20 Books Recommended by Jordan Peterson – Complete Guide

Jordan Peterson is a renowned psychologist and professor who has shared different books that have influenced his thoughts, perspectives, and ideologies. These books span various genres, from psychology, philosophy, and classic literature to modern narratives. 

20 Books Recommended by Jordan Peterson - Complete Guide

We have prepared a comprehensive guide for you on 20 books recommended by Peterson with a detailed look, offering you a glimpse into his intellectual world. So, whether you’re a fan of Peterson, an avid reader, or someone seeking new avenues of thought, this guide offers a rich selection of books you can choose from. 

East of Eden

East of Eden

Prepare to be captivated by “East of Eden,” John Steinbeck’s masterpiece! Drawing inspiration from the biblical tale of Cain and Abel, this novel explores themes of jealousy, anger, and choice in the face of fear and rejection, delving deep into the complexities of the human psyche. As the narrative unfolds, it unveils the concept of ‘timshel’—the power to resist sin—and reveals how our choices can inadvertently breed violence.

With characters like Charles, Adam, Cal, and Aron, you will witness the cyclical nature of violence and the power of choice. So, get ready for a captivating literary journey unlike any other!

The Great Mother 

The Great Mother: An Analysis of the Archetype (Princeton Classics Book 14)

Journey through time with acclaimed psychologist Erich Neumann in his “The Great Mother” as he uncovers the mesmerizing allure of femininity. Delving into mythology, art, dreams, and fantasies, Neumann weaves a tapestry of goddesses, monsters, and celestial orbs that will ignite a spectrum of emotions within you. 

This riveting exploration of nurturing tenderness and bone-chilling terror connects these mystical symbols to the depths of human consciousness and our enigmatic relationship with the unknown. “The Great Mother” is a timeless masterpiece that beckons to the curious, promising an enriching odyssey of the mind and soul into maternal archetypes. 

The Discovery of the Unconscious

The Discovery of the Unconscious: The History and Evolution of Dynamic Psychiatry

The Discovery of the Unconscious” is a groundbreaking work that traces the evolution of psychology and dynamic psychiatry. Authored by the esteemed psychiatrist Henri Ellenberger, the book takes you on a journey from the era of ancient exorcists to the advent of modern-day psychologists. It provides an in-depth understanding of the human mind, weaving a narrative that links the contributions of Pierre Janet, Alfred Adler, Carl Jung, and Sigmund Freud. 

Based on firsthand interviews and direct recollections, the book explores psychological development from the late 18th century to the late 1940s.

Mama’s Last Hug

Mama's Last Hug: Animal Emotions and What They Tell Us about Ourselves

Mama’s Last Hug” by Frans de Waal is a journey into the world of animal emotions. Meet Mama, the wise chimpanzee matriarch whose unbreakable bond with biologist Jan van Hooff unveils captivating tales of emotional depth. You will also be astonished by dogs empathizing with their partners’ pain and elephants grieving their lost loved ones. 

De Waal powerfully challenges the notion that diverse emotions are solely human territory. Prepare to have your mind opened and your heart touched as this enlightening book uncovers the profound connections between humans and the entire animal kingdom.

The Horse’s Mouth

The Horse's Mouth (First Trilogy Book 3)

Step into the vivid world of “The Horse’s Mouth” by Joyce Cary, where we meet the captivating artist Gulley Jimson. In this tale, Jimson’s passion for painting transcends societal norms as he roams London. Immerse yourself in a world that blurs the line between beauty and harsh reality. As you journey alongside Jimson, you’ll be left wondering – is he a visionary artist? A relic of the past? Or simply a wayward soul? 

Brave New World 

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley: A Visionary Dystopian Novel of a Controlled Society

Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley takes you on a thrilling journey to a dystopian future where intelligence dictates genetic engineering. Huxley’s thought-provoking narrative anticipates groundbreaking scientific advancements like reproductive technology, sleep-learning, and psychological manipulation. 

Through meticulously crafted world-building, Huxley’s work raises poignant questions about individuality, conformity, and the price we pay for technological progress. 



