An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth
Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4,000 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, been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft, and become a YouTube sensation with his performance of David Bowie's 'Space Oddity' in space. The secret to Chris Hadfield's success - and survival - is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst - and enjoy every moment of it.
Reviewed on 27th January 2014
Chris Hadfield's biography - despite the title, that's how the book reads - tells the story of the astronaut's life from childhood up to returning to Earth after his stint commanding the International Space Station. It's a fascinating look into a profession that most of us can only dream about, and Hadfield manages to tell his story in an incredibly humble way.
As per the title, Hadfield frames his narrative around explaining various life lessons that he's based his own character on, and shows how these have benefited his personal life and career. He's quite candid about various aspects of both, and doesn't shirk away from telling in detail how the intricacies of space-station life work.
The most interesting things though are some of the anecdotes Hadfield tells about himself, particularly where things seem to be going wrong. He shows a real talent for building the narrative tension despite the reader knowing how things turn out.
The book shows Commander Hadfield as a real person rather than the internet celebrity that he's become, and it's a really interesting insight into his life and the workings of the world's space agencies. An awesome book that I'm really glad I read.