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An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything Paperback – April 14, 2015
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A Slate Staff Pick for Best Books 2013
"A very human glance into a rarified world.... The vacuum of space is unforgiving and brutal. Life on earth isn't easy, either. Mr. Hadfield has genuinely and refreshingly increased our understanding of how to thrive in both places."―The Wall Street Journal
"Hadfield is a genius, a man of science and technology and no first-timer to the universe."―New York Post
"A satisfying behind-the-scenes look at the life of an astronaut.... A page-turning memoir of life as a decorated astronaut."―Kirkus Reviews
"Houston, we have a superstar."―Washington Post
"This memoir is part fascinating view, part Boy Scout manual."―New York Times
"A satisfying behind-the-scenes look at the life of an astronaut.... A page-turning memoir of life as a decorated astronaut."―Kirkus
"Hadfield proves himself to be not only a fierce explorer of the universe, but also a deeply thoughtful explorer of the human condition, capable of articulating those most universal of inquiries in simple yet profound language.... The book itself is absolutely spectacular."―Brain Pickings
"Lessons from his new book, AN ASTRONAUT'S GUIDE TO LIFE, are so inspiring that it's hard to decide which one to tell you about."―USA Today
"Our planet's one-man ambassador to the universe."―Gothamist
"Thoroughly engaging.... In a low-key style, he makes a persuasive case that the oft-derided Space Station is both a marvel of engineering and a triumph for science, and he paints the cartoon heroism of the NASA astronaut corps in a much more realistic, and yet in many ways even more admirable, light."―Corey S. Powell, American Scientist
"Hadfield is a good writer with an engaging style.... From his photos of Earth from space to his videos showing the daily grind of life on a 100-meter wide orbiting tin can, he is all about real life."―Slate
"Riveting, dramatic and intensely engrossing, Hadfield's engaging style as a writer puts you right alongside this almost absurdly compelling gentleman as he climbs the ladder from Canadian fighter pilot through two space shuttle missions and, ultimately, his serving as commander of the ISS."―The Huntington Beach Independent
"Hadfield takes readers on a fascinating and exciting journey while offering insightful-if somewhat unconventional -- wisdom applicable to everyday life here on Earth."―Bookpage
"His book is an autobiography as well as a lesson to the reader on what he's learned throughout his life and travels. And in his particular distillation of 'success,' he is wonderfully counterintuitive in his interpretation of common sense.... A startlingly intimate and warmhearted view of an arcane world, one which he makes plain even to those not educated in fields of scientific inquiry."―Ryan Downer, The California Aggie
"The book is more than just a compilation of intriguing stories and details about life in space....In addition to providing irresistible descriptions of his work, the book--which has been translated into 20 languages--also acts as a self-help guide, with Hadfield offering practical applications to what he has learned over the years."―Connie Ogle, Miami Herald
About the Author
Chris Hadfield is one of the most seasoned and accomplished astronauts in the world. In May 2013, Hadfield returned to Earth after serving as Commander of the International Space Station, where he and his crew lived for five months (his third mission). The top graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School in 1988 and U.S. Navy Test Pilot of the Year in 1991, Hadfield was selected to be an astronaut in 1992.
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And what a journey it is! The genre is a familiar one, the combination of an intimate, personal voyage with a grand story of human exploration. People have been at this, and able to write their memoirs, for centuries already. This terrain is thus a familiar one: yet Hadfield – of course – takes us to places where few have reached so far, and even fewer have written about in such a touching way: sincere, funny, and humble.
Somewhere along the ride Hadfield mentions the feeling, together with his crew on the ISS, that “we were the luckiest people off Earth”. Humbly, I consider myself a very lucky human being to be living at a time when the story of such an off-Earth expedition can be written – and that I had a chance to read it. I’m a lucky person, on Earth.
When the book’s part III (“Coming Down to Earth”) finally started to exert its gravity, I’ve tried to linger on for another orbit or two, by considerably slowing down my pace of reading. It’s hard to let go of this book: Hadfield not only commanded the ISS, but also the skills of a gifted storyteller.
And, of course, a singer. Thank you, Chris Hadfield.
Enter Chris Hadfield. He is everything you'd expect of a Canadian astronaut; a quietly competent team player and family man who wanted to become an astronaut from the age of 9 when he watched the first moon landing. In 21 years with the CSA/NASA, Hadfield was a mission specialist on two Shuttle flights and commanded the ISS before his retirement, and held a variety of positions within the astronaut office when not training for a mission. Commander Hadfield became perhaps the most social media-savvy astronaut ever, with a huge following on Twitter and Youtube. Our 3 year old still asks to look at Commander Hadfield's videos taken on the ISS, and loves what she calls "the space song" - Is Somebody Singing, the collaboration between Hadfield and the Barenaked Ladies, which was billed as the first song debuted from space.
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth is an enjoyable read about Hadfield's early life, his years as a fighter pilot and test pilot, his selection in the Canadian Space Agency's second group of astronauts, and his training for three missions in space. The book is written in a conversational tone and does not shy away from the risks and rewards involved in being an astronaut and the stresses it sometimes placed on family life. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read and I recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about life as an astronaut during the Shuttle/ISS era.