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.
About the author
Chris Hadfield est un des astronautes les plus chevronnés et les plus accomplis du monde. Il est aussi l'auteur des succès de librairie internationaux Guide d'un astronaute pour la vie sur Terre et You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes. Le meilleur étudiant diplômé de la U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School en 1988 et le pilote de l'année du U.S. Navy test en 1991, Chris Hadfield a été sélectionné par l'Agence spatiale canadienne comme astronaute en 1992. Il a assumé la fonction de commandant de la Station spatiale internationale où il a réalisé un nombre record d'expériences scientifiques et a supervisé une sortie d'urgence dans l'espace. Il a aussi publié des photographies à couper le souffle et des vidéos éducatives sur la vie dans l'espace qui lui ont valu une reconnaissance mondiale. Sa vidéo en apesanteur de la chanson « Space Oddity » du regretté David Bowie a été visualisée plus de 30 millions de fois en ligne!
Chris Hadfield is one of the world's most seasoned and accomplished astronauts, and is the author of the #1 international bestseller, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth and You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes. 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. 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,” has received more than 30 million views 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
Canada has a new dad and he's AWESOMEhttp://www cozylittlebookjournal com/2013/10/its-official-canada-has-new-dad-and-hes html
I have so many good things to say about this book I don't think they'll all fit into one review (for my full review, including my four-year-old's reaction to it, please visit my blog, Cozy Little Book Journal). Here's some of what I thought about the book:
Chris Hadfield knew he wanted to be an astronaut when he was nine years old. In fact, he remembers the exact moment he knew. It was late in the evening on July 20, 1969. That's when his entire family, spending the summer in Stag Island, Ontario, "traipsed across the clearing" to their neighbour's cottage so they could crowd themselves in front of the television and watch the moon landing. "Somehow," he writes, "we felt as if we were up there with Neil Armstrong, changing the world."
Hadfield writes about this early experience--and many, many of the other experiences that have led him to become the world's most recognized astronaut since Armstrong himself--in his new book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth.
I would have read this book a lot faster if I hadn't kept stopping every few pages to run out to tell Mike and Magda (my partner and our daughter) what I'd just read. Magda didn't mind. She asked me to read aloud to her from the book every chance I got. At four, I'd venture to say she knows more about space than most Canadians ten times her age, and we have Colonel Chris Hadfield to thank for that.
His videos from space captured her imagination and mine. Thanks to him, Magda has spent the better part of the year learning everything she can about space exploration and astronauts, and has even composed several songs dedicated to female astronauts she admires ("Julie Payette Rocket" and "You are the Moon, I am the Sun [for Suni Williams]"). I feel like he's introduced us to space exploration in a way no one had before, and that he's introduced us to astronauts as real people. Of course, the internet has helped immensely with that, as has Hadfield's social media genius of a son, Evan. But thanks to them, our whole family knows names like Tom Marshburn, Roman Romanenko, Karen Nyberg, Kevin Ford and Luca Parmitano. Thanks to him, both my daughter and I have new heroes from all over the world.
And that's a gift that Chris Hadfield has given to so many of us; he's renewed our sense of wonder. He's inspired us to look at space again in a way most of us hadn't in a long time. He's inspired us to be passionately curious and unabashedly compassionate. He's shown us--through his eyes--what exactly it looks like to all be connected in this world (and off it). He's reminded us what it looks like to be passionate, competent and sincere, without irony or cynicism.
An Astronaut's Guide to Life really is a guide to life. Actually, it makes a pretty good guide to parenting too. Colonel Hadfield offers an insider's look into the life of an astronaut and the steps it takes to become one. It's deeply satisfying for those curious about the past, present and future of the space program, but it's also full of truly excellent advice for those with ambition in any field.
He writes: "I never thought, 'If I don't make it as an astronaut, I'm a failure.' The script would have changed a lot if, instead, I'd moved up in the military or become a university professor or a commercial test pilot, but the result wouldn't have been a horror movie."
I love that. I love the attitude that you don't have to "wait for your life to begin," as so many of us do (I know I have). You can start becoming the person you want to be right away, with the choices you make and the steps you take. And, most importantly, do the things that will make you happy along the way, whether or not you reach your end goal. And in fact the "end goal" may change many times but at least you'll be doing things you love.
Of course when I say it, it sounds like a second-rate inspirational poster, the kind with saccharine poems written over photos of mountain vistas. Yet when Colonel Hadfield says it, it doesn't. It's probably because his "advice" is only a small part of the book, and is really only given in terms of his own life story ("this is what worked for me").
Most of the book is filled with fascinating stories about the life of an astronaut, including many that I had never heard before. He relates stories of things that have gone wrong in space, most of which are corrected and managed by the quick thinking of astronauts, cosmonauts and mission control. He talks about the sadness he and his wife felt upon hearing that his good friend Rick Husband had been killed aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia. He explains the detailed "death plans" that all astronauts make before they go into space, deciding in detail exactly what would happen if they were killed in space (right down to who exactly would tell their family and who would accompany their spouse to the funeral). It's an inside look into an experience only around 500 people in history have ever had: preparing for and achieving space travel.
I could say so much more about this book but I'm afraid it would just turn into me giving another page-by-page account of everything in it, much like I did with Magda and Mike all week. What I can say is that I was even more inspired by the book than I already was by Colonel Hadfield himself, which is pretty darn inspired.