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An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

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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.

295 pages, Hardcover

First published October 29, 2013

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About the author

Chris Hadfield

27 books1,238 followers
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.

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Profile Image for ricardo (is) reading.
209 reviews46 followers
January 26, 2016
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 heavily towards the inspiring part, and does so with admirable grace and aplomb.

So, really, this is a book about life in general. It follows Chris Hadfield's career as an astronaut, but you can tell that if he never made that particular goal — if instead he stayed on as a skiing instructor, or became an airline pilot, or Something Else Entirely — he would have still written the same kind of book. And that's what makes it special, I think. It is about the life of an astronaut, yes, but the emphasis is very much on life.

The book's central message can be found in this answer Chris Hadfield gave during his Ask Me Anything session on the website Reddit :

Decide in your heart of hearts what really excites and challenges you, and start moving your life in that direction. Every decision you make, from what you eat to what you do with your time tonight, turns you into who you are tomorrow, and the day after that. Look at who you want to be, and start sculpting yourself into that person. You may not get exactly where you thought you’d be, but you will be doing things that suit you in a profession you believe in. Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become.

Really, the book stems off from there. But one of the things I appreciate about it is that, while it is encouraging and urging you forward, it doesn't sugar-coat things at all. It tells you, straight on, that life is this hard thing. But it also tells you that the fact that it's hard is what makes it, ultimately, beautiful and fulfilling and so very, very worth it. And, despite all of my cynical posturings, that is a message I can get definitely get behind.
February 10, 2017
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 technology in the book in action in the film. Unmissable. (I don't think it would work the other way round so much, see the film, read the book).

America is a meritocracy. Anything that can be seen as helpful or inspirational and so aiding the climb upwards usually is. So I understand why people think it is a self-help book. But it really isn't. What it is, is the extremely detailed memoir of a very genial man who loves to educate people as much as he likes to do things himself. This education is not in the form of "do this like I did and you will be a more successful person," but more "this is how I became an astronaut and this is how astronauts approach their work. We know most of us will work on Earth and never make it to the ISS, but being an astronaut is a team effort and we are major players in that team."

Since the space shuttle got retired the only way to the ISS is via the Soyuz spacecraft. These are extremely small so that all the really big astronauts immediately had their chances of getting into space dropped to nil. But it also begs the question, why aren't there more, many more, female astronauts? Women are smaller and lighter and consume less resources, whether air, water or food. No physical strength is required in space and the training on Earth is obviously quite achievable for women as there are female astronauts. Why aren't there more? Misogyny? This is a man's job but hey this is the modern world so we'll let 'em up every now and again? I don't know.

One of the great strengths of the book is the author himself who is an immensely likeable man with an attitude that everything is a learning experience. This again is not self-help, it's because every single thing that happens in space has to be dealt with with only the resources and training of the men aboard. There is a thick manual going back to the 60s where every problem that has been encountered has it's solution written down step-by-step for the astronauts to follow. So when they encounter a new problem, they need to think of the future and how their experience could help future astronauts deal with a similar situation.

The day-to-day life on a space station is quite often funny. I knew they slept in hanging sleeping bags but I didn't know their arms were free and as they slept their arms would drift up and wave around, along with their hair. Ball games, for recreational time, were played with large globules of water or other fluids. Garbage disposal is by sending everything back in the small supply rockets that are sent up to them. These little ships burn out before ever reaching Earth. Getting back to Earth is a wild 3 1/2 hour tumble that ends with a big bump.

I would suggest viewing the author's video of himself singing Bowie's Space Oddity and floating in the ISS to get a really good idea of just who the author is - a really great guy.
February 10, 2017
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 listened to the BBC abridged version of this book. It was so brilliant I didn't think I'd be able to wait for the hardback to come so I downloaded it. I have hardly done anything else since. I've just been out, to a beach club with some local music and changed my mind to come home and listen to it.
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
916 reviews13.9k followers
June 12, 2018
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 subsequently made me want to pick up his book!

The word “guide” in the title of this book was a bit misleading, because it was actually almost a story of Chris’s journey to outer space and back. There was advice sprinkled throughout, but it was really from his standpoint as an astronaut rather than telling the reader how to live their life on Earth. Nevertheless, it read as a great memoir.

I think this book was so fascinating. I listened to 7 out of 8 hours of it in one sitting. Chris narrates the audiobook, and he made his book sound like a story he was telling to a friend, riddled with emotional moments, as well as funny ones. This book perfectly captures the grandeur of being in space—a place where so few people have been—but then being able to relate the experience to things the readers may understand. I was excited he talked about filming videos aboard the ISS and how he went viral, because I recognized several of the videos he’d talked about that I’ve already seen myself. This book was everything I wanted that wasn’t just a restatement of what I’ve seen in those videos.

The most stand-out part of this is a section where he talks about managing fear. Backstory: outer space is my most irrational, illogical fear. I’m never going to be required to go there, nor do I intend to ever pursue a career in the sky, but for some reason, even looking up into the sky for too long and thinking about going to space or watching a movie about space travel gives me anxiety. It just sounds like a horrifying, dangerous experience that I would never volunteer for. Chris talks about how one of his most frequently asked questions is “How do you manage with fear?” and questions relating to his nerves about going to space and managing crises. His response to this and the way that he discusses managing fears and being prepared and maintaining a healthy level of pessimism while still pursuing the best outcome was actually touching. It was interesting to hear about how he manages the mental and physical strains of being in space, and even though I’m never going to be in his situation and that’s why this book was such an eye-opening book for me, it still gave me a lot to take away as far as getting along with people in a team and how to be a strong, reliable leader.

I hate sci-fi and science, so I was pleased that this didn’t linger too much on those fronts at all. There was a lot of explanation of the crafts and procedures they do while on board, but it was actually fascinating rather than laborious to read about. It’ll especially be cool to think about in 50 years when technology has far surpassed what he describes in this book.

If you’re looking to get into a memoir that explores the life of someone extraordinary who does extraordinary things yet still stays humble and true in his account of it, I highly recommend this. It was fantastically narrated and will definitely be a read I ponder for months and maybe even years to come. (But even if you don’t read it, I do recommend looking up those NASA videos on youtube and seeing how people do things in zero gravity. It’s my fascination even though the prospect of being in their shoes terrifies me.)
Profile Image for B Schrodinger.
305 reviews659 followers
January 9, 2019
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 to be an astronaut when I grow up again.

So I approached this book with some delight, expecting some fun stories from his time in space; how they go to the toilet etc. Which is what you get, to some degree, but you get so much more. The same man who has enough passion to make those videos and promote space exploration so well in that medium can also write a hugely inspiring, humble and insightful work on his life, his philosophies and the universe.

Dotted between the stories of Chris' years working at NASA are wonderful insights into behavior such as how to take criticism, how to learn not to worry and plan instead, how to constructively think negatively, how to keep yourself inspired and set and achieve goals. And most importantly how not to be an asshole while doing it. These lessons meant more to me than other 'life lessons' that you see in the bookstores under self-help or inspiration. This advise made more practical sense than any quote I have seen attributed to the Dalai Lama or some such. But I don't think this type of inspiration is for everyone. I think it will be most applicable to the engineering/scientist type mindset, just like Chris himself.

So this book comes most highly recommended. I felt at times that I was right alongside Chris in parts of his journey and I listened intently to his wisdom on how to be a person with integrity, humility, determination and a sense of humour.
Profile Image for Greta G.
337 reviews243 followers
August 15, 2018
Warning: Spoiler-ish summary!

