Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, An

Chris Hadfield
Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4000 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 Col. Hadfield's success-and survival-is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst-and enjoy every moment of it. In An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, Col. Hadfield takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories filled with the adrenaline of launch, the mesmerizing wonder of spacewalks, and the measured, calm responses mandated by crises, he explains how conventional wisdom can get in the way of achievement-and happiness. His own extraordinary education in space has taught him some counterintuitive lessons: don't visualize success, do care what others think, and always sweat the small stuff. You might never be able to build a robot, pilot a spacecraft, make a music video or perform basic surgery in zero gravity like Col. Hadfield. But his vivid and refreshing insights will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth-especially your own.


Reviewed: 2017-01-02
Interesting approach, not sure if author achieved what he wanted. I'm not extremely familiar with Hadfield, but am aware of some of his work, his social media presence, etc. But I snagged this book in one of those Barnes & Noble sales and thought this sounded interesting.
Unfortunately it's not quite what I thought it would be. Despite the title I was under the impression this was more of a straightforward autobiography of his life. While I haven't read too many of those by astronauts, I realized this isn't quite that. It's his life plus a self-help spin on what he learned while training and while being an astronaut.
While I could appreciate his unique perspective (what self-help/improvement book author can top having similar advice through the lens of space and astronauts?), there was something missing. I have to agree with a lot of the criticisms you can find: it can get repetitive, somewhat technical, it would have been nice if we could have read more about interpersonal relationships. The drama, head-butting, how he and his wife coped with the training and long separations, etc.
There is a little of that (discussions about how "showboats" that don't treat the medical staff well are removed from consideration, Hadfield's wife Helene realized she couldn't exactly go traipsing around the world in case something happened to him and their children needed their mom), but I would have loved more "case studies" like that. It's unlikely "regular" (non-astronaut) people will EVER be in a situation remotely like what Hadfield encounters, so more of the people to people interactions would have been nice.
There is a bit of feeling the book is padded out a bit and could have used better editing. It makes me wonder if there was only so much he could talk about (or wanted to talk about if it was personal stuff or drama at NASA or whatever) and so it was filled out with more mundane details or technical info, etc. As I wrote, there are some really interesting aspects to how one becomes an astronaut, the life of one, the personal situation, etc. but it was like wading through a haystack sometimes. The interesting parts need to be separated out and the other information is just padding.
I wanted to like this more. I would imagine bigger fans or NASA-geeks, etc. would probably like this a lot. I wished I had borrowed it from the library instead but oh well.
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@drbendable began #astronautsguidet... on 2016-05-22