Chris Hadfield is a Canadian astronaut who most people know because of his zero-gravity performance of “Space Oddity,” by David Bowie, which he filmed while aboard the International space station. This is his memoir, and it is one of my absolute favorites. It is so down-to-earth, given that it was written by a man who spent a good portion of the past decade 270 miles above the surface of our planet.
-Recommended by Beryl
The book follows Hadfield’s life chronologically. The story begins with how he first became interested in space travel. At age 10, Hadfield, along with an estimated 600 million people, watched Neil Armstrong walk on the moon, stitching the famous phrase into history: “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
This phrase struck the hearts of hopeful astronauts, and ambition children across the globe, and Hadfield was one of them. He made it his goal get there, to study hard and do whatever it took to get into space.
The story continues to follow Hadfield through various training, the trials of love and marriage from afar (very far) and finally, his arrival in space. His personal account of take off and crossing the gravity threshold will make your stomach sink and eyes widen with space-filled-wanderlust. He takes us on a journey throughout his life in space that will make you question the purpose of both your own life and the way of life on earth.— From Book reviews: Books offer journey into space
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.
About the Author
Chris Hadfield, one of the world's most seasoned and accomplished astronauts, is the author of the #1 international bestseller An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth. The top graduate of the U.S. Air Force Test Pilot School in 1988 and the U.S. Navy Test Pilot of the Year in 1991, Hadfield was selected to be an astronaut in 1992. He was Chief CAPCOM at NASA for twenty-five shuttle missions and served as Director of Operations for NASA in Star City, Russia, from 2001 to 2003; Chief of Robotics for the NASA Astronaut Office in Houston from 2003 to 2006; and Chief of International Space Station Operations for the NASA Astronaut Office from 2006 to 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 online videos, including a zero-gravity version of David Bowie's "Space Oddity," have collectively received more than fifty million views.
A Slate Staff Pick for Best Books 2013
"A very human glance into a rarified world.... 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."—The Wall Street Journal
"Hadfield is a genius, a man of science and technology and no first-timer to the universe."—New York Post
"A satisfying behind-the-scenes look at the life of an astronaut.... A page-turning memoir of life as a decorated astronaut."—Kirkus Reviews
"Houston, we have a superstar."—Washington Post
"This memoir is part fascinating view, part Boy Scout manual."—New York Times
"Hadfield proves himself to be not only a fierce explorer of the universe, but also a deeply thoughtful explorer of the human condition, capable of articulating those most universal of inquiries in simple yet profound language.... The book itself is absolutely spectacular."—Brain Pickings
"Lessons from his new book, AN ASTRONAUT'S GUIDE TO LIFE, are so inspiring that it's hard to decide which one to tell you about."—USA Today
"Our planet's one-man ambassador to the universe."—Gothamist
"Thoroughly engaging.... In a low-key style, he makes a persuasive case that the oft-derided Space Station is both a marvel of engineering and a triumph for science, and he paints the cartoon heroism of the NASA astronaut corps in a much more realistic, and yet in many ways even more admirable, light."—Corey S. Powell, American Scientist
"Hadfield is a good writer with an engaging style.... 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."—Slate
"Riveting, dramatic and intensely engrossing, Hadfield's engaging style as a writer puts you right alongside this almost absurdly compelling gentleman as he climbs the ladder from Canadian fighter pilot through two space shuttle missions and, ultimately, his serving as commander of the ISS."—The Huntington Beach Independent
"Hadfield takes readers on a fascinating and exciting journey while offering insightful-if somewhat unconventional -- wisdom applicable to everyday life here on Earth."—Bookpage
"His book is an autobiography as well as a lesson to the reader on what he's learned throughout his life and travels. And in his particular distillation of 'success,' he is wonderfully counterintuitive in his interpretation of common sense.... A startlingly intimate and warmhearted view of an arcane world, one which he makes plain even to those not educated in fields of scientific inquiry."—Ryan Downer, The California Aggie
"The book is more than just a compilation of intriguing stories and details about life in space....In addition to providing irresistible descriptions of his work, the book--which has been translated into 20 languages--also acts as a self-help guide, with Hadfield offering practical applications to what he has learned over the years."—Connie Ogle, Miami Herald