An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, by Chris Hadfield
Published by Pan Books, 1st January 2015
Genres: Nonfiction, autobiography, memoir
Source: Purchased (second-hand)
From a very young age, Chris Hadfield wanted nothing more than to become an astronaut. But at a time when very few Canadians went to space, this was bound to be a difficult task. Through years of hard work and dedication, Chris finally realised his dream and has logged nearly 4000 hours in space.
During this time, he was the first Canadian to be Commander of the International Space Station, where he also recorded a music video to David Bowie’s Space Oddity. He also broke into a Space Station with a Swiss army knife and was temporarily blinded whilst clinging to the outside of an orbiting spacecraft. He has overcome many obstacles thanks to an unconventional philosophy learned at NASA: prepare for the worst, and enjoy every moment of it.
Thinking back, this book reminds me of The Martian, by Andy Weir. And not simply because they are both books about space. One of my favourite aspects of The Martian was the comedic tone that Mark Watney injects into his space disasters. Chris Hadfield has a similar dry and witty sense of humour. This made some of the potentially heavy or boring material about space travel (especially for the scientifically challenged like myself), much more fun.
I really enjoyed Chris’ down-to-earth style (see what I did there!?). Although he has achieved incredible things in space and on earth, he doesn’t take himself too seriously and is very upfront about his struggles and shortcomings.
It was fascinating to learn about just how much work goes into astronaut training, all with only a very small chance you will ever make it into space. In addition, it was very interesting reading about the procedures around launch, life on the ISS and so many other facets of space travel.
But I think what I enjoyed the most about this book were the lessons that Chris has learned throughout his training and life as an astronaut. These lessons are just as applicable to everyday life and I hope to implement some into my own life.
If you have a budding astronaut in your life, if you love space or if, like me, you loved The Martian and are looking for more space reading in your life, then you might want to consider buying this book.
My rating: 4/5