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An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  55,049 ratings  ·  4,647 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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Enrique Condés The only thing inappropriate would be not to recommend it to a 13 year old.
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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ricardo is reading
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, reviewed
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 is Darla in the book
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 is Darla in the book
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
B 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
Greta G
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 ; i
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
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
TS Chan
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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
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
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. ...more
David Rubenstein
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
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
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
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bio-memoir
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
Sad Sunday (Books? Me?!? NEVER!!!)
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 ac ...more
Heino Colyn
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-in-print
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
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
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The space geek in me thoroughly enjoyed this book.
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
Wanda Pedersen
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
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
Executive Summary: This book was pretty interesting at times, but got a bit annoying at others. 3.5 stars.

Audiobook: I'm always leery about authors narrating their own books, but in the case of nonfiction I think it's generally a better track record. Mr. Hadfield does a fine job. Nothing fantastic, but I don't really want fantastic in non fiction anyways. If nothing else he knows best what he was feeling during the various events he described in his book.

Full Review
I picked this up on a deal
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
This was a really interesting book because it’s part memoir and part advice book. A lot of the ways space travel and the ideal for astronauts can change was really informative, like what might be perfect at one point can be a trait that disqualifies people as astronauts now. If you're looking for a lot of information on his experience with space then you'll get some of that but it's more about his mindset and educational journey to space.

Chris Hadfield had wanted to be an astronaut since watchi
Rachel Sharp
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!
Kara 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
Cori Reed
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Chris Hadfield is the Canadian hero we all deserve.
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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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  Every December, as we wrap up our annual Goodreads Reading Challenge, we ask our incredibly well-read colleagues an incredibly tough...
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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.” 132 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.” 123 likes
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