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An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

Written by: Chris Hadfield
Narrated by: Chris Hadfield
Length: 8 hrs and 45 mins
5 out of 5 stars (515 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

As Commander of the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield captivated the world with stunning photos and commentary from space. Now, reading from his first book, Chris takes listeners deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible.

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? 

With humour, humility and a profound optimism for the future of space exploration, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth offers listeners 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. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2013 Chris Hadfield (P)2013 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"[T]he real treat is Hadfield's presentation. His familiar and natural demeanor draws the listener in from the opening lines. All the joy and wonder he feels about space travel and life is conveyed through a masterful use of pace and tone, while flawless transitions lead to an equally effective delivery of the reflective passages. This appealing audiobook certainly allows Hadfield to add 'narrator' to his impressive list of accomplishments." (AudioFile)

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Lessons from Space 100% applicable on Earth

Just as the title states, this is a guide for life on Earth. Chris Hadfield is an extraordinary person - my favourite fellow Canadian too - and he describes what it really means to have a dream and work for it, but most important, how to be resilient and bounce back from failed trials. His journey is inspiring and his motto of "always be ready" is a guideline for all of us, especially to teach our kids. It is a must read and a book to read again over time to remind us that with hard work, determination and preparation, we can achieve what we want and dream of. #Audible1

4 people found this helpful

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Be a Zero. Get Five Stars!

This book was excellent. I was inspired to learn more about science, space, and our planet. I was equally inspired by the philosophy sprinkled throughout.

Excellent book from an amazing Canadian hero.

2 people found this helpful

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Was this recorded on the ISS?

Fun and intriguing story but the audio is a bit off putting. It’s echo-y and sounds a bit like it was recorded in a tin can.

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Thanks Chris Hadfield

Your life journey has changed my own thinking in life for the better of course.
This is the first book I have purchased in a long time very good read/listen!
Thank you

2 people found this helpful

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  • cam
  • 2020-06-02

Impossible not to love Chris! :)

Great great book! Enjoyed everything!
Love the fact that's it's him reading the book too!

1 person found this helpful

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Less about earth and more about space

I really enjoy Chris Hadfield’s recounts of becoming an astronaut and what it is like to be one. But I chose this audiobook because I thought it would be more about lessons he’s learned and how we can apply those to everyday life. It references very little about that so for this reason I was not so enthralled with his book if you want to learn about space exploration and becoming an astronaut this is the book for you.

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Great Read

This is an inspirational book, by an inspirational author sharing his unique life experiences. This book helps instill the importance of humility and hardwork, no matter who you are, what you are doing, and wherever you are, especially if you're in space!

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great to pickup and listen at any time.

very easy to listen to and his narrative and stories kept me on my seat wanting more.

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Chris Hadfield has done us all a great service

Everyone that is going through adversity on the path to reaching a goal will receive huge value from Chris Hadfields's story and journey. This audiobook is even better because it is his voice that brings it to life.

It maybe meant more to me being a Sarnia native, being the same age as Chris. Both my parents were raised in Corunna and as a kid, my dad would drive our Model T down to the dock at Stag Island.. Heck our local airport is even named the Chris Hadfield airport (and rightly so I might add). I believe people from all walks of life, ages, both sexes, all races will relate and find lessons they can apply to their life.

This audiobook made me laugh and even in a few spots shed a tear. Chris is a master storyteller, uses interesting analogies to make his points and bring the message to life. He takes the lessons he learned in a lifetime of high performance and in a highly regulated environment right to our own lives, especially if you are working to accomplish something of value with your life. (and aren't we all?)

Chris uses humor, humility and teaches what it is to live a life of honour.
He shows the importance of a strong family unit, gives real examples on being a good dad and husband, of keeping the end in mind, sweating the small stuff, how to transition in stages of life or in a career.

I have purchased multiple hard copies of this book and given them away.

Thank you Colonel Hadfield for telling us your story and your families story. Of adding value to me and my family and hopefully millions of others. You went above and beyond the call of duty. You are a great Canadian and a human being.

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The Title Says It All

I loved every second of this book. It combines insider information about flight, becoming an astronaut, and space travel and its effects with life lessons. Hadfield is honest about his triumphs and his mistakes.

I worried that his reading would be stiff, but not only did he do an excellent job overall, but he is so natural and even chuckles in a few places as if he were sitting talking to you telling you this story for the very first time.

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  • Jay
  • 2014-02-27

Good, but not without flaws.

The writing is a bit choppy. It definitely might have benefited from better editing. Perhaps a rushed release?

I appreciate his outlook on life. He's a highly impressive individual with a very long laundry list of accomplishments and qualifications. Even though I get the feeling that he's a genuinely humble person, the writing style gives a certain aura of self-indulgence. I'm sure this wasn't desired or intentional, but perhaps better editing may have been able to correct a lot of these issues.

Some of the stories are very inspiring and motivational. Others are quite obviously filler.

The narration isn't terrible, but again, a bit choppy. He is able to inject a ton of personality and enthusiasm into the reading, but it also lacks a professional polish.

The inside look at how NASA operates was extremely interesting though. I really enjoyed that.

