Name of book – An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth
Author and publisher – Chris Hadfield – ISS Commander and Space Shuttle Astronaut
Published by Pan Books
Briefly, what is it about?
This is a combination of a biography and also a guide of things we can all learn from Chris Hadfield’s career journey, from a small child through to ISS commander and onwards after his return to earth.
Any particular age group it would be aimed at?
Probably around 13 years upwards.
What inspired you to read it?
I’ve always had massive respect for Astronauts. Apart from their obvious combination of bravery, analytical skill and intelligence, they all talk with great humility about the beauty of the Earth from space.
Chris Hadfield is a great communicator and has many skills to share from his career as an astronaut that transfer into our own lives.
Who would enjoy it?
Anyone with a curious mind. That simple. You don’t need to be interested in space to gain so much from reading this book. It is also about the sacrifices made by his family and how being an astronaut is a team game. And if you are interested in aeronautics and the correct mental attitude needed to be an astronaut, then you’ll find it fascinating.
Why did you like it so much/ what inspired you about this book?
The most inspirational part for me was that Chris says that he decided he wanted to become an astronaut when he saw Neil Armstrong step onto the moon. At the time he was only a kid in Canada and Canada didn’t have a space programme. However, he went on to plan his career path as if he would make it.
The big things I learned were that while your dreams may not always come true, if you position yourself to be perfectly qualified in life skills and other attributes, then should the time come when your dreams can happen, you are able to step through the door. If you haven’t prepared, then you will miss that chance. Whether that’s personal or professional.
Canada did eventually open a space programme years later and he had deliberately acquired the skills needed as a fast jet pilot, test pilot, multiple language skills and as a human being. He was an obvious candidate.
That didn’t mean that had he not made it, his life would have been a failure. He says that he always thought that the Astronaut post would be wonderful, but enjoyed his career knowing that it was a slim chance. Nonetheless he prepared for that chance.
This attitude can transfer so well to many things in life. Want to live in Spain even though you can’t see how right now? Well learning Spanish may be a good start. Want to become a pilot but can’t join the forces or afford to fly? Start thinking like one and find out the skills you may need. Start acquiring them.
This book will make you stop and think how you can be a better human being.
Name of the person reviewing – Neill Watson
Position at the Museum – Digital Media Producer
Overall star rating – five stars