Getting ready to play “Rocket Man”. Just in case.

“If the only thing you really enjoyed was whipping around Earth in a spaceship, you’d hate being an astronaut.”
Instead, you sit in a classroom studying orbital mechanics. In Russian. You practice tricky, repetitive tasks as well as highly challenging ones to the point of exhaustion, and you’re away from home more than half the time. An astronaut is a perpetual student. There’s no such thing as over-preparation ; it’s your best chance of improving your odds. ”I was learning so much every day that I could almost hear my neurons firing.”
Trainers in the space program specialize in devising bad-news scenarios for astronauts to act out, over and over again, in increasingly elaborate simulations.
While play-acting grim scenarios day in and day out may sound like a good recipe for clinical depression, it actually pushes astronauts to develop a new set of instincts: instead of reacting to danger with a fight-or-flight adrenaline rush, they’re trained to respond unemotionally by immediately prioritizing threats and methodically seeking to defuse them. ”Rehearsing for catastrophe has made me positive that I have the problem-solving skills to deal with tough situations and come out the other side smiling.”

At Nasa, everyone is a critic. Astronauts are not just expected to respond positively to criticism, but to go one step further and draw attention to their missteps and miscalculations. It’s not easy for hyper-competitive people to talk openly about screw-ups that make them look foolish or incompetent. Management has to create a climate where owning up to mistakes is permissible and colleagues have to agree, collectively, to cut each other some slack.
For an astronaut, depersonalising criticism is a basic survival skill. When astronauts are killed on the job, the reason is almost always an overlooked detail that seemed unimportant at the time.
“Early success is a terrible teacher. You’re essentially being rewarded for a lack of preparation, so when you find yourself in a situation where you must prepare, you can’t do it. You don’t know how.”
The environment is also highly competitive, without the competition ever being explicitly acknowledged. Astronaut Candidates (ASCANs, pronounced exactly as you might imagine) are being evaluated and compared on everything they do - everything - and space flight assignments are based on how well they perform. So the demands are bottomless.

‘Who are you flying with?’ is the first question astronauts ask each other.
Sometimes integration is not so easy, because astronauts don’t get to pick their fellow travelers. No one wants to go to space with a jerk. But at some point, they just have to accept the people in their crew, stop wishing they were flying with Neil Armstrong, and start figuring out how their crewmates’ strengths and weaknesses mesh with their own. ”You can’t change the bricks, and together, you still have to build a wall.”
The longer the flight, the more important personalities become. When you can’t even go outside to let off steam, personality conflicts can compromise a mission or derail it altogether.
NASA looks for a certain type of person, someone who plays well with others, and who can be locked in a tin can for six months and excel, so temperament alone could disqualify you for space flight.
“A certain personality type that was perfectly acceptable, even stereotypical, in the past - the real hard-ass, say - is not wanted on the voyage when it is going to be a long one.

Astronauts are, without exception, extremely competitive. So how do you take a group of hyper-competitive people and get them to hyper-cooperate, to the point where they seek opportunities to help one another shine? ... For some astronauts, the transition is relatively painless - a relief, even, after decades of solitary striving. For others, it’s a huge shock to the system and requires a fundamental reorientation.
Astronauts do survival training, on water and on land. They learn to think of success as a team sport. It takes a few years to instill the ability to work in a team productively and cheerfully in tough conditions into wildly competitive people.
Survival training simulates some aspects of space travel really well. In both cases, a small group of people is thrown into a challenging environment with specific objectives to accomplish and no one else to rely on except each other.
Good leadership means leading the way, not hectoring other people to do things your way. Bullying, bickering and competing for dominance are, even in a low-risk situation, excellent ways to destroy morale and diminish productivity. ...
Groupthink is a good thing when it comes to risks. If you’re only thinking about yourself, you can’t see the whole picture.
“For me, the takeaway from all my survival training is that the key question to ask when you’re part of a team, whether on Earth or in Space, is, ‘How can I help us get where we need to go?’ You don’t need to be a superhero. Empathy and a sense of humor are often more important ...”
Searching for ways to lighten the mood is never a waste of time.

Time to go out, Rocket Man.

Not so fast.
On orbit, even a head cold is a big deal. Without gravity, your sinuses don’t clear and your immune system doesn’t fight back as effectively, so you feel much sicker, much longer - and in such a confined space, it’s pretty much guaranteed that the rest of the crew will be infected.
In the 1960s, astronauts frequently launched in apparently perfect health, but then, a day or so into the mission, a virus would make its presence known. But not until 1970 did NASA decide it might be a good idea to isolate crews pre-flight.

“Time-honored astronaut traditions make us feel we’re part of the tribe , and there were plenty of them during our final hours in quarantine. Some were less picturesque than others. The night before we launched, we gave ourselves an enema, followed , after a suitable interval, by another one. While this did not feel like my finest hour in space exploration, it was definitely preferable to soiling my diaper the next day. Afterward, a doctor took swabs of all parts of my body - behind my ears, my tongue, my crotch - to see if I had any infections, then rubbed me down with alcohol just in case I did.”

These days, the purpose of quarantine is as much psychological as it is medical: an enforced time-out ensures the astronauts transition to a new kind of existence and go into a high-pressure situation feeling calm and fully prepared.

Some version of the Soyuz has been flying for more than 45 years. As rocket ships go, it’s one of the most reliable and durable in the world, and can safely launch in just about any weather. Fifty percent of the risk of a catastrophic failure during a long-duration space mission occurs in the first 10 minutes after liftoff.

“The Soyuz is so small that it makes the Shuttle seem almost cavernous. A Dodge Caravan has about 163 cubic feet of space; the Soyuz has 265 cubic feet of living space - theoretically. In reality, a lot of that space is taken up by cargo and gear that’s been lashed down and secured for launch. In any event, it’s not a lot of space for three full-grown adults to share for a few days. But during launch, we even have less elbow room because we are confined to the re-entry module, which is also the only part of the Soyuz that survives the return to Earth. On our way home we jettison the other two: the service module, which houses the instruments and engines, and the orbital module, which provides additional living space once we are on orbit.”

Unlike the Shuttle, which was powered by fuel cells, the Soyuz is solar-powered; to keep its solar arrays pointed at the sun, the vehicle spins like a chicken on a rotisserie barbecue. Outside the window, then, what you see is Earth, tumbling over and over, which is hard to look at when your stomach is unsettled.

“And as my vestibular system adapted during our day of downtime, I started to be able to look out the window for longer and longer periods of time. The world was rolling by underneath, every place I’d read about or dreamed of visiting streaming past. There was the Sahara, there was Lake Victoria and the Nile, snaking all the way up to the Mediterranean. Explorers gave their lives trying to find the source of the Nile, but I could detect it with a casual glance, no effort at all.”

Opening the hatch always takes longer than anyone would want, because first the crew has to ascertain that the impact of docking hadn’t damaged the Soyuz. It bumps into the Station with reasonable force and speed; they need to check all the seals to ensure there isn’t a slow leak. Only when we knew the vehicle was intact could we change out of our Sokhols and into regular blue spacesuits, which, like all Russian space clothing, have straps that go under your feet to pull the pant legs down. That’s helpful in zero gravity, where there’s nothing to prevent the hem of your pants from migrating well north of your ankle.”

