An Astronaut’s Guide to Life

I’ve been meaning to add notes to my blog about this book for too long. I loved it. Here’s what I took away:

Chapters 1 and 2

    Be ready work hard and enjoy it.
    Getting to space is a bonus.

His worldview allowed him to love all the prep without the guarantee of getting his prize.

    Look at the person you want to be.
    What do you admire about them.
    What can you do to make yourself more like that person?
    Lasting change happens in tiny increments every day.
    Aim to move the needle just a little bit today.

Chapter 3 was about dealing with fear

Acquire knowledge experience competence through practice:

  • Simulations are run constantly <- game days
  • What could possibly go wrong

Avoid emotional, flight response (this is trained out of astronauts)

If a fire starts on the space station they don’t reach for fire extinguisher -> they start descending a complex decision tree that was developed on the ground (they also have a test lab – the pool – where they can work through novel situations in an environment as close to space as they can get here)

Frameworks for responding to the unexpected in space:

  • Ooda: Observe orient decide act
  • NASA: warn gather work Warn == some sort of alert is sounded Gather == everybody gets together to respond to event Work == work the problem

Simulations identify gaps in our knowledge. They give confidence to actors that they have thought through many scenarios and prepared, and help to put the mind at ease.

Chapter 7 On Family

This is so true …

    Family vs career
    Risk is family could be left behind while you're reaching for goals
    Must always be aware of this
    Plan to be present even when you aren't
    Family is a partnership. Other side should be respected or they can be taken for granted.
    Is this thing you want to do really needed for goals or just what you want to do?

On being a new member of a team

    Aim to be zero
    Entering a new situation try to be neutral , observe, learn from people already where you want to be
    Aim for a tiny beneficial contribution
    -1, 0, +1
    Minus- actively make collective experience worse
    0- no big problem or benefit... Stability
    Plus- big benefit

    Plus maybe comes later when you've been doing good reliable work with team

How to prepare for what you don’t know

    Plans vs preparing for unknown
    Plan a,b,c,...
    What would we do if... ? type questions
    Dream up scenarios that are unlikely but not impossible
    Give yourself tools to respond to unforeseen
    Confidence building maybe
    Try to imagine what it will be like to operate in new environments
    Game days ?