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An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth [Hardcover]

Chris Hadfield
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Oct. 29 2013

As Commander of the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield captivated the world with stunning photos and commentary from space. Now, in his first book, Chris offers readers extraordinary stories from his life as an astronaut, and shows how to make the impossible a reality.
 
Chris Hadfield decided to become an astronaut after watching the Apollo moon landing with his family on Stag Island, Ontario, when he was nine years old, and it was impossible for Canadians to be astronauts. In 2013, he served as Commander of the International Space Station orbiting the Earth during a five-month mission. Fulfilling this lifelong dream required intense focus, natural ability and a singular commitment to “thinking like an astronaut.” In An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, Chris gives us a rare insider’s perspective on just what that kind of thinking involves, and how earthbound humans can use it to achieve success and happiness in their lives.
Astronaut training turns popular wisdom about how to be successful on its head. Instead of visualizing victory, astronauts prepare for the worst; always sweat the small stuff; and do care what others think. Chris shows how this unique education comes into play with dramatic anecdotes about going blind during a spacewalk, getting rid of a live snake while piloting a plane, and docking with space station Mir when laser tracking systems fail at the critical moment. Along the way, he shares exhilarating experiences, and challenges, from his 144 days on the ISS, and provides an unforgettable answer to his most-asked question: What’s it really like in outer space?
Written with humour, humility and a profound optimism for the future of space exploration, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth offers readers not just the inspiring story of one man’s journey to the ISS, but the opportunity to step into his space-boots and think like an astronaut—and renew their commitment to pursuing their own dreams, big or small.


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Review

#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
A Globe and Mail Best Book
A Book Riot Best Book
A Slate Best Book
FINALIST 2013 – CBA Libris Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award
WINNER 2013 – CBA Libris Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award 
 
“Chris Hadfield is easily the world’s most famous living moustache-tronaut, having done more to promote the concept of off-Earth travel and exploration than anyone since William Shatner first stepped onto the bridge of the Enterprise…. The accounts of Hadfield’s three missions are riveting and fun, and easily communicate the shock and awe that comes with seeing the planet from above.” —Toronto Star
 
“I found his fascinating An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth even more enjoyable than I expected. Mr. Hadfield teaches us not only about space but about people, too. Equally autobiographical and instructional, the book goes gleefully against the grain of most ‘success’ books…. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth isn’t a compendium of hagiographic profiles; it’s a very human glimpse into a rarefied world. Bound together by a love of exploration and discovery, tested by tragic catastrophes and everyday hardship, the men and women Mr. Hadfield introduces us to are real people: They fail, they succeed, they worry, they miss their families, they go to space and do things never done before. 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.” —Adam Savage, The Wall Street Journal
 
“Hadfield is a good writer with an engaging style; I was always eager to get to the next chapter, and frequently found myself smiling at the stories he was spinning…. You might not think that someone who became an astronaut might have stories that will relate to your own Earthbound life, but in fact Hadfield has shown over and again that he’s a master at making it all relatable. 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.” —Phil Plait, Slate (Best Book)
 
“A page-turning memoir of life as a decorated astronaut.” —Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Chris Hadfield is one of the most seasoned and accomplished astronauts in the world. 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 by the Canadian Space Agency to be an astronaut in 1992. He was CAPCOM for 25 Shuttle launches and served as Director of NASA Operations in Star City, Russia, from 2001–2003, Chief of Robotics at the Johnson Space Center in Houston from 2003–2006, and Chief of International Space Station Operations from 2006–2008. Hadfield most recently served as Commander of the International Space Station where, while conducting a record-setting number of scientific experiments and overseeing an emergency spacewalk, he gained worldwide acclaim for his breathtaking photographs and educational videos about life in space. His music video, a zero-gravity version of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” received over 10 million views in its first three days online.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
By K. P. Siu TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
There is a reason that Chris Hadfield has become one of the most popular astronauts in the world (and certainly the most followed on Twitter). Commander Hadfield, not unlike most astronauts, is whip-smart, incredibly hard-working, and passionate about his work. One might consider him to be among one of the few dozen most accomplished people on (or around) Earth. Though Hadfield credits his son Evan for his popularity, there is no question that the real reason is because he is a great communicator.

His book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, is a rare glimpse into the life and mind of an astronaut. There is of course the expected discourse on motivations and childhood, the trials and tribulations of becoming an astronaut, and the fascinating tidbits of life in space. The greatest strength of this book, however, is that it fills you up with passion, excitement, and wonder - feelings that Commander Hadfield certainly know well.

An unmistakeable and infectious sense of awe exudes from every sentence of this book. It is the same feeling of awe that millions have felt from watching Commander Hadfield's brilliant YouTube videos or admiring the many photographs he took from low Earth orbit. Reading his words, you get the sense that Commander Hadfield is the kind of person who never ceases to be amazed by the world we inhabit, and wants nothing more than to share his experiences with the rest of humanity.

