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An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  33,845 Ratings  ·  3,165 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 295 pages
Published October 29th 2013 by Little, Brown and Company
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Shiva As Owen mentioned, yes, partially. It draws on a variety of 'lessons' he learnt primarily during his test pilot and astronaut days. A very interesting…moreAs Owen mentioned, yes, partially. It draws on a variety of 'lessons' he learnt primarily during his test pilot and astronaut days. A very interesting (and exciting!) read, at least for me. Definitely a must read if you are a space enthusiast; this one goes right up there with Carl Sagan's Cosmos in my library. (less)
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Community Reviews

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Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Depending on your outlook on things, this book will either make you feel like you have lived a vastly underwhelming and underachieving sort of life, full of these lost opportunities, these missed chances... or it will make you feel infinitely inspired, like you can live more and do more just be more in general, and it will serve as fuel to your rocket, to use a hackneyed analogy.

Being what I think of as a jaded sort of optimist, I'm somewhere in-between.

But Col. Hadfield is definitely leaning he
Petra X
Update There is a PBS documentary, premiered March 2nd, A Year in Space about Scott Kelly's marathon space adventure which just ended. If you have read this book, you will enjoy the film immensely. So many explained in the book, are shown in the film. From the first where you see the three astronauts crammed into the rocket, you understand where each of them is sitting, why you can hear Russian and why it is a Soyuz space ship. And so it goes on. It is wonderful to see all the concepts and techn ...more
Petra X
The final review is under the audio book. It was narrated brilliantly by the author, full of warmth, full of humour, full of wanting to share with us all.

Finished. Proper review to come. Five stars and no it's not a self-help inspirational book. Far from it as his mantra is Sweat the Small Stuff and we can't do that in real life unless we have OCD.

Update I've just read the most amazing thing. That it only takes 6 hours to get to the ISS. That's faster than getting from London to NY.

Today I lis
Whitney Atkinson
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I started this book just because I needed an audiobook to listen to as I got ready in the morning and drove to work, and this one was available. For backstory, I’m obsessed with NASA’s youtube channel. If you haven’t watched their videos about how astronauts live in space—showering, eating, sleeping, etc.—I highly recommend you do so, because it’s SO fascinating!! Particularly, one of the most common faces on those videos is Chris Hadfield, whose name I knew because of the channel and subsequent ...more
Brendon Schrodinger
Most of us nerds got a good idea of who Chris Hadfield is from his youtube videos last year filmed on the International Space Station. For the last few years the Mars rovers have been the sexy at NASA with the demise of the shuttle, the hitchhiking on Russian craft, oh and that psycho cross-country drive diaper caper really doing a number on NASA astronaut public image. But then Chris Hadfield and mustache came along and fixed it all up again. After a gap of 20 or so years I find myself wanting ...more
Darcy McLaughlin
Nov 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
As a Canadian I am horribly biased towards Chris Hadfield and pretty much anything he does. I was completely captured by his photos from space on Twitter, his videos about life on the International Space Station, and his uncanny ability to make space travel cool again. Once I found out he was publishing a book, I knew I would have to read it, and I assumed I would enjoy it as much as I have his other exploits.

What truly surprised me is the aspect I loved most about this book had nothing to do wi
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Something frustrating happened at work the other — a “something” that continually resurfaces again and again and again. And, predictably, the few of us who were stuck working last week, did what we always do: we griped bitterly, stirring ourselves up in the same old fit of resentment and anger.

When that started happening, I found myself thinking about something I’d read in Chris Hadfield’s memoir, “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth,” where he wrote about his father:

