Book Review – An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

I can’t recall many astronauts being entwined within popular culture. Yuri Gagarin obviously was the first but he sadly died seven years later; Neil Armstrong is probably the most famous but he shied away from the media frenzy and Buzz Aldrin gave his name to Buzz Lightyear and appeared on The SimpsonsFuturama,Transformers and Mass Effect 3 so possibly he gave it a friendly hug rather than fully embracing it.

Chris has (whether intentionally or not) created perhaps the best self-help book ever.  By opening up his life to the world, he promotes positivity throughout the (just under) 300 pages that you cannot help but admire.  As a 9 year old boy Chris decided he wanted to be an astronaut and so everything that he studied/read/completed from that point was directed towards the day when Canada would seek astronauts; he was extremely driven.  He sought and thanked anyone that would part with information or knowledge to help him achieve his goal, he had no worries about getting his hands dirty too as no job was to small or below him and he strived to reach higher, though remembering what is important i.e. family, friends & colleagues.  His love for his wife Helene and his children is clear, I believe also that it if wasn’t for his wife Chris possibly would still be a test pilot as she helped push him that little bit further by reminding him of what he wanted, and keeping his head pointing forward when moments seemed bleak.

You can easily see that within these pages is the strong feeling that Chris deplores negativity. Even the smallest of jokes that take a bite out of somebodies character, he won’t crack them. To Chris I believe he sees the spiritual figure of what not only an astronaut, but a human being should be is one that deserves respect and at the same time gives it to others.  Now as a cynical person like myself I shouldn’t be a fan of Cmdr. Chris Hadfield, as people like him generally make me teeth itch as I try to see what skeletons they are hiding behind that smile; here though I have nothing but respect and admiration for this man. I honestly feel that if every person on this planet was a clone of Chris Hadfield we’d be known as, “The Most Driven Planet in the Galaxy” as we arrive at alien worlds, become good friends with said aliens, fix their toilet and build them a hyper drive; they’d probably also question, “Why do they always smile?”

 

Chris has me shown me how humble a person can be and how they can achieve so much at the same time, though you can only achieve if you put the work in (even if you don’t get to play Rocket Man with Elton John).

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