I took detailed notes on this book and reviewed it on my podcast, found here.
Here is a link to the subreddit where the entire list of 42 rules that was the basis for the book is.
Notes for “12 rules for life”
Rule 1: Stand up straight, with your shoulders back
- Get up at the same time, eat fat/protein rich breakfast.
- Acting dominant breeds serotonin release (fake it until you make it)
- Acting dominant leads people to see you as dominant, opening up more opportunities
Rule 2: Treat yourself like somebody you were responsible for helping
- Speak up for yourself as if you were doing so for others–don’t get bullied by yourself.
- We are made in God’s image, and thus have dignity
- Don’t make yourself merely happy, but make yourself rather good.
Rule 3: make friends with people who want the best for you
- People are tempted to hang out with people who are like them, don’t challenge them, because they don’t think they deserve better
- Hanging out with lesser people usually brings you down rather than you bringing them up
Rule 4: compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today.
- It’s really hard today to be relatively good or successful compared to someone else
- We only see what we aim at. Therefore, aim at good things in life.
- Start small, better yourself in small ways and in small parts.
Rule 5: Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them.
- Either you will discipline children, or the world will. Not disciplining leaves the world to eat them up.
- Ockhams razor: Limit the rules, and limit the force to enforce them.
- Parents should come in pairs
- Parents should prepare their young for the real world
Rule 6: Set your house in perfect order, before you criticize the world
- Start to stop doing what you know to be wrong. Clean up your life
- Wisdom of the ancients was hard won and should not be ignored.
Rule 7: Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient
- In a meaningless world, pursue hedonism. What else is there?
- Sacrifices are necessary to improve the future
- Never lie
- Avoid unnecessary suffering
Rule 8: Tell the truth, or, at least, don’t lie
- Taking the easy way out or telling the truth are vastly different ways through life.
- When you lie, you weaken your character and ease more lying.
Rule 9: assume that the person your listening to knows something you don’t.
- Letting people talk through stuff can be better than trying to talk
- Try to summarize what people have said before offering comment, and in this way you get to the gist of what was said, and avoid straw manning
- When talking to a group, speak to the individual and work outwards as they represent the crowd
Rule 10: Be precise in your speech
- If you are lazy in your speech, small problems grow into big ones
- Sometimes speaking up and risking a fight is the most loving thing to do.
- There’s something in the woods and it might be a dragon but it might be a squirrel but if you don’t look it’s a dragon and you are a mouse!
Rule 11: Don’t bother kids while they are skateboarding
- Let children do dangerous things. Let them triumph over difficulty
- Men are being beaten in university, because they don’t fit the school structure.
- Capitalism has lifted people out of poverty and greed all people, while ironically, communism led to the oppression and death of millions of people.
- Group identity can be fractionated right down to the individual. Equality of outcome based on identity is untenable.
- Women want men, not boys. Women want men who are stronger than they are. Men need to be able to flex their muscles, mentally and physically.
Rule 12: Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street
- Sometimes what makes life worthwhile through suffering is the limitations that make us vulnerable, because without limits, life would be boring.