Spaceman

We have this idea in America of the self-made man. We love to celebrate individual achievement. We have these icons like Steve Jobs and Henry Ford and Benjamin Franklin, and we talk about how amazing it is that they did these great things and built themselves up out of nothing. I think the self-made man is a myth. I’ve never believed in it. I can honestly say that I’ve never achieved anything on my own. Whether it was my parents encouraging me to follow my dreams, or mentors like Jim McDonald who saw something in me, or classmates like Greg Chamitoff who challenged, me to do better, I owe everything I’ve ever accomplished to the people around me- people who pushed me to be the best version of myself.

I will be honest, I was not thrilled at getting this book as a review selection. I was down to two choices, this one and a business book and decided a space biography was the lesser of two borings. Man, I was wrong. I loved this book. I want Mike Massimono to be my dad. He’s pretty much one of the coolest people you’ve never heard of.

Spaceman covers Massimono’s journey of becoming an astronaut, his two flights, and also provides a commentary on the lack of funding for the space program today.

With astronauts today, people respect the title, but they don’t know who we are. The Mercury and Apollo astronauts were true celebrities. They defined their era. They were the epitome of cool.

One thing I learned in this book is how hard it is to become an astronaut. I knew it was hard, but not that hard. Massimono got a PhD and still had to work to even be considered to be an ASCAN (that’s an astronaut candidate). Once you’re considered, you go through a rigorous mental and physical examination and if anything is wrong, you’re out.

Today, it’s even harder.At the time Massimono was accepted, 44 ASCANs were selected for the class of 1996. In 2013, eight were chosen. NASA has changed a lot since Armstrong walked on the moon, and this book is very vocal about that.

However, my favorite part of the book is how much the author stresses that you can make your dreams a reality. Sure, they won’t just happen. You have to work for them, and you have to work hard. You have to be the person others can count on. You have to show that you want it. But as long as you are willing to put in the work, dreams can come true.

And these young boys and girls, whatever their space dream is, they’ll go for it. Whatever hurdles are in their way, they’ll get past them. When they fall down, they’ll get back up. They’ll keep going and going, working harder and harder and running faster and faster until one day, before they know it, they’ll find themselves flying through the air.

This book is a must read if you are even remotely interested in space, interested in how astronauts get their job, what astronauts even do on a regular basis, or the future of space exploration.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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