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An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth:…
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An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me… (original 2013; edition 2015)

by Chris Hadfield (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,469518,622 (4.11)95
Hadfield takes readers into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. He developed an unconventional philosophy at NASA: Prepare for the worst-- and enjoy every moment of it. By thinking like an astronaut, you can change the way you view life on Earth-- especially your own.… (more)
Member:dharding
Title:An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything
Authors:Chris Hadfield (Author)
Info:Back Bay Books (2015), Edition: Reprint, 320 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:2020

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An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything by Chris Hadfield (2013)

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Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
It's December 2011, and it's Christmas at my dad's house. Actually it's Christmas everywhere, my point is that I am at my dad's house, and it's Christmas. My little sister hands me my present and I receive it with thanks. Except as I try to take it from her she doesn't let go. Instead she says something. And it's not “Merry Christmas!” Nor is it “I'm so blessed for having such an awesome big brother!” It's not even “If I ever spontaneously change sex like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park then I hope my beard is as magnificent as yours!” No, what she says is “I'm sorry.” She's not apologising for some past transgression, though. She continues: “I don't know why I bought this for you, I just saw it in the shop and… oh God, I'm sorry.” And with that she finally lets go of the present.

It's fair to say I'm a little put out by this stage. There are certain scripted things one says when handing over a Christmas present. Usually “This one's for you” or “I hope you like it.” At worst someone might say “I've still got the receipt,” but rambling apologies aren't supposed to be on the script.

I open the present gingerly, and find myself the proud owner of a particularly fine looking trouser expander. For those who aren't as lucky as me and don't know what a trouser expander is: it's a smallish sausage shaped plastic pouch with an attached hand pump. When deflated the pouch fits snugly into one's underpants, but should the need to arise arise then one can surreptitiously give the pump a few swift squeezes through your pocket and hey presto, your trousers expand.

Alas! It turned out that there was a little hole in the pouch and so it would quickly deflate unless you were willing to do some rather furious pocket-pumping. And let me tell you, you only try that in public once.

In 2012 my sister was a bit more conventional in her choice of Christmas present. And then, this past Christmas, she handed me another small oblong shaped gift with the ominous words “I don't know if you'll like this or not.” It wasn't visions of sugar-plums that danced through my head upon hearing that so much as a battery of sex toys. I unwrapped the gift, half expecting an inflatable yet anatomically accurate pterodactyl to fall out. Instead what dropped into my lap was Chris Hadfield's An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth.

I, along with most people with the internet, had been following Chris Hadfield on Facebook for many months and am a great admirer of what he's achieved both scientifically and in that oh-so-difficult area of engaging the broader public. Basically, I'm a big fan of his. So when my sister added “I got it signed, by the way” then I suddenly came over all fanboyish and instantly forgave her for buying me a broken trouser expander. I mean for buying me a trouser expander.

I assumed the book would be Chris Hadfield's memoirs. Now he's retired from the Canadian Space Agency it seemed a reasonable guess. Instead the first chapter gives a breakneck summary of his life up to heading up to the ISS. After that it becomes a kind of anecdote-filled self-help book.

I have the kind of scorn for self-help books that comes from never having read one. In my mind they're filled with useless clichéd tat like “Before you can love others you have to love yourself” and “Dance like no one is listening” and “Don't mix whites and colours in the same wash”. Chris Hadfield's advice here is much more pragmatic. It's odd reading advice from someone who has commanded humanity's only space station. There's a danger that in explaining how he got where he is and scattering in anecdotes he'd make the reader feel like an unaccomplished cretin. But he doesn't. Instead I left the book feeling positive about myself and the world we live in – a world that can come together and build something as marvellous as the International Space Station and find people as magnificent as Chris Hadfield to put on it.

--

Edited P.S. I originally linked to Chris Hadfield's amazing cover of David Bowie's Space Oddity here, but Bowie only gave his permission for that version to stay online for one year and that time has passed. Of course, the intrepid explorer might still find it somehow. ( )
  imlee | Jul 7, 2020 |
It's December 2011, and it's Christmas at my dad's house. Actually it's Christmas everywhere, my point is that I am at my dad's house, and it's Christmas. My little sister hands me my present and I receive it with thanks. Except as I try to take it from her she doesn't let go. Instead she says something. And it's not “Merry Christmas!” Nor is it “I'm so blessed for having such an awesome big brother!” It's not even “If I ever spontaneously change sex like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park then I hope my beard is as magnificent as yours!” No, what she says is “I'm sorry.” She's not apologising for some past transgression, though. She continues: “I don't know why I bought this for you, I just saw it in the shop and… oh God, I'm sorry.” And with that she finally lets go of the present.