The ISS is a one-million-pound spaceship that’s the size of a football field, including the end zones, and boasts a full acre of solar panels. It’s so big, with so many discrete modules, that it’s possible to go nearly a full day without seeing another crewmate. It’s an awe-inspiring international project, this mammoth co-op in the sky.
Now a huge, humming, functioning laboratory, the ISS is anything but open-concept; it’s not possible to take in the whole interior at a glance. The main structure is a long series of connected cylinders and spheres, only they’re square inside, not circular. At certain angles, it’s possible to see clear from one end to the other, but poking out along the length of it, like branches on a massive tree, are three Russian modules and three American ones, along with a European and a Japanese module.
The Cupola, an observatory module built by the European Space Agency, had been installed on the Station. It is a thing of beauty, a 360-degree dome of windows on the world. There are trapezoidal windows on all six sides and, on top, directly facing Earth, a round, 31-inch window, the largest ever on a spaceship. It’s the ultimate room with a view, but highly functional, too: its command and control workstations enable astronauts to guide operations outside the Station, including controlling the robotic arm.

There’s a lot of adhesive in there because the walls are just about completely covered with Velcro. In space, if you don’t hang on to them, things like spoons, pencils, scissors and test tubes simply drift away, only to turn up a week later, clinging to the filter covering an air intake duct. That’s why there’s Velcro on the back of just about every imaginable item: so it will stay put on a Velcro wall.
It’s noisy like a hospital, too. Without gravity, heat doesn’t rise, so air doesn’t mix and move; the fans and pumps that are necessary for comfort and survival whir, clunk and hum, a continuous blur of sound that’s occasionally punctuated by the loud ping or bang of a micrometeorite hitting the Station.
In zero gravity, there’s no need for a mattress or pillow; you already feel like you’re resting on a cloud, perfectly supported, so there’s no tossing and turning to find a more comfortable position.

Once in my pajamas (Russian-made, long john-esque) I zipped myself into my hooded sleeping bag, which resembles a cocoon with armholes. From my Shuttle days, I knew that a dormant astronaut is an interesting sight, with both arms floating in front Frankenstein-style, hair fanned out like a mane and a facial expression of utter contentment. Turning off my little light, I was perfectly at ease in this otherworldly place, knowing that in Houston and Korolev, people in Mission Control were keeping watch as we spun through the sky and into sleep, on our journey around and around the world.”

The absence of gravity alters the texture of daily life because it affects almost everything the crew does. Toothbrushing, for instance: you need to swallow the toothpaste. Hand washing requires a bag of water that has already been mixed with a bit of no-rinse soap. Long, hot showers are out, obviously. You just do a wipe-down with a clammy cloth. Hair washing involves scrubbing your scalp vigorously with no-rinse shampoo, then drying off carefully to be sure stray wet hairs don’t wind up floating all over the spacecraft and clogging up air filters or getting in people’s eyes and noses.
There’s no such thing as no-rinse laundry soap, so cleaning of clothes is impossible. Instead, the crew just wears them over and over, until they wear out.
Preparing meals is not laborious on a space station. All liquids, including coffee and tea, come in pouches; most are powdered, and you simply add water, then sip through a straw. The majority of the food on board is dehydrated, so again, you just inject hot or cold water directly into the packages using a kind of needle, then cut open the packages and dig in. There’s a lot of sticky stuff like oatmeal, pudding and cooked spinach, because it clumps and is therefore easier to trap on a spoon and get into your mouth without having to chase it all over the place.
“Many astronauts, myself included, crave spicy foods after a while, because the congestion that comes with weightlessness means that things taste pretty much the way they do when you have a head cold. Everything is just a bit more bland.”

Exercise is mandatory during a long-duration flight. Astronauts have to work out two hours a day to keep their muscles and bones strong enough to handle the extreme physical demands of spacewalking and also to ensure them when they get back to Earth, they are still able to stand on their own two feet.
Getting exercise isn’t all that easy in an environment where movement is so easy, though. It requires special equipment: a stationary bike the astronauts clip their shoes into so they don’t float away, and a treadmill with a harness contraption that pulls them down so they run on the moving track rather than through thin air.

“We also have to be careful about perspiration. When there’s no force pulling sweat downward, it just accumulates on your body like a slowly expanding liquid shield. If you turn your head quickly, that huge, wet glob of sweat might dislodge, sail across the module and smack an unsuspecting crewmate in the face. Proper etiquette on the ISS is to have a towel tucked into your clothes or floating beside you while you work out, to soak up your sweat. Later, you hang the towel on a clip so the moisture is absorbed back into the air and, along with urine, can be recycled as water. Yes, water. Drinking water, actually. Until 2010, water on the ISS came in large, lined duffel bags delivered by the Shuttle or resupply vehicles, but now an onboard purification system helps us reclaim about 1,600 gallons a year.”

In space, things happen to your body that may or may not be bad for your long-term health. So far, there’s no evidence that astronauts have a significantly increased risk of cancer or cataracts, but they do absorb more radiation than they would at sea level, and it’s worth figuring out what to do about that.
Other anatomical changes associated with long-duration space flight are definitely negative: the immune system weakens, the heart shrinks because it doesn’t have to strain against gravity, eyesight tends to degrade, sometimes markedly (no one’s exactly sure why yet). The spine lengthens as the little sacs of fluid between the vertebrae expand, and bone mass decreases as the body sheds calcium. Without gravity, you don’t need muscle and bone mass to support your own weight, which is what makes life in space so much fun but also so inherently bad for the human body, long-term.
About half of the scientific experiments the crew does is related to investigating what is happening to their own bodies in space.
“A lot of times the work isn’t glamorous, but that’s okay. The workplace itself is, after all, in a pretty great location.”

Undocking is a peaceful contrast to the fiery pageantry of launch. It takes about three minutes for the giant hooks and catches to release. Gradually, little springs push the Soyuz away and it drifts off. At first, they travel slowly, but after three minutes, the engines are fired and they start to pick up speed. They need to get a safe distance from the ISS before lighting the engines again, or the exhaust and spattering of waste fuel would batter her big solar arrays. This puts them on a slightly different trajectory than the ISS as they orbit the Earth.
After about two and a half hours it’s time: they turn the ship tail-first and set up for deorbit burn. There’s a critical moment during the burn when there’s no turning back; they’ve decelerated so much that they’re committed to falling into the atmosphere. What follows is a wild 54-minute tumble to Earth that feels more or less like 15 explosions followed by a car crash.”

“We try to catch our breath, weak after the multi-axis disorienting tumble, the wildest of amusement park rides. To complete the effect, our seats suddenly slam upward, rising automatically to the top level of their shock absorbers to cushion us from the brunt of what’s about to happen. The crush of acceleration helps us tighten our straps. We know the moment of impact will be bad; the seats’liners were custom-built to mold to our bodies so that our backs don’t break. Just before impact no one says anything ... We’re all clenching our teeth, lightly, so we don’t bite through our tongues.”

They’re back on Earth, at last. A normal landing, right on target.

“I’m smiling, doing my best to impersonate a person who doesn’t feel disoriented and sick. But my arms feel so heavy I can barely lift them, and I stay motionless, to reduce exertion. Every part of my body feels sore or shocked, or both. It’s like being a newborn, this sudden sensory overload of noise, color, smells and gravity after months of quietly floating, encased in relative calm and isolation. No wonder babies cry in protest when they’re born.”

In fact, it isn’t over: every flight is followed by months of rehabilitation, medical testing and exhaustive debriefing with everyone from the top administration at NASA to the people who resupply the ISS.