"…he also disapproved of w
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: auto-and-biog
Aeronautics aside, this book could have been called "How to make friends and influence people - the Chris Hadfield way". Like everyone else I ended up adoring the man, but he sure is a preacher, and the book is plump with sermons about being humble, being kind to one's fellow men, the goodness of practice, practice, practice, the importance of being a team player, and loving your family.... All this preaching though is underpinned with solid of examples of Hadfield being an absolutely sterling h ...more
Ashwood (애쉬 우드).
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Okay, this was a fantastic read!! Wow, I’m really thinking I want to be an Astronaut now, lol. I’m really really glad I decided to pick up this one.
Dec 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Essentially a long dad-like lecture on how the lessons Chris Hadfield has absorbed from a life in pursuit of the goal of going to space can be applied to your ordinary life here on Earth. Like any lecture by a beloved parent, there is good and bad here. The bad: it can be repetitive. The point he returns to again and again is “be prepared!” It is advice that I personally don’t need, if anything I need to learn to be more spontaneous. But it is advice that definitely made me feel like Astronaut C ...more
Sep 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I greatly enjoyed this book. Chris Hadfield is a remarkable man; his achievements speak for themselves. Despite his remarkable life, he comes out sounding rather humble. He always lets the reader know that each space flight is an incredible team effort. Being an astronaut is not mainly about going into space; it is about the process of training, learning, practicing, undergoing grueling difficulties, and helping others. It means taking a back seat to one's ego. It is about seeing other astronaut ...more
Oct 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
Reads like a job interview. I was hoping for something a bit more sensory. Instead, Hadfield describes his accomplishments unemotionally and without a lot of insight - other than "work hard and dream big!". Hadfield is definitely accomplished and has stories to tell. But I wish each statement didn't end with a notch on his belt.
Ryan Dejonghe
Oct 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Col. Chris Hadfield is a rock-star quality astronaut followed by millions of people--I am one of them. My first exposure came from a session his son Evan set up on Reddit late last year called “ask me anything”. A user, in regards to Hadfield being in space for five months, asked, “Won’t you be lonely?” Hadfield replied, “In the centre of every big city in the world, surrounded by noise and teeming millions of people, are lonely people. Loneliness is not so much where you are, but instead is you ...more
Feb 15, 2015 rated it liked it
I haven't seen my family in weeks. Writing a review on Chris Hadfield's book takes effort; effort you have to be prepared for, sweating the small stuff, with single minded focus and superhuman determination. It's not as simple as reading the book and writing this review. Months and months of exacting preparation and endless training, before the book was even released, went into this review. I photographed all the locations and interviewed the people I thought likely to be mentioned in the book, ...more
Dec 07, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a book I had looked forward to reading so perhaps I expected too much. Without a doubt this is a decent story told by a decent story teller and you feel like you are listening to dad or a favourite teacher tell you about a great adventure "back when" that is riddled with valuable life lessons he hopes to impart in order help you to make your own life more meaningful. The Colonel is definitely "a teacher".

This said, I found this to be a difficult read partly due to the repetitive and "ta
Catherine Howard
Well, the last book I'll finish in 2013 has turned out to be my favourite of the year...

I'm a major NASA nut, and I've read a lot of astronaut biographies. All the Apollo era ones, and a few Space Shuttle ones as well. But while they were all intriguing reading, only Michael Collins' Carrying the Fire (Apollo 11 -- he was the guy who stayed in the command module while Neil and Buzz got to walk on the moon) came close to what I was looking for: an account of how it FEELS to be in space. Prior to
Alex Ristea
Commander Chris Hadfield spent a total of 144 days aboard the International Space Station. He's the man who tweeted from space and showed us how majestic this planet really is. He recorded countless videos (how do you brush your teeth in space?, making a peanut butter sandwich in zero gravity) and answered questions from all around the world.

Chris made space cool again.

Oh yeah, have I mentioned that he also made the first music video in space? Watch his cover of David Bowie's Space Oddity.

In thi
Megan Baxter
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
It was a no-brainer that I would get to this book eventually. It only took so long because I was very far down the hold list at the library, and waited patiently while reading other books for it to arrive. A book written by Chris Hadfield? Canada's best known astronaut (at least these days), who made life on the ISS exciting for so many more people than those who had been interested in space for years? Count me in.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads p
Zaira Sadè
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
The space geek in me thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Alexandra Charron
Jan 08, 2015 rated it did not like it
for Olivia and sam:
the reason this book gets one star is because he is so goddamn full of himself. Sure it's cool and stuff that he's an astronaut but at the end of the day it's just a job and your paid to do it.
he's just super annoying in the way he talks about it, I don't find him humble which I think is why.
I found him extremely repetitive too. It felt like I was reading the same thing over and over again, I spent the whole time wishing there would be a climax but there never was one. It w
May 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-library
4.5......... Let me just start by saying it's times like this that I thank God for book clubs. :) I read this for a group that I'm in and I'm so glad because I don't think that I would've picked this up on my own.

