An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything by Col. Chris Hadfield
For some reason I wanted to dislike this book. Probably because I never liked science too much, and I sometimes wonder if we spend too much money on the space program. However, I found myself enjoying the book.
Hadfield is an astronaut who decided at age 9 while living on a farm in Canada that he wanted to be an astronaut... and he made it against great odds. This book is the story of his journey to becoming what he wanted to be, decisions he made to improve his odds, and the fun he had in his career over the years. He ended up going on three space flights and got to do a space walk at least once.
Some of the day-to-day stories were quite fascinating: all the work that astronauts immerse themselves in, even if they never make it into space.. they are constantly studying and preparing to do so, or preparing to be a vital support system to those who do go. Then he also talks about the daily "grind" of being in space: how to brush your teeth in space, how zero gravity affects everything -- for example, one's sinuses won't drain, so it's like constantly having a cold, and the taste of food is lost. Also interesting was how re-entry into gravity feels, both in the first few moments and in the weeks following.
I found it all quite interesting, and most of all I admired Hadfield's attitude toward life, work, relationships: work hard but don't be a show-off, accept the bumps and lumps as part of the normal journey through life, enjoy the ups, learn from the downs, be humble, and remember that no one gets where they're going without the immense support of hundreds of others who came before or who work behind the scenes.
I'm glad I found this book and enjoyed it, despite myself.