CFN – An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth is one of the finest non-fiction books that I have ever read. At first I thought it was just going to be a chronicle of the author’s trip to space and back but it is much more than that. In the book Chris Hadfield not only relates his own life long career path to being the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station but details what it takes to be an astronaut from any nation.
Chris tells the reader what characteristics are needed to succeed in the space program and uses real life astronauts and situations as examples. He outlines the rigid training requirements and personal commitments that are required but also reveals his thoughts about the sacrifices that he made in his personal life to achieve his goal. From his childhood to his return from the space station Chris knew that each step along the way he might not be selected to move closer to his goal but he also knew that he would have to accept the obstacles that he faced with grace and have the mental fortitude to shift gears and plan another path or career. Fortunately he never had to.
He relates an abundance of technical details about training and the space station itself but infuses it all with real life concerns and anecdotes of situations that he had encountered, some of them laugh out loud funny. His concerns about not wanting to soil the diaper all the astronauts had to wear during blast off and his pride of not throwing up in a cab in Moscow after a Russian Barbecue/drink party made me drop the book from laughing so hard. The story is related so well that I could actually picture the situations.
Whether it’s describing the beauty of Earth as seen from the space station or talking about his personal philosophy of life, Chris Hadfield had penned a book that is both informative and entertaining. After finishing the story I was both amazed at the dedication that he and all the other astronauts have towards the exploration of space and entertained by the human reaction to the vicissitudes of the job.
An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth is definitely worth reading just for the story if not to make you feel proud to be a Canadian.