“After the empowering environment of space, where I could move a refrigerator with one fingertip, it seemed... well, unfair. Despite exercising two hours a day on the ISS, I was, back on Earth, a weakling.
A lot of what happens to the human body in space is really similar to what happens during the aging process. In post-flight quarantine, in fact, Tom and I tottered around like two old duffers, getting a preview of what life might be like if we made it to 90. Our blood vessels had hardened; our cardiovascular systems had changed. We had shed calcium and minerals in space, so our bones were weaker; so were our muscles, because for 22 hours a day, they’d encountered no resistance whatsoever.”

Endings don’t have to be emotionally wrenching if you believe you did a good job and you’re prepared to let go. I view my retirement the same way. I did the best I could and I served my purpose, but the time has come to move on. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned as an astronaut is to value the wisdom of humility, as well as the sense of perspective it gives you.
Profile Image for Darcy McLaughlin.
177 reviews8 followers
January 6, 2014
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 with space travel. Sure Hadfield writes about some exciting moments; like scary incidents while spacewalking and tumultuous landings, but the real draw for me was his personal observations as to what made him a good astronaut, and essentially a successful person. He explains so many intriguing approaches to every day life, things that make you reconsider the way you do your own job or interact with others. It's all presented in his fairly matter of fact prose. There's always a slightly technical feel to the way Chris writes, but some sections like the opening chapter are beautifully written. His description of the views from space are almost poetic, indicating that his skills surpass the realm of science and qualify him as a true author.

This book isn't a lengthy read, nor a hard one. It's extremely enjoyable and features valuable life lessons along with a very unique perspective. I don't often use this term but Chris Hadfield is certainly a hero to myself, a person who exemplifies positive change in the world around him and encourages others to pursue their dreams. For me, this book is just a further confirmation of that belief.
Profile Image for Caroline.
503 reviews563 followers
May 20, 2015
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 human being , including having a sense of humour about his tendency to pontificate.

I read the book like a snail reading about a ferret. This man is not of my ilk. I love books that do this for me - showing me a character that is completely alien to me. Hadfield, for all his modesty, is a superhero. I learned that to become an astronaut one has to be a super-champion. Hadfield was an incredibly successful fighter pilot and then test pilot, with a degree in mathematical engineering, before being considered for astronaut training. It is not a job passed casually on to people with bulging muscles who like aeroplanes and the thought of walking in space.

There is a lot of rocket talk, and talk about what it is like to live without gravity on a space station. If this is your thing you will enjoy these descriptions enormously. They are not my thing, even so Hadfield is jolly writer and I was pulled along at a clipping pace. Even better, he made various videos whilst up on the space station, and this one became a blockbuster, with good reason. It is absolutely a must watch! Here we have Hadfield singing David Bowie's "Space Oddity" Please take a few minutes out of your life to watch it....


He stayed on the space station for about 5 months. For me by far the most interesting part of this was his experience when he returned to earth. It reputedly takes as long to recover from being in space as it does to spend time there. We hear so much about the weirdness of loss of gravity - but this is the first time I'd heard about the weirdness of getting gravity back. It was payback time.

I thought this was a cracking good read. I usually give my bedtime reads a perfunctory paragraph review, but I had to do a proper review for this one. It was just so good. I am now a firm Chris Hadfield fan ♥.

Profile Image for TS Chan.
700 reviews868 followers
November 1, 2021
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth was definitely one of the more interesting and compelling memoir of sorts that I've read which proffered valuable life lessons.  Lessons which in fact seemed to go against conventional thinking and life coaching such as visualising success, not sweating the small stuff and not caring about what others think.  Chris Hadfield's experience as an astronaut - or more importantly, on becoming an astronaut - proved otherwise.

Early success is a terrible teacher. You're essentially being rewarded for a lack of preparation, so when you find yourself in a situation where you must prepare, you can't do it. You don't know how.

It is so refreshing to read about Hadfield's lifelong dedication and commitment to achieve his boyhood aspirations. It is all too common nowadays in my working experience in dealing with the younger generation where self-entitlement is so prevalent that these two attributes are becoming increasingly rare. Instant gratification and shortcuts are preferred over having the experience of undertaking the journey and the satisfaction of having reached the destination through one's diligence and dedication. Hadfield himself wrote a line which encapsulated the meaning of journey before destination.

Focus on the journey, not on arriving at a certain destination.

The book also contained fascinating insights into what it means to be an astronaut. From the hours and hours of training about literally everything possible from making minor repairs on a spacecraft in zero gravity to managing serious emergencies and even a simulation with loved ones on what to do, step by step, when one dies on a space mission. Even the quarantine period prior to a launch was more involved than one would have thought. I especially enjoyed the tidbits about life on a space station in zero gravity. Even the simplest quotidian activities like eating and drinking, going to the toilet, brushing your teeth, exercising and sleeping needed to be considered carefully.  With burning curiosity, I had to check out the YouTube videos of his life on the International Space Station, and they're fascinating.   I alternated between reading the book, and listening to the audiobook which was self-narrated by Hadfield himself.  He came across as being so down-to-earth and approachable with his avuncular tone that I enjoyed listening to his narration and watching his videos.

Life off Earth is in two important respects not at all unworldly: you can choose to focus on the surprises and pleasures, or the frustrations. And you can choose to appreciate the smallest scraps of experience, the everyday moments, or to value only the grandest, most stirring ones.

Being an astronaut had been one of my childhood dreams, with 'dream' being the operative word here.  As such, I welcomed this book with open arms.  Much to my delight, it was also an enlightening and enjoyable read/listen that I will recommend to anyone who loves real-life stories of dedication and commitment, which has its just rewards.

Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It's about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others' success, and then standing back and letting them shine.

P/S: I'm looking forward to read Hadfield's debut mystery thriller, The Apollo Murders .  Watch this space.

You can purchase the book from Blackwells | Bookshop.OrgAmazon UK | Amazon US

You can also find this, and my other reviews at Novel Notions.
Profile Image for Josephine.
138 reviews17 followers
January 5, 2014
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 whining because he understood that it is contagious and destructive. Comparing notes on how unfair or difficult or ridiculous something is does promote bonding – and sometimes that’s why griping continues, because it’s reinforcing an us-against-the-world feeling. Very quickly, though, the warmth of unity morphs to the sourness of resentment which makes hardships seem even more intolerable and doesn’t help get the job done. Whining is the antithesis of expeditionary behaviour, which is all about rallying the troops around a common goal." (p.151)

Actually, there were a lot of things from Hadfield’s memoir that stuck with me — particularly when it came to work.

I don’t think that what I’ve experienced is anything new; there are scores of others who likely experience the same problem every day: working on a team where not everybody pulls their weight and you’re stuck being viewed as an equal to someone who continually slacks off and takes the credit for things you may have had to help them out with.

Recently, there were two of us who were asked to help a teammate out, but it became quickly clear that we were essentially doing the work for this person — and it was difficult to stem the rising tide of resentment that was building up.

And, here, I thought about what Hadfield wrote:

"It’s not enough to shelve your own competitive streak. You have to try, consciously, to help others succeed. Some people feel this is like shooting themselves in the foot – why aid someone else in creating a competitive advantage? I don’t look at it that way. Helping someone else look good doesn’t make me look worse. In fact, it often improves my own performance, particularly in stressful situations." (p.159-160)

"It’s counterintuitive, but I think it’s true: promoting your colleagues’ interests helps you stay competitive, even in a field where everyone is top-notch. And it’s easy to do once you understand that you have a vested interest in your co-workers’ success. In a crisis, you want them to want to help you survive and succeed, too. They may be the only people in the world who can." (p.162)

The fact that I’ve highlighted a lot of passages in Hadfield’s book — and taken the time to type them out here — says a lot about what I thought about his memoir.

