I got a crazy idea of making a video series for the WIP YouTube channel about Jordan Peterson's latest book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos. It was convenient - the book already resided in the bookshelf in my home library - and I was a fan of Peterson's to begin with. How hard could it be to read a not-too-long book from a guy whose ideas I enormously enjoyed?
Well, turns out it's harder than you'd imagine. You see, Peterson has a habit of starting the story that hopefully will end up in the point he's trying to make very far from the actual point. And I just couldn't help but compare him to Malcolm Gladwell in that sense.
Oh lord, how much I hope that hadn't happened. You see, I dislike Gladwell's style more than anything - more than that of Nassim Taleb's, even. I was really looking forward to liking 12 Rules for Life.
And now I have a problem in my hands.
On the one hand, making a video series about an interesting book by a controversial famous person could be a hit. People might watch the videos. They might even like them. I also think I would enjoy making them.
On the other hand - every time I try reading the book there's a voice in my head screaming, get to the freaking point already! There's no need to explain this so extensively! I don't need so many analogies to understand this!
Taleb says that he never reads boring books to the end. He drops them without guilt as soon as he loses interest. (Does he expect people to read his works to the end though, even if he, too, explains things too much and often gets boring?) There might be something there - after all, life's short; why waste precious time on activities you don't enjoy?
I tried skipping the first chapter of 12 Rules for Life to the end to see if there was a recap, but alas - no recap, and to top it, the last few paragraphs used terms and phrases you can only understand if you read the entire chapter. So can I make a video series just by talking about the titles of the rules? Of course not. If I'm talking about Peterson's book and his ideas, I can't make stuff up. I can add my own opinions, but I can't pretend I know what the books says if I don't know what the book says. Reading a Wikipedia page about the book and take everything from there? Well, that just sounds unethical.
So what to do? I guess I have to think about it. I could take my chances and see if Peterson's style becomes more appealing once I get the hold of it; the rest could be a breeze. Or I can drop the book and pick another one, one that is easier to read but wouldn't attract as much audience or cater to a need.
I think I'll just bite the bullet and read the book. Perhaps it'll turn out more rewarding precisely because I had to make an effort to finish it.