This book is written by Col. Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut. Hadfield writes about the technical aspects of being an astronaut from the preparations, to the space missions, to returning home. That, alone, was interesting to read but he also writes about how all of his training ha
aPriL does feral sometimes
Chris Hadfield's book is an autobiography, an astronaut's memoir, and in the first half, a self-help guidebook to developing the kind of mental attitude it takes to be an astronaut. For education, it is clear one has to go deep in subjects NASA thinks important to learn - science, technology, engineering and math. Attending the USAF test pilot school seems like a good idea too, as well as just plain WOW!

The book is full of good advice and interesting, but I wish the earnestness about teamwork a
Really 4.5 stars.

The publisher says:

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 m
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great balls of fire, what a great book! Hadfield is my new hero. Well written, funny, insightful, and the perfect narrator to his own book to boot. 5 solid stars!
Ben Babcock
Buckle up and make sure you’re wearing your g-suit, because this is one of those rare books that live up to all the hype. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth comes with ridiculously high expectations: it has a bunch of awards, and everyone gives it such glowing reviews. So, naturally, I tempered my excitement. As anyone who has read my reviews knows, I love space and science fiction. I welcomed the opportunity to read a book written by someone who has actually been to space. But I was not prep ...more
May 03, 2017 added it
Shelves: science, space
I found myself dragging through this book, but I'm not sure why.
However, I enjoyed learning about how astronauts train and work, and I appreciated the numerous lessons Hadfield imparts to the reader. I found it similar to Mike Massimino's book, in that both of them have valued their time on Earth more than their time in space. Both genuinely believe that the journey is what one should be proud of and enjoy, not the destination. Being in space was great, but solving problems and getting jobs don
Full disclosure: I have a serious admiration-crush on Commander Hadfield, so I may be biased.

I LOVED THIS BOOK. A non-linear autobiography spun as a sort of motivational handbook to living well, this book uses anecdotes-- the terrifying, the humorous, and the profound-- from an impressive career to illustrate some of the ways in which life as an astronaut can inform, and indeed improve, everyday life on earth. The writing is uncomplicated but never simple, the voice of humble intelligence with e
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Quick review (apologies if there are any errors) -

This book starts out sort of like a school girl’s diary and it was annoying at first, but I quickly warmed up to the narrator/author. Hadfield’s narration is excellent, very easy to take in and follow everything. He seems like a fairly nice guy that would always be open a conversation about anything. While I did have some doubts how he managed to handle his career and family life, he does mention that his wife was unbelievably supporting in every
Dec 13, 2013 rated it liked it
I would have preferred to have more interesting factoids about space (did you know that you will grow an inch or two while up in the ISS for 5 months without gravity?) and actual descriptions of the experiments being done on the astronauts (instead of the generic statements about the importance of "science"). Instead the book focused a lot on how accomplished Hadfield had to be to become an astronaut, and the rather trite life lessons he's learned during those experiences (he seems particularly ...more
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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 ...more
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“In any new situation, whether it involves an elevator or a rocket ship, you will almost certainly be viewed in one of three ways. As a minus one: actively harmful, someone who creates problems. Or as a zero: your impact is neutral and doesn't tip the balance one way or the other. Or you'll be seen as a plus one: someone who actively adds value. Everyone wants to be a plus one, of course. But proclaiming your plus-oneness at the outset almost guarantees you'll be perceived as a minus one, regardless of the skills you bring to the table or how you actually perform.” 96 likes
“I wasn't lonely. Loneliness, I think, has very little to do with location. It's a state of mind. In the centre of every city are some of the loneliest people in the world. If anything, because our whole planet was just outside the window, I felt even more aware of and connected to the seven billion other people who call it home.” 92 likes
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