What’s funny is that I’ve read a lot of self-help books (hasn’t everyone?) and none of them really provided the kind of practical words of wisdom that I could actually swallow and try to live by. Instead, you have Hadfield who was basically saying the opposite of what so many self-help authors had advised: yes, you should sweat the small stuff and yes, you should anticipate the worst.

He writes:

"It’s puzzling to me that so many self-help gurus urge people to visualize victory, and stop there. Some even insist that if you wish for good things long enough and hard enough, you’ll get them – and, conversely, that if you focus on the negative, you actually invite bad things to happen. Why make yourself miserable worrying? Why waste time getting ready for disasters that may never happen?

Anticipating problems and figuring out how to solve them is actually the opposite of worrying: it’s productive. Likewise, coming up with a plan of action isn’t a waste of time if it gives you peace of mind. While it’s true that you may wind up being ready for something that never happens, if the stakes are at all high, it’s worth it." (p.100)

Reading “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth” is time well spent.

Hadfield is inspiring in the best way possible: he sets an example.
Profile Image for Lilyanne.
27 reviews
December 11, 2013
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 Chris and I were kindred spirits.

The good: lessons on preventing the single-minded pursuit of a goal from being destructive; conquering fear; making a positive impact on any situation by aiming to have a neutral impact. And of course the fascinating and surprising stories of an astronaut’s everyday life, a life that very few of us will be lucky enough to experience. Hadfield is self-deprecating and humble, but clearly a master at his chosen profession. Overall, it was a pleasure to read his insights.
Profile Image for Christopher.
41 reviews
February 24, 2015
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, and even though the majority of them weren't mentioned, it felt good knowing that no matter the anecdote, I was prepared for it. I had the audio book, recorded in Commander Hadfield's voice, play simultaneously as I read the book, on the chance that some unforeseen grammar disaster, such as a misplaced comma or overlooked spelling error (like the one that brought down Neil Armstrong's book) would not affect Hadfield's fatherly advice. Immediately prior to writing the review, I lived in a sensory depravation tank for a week, to prevent possible memetic contamination from social media. Then, I wrote endless simulated reviews with all possible star ratings, ran scenario's involving grammar errors and troll comments left below the review, and even a scenario involving Goodreads inexplicably converting to a Youtube format, without notice. I'm proud to say I did pretty well on that test, by cramming video editing lessons the night before from a Russian language site. You have to sweat the small stuff. Finally the time has come to upload the review. I took courses in HTML, web publishing and had a short stint as an intern in the Goodreads IT department. In the past other reviews have failed to post entirely, but I was trained to work the problem. I ran through my checklists, copied and pasted the review, and thinking of my wife and children who had taken jobs to support this review, uploaded.

An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth: 3.5 stars.

Profile Image for Stephan.
142 reviews11 followers
November 9, 2013
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.
Profile Image for David Rubenstein.
804 reviews2,538 followers
September 23, 2016
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 astronauts "cut in line" in front of you, and helping them in their projects and prospects.

Of course, Hadfield goes into some detail in describing what life is like in space, especially in the International Space Station. But most of the book is about his life on Earth, and the lessons that we can all draw from his experiences. His most basic lesson is "do sweat the small stuff." In space, of course, it is the details that make or break success, indeed, make or break survival. But here on Earth, also, Hadfield believes that it is the "small stuff" that makes life more fulfilling.
Profile Image for Maede.
275 reviews398 followers
October 28, 2021
امتیاز ۴/۵

برای من که بخشی از کارم درس دادن آزمون آیلتسه این سوال‌های رایتینگ ترسناک بودند. سوال‌هایی که طراحی شدند که تو رو به چالش بکشند

The first man to walk on the moon claimed it was a step forward for mankind. However, it has made little difference in most people’s lives.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?

With all the problems in the world today, spending money on space exploration is a complete waste. The money could be better spent on other causes.
To what extent do you agree with this view?

یادمه دفعه اولی که دیدمش به نظرم خیلی ساده اومد. «داری می‌پرسی اکتشافات فضایی به پولش میارزه؟ معلومه که آره!» ولی مثل همیشه لحظه‌ای که واقعاً شروع به نوشتن می‌کنی لحظه‌ی حقیقته و معلوم میشه چه چیزایی رو فکر می‌کنی می‌دونی ولی هیچ اطلاعات واقعی‌ای نداری
اهمیت اینکار وقتی این همه مشکل روی زمین هست چیه؟ و اینکه واقعا چطور انجام میشه؟

این زندگینامه برای من یک نقطه شروع بود که از چیزی که فقط عکس‌های زیبا و حیرت‌انگیز دیده بودم در حد ابتدایی سر در بیارم و متوجه اهمیتش بشم. کریس هدفیلد فضانورد کانادایی که ممکنه ویدیوهاش از ایستگاه فضایی رو در یوتیوب دیده باشید، انقدر خوب و جذاب از تجربه‌هاش و مسیر رسیدنش به این شغل خاص گفته بود که گاهی حس می‌کردی همزمان با خودش داری این اتفاقات خاص رو تجربه می‌کنی. البته اینکه با صدای خودش کتاب رو گوش کردم هم در این قضیه بی تاثیر نبود

یکی از جالب‌ترین جنبه‌های این کتاب اینه که در واقع به شکل درس‌هایی برای زندگی نوشته شده. این ریویو رو چند هفته بعد از تمام کردن کتاب می‌نویس�� و در این مدت چند بار صداش رو توی گوشم شنیدم: «بدترین اتفاقی که ممکنه بیوفته چیه؟» و «هدفت این باشه که معمولی باشی». این باعث میشه فکر کنم که این کتاب واقعاً برام تاثیر گذار بوده و دوست دارم بعدها دوباره بهش برگردم

نکته منفی‌ای که در ریویو‌های دیگران دیدم این بود که لحن نویسنده رو متکبرانه دیده بودند و حس کرده بودند که از خود متشکره. اما من اصلاً چنین چیزی رو احساس نکردم. این فرد آدم بسیار موفقیه که کاری رو انجام داده که آدم‌های خیلی کمی انجامش دادند و با اعتماد به نفس و اشتیاق ازش صحبت می‌کنه. آیا این نشونه‌ی تکبره؟ به نظر من نه

در مجموع کتاب عالی‌ایه که به دنیای فضانوردها می‌برتتون و با اهمیت اکتشافات فضایی کمی آشناتون می‌کنه و به شدت توصیه می‌کنم که صوتیش رو گوش کنید

M's Books :کتاب و صوتیش رو هم اینجا گذاشتم
Profile Image for Carolyn.
85 reviews1 follower
September 1, 2016
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 "take my advice I know better" tone. Yes it is best to be a team player, yes strive to be a zero, yes sweat the little stuff before it becomes big stuff. All are valuable lessons to be learned but I felt it needed more about the daily life on ISS or the interesting behind the scenes things about how a kid from Sarnia, Canada, makes it to command the ISS (which we do hear about, but I wanted more).

The anecdotes were laid out in a dizzying manner (perhaps reminiscent of the De-orbit in the Soyuz capsule?)that further interrupted the flow of the story. They just seemed to lack any type of organization to keep the story flowing.

Without question Col. Hadfield is a remarkable and gracious man, with countless talents and skills. Without question this story was far better told in his voice than any other author's. I think perhaps the book and the Colonel himself would have been better served if he had an editor sit down with him and encourage him to tease out more meat to the story. This would have done his story far more justice, rather than deliver what feels like a rush job to simply capitalize on his Rock Star status.

