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
I think this book is likely to remain one of my 'Top Reads' for years to come. A fascinating account of Hadfield's life so far through his passionate affair with space. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Angela W.
Chris has a fascinating and inspirational story to tell, I found much of it very relevant to my own life and it helped me reinforce a perspective I already held. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Gabzilla
Loved it. nothing went as we’d planned, but everything was within the scope of what we prepared for. We can all learn from that. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jayne
An excellent and inspiring book and definitely worth a read! Hadfield writes with great style.Published 1 month ago by David Hinchliffe
This is an amazing book. It was truly astonishing to read the amount of knowledge and training an astronaut has (you think you know that it is a lot but then this lets you know how... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mike
I picked this book at airport prior to my flight as I thought it would be worth a read whilst on holiday. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Callum Michael Preston
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