The Jordan B. Peterson Book List

Needing little introduction to many, Jordan B. Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist who took the world by storm over the past few years with his cultural, political, and religious lectures across the globe. Rising to fame from his protest of Canada’s anti-free speech laws regarding “misgendering”, Peterson wrote his bestselling book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. As part of his outreach to general audiences regarding a real education, he provides the following “great books” list on his own page. It is adapted here for convenience and easy comparison to other famous great books lists on ThinkingWest.


  • The Charterhouse of Parma, Marie-Henri (Stendhal) Beyle
  • Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte
  • The Master and Margarita, Mikhail Bulgakov
  • The Horse’s Mouth, Joyce Cary
  • The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler
  • The Long Goodbye, Raymond Chandler
  • Our Culture: What’s Left of It, Theodore Dalyrmple
  • Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass, Theodore Dalrymple
  • Crime and Punishment; Notes from Underground; The Brothers Karamazov; The Devils; The Idiot, Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Lord of the Flies, William Golding
  • I, Claudius, Robert Graves
  • The Maltese Falcon, Dashiel Hammet
  • A Farewell to Arms; For Whom the Bell Tolls; The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway
  • Brave New World; Island; Point Counterpoint, Aldous Huxley
  • The Fratricides; Zorba the Greek, Nikos Kazantzakis
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Sometimes a Great Notion, Ken Kesey
  • Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes
  • The Stone Angel, Margaret Laurence
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
  • Beyond Good and Evil; On the Genealogy of Morals; The Antichrist; The Gay Science; The Will to Power, Friedrich Nietzsche
  • 1984; Animal Farm; Road to Wigan Pier, George Orwell
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert Pirsig
  • The House of God, Samuel Shem
  • Cancer Ward; The First Circle; The Gulag Archipelago (v. 1-3), Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • East of Eden; The Grapes of Wrath; Of Men and Mice, John Steinbeck
  • The Red and the Black, Stendhal
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson
  • Anna Karenina; War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
  • Tolstoy, Henri Troyat
  • The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test, Tom Wolfe

Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry

  • The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker
  • The Discovery of the Unconscious, Henri Ellenberger
  • Genius, Hans Eysenck
  • Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl
  • An Outline of Psychoanalysis; The Interpretation of Dreams, Sigmund Freud
  • Aion; Answer to Job; Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious; Modern Man in Search of a Soul; Mysterium Coniunctionis; Psychology and Alchemy; Psychology: East and West; Psychology of Religion: East and West; Symbols of Transformation; The Symbolic Life; Two Essays on Analytical Psychology, Carl Jung
  • Existence: A New Dimension in Psychiatry and Psychology, by Rollo May, Ernest Angel, and Henri Ellenberger
  • The Origins and History of Consciousness; The Great Mother, Erich Neumann
  • Play, Dreams and Imitation in Childhood; The Moral Judgment of the Child, Jean Piaget
  • A Way of Being; On Becoming a Person, Carl Rogers


  • An Ecological Approach to Visual Perception, James J. Gibson
  • The New Executive Brain, Elkhonon Goldberg
  • The Neuropsychology of Anxiety, Jeffrey Gray and Neil McNaughton
  • The Emotional Brain, Joseph LeDoux
  • Affective Neuroscience, Jaak Panksepp
  • The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat; Awakenings; An Anthropologist on Mars, Oliver Sacks
  • Brain Architecture: Understanding the Basic Plan, Larry Swanson

Religion and Religious History

  • Mephistopheles: The Devil in the Modern World, Jeffrey Burton Russell
  • A History of Religious Ideas (v. 1, 2, 3); Myth and Reality; Myths, Dreams, and Mysteries; Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy; The Forge and the Crucible; The Sacred and the Profane, Mircea Eliade
  • The Great Code; Words with Power, Northrop Frye
  • The Crisis of Islam, Bernhard Lewis
  • The World’s Religions, Huston Smith
  • The Bible: Designed to be Read as Living Literature

History/Systems Analysis

  • Little Science, Big Science, Derek J. de Solla Price
  • The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else, Hernando De Soto
  • Systemantics: How Systems Work and Especially How They Fail, John Gall
  • The Rise of Statistical Thinking 1820-1900, Theodore M. Porter
  • Stalin: The First In-depth Biography Based on Explosive New Documents from Russia’s Secret Archives, Edvard Radzinsky
  • The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, William L. Shirer

The State of the World: A 21st Century Update

  • The Great Escape, Angus Deaton
  • How to Spend $75 Billion to Make the World a Better Place, Bjorn Lomborg
  • Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future, Johan Norberg
  • Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, Steven Pinker
  • The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves, Matt Ridley
  • Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think, Hans Rosling
  • Earth in Human Hands, David Grinspoon

Jordan B. Peterson’s Books

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