Overall, it was good! 4 stars. Or perhaps 3.5. It was a good listen!

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  • Luke
  • 2013-11-30

Fascinating book by a fascinating man

Read by the man himself, this audiobook takes what is a slightly choppy book and makes it into a personal series of stories told directly to you.

I may be slightly starstruck by this, and it may be affecting my judgment but I really enjoyed this tale of space and humanity. The book version is very much written in the style of speech, that is to say it writes like you would speak, not as a formal writer. It is a stylistic choice that grammarians decry, but coupled with this audiobook it works beautifully.

The recording begins slightly choppy, as if there were a few stumbles before Mr Hadfield got into the rhythm of recording this book. As I read along, I noticed a few times words or the order of sentences did not match up to the printed version, so I assume he used one of the final proofs or these small issues were deemed not worthy of editing the tape, which I understand. The room or mike seems to have an airy feeling to it, like there was a hollow space around the mike, but again, that's a little problem.

The story is not linear but follows the theme of the book, that of learning to learn or to be a better and more useful person.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-02-24

SO AMAZING!!!

This is a great book. I love how Chris Hadfield reads it, and it is in 1st person so it just sounds like he is telling you a story! He is such an amazing narrator and author. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves space!

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  • Melissa Rose
  • 2019-10-08

An incredible book from a Canadian legend

Ugh, I am truly struggling to write a review for this because I simply loved it too much. I have written and rewritten my thoughts at least half a dozen times. So, please bear with me while I try to articulate my exact feelings.

First off, as I've already stated, I love this book! I'm always amazed at how the wisdom Chris has learned is applicable to my life. In fact, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth has become one of my ‘go-to’ reads when my anxiety has got me in a funk; it always seems to pick me up and help me focus my perspective once again.

What I really loved about this memoir (other than the parts about life in space) was that Hadfield focused a lot on the steps he took in order to be able to go to space; continuing on a theme of ‘always being prepared just in case.’

Furthermore, what added to the audio experience was that it was narrated entirely by Hadfield, himself, which was incredible. I find his voice calming to listen to, and it was marvellous to be able to hear his story in his own voice.

Overall, I truly hope that I was able to do An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth justice; I fear that it may not be my best review. However, I am and will always continue to be inspired by Chris Hadfield, and I highly recommend this book to other space junkies like myself.

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  • Melissa
  • 2019-10-04

An Incredible Book From A Canadian Legend

Ugh, I am truly struggling to write a review for this because I simply loved it too much. I have written and rewritten my thoughts at least half a dozen times. So, please bear with me while I try to articulate my exact feelings.

First off, as I've already stated, I love this book! I'm always amazed at how the wisdom Chris has learned is applicable to my life. In fact, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth has become one of my ‘go-to’ reads when my anxiety has got me in a funk; it always seems to pick me up and help me focus my perspective once again.

What I really loved about this memoir (other than the parts about life in space) was that Hadfield focused a lot on the steps he took in order to be able to go to space; continuing on a theme of ‘always being prepared just in case.’

Furthermore, what added to the audio experience was that it was narrated entirely by Hadfield, himself, which was incredible. I find his voice calming to listen to, and it was marvellous to be able to hear his story in his own voice.

Overall, I truly hope that I was able to do An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth justice; I fear that it may not be my best review. However, I am and will always continue to be inspired by Chris Hadfield, and I highly recommend this book to other space junkies like myself.

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  • Darren Stamos
  • 2019-05-31

Col. Chris Hadfield Nailed it

I loved this book, the intelligence, the ingenuity, the values, accomplishments coupled with Col. Hadfield's humor and humility really made this book a treat. Hard-won wisdom is a rare commodity, and this book is brimming with it. Thank you Chris!

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  • Kris
  • 2018-10-31

Fantastically narrated, emotional journey

Chris provides an insightful look into the space industry and shares a great deal about his personal journey. loved the book, Chris thanks for everything.

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  • SLANG7940
  • 2018-02-27

A truly excellent read

As a Canadian, I take great pride in being able to recomend such a great book by an even greater person. I can say from my own experience that If you ever get the chance to read this book or meet him in person you will not be disappointed. I am even more proud to recommend this book to anyone as it from a person whom I personally look up to as well as the fact that it comes from someone who grew up in the same home town as I did.

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  • Andre Prevost
  • 2017-09-22

Humbling and Inspiring

I love Chris Hadfield. I’ve even met Chris Hadfield. And now, having Chris Hadfield read to me, is just the icing on the cake! Chris has a wonderfully inspiring sorry to share and as a Canadian, it’s great to hear how accomplished he feels. I felt pride in this book when he mentions Canadian firsts, I felt inspired when he shared a personal achievement for us but mostly I felt humbled by his reminder to all the sometimes, the people in the background are more of a hero than the protagonists we believe to be.

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  • Victor
  • 2017-07-30

Excellent mix of space and life advice

He speaks of almost all aspects of the life of an astronaut on earth and in space. Excellent read for someone who is curious about the ins and outs of space travel!

Additionally, almost all stories are accompanied by what he learnt about himself and how to better perceive the world to make life the best it can be were very interesting!