22 June 2014

Book Review: An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth

Category: Reviews — Posted by Michael at 1755

I never typically write reviews for Amazon purchases, but Chris Hadfield’s book warrants special attention.

This book is fascinating on several different levels. First it provides a biographical look at Chris Hadfield’s life. He explains his childhood and everything that led up to his becoming an astronaut. It’s a great story of someone who knew what they wanted their entire life and worked exceptionally hard to achieve it.

As Hadfield tells his own story he uses his own experiences to give some really good advice on how anyone can think like an astronaut in their own life as a means to achieving their goals and focusing themselves on being prepared for whatever life throws at them. This is certainly not a self-help book but it leaves the reader with a lot to think about regarding how they handle events big and small in their own life.

The third angle to this book is the inside look at the space program. Hadfield provides a firsthand account of what it takes to become and astronaut plus a detailed description of what it’s like to be an astronaut when you aren’t riding a rocket into outer space. People generally don’t think about the training and everyday work done by astronauts in the he months or years between going into space but this book paints a great picture of it.

Of course, it also describes in great detail the exciting part of being an astronaut, launching into space and living in space (Hadfield was the commander of the International Space Station). From the most mundane tasks that become complicated while living on orbit to performing space walks, he describes experiences that most people will never experience for themselves.

Regardless of which of the above facets of this book interests you the most, it will keep and hold your attention. Chris Hadfield comes across as a totally honest and genuine author and if you’ve ever seen the cover of “Space Oddity” that he performed aboard the ISS, then you that’s probably an accurate depiction.

29 May 2014

Reading Rainbow’s Amazing Resurgence

Category: Interesting Links — Posted by Michael at 2050

I’ve never used or even looked at Kickstarter before but last night I signed up and made a donation to a great project. If you were a kid anytime in the 80’s or 90’s, chances are you grew up watching Reading Rainbow with LeVar Burton. (If you’re my age you probably also moved on to watching him as Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation and therefore greatly appreciate the cameo by Brent Spiner at the end of the Kickstarter video.)

LeVar carried Reading Rainbow into the digital age by turning it into an iPad app. Now he’s looking to take it to the web and bring it into schools. He’s funding it the same way the show was funded on PBS… “by viewers like you.”

He was seeking a million dollars over a period of 35 days. The goal was exceeded in the first day and more than doubled by the second day (today)! This is a testament to how many lives have been touched by Reading Rainbow.

Even though the goal was already exceeded by the time I donated, I’m proud to be a small part of bringing this great show and it’s mission of encouraging a passion for reading in a new generation of kids.

If you wish to donate too, just click this link or watch the video below for more info.

01 July 2012

My Cousin Theresa’s Book

Category: Interesting Links,Life — Posted by Michael at 1831

A Long Way From RunnemedeAlmost everyone’s career has some interesting moments, but how many people can say that their career has had enough interesting moments to fill a book, nonetheless a book that people would actually want to read?  My cousin (first  cousin, twice removed on my maternal grandmother’s side for you genealogy buffs out there), Theresa, can say exactly that. She spent her career as a member of the US Foreign Service. She was in Saigon, Vietnam during the Tet Offensive and again at fall of Vietnam. She was Consul in Cebu, the Philippines, chargé d’affaires in Laos, Ambassador to Guyana (appointed by Ronald Reagan) and Ambassador to Brunei (appointed by Bill Clinton) among many other fascinating positions and places.

I strongly encourage you to take a look at her newly published book, A Long Way from Runnemede: One Woman’s Foreign Service Journey. I’ve known Theresa forever and have always loved hearing her stories but reading them all in one place made this a book even I couldn’t put down. Besides, the fact that the cover features a picture of her standing in the Oval Office with Ronald Reagan has got to tell you the book is going to be interesting!

Check it out on Amazon.

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