The book is full of life lessons and advice. Although not all of it will be applicable to those of us not likely to go to space, his wisdom nonetheless deserves respect, hard-earned as it was by a series of experiences and accomplishments that most will only ever dream of.
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book from an amazing Canadian! Oct. 30 2013
By A. Volk #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Chris Hadfield is not Canada's only astronaut, but he's almost indisputably the most famous one. This book is the story of his life leading up to being an astronaut, and its filled with both anecdotes and lessons.

For me, the anecdotes and stories are what's most interesting. Have you ever thought about flying in space? If so, this book is for you. There's a ton of information on what it's actually like to fly in and out of space, as well as living life in space. It really is an alien environment, but it's one that has almost become commonplace enough for people to dismiss as now being safe and easy to do. It's not safe, and it's definitely not easy living in space. But he does convey the majesty of being in space. In particular, how it doesn't seem that grand until you open your eyes and see the glorious view of the Earth in front of you and then the blackness of space all around you. Vision is the sense that most appreciate space.

His life story and lessons are also interesting, even if they don't (for me) match up to the grandeur of space flight. One of Chris' biggest life events and lessons is that he discovered at a very young age (9) what he wanted to do: walk on the moon. He never made it to that goal (at least, not yet), but he states that it's really important to set goals and do your best to meet those goals. If you don't get your goal, but move towards it, you're succeeding. That's a really important point- not only do you have to set a goal, but you have to keep chasing it even if it involves detours here and there. I can really empathize with this view as it's largely what I've done with my life. Chris also loved going fast from a young age, but he wasn't a risk-taker.
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29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
By Mary Lavers TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
I have so many good things to say about this book I don't think they'll all fit into one review (for my full review, including my four-year-old's reaction to it, please visit my blog, Cozy Little Book Journal). Here's some of what I thought about the book:

Chris Hadfield knew he wanted to be an astronaut when he was nine years old. In fact, he remembers the exact moment he knew. It was late in the evening on July 20, 1969. That's when his entire family, spending the summer in Stag Island, Ontario, "traipsed across the clearing" to their neighbour's cottage so they could crowd themselves in front of the television and watch the moon landing. "Somehow," he writes, "we felt as if we were up there with Neil Armstrong, changing the world."

Hadfield writes about this early experience--and many, many of the other experiences that have led him to become the world's most recognized astronaut since Armstrong himself--in his new book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth.

I would have read this book a lot faster if I hadn't kept stopping every few pages to run out to tell my family what I'd just read. Magda didn't mind. She asked me to read aloud to her from the book every chance I got. At 4, I'd venture to say she knows more about space than most Canadians ten times her age, and we have Colonel Chris Hadfield to thank for that.

His videos from space captured her imagination and mine. Thanks to him, Magda has spent the better part of the year learning everything she can about space exploration and astronauts, and has even composed several songs dedicated to female astronauts she admires ("Julie Payette Rocket" and "You are the Moon, I am the Sun [for Suni Williams]").
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read. Chris is rightly proud as the first ...
Fascinating read. Chris is rightly proud as the first and only Canadian to command the ISS and this book tells what all lead up to to and beyond.
Published 3 days ago by Peter McNicol
2.0 out of 5 stars C h guide to life.
I thought it was poorly written and repititous. not what I expected . somewhat interesting
Enjoyed the last chapter the best.
Published 4 days ago by Dianne
2.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunate
Love Hadfield but he totally wet the bed on this one. The book had so much potential and could have been stellar given this man's life. In the end, poor poor poor direction.
Published 6 days ago by Sarah Howell
4.0 out of 5 stars Livre intéressant pour connaître la vie d'un astronaute dans...
Livre intéressant pour connaître la vie d'un astronaute dans l'espace et de la préparation nécessaire pour devenir astronaute. Read more
Published 7 days ago by Josette Bouchard
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW! a must-read book about life and attitude in Space and on Earth
This well-written book, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, is full of “AMAZING”, not to mention how I feel about Chris Hadfield – the Canadian astronaut who was commander of... Read more
Published 7 days ago by Lynn A. Davidson
3.0 out of 5 stars factual history
I read this book--all of it. Found Chris Hadfield a little bit pompous---but his perseverance was admirable. His wife must be a saint!!!
Published 11 days ago by jean ling
3.0 out of 5 stars Has its moments
There’s no doubt that Chris Hadfield is an exceptional person and a great Canadian, the book is an easy read, however somewhat self serving and I personally didn’t get into it, I... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Claude Bourdon
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Interesting!!
Good life lessons and habits we could all learn from. The way he writes keeps you interested, and most people would relate to his experiences, however in a very different way.
Published 20 days ago by Knowitall2000
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written
Awesome book. Really liked Hadfield's passion and advise, as it could directly relate to almost every person. Very worthwhile read.
Published 27 days ago by Timothy Pierotti
5.0 out of 5 stars A hero
This chap has an extraordinary ability to explain how and why space works . He is a gifted Canadian -- worthy of a place in world history . Read more
Published 1 month ago by Phyllis Mcnaughton
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