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An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth Hardcover – Unabridged, 29 Oct 2013


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An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth + You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes + Postcards from Space: The Chris Hadfield Story
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Unabridged edition (29 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1447257103
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447257103
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.8 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (298 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Houston, we have a superstar' Washington Post 'Hadfield has done more than probably any astronaut since the Apollo missions to transform the image of space exploration ... Space has rarely seemed to close, or the world so astonishing' Daily Telegraph

From the Back Cover

'Space has rarely seemed so close, or the world so astonishing' Daily Telegraph

Chris Hadfield spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4,000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane and been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft. The secret to his success - and survival - is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst - and enjoy every moment of it.

You might never get to pilot a spacecraft like Colonel Hadfield, but his refreshing, hard-won wisdom will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change the way you view life on Earth - especially your own.

'An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth is the book Chris Hadfield was destined to produce . . . [It] makes the case for human space exploration in the post-Apollo, post-Shuttle age' Sunday Times

'He's the kind of astronaut who'd be great to grab a beer with' National Post

'Chris Hadfield prove[s] humour and humanity can reach Earth from space' Toronto Globe and Mail

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

73 of 75 people found the following review helpful By John Saltford on 21 Nov. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a book about ambition. But not the sort of ambition we usually hear or read about - the climb over everyone else ambition of politics and is found in many organisations or the 'I want it so much' ambition of X factor. It is about the 'I've got to work hard' ambition.
Chris Hadfield wanted to go into space. But he knew things might not work out and he was not going to define his success in life by whether he got there. As he said (not an exact quote) he wasn't going to define his life by something that may happen once in 10 years, but by doing 10 good things every day. He valued working with people and not over them. He was happy to do seemingly menial tasks if it helped the greater goal of the team. He would be pleased for other people's success. And all the time he would go the extra mile to achieve success for himself (that's hours of hard work) - to be the best at whatever he did. He would work hard. Very hard. And when he got there he would give back.
But if you think this may be an 'Aren't I wonderful?' type book you'd be wrong. Although the book is about him, it certainly isn't an ego trip.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jason Mills VINE VOICE on 21 July 2014
Format: Hardcover
The title is not merely a lure into rocket anecdotes or a nod to Douglas Adams, though it's surely both of those. Hadfield does provide some solid life lessons, based not on a guru's revelations or the latest semi-scientific fad, but on decades of hard work and experience. For a book centred on space, it's surprisingly down to Earth.

Hadfield tells us about his life, from childhood through college, and his years as a fighter- and test-pilot. After that come his years with NASA. This period includes three trips into space, but Hadfield is at pains to show how small a portion of time that is, and how extensive the training and preparation. From an early age he directed his life towards being an astronaut, whilst ensuring that he enjoyed everything he did even if the long shot never came: well aware of the role of luck, he nonetheless did everything he could to weight the dice his way.

His message might be encapsulated in the notion that a strong work ethic and constant learning are their own reward. Chapter titles such as "Sweat The Small Stuff", "What's The Next Thing That Could Kill Me?" and "Aim To Be A Zero" emphasise his insistence on taming one's ego and getting the job done, whether in a Space Shuttle or the family swimming pool.

But this is not a dry and didactic book: the space anecdotes are there a-plenty, from how to deal with something in your eye on a spacewalk, to what to do when there's a snake in the cockpit. Hadfield's suggestions arise naturally from his experience and are suffused with goodwill and good humour. I came away more impressed than ever with what it means to be an astronaut, and able to see how a little of that in everyone's life would do us all good.

The book includes a few pages of photos, acknowledgements, a good index, and a splendid opening sentence:

"The windows of a spaceship casually frame miracles."
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Duncan Brodie on 7 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a really fantastic book with tons of insights into what it takes to achieve success. I loved the style of writing. Information about specific missions was nicely balanced with lessons about teamwork, attitude, dealing with problems, challenges and change.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Gary S on 4 Nov. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I like reading books on space flight and after hearing a short piece read on Radio 4's Book of the Week I had to give it a go. I ordered it as soon as I got home from work and it arrived the following morning.

Well, two days later I've finished it because I couldn't put the thing down. Being an earthling with a fascination for rockets and the space staion with no chance whatsoever of going there myself I really liked the small details in this book. The small details add up to give you the bigger picture and now I even know what the ISS smells like!

As well as being a great book if you like space travel there are also some good lessons regarding life. Certain parts reminded me slightly of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance, although Zen is obviously far more detailed in philosophy and this far more detailed in space flight. But the Zen notion of being at your best when your stuck and looking at set backs in a positive way seems to be behind the thinking here as well. Lots of small sucesses in life are far better than one big one.

If you are into space books with some philosophy mixed in you will like this book. Go buy it now and smell the space station.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By emlee on 7 Jan. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
what makes this book so good is its down to earth storytelling as though he is a regular guy, which he is, only he has worked hard and achieved much in an area so few will ever get to see. and to share this in this book is fantastic, a great and insightful read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Mal on 9 Jan. 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great read and easy to read and very informative. Felt i was there with him. Can't wait for more from him.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. Stone on 16 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Commander Chris Hadfield is one of the humblest, most incisive men I have ever seen or heard. I am among the many people who became aware of him through his Social Media interactions during his five months aboard the International Space Station, and couldn't resist buying the Kindle version of this book as soon as it came out.

It is diffiult to classify this as an autobiography - even though it charts Chris' path to becoming an Astronaut. He cleverly uses each of the significant points in this journey to relate the lessons he learned to ways he changed his life in the future, or alternatively how a decision he made at a particular point was driven by past experience. The end result is a combination between an autobiography and a life coaching manual.

But don't think for a minute that he is trying to tell you how to live your life. Instead, the feeling you are left with after finishing to book is instead an insight into how to look at the bigger picture - take account of what might (but has not yet) happened, and learn more effectively from what occurs around you as well as directly to you.

He does this in a way which is at no point preaching nor directive. And all the time you are taking in an extraordinary journey from Pilot to Astronaut, as well as gaining a unique and at times humbling insight into what it is like to spend extended periods in space.

All in all a thoroughly enjoyable read, and one I would recommend.
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