George Orwell’s seminal work “1984” presents a chilling vision of a totalitarian society in Oceania, where surveillance, propaganda, and fear rule. Set in a grim London under the watchful eye of Big Brother, the novel follows Winston Smith, who dares to remember and love amidst the oppressive regime. His rebellion leads him to a secret organization, The Brotherhood, putting his life at stake. 

Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece is a profound critique of absolute power. 

Beyond Good And Evil 

Beyond Good and Evil

Beyond Good and Evil” by Friedrich Nietzsche has revolutionized Western philosophy. This classic work challenges conventional notions of truth, morality, and the divine, advocating for a philosophy that values the present and underscores the individual’s ‘will to power.’

Nietzsche critiques perceived pieties and ‘slave morality,’ offering an alternative worldview where truth and morality aren’t absolute, and good and evil are interlinked. “Beyond Good And Evil” is a must-read for philosophy enthusiasts.

The Painted Bird 

The Painted Bird

The Painted Bird” by Jerzy Kosinski is a poignant literary classic that explores the harrowing realities of a world ravaged by war. The narrative follows a young boy navigating the horrors of World War II alone, offering a stark portrayal of human cruelty. 

This compelling story delves into themes of lost innocence and the heavy price of survival. It also leaves an impact, prompting you to reflect on the resilience of the human spirit amidst adversity.

The Master and Margarita 

The Master and Margarita

The Master and Margarita” is a unique masterpiece by Mikhail Bulgakov that brilliantly intertwines magic, reality, and ethical quandaries against the backdrop of Stalin’s rule. This satire on Soviet life features captivating characters embroiled in historical, fantastical, and grotesque events. 

The narrative, divided into two parts, unfolds as the devil visits Soviet Moscow, instigating chaos that ensnares the beautiful Margarita and her beloved, the Master. This novel is suppressed for years in the Soviet Union and is a compelling parable on power, corruption, love, and human frailty. 



Aldous Huxley’s “Island” takes you to Pala, a remote Pacific island where an ideal society has thrived for 120 years. However, this utopia draws the envy of the outside world, sparking a conspiracy to seize control. 

The narrative uncovers through the perspective of Faranby, a cynical newspaperman and an unwitting agent of the conspirators who finds himself shipwrecked on Pala. His time among the island’s inhabitants revolutionizes his values and kindles hope. This final novel of Huxley is about the pursuit of happiness, the transformative power of values, and the repercussions of disturbing a harmonious existence.

Crime and Punishment 

Crime and Punishment: A Novel in Six Parts with Epilogue (Vintage Classics)

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s gripping psychological thriller “Crime and Punishment” follows a penniless student, Raskolnikov, who murders St. Petersburg, believing himself above the moral law. His guilt intensifies as he engages in a risky game with the authorities. 

The narrative is set in Tsarist Russia and is renowned for its atmospheric tension, rich characters, and philosophical exploration of sin, guilt, and redemption. This 19th-century masterpiece remains a fascinating study of the human conscience.

The Old Man and the Sea 

Old Man and the Sea

Ernest Hemingway’s final published work, “The Old Man and the Sea,” is a timeless piece of American fiction. This book follows an elderly Cuban fisherman who is struggling with a colossal marlin in the Gulf Stream. 

Hemingway masterfully employs the simplicity of a fable to portray universal themes of courage, defeat, and personal triumph. This 20th-century classic showcases Hemingway’s mature storytelling ability, captivating you with its enduring profundity. 

For Whom the Bell Tolls 

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Enter the captivating world of Robert Jordan, the American fighter in Ernest Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Amid the Spanish Civil War, Jordan joins anti-fascist guerrilla units, embarking on a journey that will test loyalty, bravery, love, and loss. 

This narrative pulsates with life, where vibrant characters and intense scenes leap off the page. Hemingway’s unparalleled storytelling prowess is on full display, weaving an empathetic and insightful masterpiece that delves into the depths of war.

The Return of the God Hypothesis 

Return of the God Hypothesis: Three Scientific Discoveries That Reveal the Mind Behind the Universe

The Return of the God Hypothesis” by Stephen C. Meyer tells us about the story of the gap between science and faith. Using compelling evidence from cosmology, physics, and biology, the author challenges the arguments of “New Atheists” and affirms the existence of an intelligent, theistic creator. 

