As Commander of the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield captivated the world with stunning photos and commentary from space. Now, in his first book, Chris offers readers extraordinary stories from his life as an astronaut, and shows how to make the impossible a reality.
Chris Hadfield decided to become an astronaut after watching the Apollo moon landing with his family on Stag Island, Ontario, when he was nine years old, and it was impossible for Canadians to be astronauts. In 2013, he served as Commander of the International Space Station orbiting the Earth during a five-month mission. Fulfilling this lifelong dream required intense focus, natural ability and a singular commitment to “thinking like an astronaut.” In An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, Chris gives us a rare insider’s perspective on just what that kind of thinking involves, and how earthbound humans can use it to achieve success and happiness in their lives.
Astronaut training turns popular wisdom about how to be successful on its head. Instead of visualizing victory, astronauts prepare for the worst; always sweat the small stuff; and do care what others think. Chris shows how this unique education comes into play with dramatic anecdotes about going blind during a spacewalk, getting rid of a live snake while piloting a plane, and docking with space station Mir when laser tracking systems fail at the critical moment. Along the way, he shares exhilarating experiences, and challenges, from his 144 days on the ISS, and provides an unforgettable answer to his most-asked question: What’s it really like in outer space?
Written with humour, humility and a profound optimism for the future of space exploration, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth offers readers not just the inspiring story of one man’s journey to the ISS, but the opportunity to step into his space-boots and think like an astronaut—and renew their commitment to pursuing their own dreams, big or small.
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.
WINNER 2013 – CBA Libris Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award
#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A Globe and Mail Best Book
A Book Riot Best Book
A Slate Best Book
“Chris Hadfield is easily the world’s most famous living moustache-tronaut, having done more to promote the concept of off-Earth travel and exploration than anyone since William Shatner first stepped onto the bridge of the Enterprise…. The accounts of Hadfield’s three missions are riveting and fun, and easily communicate the shock and awe that comes with seeing the planet from above.” —Toronto Star
“Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield presents an inspiring tale of his own perseverance in pursuing his dream. There are many interesting tidbits about space included here that can only be related by someone who has been there.” —The Vancouver Sun
“Canadians young to old will be awed and inspired by Chris Hadfield’s story. His passion, commitment and extraordinary achievements make him a larger-than-life hero.” —Heather Reisman, Indigo’s Chief Booklover and CEO
“Remember that Canadian dude with the moustache who sang an amazing accomplished zerogravity version of Space Oddity on the International Space Station this year? It turns out he can write, too. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth is the book Chris Hadfield was destined to produce from the moment they pulled him out of his Soyuz space capsule on the Kazakh steppe and told him he had seven million YouTube hits. It is unapologetically gung-ho, and it instantly takes its place on the admittedly lonely shelf of books that make the case for human space exploration in the post-Apollo, post-Shuttle age. . . . The book was written at speed but feels thoughtful rather than hasty. . . . It’s a fine line . . . between the small stuff and the life and death stuff that gives Hadfield’s tale its juice. Not many people can describe from experience the difference between a Shuttle launch . . . and a launch in a Russian Proton rocket. . . . Not many people know what it is to glance behind you on a spacewalk and almost accidentally ‘notice the Universe.’” —Giles Whittell, The Sunday Times
“I found his fascinating An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth even more enjoyable than I expected. Mr. Hadfield teaches us not only about space but about people, too. Equally autobiographical and instructional, the book goes gleefully against the grain of most ‘success’ books…. An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth isn’t a compendium of hagiographic profiles; it’s a very human glimpse into a rarefied world. Bound together by a love of exploration and discovery, tested by tragic catastrophes and everyday hardship, the men and women Mr. Hadfield introduces us to are real people: They fail, they succeed, they worry, they miss their families, they go to space and do things never done before. The vacuum of space is unforgiving and brutal. Life on earth isn’t easy, either. Mr. Hadfield has genuinely and refreshingly increased our understanding of how to thrive in both places.” —Adam Savage, The Wall Street Journal
“Hadfield is a good writer with an engaging style; I was always eager to get to the next chapter, and frequently found myself smiling at the stories he was spinning…. You might not think that someone who became an astronaut might have stories that will relate to your own Earthbound life, but in fact Hadfield has shown over and again that he’s a master at making it all relatable. From his photos of Earth from space to his videos showing the daily grind of life on a 100-meter wide orbiting tin can, he is all about real life.” —Phil Plait, Slate (Best Book)
“A page-turning memoir of life as a decorated astronaut.” —Kirkus Reviews
“The book is a trove of good advice on everything from personal development to survival, but he also knows a hell of a lot about getting the job—any job—done.” —AskMen
“Not a business book per se, Colonel Hadfield’s memoir recounts how insatiable curiosity, single-minded dedication and a healthy competitive streak propelled him to, quite literally, out-of-this world accomplishments. His humility and charm throughout his ascent to notoriety are further evidence that a winning formula includes staying true to yourself.” —Simon Kennedy, The Washington Post
“The world has been given the gift of the first book from Col. Chris Hadfield, Commander of the International Space Station. Who wouldn’t want to read about the man who broke into the Space Station with a Swiss army knife, performed basic surgery in zero gravity, and was temporarily blinded while clutching the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft? . . . Now in Hadfield’s book readers come even closer to the man whose life and career have been seemingly other-worldly. An Astronaut’s Guide includes eye-opening, adrenaline-filled stories of shuttle launches and space walks but it is also filled with Hadfield’s counterintuitive life lessons.” —Euro Weekly News