We are at the end of February, maybe beginning of March, and many Tube stations in London show advertising everywhere as usual; among the images of food, the posters of the next musical gatherings and well known famous worldwide brand logos, it was very easy to notice some posters using a giant font and showing some “Rules“; they immediately attracted my attention and I began to photograph these posters everytime I met one. The first was the “Rule” number 7 “Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)” and then I continued, with the other

Rule 8: “Tell the truth or at least do not lie
Rule 3: “Make friends with people who want the best for you
Rule 5: “Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them
Rule 10: “Be precise in your speech
Rule 9: “Assume that the person you are listening to might know something you do not

It was immediately clear to me that I had lost some Rule and only when I found out that it was the advertising of Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for life book I realized that I was missing exactly the other six rules that I discovered then as soon as I bought a copy of the book.

Rule 1: “Stand Up With Your Shoulders Back
Rule 2: “Treat Yourself Like Someone You Are Responsible for Helping
Rule 4: “Compare Yourself to Who You Were Yesterday, Not Who Someone Else is Today
Rule 6: “Set Your House in Perfect Order Before You Criticize the World
Rule 11: “Do Not Bother Children When They Are Skateboarding
Rule 12: “Pet to Cat When You Encounter One on the Street

A book made of 12 rules, 12 illustrations (one at the beginning of each chapter) and many other books that appear during the reading thanks to dots connection made in a very personal way by Peterson who linked together the Old and the New Testament, the great Russians Dostowiesky and Tolstoy, the three “philosophers of psychoanalysis” Freud, Nitsche, Jung and so on presenting Lewis Carroll, Hansel and Gretel, the Little Mermaid, Pinocchio and many others. A book that tells about people and their search to discover the human being, the perfect balance between order and chaos that, we are all looking for or should looking for. In my view, this is a book without a beginning and an end; that is probably why I appreciated some specific passages more than the all; I looked for a common thread, for a general message that I really struggled to find because finally remain indefinite until the last line.

I read mostly “no-fiction” books that I buy randomly, as in this case, driven by curiosity and the pleasure of discovering new things. Thanks to my passion for reading I have come to imagine an index of the interest aroused by a book I am reading; a very personal index, of course, but I think could work for other serial readers. I am an active person on social networks and I have observed that the more I am interested in the book, the more I share sentences, extracts, personal thoughts generated by reading it from the first to the last page. For 12 Rules of Peterson I read my past posts shared during the reading and I have noticed that there is no much else than the first pictures of the Rules I shared at the very beginning from the London Tube.

There is only a tweet of March 15, 2018 which is one of my most read tweets ever: “We have two general principles of disciplines. The first: limit the rules. Taken from Rule 5. I found it interesting for a book of rules because I associated it with innovation, a theme very close to me professionally, innovation that come back one more time in the passage I consider the most beautiful of the all book, from the rule n° 8 “Tell the truth or, at least, do not lie”; I have shared it with a post on Facebook: Question: “what can save a business, a company?” Answer: “what saves is the willingness to learn from what you do not know” This is the innovative approach and on the other side we have the “totalitarian” one and the totalitarian answer: “what the totalitarian means: everything that needs to be discovered has been discovered. All problems will vanish, forever, once the perfect system is accepted.”

In my opinion many companies ride the “totalitarian answer”, because they are afraid of the new, the never done before, they are lazy to learn something different and they prefer to keep their solid status quo and believe that by accepting the rules of a perfect system all the problems will disappear for life.

I’m quiet sure that among you who are reading these lines there are some who agree with what I have written and some who disagree; I like this feeling because it is exactly what I have found often while reading the book; to agree on some issues and disagree on others, because this book is made of many thoughts that you should like because are very close to your experience and many other thoughts that otherwise are different and quiet distant from your beliefs, your values, your experience. It seems trivial but it is actually what the psychologist Tajfel identified as the “minimal group identification”, quoted by Peterson in the last chapter of the book, the Rule 12 “pet a cat when you encounter one on the street” , when he reports what Tajfel claimed

“People are social”
“People are anti social”
“People are social because they like the members of their own group”
“People are antisocial because they do not like the members of others group”

These last four sentences appear trivial but they hide a sort of common sense truth.

Alessio Cuccu


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