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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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An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth : What Going to Space Taught Me about Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything
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Hadfield gets his message across telling the story of his career as an Astronaut - and what he did to get there. I have to say that from this, now I am absolutely a fan of his wife, who must surely be the most supportive woman around!
Humour flows through the book, but he doesn't gloss over how dangerous situations he has been in were, nor does he gloss over the pain of loosing friends in space missions.
This book will appeal to a wide range of people - from those who want to know what being an astronaut is like (and your eyes will be opened wide - I know mine were) to those looking for a creed to live their life by.
If you enjoyed Chris Hadfield's tweets and reports from the ISS, then I can guarantee you will enjoy this book. There are a heap of photos at the back of the kindle edition of the book (instead of scattered through it) - so don't assume that the last chapter is the end of the book!
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.
The life-lessons this amazing man describes would assist many kids through life successfully and happily, understanding that they don't need to be astronauts to achieve these things. They need to understand how to believe in themselves, how to prepare for life's vagaries, and to never stop learning, irrespective of what they do.
The stories about Col. Hadfield's time in the space program and time spent in space itself are engrossing. But it's his stories about being ready for all of it, including letting it all go, that are the most compelling and impactful.
There is no doubt that men and women of his ilk will be the exploring spirits who make way, in a big way, for whatever future awaits humanity. However, it's his assertion herein, that it's not the scale that matters but rather the Attitude, for every individual to achieve their goals and appreciate their own total experience.
I have some doubts about the lessons of an astronaut as something useful for regular people. Some of them are useful, like negative thinking (used regularly first by the Stoics, that I am aware). Being a zero makes a lot of sense when the stakes are very high, but probably not most of the time. However, the lessons are interesting and (depending on the context) valuable anyway.
I recommend this book to anyone with the tiniest bit of interest in space or biographies. Chris is a great storyteller, comes across as a very positive and warm human being, and his love for teaching shows all the way through.