"An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth" by Chris Hadfield

On December 19, 2012, Canadian Chris Hadfield set off in a Soyuz capsule heading toward the International Space Station where he would serve as Commander, the final act of a lifelong dream that started when he was just nine years old.  It was at that age that he watched the Apollo moon landing from the small town of Stag Island, Ontario and decided that one day he would be an astronaut.  He wasn’t going to let the fact that at the time it was impossible for Canadians stand in his way.

Chris devoted his life to fulfilling that goal.  Even though it wasn’t possible to become an astronaut, he dedicated himself to training as a test pilot with both the Canadian and American militaries while waiting for it to become possible.  When the Canadian Space Agency began selecting astronauts he was ready and able.  And while serving many different roles with the CSA and NASA, he achieved his dream, logging almost 4000 hours in space.

In An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything, Chris Hadfield shares not only his journey from nine-year-old boy to Commander of the International Space Station, but also the lessons he’s learned along the way.  It turns out that going to space can teach you a lot about life down here on earth.

Like hundreds of thousands of people, I followed along with Commander Hadfield while he was on the ISS through Twitter, marvelling at the breath-taking photos he was sending back of our planet.  My daughter couldn’t stop talking about him after she and her school participated in Music Monday with him, everyone singing the same song on earth and in space.  As Canadians we were proud that he was the first Canadian to command the ISS.  For the past year, everyone has been talking about Chris Hadfield.

It is amazing to read this book and find out just how much work he put into achieving his dream.  If you ever want to inspire someone to work hard to reach their goals, this is the book to give them.  The book starts with Chris telling the story of he became an astronaut, starting from the day he watched the moon landing.  Then he spends time sharing the lessons he has learned along the way and how you can best apply them to life (lessons such as not sweating the small stuff and staying humble.)  The third portion of the book is about his time on the ISS, letting you in on the secrets of how things work in space.  If you’ve ever seen any of his videos from his time there, you’ll love learning more.

Part memoir, part self-help, this is an interesting book for all readers.  Whether you have a lot of interest in space or very little, there is something here for everyone to learn.  I enjoyed how it wasn't just a memoir but how the book taught lessons through the examples of his life. 

Through the use of social media Chris Hadfield brought little pieces of space down to us and now he is giving us a big look into life in no gravity.  This book is for anyone who has ever gazed up at the sky and wondered what it was like up there.  

I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher.  The opinions expressed above are my own.


  1. I've been keeping an eye on this one and I definitely want to read it (I do have a lot of interest in space but not just because of that). Great review!

  2. Hadfield is such an inspirational guy. Every time i hear him speak on radio I can't get over how smart and cool he is. Can't wait to read this one.

  3. I so agree! What a wonderful book. Hadfield really has integrity and it shines in this book.


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