This ground-breaking work reveals the ultimate mystery of the universe, bringing you one step closer to understanding the divine. Whether you’re a skeptic, a believer, or simply curious about life’s biggest questions, this book is a must-read. 

Jordan Peterson, God, and Christianity 

Jordan Peterson, God, and Christianity: The Search for a Meaningful Life

Immerse yourself in the intriguing world of Jordan Peterson‘s ideas on psychology, philosophy, and religion, scrutinized through a Christian lens. In this book, Christopher Kaczor uncovers the intersections with Christianity and how faith brings Peterson’s theories to life. 

Whether you’re on a quest for a more meaningful existence or simply curious about the intersection of faith and psychology, this book is perfect for you. Prepare to embark on a thought-provoking journey that could redefine your perspective on life.

How to Spend $75 Billion to Make the World a Better Place 

How to Spend $75 Billion to Make the World a Better Place

Embark on a journey with Bjørn Lomborg’s “How to Spend $75 Billion to Make the World a Better Place.” This book presents practical solutions to twelve pressing global issues. Lomborg prioritizes the most beneficial strategies to invest $75 billion effectively, from natural disasters and global warming to improving education and nutrition.

Drawing on research from over sixty distinguished economists, including four Nobel Laureates, this book is a treasure trove of knowledge and inspiration. It’s not just about recognizing the world’s challenges but about taking action to create real change. This enlightening and inspiring read is a must-have guide for anyone passionate about making a difference.

The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The Gulag Archipelago [Volume 1]: An Experiment in Literary Investigation

Dive into “The Gulag Archipelago,” a gripping nonfiction masterpiece that unveils four decades of tyranny in the Soviet Union. Through Solzhenitsyn’s encounters and the accounts of over 200 fellow inmates, you’ll explore the all-powerful ruling state within the state. 

With his literary prowess, Solzhenitsyn crafts an astounding narrative that serves as a riveting historical document and a powerful critique of a political system. Prepare for an eye-opening journey into a dark corner of world history.

The Road to Wigan Pier 

The Road To Wigan Pier

Immerse yourself in George Orwell’s autobiographical novel that takes you through his challenging journey across cities after quitting his bookstore job. Before penning the iconic “1984” and “Animal Farm,” Orwell was a journalist, delving into England’s working-class life. 

Commissioned by a socialist group to investigate poverty in northern England, Orwell went a step further, exploring the lives of the employed too. Living as the coal miners did, he experienced their hardships firsthand. The gripping narrative of “The Road to Wigan Pier” reveals Orwell’s insights on socialism as the only solution to these conditions, despite its repulsion for many. 

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

A Farewell to Arms

Embark on a poignant journey through the chaos of war and the power of love in “A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway.” This semi-autobiographical work recounts the riveting story of an American ambulance driver in Italy and his love for a stunning English nurse, all set against the harrowing backdrop of war. 

Prepare to be swept away by this iconic 20th-century novel that masterfully intertwines the brutality of war and the tenderness of love. It’s not just a story; it’s an experience.

Final Thoughts

That brings us to the end of our complete guide to the 20 books recommended by Jordan Peterson. This diverse array of works offers a deep dive into the mind of one of today’s most influential thinkers. Whether you’re a devoted follower of Peterson or simply a passionate reader, these books will challenge your viewpoints and inspire new insights. 


Who is Jordan Peterson?

Jordan Peterson is a renowned psychologist and professor known for his influential ideas on psychology, philosophy, and cultural issues.

Who is Jordan Peterson’s favorite author?

Jordan Peterson has cited many authors who have significantly influenced his work and thought process. However, he often mentions Fyodor Dostoevsky as one of his favorite authors.

Why should I read the books recommended by Jordan Peterson?

These books provide insights into the literary and philosophical influences that have shaped Peterson’s thought process. They offer a unique opportunity for intellectual exploration and personal growth.

How has Peterson chosen these books?

Peterson has selected these works based on their influence on his intellectual journey and their potential to challenge and inspire readers.

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Elvira Lagud