Meeting Jordan B. Peterson & "12 Rules for Life" Lecture Recap

Dr. Jordan B. Peterson, a Canadian clinical psychologist, a professor of psychology and bestselling author of “12 Rules for Life”, has played an important mentorship role in my life.

His lectures teach valuable lessons such as the importance of responsibility, how to find meaning in life, the differences among human personalities and genders, how to understand ancient stories (Biblical and other classic tales) and much more.

When I found out that he was coming to NYC as part of his book tour, I jumped at the chance to meet him. Fortunately, I was able to buy a ticket before the event sold out.

“12 Rules for Life” Lecture

At the event, people could buy JBP merchandise such as posters and books. However, there were no signed copies for sale, instead, Peterson had signed a small piece of paper that was given to anyone who bought a copy of “12 Rules for Life” for $28.

The event started around 8 p.m. with Jordan Peterson’s daughter Mikahlia coming out on stage and talking about her father. She mentioned that neither her nor Dr. Peterson could have ever imagined that Dr. Peterson would be traveling the world to give lectures about meaning and responsibility to thousands of people.

After being introduced by Mikahlia, Dr. Peterson walked onto the stage and was greeted with a standing ovation.

Dr. Jordan Peterson takes the stage in NYC.

Dr. Jordan Peterson takes the stage in NYC.

For about an hour and a half, Dr. Peterson elaborated on several lessons from his book. The talk was only slightly different from the hundreds of hours of lectures you can find on his YouTube channel, but it was a completely different experience seeing him in-person and being literally only a few feet away from him.

The audience remained remarkably respectful throughout the talk and there were no protestors or hecklers. Everyone was captivated by Peterson while he discussed the importance of responsibility, taking care of yourself and many more topics.

Peterson at the Beacon Theatre in NYC.

Peterson at the Beacon Theatre in NYC.

Lecture Takeaways

Two points that really grabbed my attention was when Peterson talked about the difficulty of having good friends, and suffering.

Good friends are people who will tell you the truth when you don’t want to hear it but need to hear it. Although this will hurt at times, it is better to know the truth and act on it than to be friends with people who turn a blind eye to each others shortcomings.

  • A bad friend will ignore your drinking problem as long as you ignore their smoking problem and both of you will pretend things are fine as if not talking about a problem will make it go away.

  • This is why it is so easy to be friends with bad influences, because they don’t point out your faults and make you feel that it is okay to not fix your faults.

  • A good friend however, will tell you that you need to stop getting drunk every weekend because it is bad for your health and unproductive.

  • A good friend will expect more out of you and push you to reach your full potential in life.

  • Having good friends is hard and challenging, but it is much better than surrounding yourself with people who ignore their problems and avoid responsibility.

The second point that stuck with me is Jordan Peterson’s classic line of “Life is suffering.” No matter what, you will suffer throughout your life. Even if somehow you manage to avoid almost all suffering in life, you still die in the end. If that’s the case is life worth living?

  • Yes, just because the journey has an fixed ending, it doesn’t mean the journey is pointless.

  • Everyone should try to make their life journey as positive as possible.

  • This means taking on personal responsibility to improve your life.

  • By doing so, you improve your life, the lives of those around you and possibly the lives of future generations.

  • No one knows whether Heaven or Hell exists, but we do know Earth exists and everyone of us has the power to make Earth a little more like Heaven or a little more like Hell–let’s go with Heaven.

Mikhaila Peterson and her father Dr. Peterson.

Mikhaila Peterson and her father Dr. Peterson.

Dr. Peterson finished talking around 9:30 p.m. and then Mikhaila came back on stage to ask questions that were sent in by the audience. The Q&A ended around 10 p.m. and once again Peterson received a standing ovation as he left the stage.

Meeting Jordan Peterson

After the Q&A session, everyone left except for those with a VIP ticket. The VIP meet and greet started a little after 10 p.m. and went on till about 11 p.m. Approximately 150 people bought the VIP ticket to meet Dr. Peterson (myself included).

Each person got to speak with Peterson for about 10-15 seconds and get a picture with him. Unfortunately, Peterson wasn’t signing any books at the event. Many fans gave Peterson gifts such as books or custom artwork.

When it was my turn to meet Peterson, he greeted me with a firm handshake, a warm smile and asked me my name. I told him and thanked him for all his great work. I talked about Alex & Books, how he inspired me to start the site and handed him a few of my bookmarks.

He smiled and was glad to hear that I had been spending my free time reading books and educating myself. He wished me good luck with my site and said to keep at it. I thanked him again, posed for a picture and took a seat.

Incredibly humbled to have met the one and only Jordan Peterson.

Incredibly humbled to have met the one and only Jordan Peterson.

The meet and greet ended at 11 p.m. and then the VIP Q&A session started. The session only lasted about 30 minutes since Peterson had a plane to catch. Only four people got the chance to ask him a question, luckily I was the fourth and last one.

I asked him which 5 books out of his 100+ book list influenced him the most, read his answer here.

  • Peterson also shared that he will be releasing his next book “12 More Rules for Life” in early 2020 and will be doing more Biblical lectures during late 2019/early 2020.

  • He also mentioned that he had finished a podcast with Milo Yiannopoulos and Joe Rogan, and will be releasing those soon.

The VIP Q&A ended around 11:30 p.m.

My copy of “12 Rules for Life” and the VIP pass.

My copy of “12 Rules for Life” and the VIP pass.

Conclusion

In total, the entire show lasted about 3.5 hours and aside from the VIP tickets being a bit pricey (I sold my Xbox to help pay for it) and Peterson not signing books, I don’t have anything negative to say about the event.

It was a great experience to see Jordan Peterson in-person instead of on YouTube and I was super lucky to personally meet and talk with him.

If you’re a fan of Jordan Peterson, I would definitely recommend going to one of his events. Keep an eye out for more of his shows here.

Thank you everyone for reading my article, I hope you’ve found it helpful! -Alex

If you haven’t yet read Peterson’s book, I highly recommend it. You can get it here.


If you want to check out my list of recommended books, you can find it here.

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