There’s thousands of “how to be successful” books out there. Businessmen, parents, professors, bloggers–it seems anyone and everyone has something to say about getting ahead in life. Often these books contain common sense ideas, at best a few good nuggets of wisdom, but nothing absolutely life-changing. Honestly, I usually try to steer clear of this sort of thing.
But when I saw astronaut Chris Hadfield’s book, I had to pick it up. I mean, who better to offer a fresh take on being successful on Earth than someone who’s actually seen the planet from above?
Hadfield gained fame quickly; not only did he spend a considerable amount of time on the International Space Station (ISS), but, because of a desire to inspire kids and adults, regularly uploaded videos to YouTube chronicling his adventures. He even sang Space Oddity by David Bowie, complete with floating guitar and views of the Earth’s distant atmosphere. So I was pretty excited when I heard he had a book out.
This book is not primarily a space book. It’s not strictly “how to be successful,” either. Hadfield simply gives insight into what made his dreams come true. The story is pretty straight forward (he prepared for an astronaut’s life despite the minuscule chance of this becoming a reality; he learned how to be open with coworkers and management about his own weak spots; he committed to going the extra mile), but even these average lessons are magnified tenfold when put in the context of space travel. Teamwork makes the difference between a successful mission and a waste of millions of dollars; being unprepared can put someone’s life at risk.
Of course, Hadfield has much more to tell. He shares what it’s like to play in zero gravity, making water conform mid-air; he digresses into the inexplicable beauty of seeing Earth–our home–from a distance.
“I wasn’t lonely. Loneliness, I think, has very little to do with location. It’s a state of mind. In the centre of every city are some of the loneliest people in the world. If anything, because our whole planet was just outside the window, I felt even more aware of and connected to the seven billion other people who call it home.”
There’s a lot of groups that would benefit from this book. If you’re a space junkie, absolutely pick it up. If you’re looking for ideas on how to better thrive with coworkers, you’ll find some great advice here (just imagine being trapped on the ISS for months with people you have to get along with). If you have a dream–even if it’s out of this world (yes, pun intended)–Hadfield has a way of making it all seem achievable.
Thanks for reading! -Autumn
An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth is available in hardback or as an eBook. Be sure to check our digital collection for digital availability (available for your smartphone or tablet).