It's fair to say I'm a little put out by this stage. There are certain scripted things one says when handing over a Christmas present. Usually “This one's for you” or “I hope you like it.” At worst someone might say “I've still got the receipt,” but rambling apologies aren't supposed to be on the script.

I open the present gingerly, and find myself the proud owner of a particularly fine looking trouser expander. For those who aren't as lucky as me and don't know what a trouser expander is: it's a smallish sausage shaped plastic pouch with an attached hand pump. When deflated the pouch fits snugly into one's underpants, but should the need to arise arise then one can surreptitiously give the pump a few swift squeezes through your pocket and hey presto, your trousers expand.

Alas! It turned out that there was a little hole in the pouch and so it would quickly deflate unless you were willing to do some rather furious pocket-pumping. And let me tell you, you only try that in public once.

In 2012 my sister was a bit more conventional in her choice of Christmas present. And then, this past Christmas, she handed me another small oblong shaped gift with the ominous words “I don't know if you'll like this or not.” It wasn't visions of sugar-plums that danced through my head upon hearing that so much as a battery of sex toys. I unwrapped the gift, half expecting an inflatable yet anatomically accurate pterodactyl to fall out. Instead what dropped into my lap was Chris Hadfield's An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth.

I, along with most people with the internet, had been following Chris Hadfield on Facebook for many months and am a great admirer of what he's achieved both scientifically and in that oh-so-difficult area of engaging the broader public. Basically, I'm a big fan of his. So when my sister added “I got it signed, by the way” then I suddenly came over all fanboyish and instantly forgave her for buying me a broken trouser expander. I mean for buying me a trouser expander.

I assumed the book would be Chris Hadfield's memoirs. Now he's retired from the Canadian Space Agency it seemed a reasonable guess. Instead the first chapter gives a breakneck summary of his life up to heading up to the ISS. After that it becomes a kind of anecdote-filled self-help book.

I have the kind of scorn for self-help books that comes from never having read one. In my mind they're filled with useless clichéd tat like “Before you can love others you have to love yourself” and “Dance like no one is listening” and “Don't mix whites and colours in the same wash”. Chris Hadfield's advice here is much more pragmatic. It's odd reading advice from someone who has commanded humanity's only space station. There's a danger that in explaining how he got where he is and scattering in anecdotes he'd make the reader feel like an unaccomplished cretin. But he doesn't. Instead I left the book feeling positive about myself and the world we live in – a world that can come together and build something as marvellous as the International Space Station and find people as magnificent as Chris Hadfield to put on it.

--

Edited P.S. I originally linked to Chris Hadfield's amazing cover of David Bowie's Space Oddity here, but Bowie only gave his permission for that version to stay online for one year and that time has passed. Of course, the intrepid explorer might still find it somehow. ( )
  leezeebee | Jul 6, 2020 |
Of all the astronaut memoirs I've read, this one is just "okay."

It's kind of part self-help / motivation book and part memoir. I neither loved nor hated the format. ( )
  lemontwist | Jun 6, 2020 |
Grande, grandísimo libro autobiográfico de un laureado astronauta canadiense. En él, entremezclados con sus vivencias y anécdotas, hay imbricados unas cuantos consejos para la vida que el autor ha seguido a rajatabla y que han conseguido, junto a la suerte, que todo le haya ido de puta madre. Me cae simpático, el coronel Hadfield. El libro da muchísimos detalles sobre lo que supone ser un astronauta, sobre las partes técnicas, los interminables ensayos y pruebas, y luego el Espacio. Ver la Tierra de un solo vistazo. El autor apela repetidamente al sentido de la maravilla y yo se lo acepto. Me ha gustado muchísimo el libro. Altamente recomendable. ( )
  Remocpi | Apr 22, 2020 |
The biography part is good, but maybe a little light on details. The self-help part is good, but not much more than platitudes. Yet somehow the combination is fine, not great but fine. You learn a little and maybe get inspired just a little. ( )
  Skybalon | Mar 19, 2020 |
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Helene, with love. Your confidence, impetus and endless help made these dreams come true.
First words
The windows of a spaceship casually frame miracles.
Quotations
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.
Over the years, I've realized that 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.
If you start thinking that only your biggest and shiniest moments count, you're setting yourself up to feel like a failure most of the time.
[Astronauts] run the gamut from devout to atheist, but whatever the personal belief system, space flight tends to reinforce it.
There is no situation so bad that you can't make it worse.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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