Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Fasten Your Seat Belts!

We read a very interesting book this past month - An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield.

Chris Austin Hadfield is a retired astronaut who was the first Canadian to walk in space. As Canadians, we came away from reading this book more informed about what it takes to become an astronaut and understanding what space travel is all about, along with feelings of pride in our home-grown hero.  But as a book club we found this book a difficult read.  Overall, it was dry, textbook-like and, to be quite honest, we were all hoping for something... more?

Most of us felt that the author gave a good accounting of his experiences, but there were way too many facts and not enough emotion.  While Chris tries to share his 'advice' throughout the book (such as, it is best to be a team player, strive to be a zero, sweat the little stuff before it becomes big stuff), it sometimes felt as though he was preachy and a bit self-applauding.

One thing we all found interesting was his idea of aiming to be a zero.  This is his rating system:
 -1:  Someone who is actively harmful; someone who creates problems.
  0:  A person whose impact is neutral and doesn't tip the balance one way or another.
+1:  Someone who actively adds value.

He explains:  "Everyone wants to be a +1, of course.  But proclaiming your plus-one-ness at the outset almost guarantees you'll be perceived as a minus one regardless of the skills you bring to the table and how you actually perform."   Hmmm... some good food for thought.

I think this was our least favourite book since our book club began, with a rating of only 5.9 out of 10.  I would not discourage anyone from reading his book, but I believe it would appeal to a more scientific mind.

With all of that being said, our lovely hostess, Linda R., was as gracious as ever and we enjoyed another evening of lively conversation and delicious food and wine! 

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