*** An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything starts with the author’s watching the first landing on the moon on a black-and-white TV, and deciding that he would become an astronaut, as many of us did on that July day in 1969. But, unlike the rest of us, he did become an astronaut and went to space three times, if not to the moon. The book tells his adventures, including the long and uncertain road to becoming an astronaut (and since he was born in Canada, extra effort and luck was required).

The weakest part of the book is the subtitle, since applying lessons learnt from space is not always the best way to live in real life. Over-preparing may be just the ticket to the space station, but it can quickly turn to craziness in real life, as the author humbly admits that his children remind him…  Still, the anecdotes he tells are funny and told without ego, whether they involve cutting one’s nails in the space station or a crying jag during a space walk (it turns out that it’s not a fantastic idea to be blind while outside the station!) and he maintains the wonder of his nine-year old self about being in space.

Hadfield became famous because of his YouTube videos taped from space, and that’s the puzzle of the story. How could an over-prepared organization like NASA miss out on the PR opportunity and be preempted by Hadfield’s son who uploaded his dad’s first video without much planning and certainly without administrative approval? And yet, putting a very human face on the space program has been a fantastic PR success.


Leave a comment

Filed under Non fiction

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s