The book does not deserve a 3, but it is not quite a 4 and I am ever so glad to have read this but I am left wishing there was more.
Profile Image for Mehrnaz.
144 reviews93 followers
August 8, 2020
بیست جولای سال ۱۹۶۹ میلیو‌ن‌ها آدم با دیدن قدم‌های نیل آرمسترانگ، اولین قدم‌های انسان‌ها روی ماه، شگفت‌زده شدن. کریس هدفیلد نه ساله هم جزو همون آدم‌هاست که با تماشای این اتفاق فوق‌العاده تصمیم میگیره که فضانورد بشه و روزی در فضا قدم بزاره. هدفیلد نه ساله راهنمایی برای پیدا کردن این راه پیدا نمیکنه، اما از خودش میپرسه که اگر یه فضانورد بود، چه کارهایی رو احتمالا انجام میداد. آیا یه فضانورد دیر میخوابه؟ بین غذهای سالم و فست‌فود کدوم رو انتخاب میکنه؟ مسئله‌ی بزرگ‌تری که بهش آگاه میشه اینکه در اون زمان کانادا هیچ سازمان فضایی و فضانوردی نداره. اینجا نویسنده گریزی به قسمتی از اولین سفرش به فضا میزنه و بارها به صورت استعاری از این مثال استفاده میکنه. هدفیلد از شوق فراوانش به خروج از سفینه برای اولین بار اشاره میکنه و از لباس غیر راحت، حجیم و مربعی شکلش میگه. و وقتی که به سمت در خروج از سفینه میره میفهمه که در خروج به شکل دایره طراحی شده درحالیکه لباس اون مربعیه!!

Square astronaut, round hole. It's the story of my life, really: trying to figure out how to get when I want to go when just getting out the door seems impossible.

هدفیلد میگه که این داستان متناسب نبودن لباس مربعی و در دایره‌ای داستان کل زندگیشه. متناسب نبودنش با هدف‌ها و خواسته‌هاش و سعی‌اش در فیت کردن خودش با اون‌ها. فضانورد ساختن از بچه‌‌ی کشاورزی که فضانوردی به هیچ عنوان در سرنوشتش جا نمیشه... میگه با اینکه میدونستم غیرممکنه آمریکایی‌ها منِ کانادایی رو به فضا بفرستن، به خودم گفتم من تلاشم رو میکنم، فقط اینکه شاید، اگر یه وقتی اتفاقی افتاد که شرایطش فراهم شد، من بتونم آماده باشم و شرایط و لیاقت کافی برای درخواست دادن رو داشته باشم و اگه رد شدم به دلیل اینکه شرایط و توانایی‌های لازم رو نداشتم، نباشه.
و این اتوبیوگرافی ادامه پیدا میکنه تا ما قدم به قدم لحظه‌های سخت و پرتلاش و سرنوشت‌ساز کسی رو که نه یک بار بلکه سه بار به فضا سفر کرده رو بخونیم.

یک‌ جایی در یک یادداشت خوندم که قابل درک هست که مردم این کتاب رو در دسته‌ی کتاب‌های خودیاری قرار میدن. اما این کتاب غیرداستانی در واقع یادبودی با جزئیات دقیق و ریز از زندگی مردی هست که عاشق آموزش دادن به مردم و همچنین عاشق انجام دادن کارهای بزرگ و با معنی هست. این کتاب به این شکل نسیت که بگه "این کارهایی که من انجام دادم رو انجام بدید و موفقیت‌تون تضمین شده است" بلکه بیشتر به شکل " این‌ها شرایط و اتفاق‌های است که من باهاشون روبرو شدم و کارهایی که انجام دادم تا فضان��رد بشم. و اینکه فضانوردها چطور فکر میکنند و چطور سعی میکنن مسائل پیش‌رو را حل می‌کنند" هست.

در جایی از کتاب که در مورد اهمیت آماده بودن صحبت میکنه و اشاره میکنه که نمی‌فهمه چرا آدم‌ها ��و برنامه‌ی تلوزیونی بازمانده با این که میدونن قرار هست با چه چیزهایی رو‌به‌رو بشن آماده شرکت نمی‌کنن‌! از وقتی صحبت می‌کنه که به کنسرت التون جان دعوت میشه و‌ فکر میکنه که چون توی بند فضانورداست و تو فضا با گیتار آهنگ خونده، ممکنه که التون جان ازش بخواد که رو صحنه بره و با هم آهنگی رو هم‌خوانی کنن! میگه میدونستم احتمالش نزدیک به صفر بود ولی خوب اگه اتفاق میفتاد چی؟ تخمین میزنه که احتمالا خواننده آهنگ "راکت مَن" رو انتخاب میکنه و شروع میکنه و اون آهنگ رو کلی تمرین میکنه! البته که این اتفاق نمی‌افته و خودشم کلی می‌خنده ولی میگه آماده بودن و اتفاق نیفتادن رو به ��ایع شدن جلو اون همه جمعیت ترجیح میده! :)))

در ادامه‌ی جذابیت کتاب، باید بگم که من اولین بار کریس هدفیلد رو در مستندی به نام ترجمه شده‌ی "فضانوری سخت‌ترین شغل جهان" یا اسم اصلی "فضانوردی: آیا شما آنچه را که این شغل می‌خواهد دارید؟" دیدم. حسم به این آدم این بود که دارم جمیز باند دنیای علم رو می‌بینم. خیلی با آرامش و قدرت و تسلط و جمیزباند به طور خلاصه..! حالا فکر کنین که کتاب صوتیش رو هم خودش می‌خونه و خیلی‌ جاها به چیزهایی که میگه میخنده و در کل با لحن درست فهم کتاب رو زیباتر می‌کنه. قسمت‌های زیادی از کتاب به توصیف جزئیات کارها و سفرهاش به فضا هست، که اون قسمت‌ها هم برای من خیلی جالب بود. تقریبا در هر چیزی میدیدم که چطور با دید چالش به قضیه نگاه می‌کنه و دنبال یاد گرفتنه! کووِی تو کتاب تمرینی هفت عادت از اهمیت قواعد اصلی (پرینسیپل‌) در زندگی میگه. یکی از مواردی که بیان میشه لزوم تعهد به یادگیری همیشگی برای بهبود زندگی و روابطمون هست، که هدفیلد به صورت عجیبی به این قانون و همه‌ی هفت قانون گفته شده تو این کتاب پایبنده و در کارهاش عملی‌شون میکنه. بالاخره کسی که ازش حرف میزنم کریس هدفیلده؛ کسی که سه بار (یک بار به مدت شش ماه) به فضا رفته، و اینقدر بهینه بودن رفتارها ازش انتظار می‌ره. خوندن این کتاب برای یادگرفتن دیدگاه‌های جدید، اهمیت تلاش و پشتکار و کلی اطلاعات مفید و‌ کارا برای زندگی بر روی زمین، تجربه‌ی لذت‌بخش و مفیدیست.

