"Defying Limits" by Dr. Dave Williams is an inspiring story with so many good quotes. It's something you should live by, not just a book you should read. It follows the life of Dr. Dave as he goes from a small town Canadian boy, who dreams of flying into space, to an emergency room doctor, to a full blown astronaut throughout his life.
This book made me realize just how many big time Canadian astronauts there are. The prologue itself, is something you should live by. It recounts his time repairing the Canadarm2, thinking about how time is the most precious thing in the world. After all, you can live a lifetime in a day, and you don't want to let your life pass you by. It'll be over quicker than you think.
When he first saw a space launch, he was seven years old. It was the 1960's, a much different time than now, and when he asked his parents if he could do that one day, they told him it would be cool, but they didn't think Canada even had a space program. Time's have changed, and after several career changes, he landed his dream job after starting a family.
This book is amazing, not only because of his life story, but because it shows what's inside the life of an astronaut. Recounting all of his training, I found the book extremely interesting, and couldn't put it down once I started it. I didn't use to love non-fiction books, but because of ones like these I can really look forward to the next one I pick out. Anything about space I love, but I really feel proud hearing about astronauts from my own country going so far in life. After reading this, I immediately followed Dr. Dave on Twitter. Here's where you can get the book, and here's a link to his own personal Twitter account so you can keep up with him too. Definitely check out this book if you get the chance.
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Doctor, dad, astronaut, proud Canadian ... Dave Williams can now add author to his list of titles with this heartwarming and inspiring book that chronicles his amazing life. As a Canadian and child of the 1950s, this book was, for me, a walk through my life. Like most kids my age, I have vivid memories of watching the early space launches and wondering what it would be like to be an astronaut. Williams marks watching Alan Shepard's Freedom 7 flight at home with his parents as a pivotal moment in his life, but most of us have variations on that memory, whether it was watching on an old, grainy black and white TV at home or being herded into the gymnasium at school to watch those launches in breathless anticipation with our friends and classmates. From that pivotal moment in 1961 through playing in the creek out back, successes and failures at school, doctoring in Toronto, winning one of those few, coveted positions in the Canadian astronaut competition through training and his various missions, both above the earth and below the sea, Williams takes us through his life with a candor and a warmth that makes us feel like we're along for the ride. He explains what happened and what he did in plain,, simple terms, avoiding the tendency so many specialists have to descend into techno-speak that leaves all but the most knowledgeable struggling to keep up. Defying Limits is an amazing book. If you're looking for a gift for Canadian or a space geek or a child of the 1950s, this is a book I can almost guarantee they will love ... and while you're picking up that book copy, buy an extra one for yourself because Dave Williams story is one everybody should know.
Many thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada and #Netgalley for the privilege of reading this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are my own.
In Canada we are proud of our astronauts. As a Girl Guide leader I am familiar with the history of Roberta Bondar who took Girl Guide cookies with her into space. As a resident of Sarnia-Lambton I am very familiar with the adventures of Chris Hadfield (though I have yet to read his books). I also have a slight connection to Dave Williams. For a short period of time when he was in university, my husband's sister dated him. I remember meeting him briefly once. All of this made his book to be of great interest to me.
How does one become an astronaut - especially as a Canadian? From reading Dave William's book it would appear it has to start at an early age, and Dave was fortunate to have parents who allowed him to be curious and explore his passions be they science experiments or learning how to dive at an age much earlier than most.
This book takes us from his childhood through to present day including his college years and study to become a physician, his training as an astronaut and as an aquanaut as well as his two trips to space and times he spent living underwater at the ocean floor. The detail is fascinating, sometimes humerous and certainly inspirational.
The title of the book speaks to defying limits. All of us come up against limits at different times in our lives - places where we lack control over what happens and simply have to choose how we are going to react. In this book the author uses his life experiences with NASA and with life in general to inspire his readers as we too face life challenges. To quote the author from his acknowledgements, " Life presents us with innumerable moments, some we want to remember forever, others we prefer to forget. It is what we choose to do with those moments that determines our happiness, brings contentment, and provides us with meaning in our lives."
Dave Williams has done things that I will never be able to do. I enjoyed reading his story and living vicariously in the experiences he had underwater and in space. However, I appreciated even more his love of his family and the down to earth philosophy he has - to enjoy each moment in life for the inherent beauty that it possesses. I encourage you to read this book. You won't regret it.
Dr. Dave Williams is one of Canada's unsung heroes. He spent most of his career as a Canadian astronaut. He flew in the ISS twice and worked on lots of exciting projects at NASA, especially in the field of life sciences and the affects of micro-gravity on the human body. In his book, Defying Limits Williams describes in detail how he got to live the dream and philosophizes about what is really important in life.
This reviewer is fairly knowledgeable about the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Canada's astronaut program and our cooperative projects with NASA but found William's narrative clearly written so that the uninitiated would have no trouble understanding Canada's role in the space program, and specifically the important part Williams played within it. His description of breaking free from Earth's gravity is amazing, you can feel the G forces pressing down on your chest as you turn the pages. Williams truly embraces the wonder and awe that must be felt by all astronauts, especially as they view planet Earth while tethered to the ISS while on a space walk.
Whether you are already completely knowledgeable about CSA's work with NASA or are just starting to take an interest in it you will find this book completely accessible. I recommend it for a wide range of reading level, from novice to expert.
This is a great read. I enjoyed the technical insights into the preparations and challenges astronauts face. But this book also reveals more about the human side and reminds us that we all can aspire towards great things in our own lives. Dr. Dave shares many of the insights and life lessons he developed along the way that helped him succeed (even including how we define "success.") and he shares them in a clear, honest and often vulnerable way. Anyone with an interest in space flight, or Canadian history, or just life as we all experience it, will enjoy "Defying Limits."