- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Macmillan; Main Market Ed. edition (29 Oct. 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1447257103
- ISBN-13: 978-1447257103
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.7 x 24.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (524 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth Hardcover – Unabridged, 29 Oct 2013
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'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
An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth is an inspirational memoir of space exploration and hard-won wisdom, from an astronaut who has spent a lifetime making the impossible a realitySee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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."
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.
The book basically has two modes. It's at its best when talking about Chris Hadfields' personal experiences of going to space, the sheer awe produced by seeing Earth from space, the quirky aspects of the Russian space program, or the unexpected details of daily life in zero gravity.
It's at its worst Chris tries to draw conclusions and life advice from his experiences, as it really turns into a tiresome and contrived boyscout manual here. I got tired of reading about Always Being Prepared, and Giving It Your Best, and Always Looking Out For Your Teammates.
I still enjoyed the book overall, but often wished it was more of a straight telling of Chris' experiences as an astronaut. The book's concept feels somewhat forced.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A very interesting take on general aspects of life and experiences, as well as a great insight into space exposition and the life of an astronaut. Read morePublished 16 hours ago
Chris Hadfield is probably most famous for being the astronaut who sang David Bowie’s Space Oddity on the International Space Station; his YouTube video of it has over 30 million... Read morePublished 8 days ago by Susan Stepney
Excellent book that I got as it was recommended by a friend. Absolutely worth a read and a refreshingly different account of space-flight and the trials of becoming an... Read morePublished 21 days ago by Family Bryant
Great book, a must read for anyone interested in how someone becomes an astronaut!Published 25 days ago by Chris
Really refocused my energy out put and made me appreciate that teachers like astronauts are only as effective as their planning and preparation. Easy and inspiring read!Published 26 days ago by Eilish Kelly
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