Profile Image for Catherine Howard.
Author 23 books2,819 followers
December 31, 2013
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 the Shuttle program nearly every astronaut came from a military background, be they test pilots or engineers. Manned space exploration was just beginning, so it wasn't like they had always dreamed of being in space. They wanted to be at the top of their profession, and back then that meant astronaut. In space, they admired the view, yes, but they were more concerned with completing their checklists and their mission than taking notes that would help convey the awesomeness of the experience to the readers of their biographies later on. Later, Shuttle astronauts would look upon their roles with even less gravity -- not all of them, of course, but because the Shuttle seemed to make spaceflight routine, it was widespread -- and one of my biggest disappointments was meeting an astronaut who was aboard the mission I saw launch from Cape Canaveral, only to hear him say that he and his colleagues rang up and ordered NASA astronaut applications "like pizza". (And then later, reveal that he didn't know what year Challenger exploded. "1986" the woman next to me spat at him.) Another Shuttle era biography seemed to spend more time talking about a female astronaut's legs than time in space.

What we want to read, of course, is an account of going to space by someone like us, someone who would have pains in their jaw from smiling the whole way up, who would float to the nearest window to gaze back at Earth in awe, who would come home and write lyrically and beautifully and descriptively about how they FELT while they were in space...

And that is just what Commander Hadfield has done. I knew it from the first line: "The windows of a spaceship casually frame miracles." Having decided age 9 and while watching Armstong walk on the moon that he was going to be an astronaut, he made his whole life about pursuing that goal -- and of course, it came true. Not only did it come true but he flew on three missions and had a long stay on the ISS and, thanks to social media and a certain YouTube music video, became perhaps the most popular astronaut of all time.

This is an amazing book which manages to be a highly readable account of space flight AND a guide to life. There were plenty of new revelations even for the NASA nut (I knew they trained hard but boy, I'd no idea HOW hard or for how long) and anyone embarking or in the midst of a corporate career ladder climb could do worse than take Hadfield's advice for becoming a valuable and appreciated member of a working team. He also states the case for space exploration although not with a heavy hand. (Did you know, for example, that Canada spends less on space travel per year than Canadians spend on Halloween candy?! Or that since the Shuttle helped put GPS satellites in orbit, no one who has ever used Google Maps can complain about the money we spend on space.) He also drove something home for me that really resonated, considering my goal is something that may never happen: to get a book deal. Most astronauts who train never fly in space, and so you'd ask yourself: why bother? Hadfield explains that you must find joy in the training, in the work, in the preparation, so that even if your dream doesn't happen, you still enjoyed every moment of its pursuit and have something to be proud of at the end.

And all the while, manages to write beautifully, come across wonderfully and keep the reader turning the page.

I LOVED this book and had I read it sooner in the year, I might have given a copy of it to everyone I know. Even if you've no interest in space -- perhaps especially if you don't -- you should read this book. Just brilliant.
Profile Image for Alexandra.
36 reviews1 follower
March 6, 2015
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 was like listening to someone who is monotone to be honest.
More or less this would have made a really nice like "special edition: Chris hadfield" magazine with some cool photos
Profile Image for Sara Rastakhiz.
127 reviews36 followers
March 4, 2022
بالاخره تمومش کردم!
ممنون از مائده جان عزیز که در گروهش قرار داده بود کتاب رو.
کتاب رو با صدای خود نویسنده گوش دادم.
تجربه و حس خاصی داشت مخصوصا برای کسی مثل من که از بچگی ارزو داشته که در صنعت فضایی بعنوان یه مهندس کار کنه (من همیشه میدونستم که نمیتونم فضانورد بشم) چیزایی که گفته بود واقعا برام جالب بودن و گاها با بعضیاش میتونستم به نوعی همزاد پنداری کنم.
مهم ترین چیزی که این کتاب به من داد و من فکر میکنم که توی این زمان بیشار از چیزی بهش نیاز دارم امید بود. امید به اینکه منم میتونم و مهم تر اینکه منم میتونم مفید باشم (چون این اواخر دچار این یاس شده بودم که هوافضا هیچ خدمت واقعی ای به بشر نمیکنه و اگه مثلا روانشناسی یا جامعه شماسی خونده بودم شاید بهتر بود)
خلاصه که کتاب خوبی بود. مخصوصا قسکتی که فرود سایچز یوری رو تعریف کرد!!!
Profile Image for Eirini Proikaki.
334 reviews108 followers
January 26, 2019
Ο 9χρονος Κρις βλέπει στην τηλεόραση τον Νηλ Αρμστρονγκ να κάνει τα πρώτα του βήματα στη Σελήνη και αποφασίζει οτι θέλει να γίνει αστροναύτης.Δεν είναι το μόνο παιδί που ονειρεύεται να βρεθεί στο διάστημα,είναι όμως απο αυτούς τους λίγους που τα κατάφεραν.
Στο βιβλίο μας αφηγείται τον τρόπο που τα κατάφερε,τις σπουδές του ,την αποφασιστικότητα και την ελπίδα του οτι θα τα καταφέρει ,κάνοντας ένα ένα τα σωστά βήματα που τον οδήγησαν τελικά στο να γίνει κυβερνήτης στον ISS.
Ένα κομμάτι του βιβλίου το βρήκα λίγο κουραστικό.Πολύ μπλα μπλα,λίγο σαν κήρυγμα,επαναλαμβανόμενες συμβουλές επιτυχίας.Mου άρεσε όμως που έμαθα πολλά για την προετοιμασία που χρειάζεται για να γίνει και το παραμικρό σε ένα διαστημικό ταξίδι και θα ήθελα να έγραφε περισσότερα.
Βρήκα συναρπαστικό το κομμάτι που μιλάει για τα ταξίδια στο διάστημα και κυρίως για το τελευταίο του ταξίδι και την διαμονή του στον ISS.Λεπτομέρειες για πράγματα που δεν είχα ποτέ σκεφτεί:πώς κοιμούνται στον διαστημικό σταθμό;πώς πλένουν τα δόντια τους;πώς κατουράς σε συνθήκες μηδενικής βαρύτητας;😂 Όλα τα απλά καθημερινά πράγματα γίνονται μια περιπέτεια στον Διεθνή διαστημικό σταθμό.
Είπε οτι είχαν ανεβάσει πολλά βιντεάκια στο youtube οπότε πήγα και είδα αρκετά απο αυτα.Ενθουσιάστηκα βέβαια όταν είδα τον Chris με την κιθάρα του να τραγουδάει το Space oddity στο διάστημα!Παραθετω λινκ για όποιον ενδιαφέρεται : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaOC9...
Profile Image for Sarah.
351 reviews156 followers
April 27, 2019
Hadfield debunks a lot of pervasive cultural myths about success, thank goodness, and astronauting is a perfect (albeit extreme) exemplar for demonstrating these truths. The main myths, as extrapolated by a crude American non-astronaut:

1. Talent is the best indicator of success.

You can have the most natural aptitude ever for being an astronaut but if you don’t prepare like mad, you will end up dead.

2. Just think positively!

Visualizing success means nothing if you aren’t prepared for what might go wrong.

3. Helping others diminishes your chances of success.

Helping others increases the likelihood that your endeavor will succeed, and that you will not end up dead.

4. Hot shots get ahead.

No one likes a relentless self-promoter, and luckily no one will send one to space because they’ll detract from the mission; annoyed, distracted astronauts = dead astronauts.

5. Big life events are the best moments of your life.

Facetiousness aside, this is probably one of the more meaningful lessons for living a fulfilled life: "…you can choose to appreciate the smallest scraps of experience, the everyday moments, or to value only the grandest, most stirring ones. Ultimately, the real question is whether you want to be happy."

