An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything
Narrated by: Chris Hadfield
Length: 8 hrs and 45 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (3,732 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Colonel Chris Hadfield has spent decades training as an astronaut and has logged nearly 4000 hours in space. During this time he has broken into a space station with a Swiss army knife, disposed of a live snake while piloting a plane, and been temporarily blinded while clinging to the exterior of an orbiting spacecraft. The secret to Col. Hadfield's success - and survival - is an unconventional philosophy he learned at NASA: prepare for the worst and enjoy every moment of it.

In An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth Col. Hadfield takes listeners deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories filled with the adrenaline of launch; the mesmerizing wonder of spacewalks; and the measured, calm responses mandated by crises, he explains how conventional wisdom can get in the way of achievement - and happiness. His own extraordinary education in space has taught him some counterintuitive lessons: don't visualize success, do care what others think, and always sweat the small stuff.

You might never be able to build a robot, pilot a spacecraft, make a music video or perform basic surgery in zero gravity like Col. Hadfield. But his vivid and refreshing insights will teach you how to think like an astronaut, and will change, completely, the way you view life on Earth - especially your own.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2013 Chris Hadfield (P)2013 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Listeners, don't miss this one.... The 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 are 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 Magazine)

Featured Article: Space Oddities—The Surprising Lives of Astronauts


Of the more than seven billion people on this planet—plus those who have come before us—it’s a small group who can say they have left Earth and come back to tell the tale. The rest of us must content ourselves to hear stories from those who went out into the final frontier or learn from those who study it. Audiobooks are a revelation for space nerds at every level of engagement or interest. They make us feel connected to the great void and the stars beyond.

What listeners say about An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

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Chris Hadfield Is The Real Thing!

At first, I thought Chris Hadfield was too good to be true. Too perfect, maybe a goody-two-shoes, a Pollyanna? I soon changed my tune. He's the real thing and he has written and narrated the most amazing book. Is there anything this man cannot do? He shows that if you put your mind to it and have well-defined goals, perhaps anything is possible.

What did I like the best about this book? I loved the life lessons, the how-tos on survival and achieving goals. They apply to just about everyone in any situation, and I can't wait to be putting them into practice. No more mindless and self-destructive worrying for me. He shows that there is another way.

Another favorite section for me was the in-depth description on the space trip he commanded, particularly the re-entry part. I felt like I experienced it along with him. If not, I probably got as close as I could get as an armchair listener.

And the minus one, zero, and plus one philosophy. Such a great way at looking at who you want to be, could be life changing!

This book, however, is not just about Chris Hadfield. It is about the detailed workings of NASA, what it is all about, how it operates. I was so surprised, very pleasantly surprised. It is not something the average person thinks about. All I ever imagined was launchings and recoveries. There is so much more. And there is much to be learned about the Russian space program in this book. ALL fascinating!

This is another of those audiobooks that sat far too long in my Library. That seems to be the true test for me. If it sits too long in the Library or on my player, it just has to be the best of listens! And this was. Heartily recommended. If you are in a listening slump (bad picks and more bad picks), get this book and enjoy! And if you aren't in a slump, get this book, too.

46 people found this helpful

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Excellent story and terrific narration

I never expected to enjoy a book about space travel so much, but Chris made it so exciting. If I weren't a grandma, think I would consider a space career!

16 people found this helpful

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Enjoyable and interesting

This essentially is an autobiography of Chris Hadfield's pursuit of and becoming an astronaut. But it's a fun listen and very interesting. Along the way, you learn about Chris Hadfield, his wife and children. But you also learn about what it takes to become an astronaut and a little about what life is like as an astronaut. The author comes across as a very accessible and down-to-earth (no pun intended) guy. If you didn't know he was an astronaut and you met him on the street, he would probably seem like a great guy to hang out with . . . playing guitar, watching hockey (he's from Canada), etc. He emphasizes a lot of great qualities - such as the importance of preparation, humility, and being a team player. I could probably listen to this a second time and not have any loss in enjoyment hearing it. I strongly recommend it.

7 people found this helpful

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Excellent memoir

Chris Hatfield is the boss! Well written, well narrated and interesting. If you are interested in space, NASA, ISS or fantastic true stores of guts and determination then spend your credit here.

22 people found this helpful

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Very humbling and awesome!

This is one of the best memoirs and life guidance book I’ve ever read. I recommend this book to whomever loves to challenge themselves and to find that their significance to life is to make humanity great.

4 people found this helpful

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Incredible perspective enhancing story

This is absolutely the best me right now. I feel many of the struggles and triumphs of this amazing story. This book makes me want to be better. Also my middle schoolers where solidly glued to it!

3 people found this helpful

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Totally engaging

I felt like a little kid. What a life adventure. My first audiobook. Worth it

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Bought this three times, worth every penny

Would you listen to An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth again? Why?

Yes. And I will probably re-read in print as well.

What was one of the most memorable moments of An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth?

Everything! But I especially loved the parts on preparedness - sweating the small stuff, and putting your ego aside to be a part of the team. And all the great anecdotes about being in space. Nothing's ever made me want to go to space like this before.

Which character – as performed by Chris Hadfield – was your favorite?

Always great to hear an audiobook read by the author. Especially when you've followed him on youtube!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, very hard to 'put down.'

Any additional comments?

I was only a few chapters into this when I knew it was a keeper. It's way more than a memoir, it's really good advice on how to conduct yourself in life. I bought a hard copy for my boss, and another copy for a friend.

7 people found this helpful

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Absolutely Breathtaking!

If you could sum up An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth in three words, what would they be?

Absolutely breathtaking!

What did you like best about this story?

I especially loved the way Chris not only tells his stories but what each of his thoughts and actions meant towards him and the rest of his crew.

Which character – as performed by Chris Hadfield – was your favorite?

Definitely Chris Hadfield himself!

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Remember, Hero to Zero! This moment brought me to realize what matters in tough situations. Don't get caught up in yourself and your own problems, think about those that surround you.

Any additional comments?

I wish I knew what the ending song title was... very beautiful!

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Parts were interesting

This book was ok. Parts were interesting but I felt like it was a book giving life lessons and (do’s and don’ts) for living ones life. I was bored with parts and couldn’t wait for it to finish. It seemed (to me) more like it was a father giving life lessons to the child and being talked down to during some parts of the book. Wasn’t a fan

2 people found this helpful