat.  In the United States, the book became the No. 1 non-fiction and e-book on the Wall Street Journal`s list of best-selling books.   It also tops the Washington Post`s list of U.S. bestsellers and Reuters reached the top spot. 2 on USA Today`s global list, and topped the hardcover non-fiction category and the overall Top 10 for Publishers Weekly, and sold more than 559,000 copies as of September 24, 2018.  In the category, he replaced Michael Wolff`s Fire and Fury.  At the end of the year, the hardcover version was the 11th best-selling book with 692,238 copies.
 Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random House, said in late March that the book had already sold more than 700,000 copies in the United States.  The book did not make it to the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and IndieBound bestseller lists. According to Toronto Star editor Deborah Dundas, the New York Times explained that it was not counted because it was published by a Canadian company.  According to Random House Canada, the book was properly handled for the U.S. market.   In the final chapter, Peterson explains how to deal with the most tragic events, events that are often beyond his control. He describes his personal struggle when he discovered that his daughter Mikhaila was suffering from a rare bone disease.  The chapter is a meditation on how to keep a watchful eye on the small redemptive qualities of life (i.e., “petting a cat when you meet one”).
It also describes a practical way to deal with challenges: shorten the area of responsibility (e.g., focus on the next minute rather than the next three months).  The book promotes the idea that people should be born with an instinct of ethics and meaning and take responsibility for seeking meaning in their own interests (Rule 7, “Pursue what makes sense, not what is expedient”). Such thinking is reflected both in contemporary stories such as Pinocchio, The Lion King and Harry Potter, as well as in ancient stories from the Bible.  “Standing with one`s shoulders back” (rule 1) means “taking on the terrible responsibility of life,” bringing self-sacrifice, because the individual must rise above victimization and “live his life in a way that requires the rejection of immediate satisfaction, natural and perverse desires.”  Comparison with the neurological structures and behaviour of lobsters is used as a natural example of the formation of social hierarchies.    The Guardian`s Hari Kunzru said the book collects advice from Peterson`s clinical practice with personal anecdotes, accounts of his academic work as a psychologist, and “a lot of intellectual history of the variety of `great books`,” but the essays on rules are explained in an overly complicated style. Kunzru called Peterson sincere, but found the book irritating because he thinks Peterson didn`t follow his own rules.  In an interview with Peterson for The Guardian, Tim Lott called the book atypical for the self-help genre.  The book is divided into chapters, with each title representing one of the following twelve specific rules for life, as explained in an essay. Dr. Peterson discusses discipline, responsibility, freedom, and adventure, distilling the wisdom of the world into twelve large-scale, practical, and profound essays. Join those who have already found inspiration and direction in Dr. Peterson`s teaching.
In this extraordinarily powerful book, discover 12 simple but profound rules for sorting yourself out, putting your home in order, and making the world a better place – starting with yourself. In the UK, the book spent five weeks at the top of the Sunday Times` general hardcover bestseller list (18 February – 25 March, again on 15 April), and sold more than 120,000 copies as of 16 September.  According to the Sunday Times, the hardcover edition was the 4th largest bestseller of the year in the “general hardcover” category at the end of the year, with 153,160 copies sold.  According to The Guardian, the Nielsen BookScan was only the 32nd best-selling book of the year with sales of 147,899 copies.  12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos is a self-help book published in 2018 by Jordan Peterson, a Canadian clinical psychologist and professor of psychology. It provides life coaching through essays on abstract ethical principles, psychology, mythology, religion and personal anecdotes. In September 2018, Peterson, Cornell University philosopher Kate Manne, threatened to sue for defamation after calling her work misogynistic in an interview with Vox. Manne called Peterson`s threat an attempt to suppress free speech. Vox considered the threat unfounded and ignored it.    In a critique often shared by the eminent intellectual Noam Chomsky, Nathan Robinson of Current Affairs called Peterson a “charlatan” who gives “the most basic advice of paternal life” while “adding folds to obscure the simplicity of his mind.”  Peterson`s interest in writing the book grew out of a personal hobby of answering questions posted on Quora; One of these questions was, “What are the most valuable things everyone should know?”, to which his answer included 42 rules.  The original vision and promotion of the book was to incorporate all the rules entitled “42”.
  Peterson explained that it is “not just written for other people. This is a warning to me.  Joe Humphreys of the Irish Times argued that people should not be deterred from “reading what is a true power of a book: wise, provocative, humorous, and also incredibly contradictory (as all deep and truthful studies of human nature must be).”  Glenn Ellmers wrote in the Claremont Review of Books that Peterson “does not hesitate to tell readers that life means pain and suffering. However, his skilful presentation makes it clear that duty is often liberating and that responsibility can be a gift.  It`s all well and good to think that the meaning of life is happiness, but what happens when you`re unhappy? Happiness is a great side effect. When he comes, accept him with gratitude. But it`s ephemeral and unpredictable. It`s not something to aim for – because it`s not a goal. And if happiness is the meaning of life, what happens when you`re unhappy? Then you are a failure. The central idea of the book is that “suffering is embedded in the structure of being,” and while it can be unbearable, people have the choice to either withdraw, which is a “suicidal gesture,” or to face it and transcend it.  Living in a world of chaos and order, everyone has a “darkness” that can “turn them into monsters they are capable of” to satisfy their dark impulses in the right situations.