An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

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I started this book knowing that I loved all of the Chris Hadfield quotes that I had found on the internet, and that my cousin had told me she found the book too technical for her to really enjoy it. Having just finished reading and watching the Astronaut Wives Club, I was actually kind of interested in seeing how space travel had changed, so the technical stuff didn’t bother me.

As it turns out, a few pages into the very first chapter, I was hooked. I don’t know if it is because me pursuing an acting career is highly unlikely as well, but when he explained his theory on wanting to be an astronaut, it gave me a lot of admiration, and inspiration. You see, he decided he wanted to be an astronaut when Canada didn’t have a space program, and NASA required that you be an American citizen to join. With those unlikely odds, instead of giving up or settling, Chris focused on taking all of the courses and doing all of the things he thought an astronaut would be doing. It was the guiding force in his life.

There are a million different ways for someone to get an acting career, but it helps put things in perspective if you base every decision on whether it is something that would bring you closer or farther from your goals.

Another passage that really got to me, is one where he advises that we sweat the small stuff, and shares a story in which every flight test was make it or break it, and a single bad day could set in motion the destruction of your entire career plan. I know that sometimes I go for an audition or send in a self-tape that doesn’t show me in the best light, and that is something I definitely should not be doing. Every single audition should be make it or break it for me, not just the ones with establsihed casting directors for union roles in theatrical release movies or network television shows. Every non-union project or student film deserves to be treated with the same preparation and excellence, because you never know who might be in the room, who might see your tape, or even who that student director may become. It really made me determined to never go into the room unprepared, or send in a self tape that I am not convinced would win me the room.

Every single chapter had tons of advice and insight, linked to a single simple saying, and surrounded by tales of becoming an astronaut and going to space. It was really interesting finding out what it is like living on the International Space Station, as well as everything that is involved in a launch or gettting there, but it is the life advice he offers that I will remember and try my best to put into practice. I would recommend the book to anyone interested in space, or who has some kind of goal in life 🙂

“That’s how I approach just about everything. I spend my life getting ready to play “Rocket Man.” I picture the most demanding challenge; I visualize what I would need to know how to do to meet it; then I practice until I reach a level of competence where I’m comfortable that I’ll be able to perform. It’s what I’ve always done, ever since I decided I wanted to be an astronaut in 1969, and that conscious, methodical approach to preparation is the main reason I got to Houston. I never stopped getting ready. Just in case.”

-Chris Hadfield

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