The book is filled with invaluable advice from Chris Hadfield, an accomplished ex-astronaut in his 60s who fulfilled his childhood’s dream with the unwavering support of his wife. To me, Chris exemplifies the very essence of success – having achieved a stellar career and a happy marriage that has endured the test of time.
“This is a book that you should definitely check out if you want relationship and career advice.”
It’s disheartening that within the western elite circles, there appears to be a dearth of role models who have both successful, enduring marriages and careers. For a long time, I looked up to Bill and Melinda Gates as the epitome of such a couple. However, their divorce in 2021, after 27 years of marriage, caught many people by surprise. It reinforced my belief that maintaining a strong, healthy relationship while excelling in one’s career can be challenging.
As such, I find the insights into how over the years, Chris learned to build better relationships with his spouse and children while being mostly absent, incredibly helpful in my personal life. I have always found it weird that in my culture, we tend to have extravagant celebrations for weddings, yet very few couples opt to host grand parties commemorating their enduring union beyond the 10th, 20th, 30th anniversaries or more. Aren’t the effort and commitment to make the relationship work for decades more worthy of celebration by the couple?
Therefore, like me, if you would like to learn the secrets to a successful career AND marriage, below are some key points I noted down from Chris’s book.
How to build strong relationships with people who matter?
1. Be the Bulwark of your partner when his or her determination wavers.
Chris had mentioned several times in his book that the best decision he had made in his life was to marry his wife. His wife had been pivotal in helping Chris achieve his dream of becoming an Astronaut. When Chris was tempted to pivot from his dream to alleviate the financial burden of supporting a growing family, his wife put her foot down and pushed him to stay the course in pursuing his dream. As Chris puts it, “one reason our marriage has flourished is that Helene enthusiastically endorses the concept of going all out in the pursuit of a goal.”
Give unwavering support to your partner in the toughest time.
2. Be wary of how changes, ego and a highly competitive new work environment can put a strain on your relationships with your family members.
3. Forward planning is key to showing people that you genuinely appreciate them when you can’t be physically present during special occasions.
While reading the book, I was also curious to learn more about Chris’s amazingly strong wife. Therefore, I googled her name and found some of her interviews.
Other Books Recommendation
If you would like more resources to help you build stronger relationships with people who matter, here are two more books that I would highly recommend you to read.
I like the pun intended in the book title. I found this book useful in navigating changes in career aspirations in my relationship with my partner. People change over time and what we said in our twenties may no longer be what we solely want in our thirties.
I found that my career ambition had grown bigger over the years in my late twenties. When this happened, I found myself being trapped by my own words when discussing whose career should take priority with my partner. I was thankful that I was able to use the lessons learned in this book to steer the conversation with my partner when we had to make a choice to stay in Singapore or move to Manchester together a few years ago.
This book was published before I was born in 1988. It is a timeless classic for me. This is a book that I will read whenever I am upset or need some positive energy in my life. I like how this article summarised the key points in the book. It is a more pleasurable read than the book which can be a little long-winded and dry at times.