What a wonderful book this is. It’s the story, written in his own words, of the astronaut Chris Hadfield, who you probably remember sang, somewhat poignantly in retrospect, ‘Space Oddity’ whilst he was on the International Space Station.
This is not a personal development book and yet it is one of the most inspiring books on personal development I have read.
Chapters with titles such ‘Have an Attitude’, ‘Sweat the Small Stuff’, ‘The Power of Negative Thinking’, ‘What’s the Next Thing That Could Kill Me’ are deliberately designed to mislead the reader, for instance the one on negative thinking is actually about preparing for the worst in order to survive for the best. Very few, if any of us, will experience the life and death decisions that astronauts potentially face but we do need to have plans that protects us from those unforeseen – or even, sometimes – foreseen events that can threaten our career or business, our family life and our happiness.
Chris Hadfield writes with the wondrous awe of a child in a huge toy box and combines this with the down-to-earth pragmatism of someone who is certain of his goals and always has a meticulously planned approach to achieving them. The pragmatism is vital in an arena where many of the decisions about his future do not rest with him but he is aware that ‘luck is where opportunity and preparedness meet’ and he plans to put himself in a position that will maximise his chances of succeeding.
He has the vision and stature combined with a genuine sense of humility that almost all great leaders possess. He is quite prepared to undertake the most mundane of tasks to help his colleagues, knowing that doing so will help to ensure his safety and wellbeing as well as those with whom he works.
This book is about leadership, goal setting, family relationships, understanding what motivates others, self-image and a great deal more – but I almost every case, what makes it more potent, is that it seems not to be written with this explicitly in mind.
A marvellous book and thanks to my wife for buying such a great Christmas gift for me.