An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:

As Commander of the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield captivated the world with stunning photos and commentary from space. Now, in his first book, Chris offers readers extraordinary stories from his life as an astronaut, and shows how to make the impossible a reality.

Chris Hadfield decided to become an astronaut after watching the Apollo moon landing with his family on Stag Island, Ontario, when he was nine years old, and it was impossible for Canadians to be astronauts. In 2013, he served as Commander of the International Space Station orbiting the Earth during a five-month mission. Fulfilling this lifelong dream required intense focus, natural ability and a singular commitment to "thinking like an astronaut." In An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth , Chris gives us a rare insider's perspective on just what that kind of thinking involves, and how earthbound humans can use it to achieve success and happiness in their lives.
Astronaut training turns popular wisdom about how to be successful on its head. Instead of visualizing victory, astronauts prepare for the worst; always sweat the small stuff; and do care what others think. Chris shows how this unique education comes into play with dramatic anecdotes about going blind during a spacewalk, getting rid of a live snake while piloting a plane, and docking with space station Mir when laser tracking systems fail at the critical moment. Along the way, he shares exhilarating experiences, and challenges, from his 144 days on the ISS, and provides an unforgettable answer to his most-asked question: What's it really like in outer space?
Written with humour, humility and a profound optimism for the future of space exploration, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth offers readers not just the inspiring story of one man's journey to the ISS, but the opportunity to step into his space-boots and think like an astronaut--and renew their commitment to pursuing their own dreams, big or small.

Publisher: Toronto :, Random House Canada,, [2013]
Copyright Date: ©2013
ISBN: 9780345812704
Branch Call Number: 921 HAD
Characteristics: 295 pages : illustrations (chiefly colour) ; 24 cm


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Aug 13, 2020

Amazing book. One worry with autobiographies is that the author will have an amazing life story but will not know how to tell it in a way that resonates. Hadfield is not one of these authors. I found the beginning of the book a bit slow and preachy, but that feeling went away as the book progressed. The stories he tells showcase the payoff of hard work but also caution the reader towards balance and finding value wherever you are at this moment, a message especially important for those aiming for "dream jobs" like astronauts, but equally applicable to musicians, game developers, or rocket scientists. Really drove home the idea that luck favors the well-prepared.

CircMary Apr 08, 2020

Every life is full of openings to transformation; learning about his was a fantastic read. I was convinced he really was just an ordinary guy who through hard work and luck got to do some extraordinary things, which he was more than willing to capture in words and pictures for the rest of us.

Mar 30, 2020

One would think that the most interesting part of a book written by an astronaut would be stories from space, but I found the opposite to be true. While I found the insight into life as an astronaut very compelling, I greatly enjoyed when Hadfield spoke about his approach to living on Earth. It’s in these moments that I wondered how I could implement the author's unique approach to things such as negativity and fear into my life to help better myself as a person. Hadfield touches on how always assuming the worst possible outcome is going to happen helps make life a more delightful experience, something I hadn’t considered before reading. This book is deeply fascinating, and will live long into the future, because it allows you to analyze your mindset as a person who is looking to make the most out of your limited time on this rock that is hurtling through space. I would recommend this book to anyone who is searching for inspiration, or is simply looking to learn more about a Canadian hero. 5 stars
@OrangeAlligator of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield is my most recent read and I enjoyed being captivated by the memoir with every page I turned. The amount of hard work and education Chris has is out of this world! He’s a very admirable person that I believe young people (and especially Canadians) should look up to and respect. The book highlights different events throughout his career in becoming and retiring as an astronaut. In the novel, he speaks about his passion for spaceflight and how he stayed optimistic throughout the whole process of becoming an official astronaut. I would tell my peers to read the novel because it shows how much hard work could pay off in the future. It’s also a massive inspiration to Canadians because it shows the struggle of trying to make it in an American and Russian driven career. I would give the book 5/5 stars because I loved reading through the journey of Chris who had many obstacles in his pathway to becoming an astronaut. He made a very fascinating read that had a great perspective on the very competitive career path he’s so spirited towards.
@BookwormHS of the Hamilton Public Library's Teen Review Board

Jul 19, 2019

Wow where was this book all this time!
We should really make these people as idols and not some actors.
A great read to get perspective in life.

May 23, 2019

An amazing human being and an excellent read.

Apr 19, 2019

Just think of all the pollution this one man has created in his life. How many people 's lives have been shortened by his actions, and all for his own ego. Think of all the space junk circling the planet. No this is not someone to celebrate, this is not star trek, or star wars. This is our very life taken by greed and ego.

Dec 20, 2018

The book was fascinating to me – Hadfield is a hybrid pilot-engineer-scientist-lab rat. His expertise is in engineering and as a test pilot, but throughout the book, he references how his work is interdisciplinary, and he has to have a broad understanding of several domains in order to be effective. In addition to his role as an astronaut and Commander, he is also a fully fledged lab rat, and people on the ground will ask him questions about how he’s feeling, take samples while he’s in space and after he returns, as well as measure how quickly he recovers to live back on Earth in order to further our understanding of how life in space impacts the human body. Since, at some point, we hope to explore the stars, any data we can get on how astronauts respond to life in space is valuable.

One of my favorite parts of the book was how it didn’t just focus on the mundane, it relished them. He spends pages describing the drills he went through, and how important have a strong grasp of the fundamentals was for his success. I found this refreshing – too often in science we glorify the achievements but ignore all the hard work that got them there. A breakthrough in the lab might take months or even years of work before things go right, and having some acknowledge that, not only do things not work (often), them not working is not the end of the world. This was a refreshing take on the scientific method and really highlighted the value in “the grind” of slowly perfecting your skills.

It was a pleasure to listen to the audiobook of An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield. It was written in very engaging language. This is the biography of Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield in which the importance of training and preparation is stressed, showing how even the slightest mistake in space can be fatal and how “it is a rocket science” to be an astronaut. This was a true account of leadership. I really enjoyed listening to Chris Hadfield’s story. I had no idea how much preparation it takes to embark on the trip to space and how much impact Chris’s professional life had on his family. (Submitted by Ilona).

Jun 14, 2018

Although I appreciated the positive messages Hadfield shares in his book, I found it a bit repetitive.

Mar 04, 2018

How do you return an E-Book

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at RPL

To Top