6. All Canadians are super polite.

Hahaha just kidding! Hadfield doesn’t debunk this one at all.
Profile Image for Sad Sunday (Books? Me?!? NEVER!!!) .
357 reviews175 followers
January 25, 2019
Chris Hadfield might not be the best writer but he is an interesting person and a great storyteller. I consider him to be a very well-round person - his fields of expertise reach far beyond being an astronaut. The book had it's flaws - it feels like it's been written in one sitting, there were moments I wanted to know more and moments when less information would have sufficed, some ideas repeat themselves (be prepared, always learn) over and over, but it's an amazing glimpse into the life and achievements of one astronaut. So many cool facts about the space life that will make you inner geek happy. But well, it might diminish you dream of becoming an astronaut (don't worry, commercial flights are almost now). One of his goals was to bring space exploration "closer" to people and I think he achieved that 100%.

This is Chris performing David Bowie's "Space Oddity" in space (ISS).

Profile Image for Heino Colyn.
278 reviews93 followers
April 24, 2019
I learned a lot while reading this book, but my main takeaway is that Chris Hadfield is a really, really nice guy. Reading similar books I often think "wow, this guy is an ass but he gets the job done, so I guess it is fine?" Hadfield has every reason to be a jerk, but his attitude and humbleness is so refreshing and contrasting when compared to a lot of people who reached his level of success.

I kind of wish that I read this on Kindle so that I could make and share some notes and highlights, but the paperback ambushed me while I was out browsing. I'd still like to share two of my favourite quotes:

[...] one of the most important lessons I've learned as an astronaut: value the wisdom of humility, as well as the sense of perspective it gives you.

But fundamentally, life off Earth is in two important respects not at all unworldly: You can choose to focus on the surprises and pleasures, or the frustrations. And you can choose to appreciate the smallest scraps of experience, the everyday moments, or to value only the grandest, most stirring ones.

Great read, whether you're into space or not.
Profile Image for Megan Baxter.
985 reviews656 followers
November 7, 2014
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 policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
Profile Image for Zaira.
166 reviews3 followers
June 10, 2018
The space geek in me thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Profile Image for aPriL does feral sometimes .
1,893 reviews430 followers
September 19, 2016
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 and perseverance and focus in the early pages had been toned down just a tad! The second half of the book is full of details about what it is like to be rocketed off of Earth, what living aboard the ISS involves, and how the body feels and responds after returning to conditions of gravity. Hadfield also explains those famous videos! It is a very interesting book and I enjoyed reading it.

Due to Hadfield's son's interest in photography, we have videos about life aboard the ISS:


Hadfield can sing!


Some people think Hadfield is arrogant, but I completely disagree. Others are less than enthusiastic about the title of this book, 'An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth' thinking it a self-help book. I am a hater of this title, too. It sounds like a mental or New Age self-help title but I thought his advice is sound, if a bit too repetitious and extended in the early autobiographical portions. However, I read the entire book anyway, and I liked it. I feel his interest in publicity and public media is more about developing interest in going to space and encouragement of STEM education than it is about self-aggrandizement.

If there are people in the world entitled to crow about their achievements, in my opinion, one of those includes folk who struggle to be an astronaut. The book clearly shows a dedication to a science education and physical fitness must begin early in life, and a mental focus and toughness is a must, especially in democracies where the development of one's self is primarily self-directed by choice, and eventually financially-supported by both family resources and a government program. At the same time, when the personal rewards of sacrifice and striving alone for decades are won, we demand modesty and self-abasement from the achiever! It is a delicate balance of ego and leadership, and I think the charismatic Hadfield deserves his hard-won accolades. The book makes clear he has 'the right stuff' (even if he also is a nice, earnest Canadian).

; )
Profile Image for foteini_dl.
431 reviews119 followers
March 10, 2020
Ο 9χρονος Κρις βλέπει στην τηλεόραση τον Νιλ Αρμστρονγκ να περπατάει στη Σελήνη και αποφασίζει οτι θέλει να γίνει αστροναύτης. Τον καταλαβαίνω α πό λυ τα, μιας και εγώ αυτό είπα όταν τον είδα αρκετά χρόνια μετά. Βέβαια υπάρχει μια διαφορά: ο μικρός Κρις όταν μεγάλωσε τα κατάφερε, εγώ πάλι όχι.

Στο βιβλίο αφηγείται πώς τα κατάφερε και πόση θέληση και θυσίες χρειάστηκε να κάνει μέχρι να φτάσει να γίνει ακόμα και κυβερνήτης στον ISS. Ε, και μετά δεν απορώ που δεν κατάφερα να γίνω και εγώ η 66η γυναίκα που ταξίδεψε στο φεγγάρι.

Έτσι, αποφάσισα να διαβάζω όσο πιο πολύ μπορώ για τον όξω κόσμο και για ανθρώπους που τον έχουν δει. Το διάστημα, ξες, δίνει πολλές απαντήσεις σε πολλά θέματα, υπαρκτά ή και μη, και γεννά ακόμα περισσότερες ερωτήσεις ("πώς μπορείς να φας στο διάστημα;", "τραγουδάνε οι άνθρωποι σε zero gravity συνθήκες άραγες;").

Για ερωτήματα όπως το πρώτο, μπορείς να διαβάσεις αυτό το βιβλίο και να σου λυθεί η απορία. Για το δεύτερο, μπορείς να δεις αυτό το βίντεο https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KaOC9....
Profile Image for Wanda Pedersen.
1,865 reviews370 followers
January 12, 2015
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 moment of it.

My thoughts:

It was a pleasure to read Chris Hadfield’s memoir—it took me only 1 day. I was surprised at how many little “rules of living” that I share with an astronaut. For example, I always have Plan B and Plan C prepared, just in case Plan A doesn’t work. By and large, I find that I really don’t need Plan C, but it is useful to have anticipated disaster and to know “where do I go from here?” (But I also have a little saying: What Miss Wanda wants, Miss Wanda gets—I’m pretty used to getting my own way!)

Like Hadfield, I also believe in enjoying the small things. If we only are happy during the big positive events, we won’t be happy very often! I celebrate any small victory or beautiful everyday event so that there are things to enjoy on a regular basis. (As well as reading An Astronaut’s Guide, I also cleared, cleaned and reorganized my cookbook shelf in the kitchen yesterday—I’m spending far more time than I thought I would just admiring my handy work and celebrating cleanliness!!)

Of course, besides the philosophical themes, it was also fun to hear about the details of living in space. Hadfield answers most of my questions about living conditions aboard the ISS (although I’m still wondering how female astronauts/cosmonauts deal with the bathroom issue?) In addition to the danger factor, that alone would keep me from ever wanting to go to space! Besides, if there aren’t any birds there, why would a birding-obsessed gal such as myself ever want to go there?

I was also amused to find out that Hadfield’s children tease him—playing a game called The Colonel Says, where they yell out some of his favourite sayings and laugh hysterically at them! Still, they seem to be very supportive of his endeavours, with one son helping him with social media while he was commander of the ISS.

All in all, a person has to be very driven and competitive to become an astronaut, but despite this Hadfield comes across as a pretty decent guy that it would be very interesting to have a coffee with (presumably Tim Horton’s coffee, the favourite on the ISS).
Profile Image for Josen.
299 reviews10 followers
July 11, 2016
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 had prepared him for life in general, whether it was work related, family related or personally related.

Even with his many accomplishments his experiences have taught him how to be humble and to understand that, as in a space mission, everyone from the people who make the astronaut suits to his space crew play an important part in achieving success. Along with some of the technical terms, Hadfield also writes with humor which makes this an easy read. I think this is a great, inspirational book and I highly recommend it!
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