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The Orbital Perspective    by Ron Garan order for
Orbital Perspective
by Ron Garan
Order:  USA  Can
Berrett-Koehler, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Astronaut Ron Garan explains the title he selected for his book, The Orbital Perspective: Lessons in Seeing the Big Picture from a Journey of 71 Million Miles, in the volume's preface.

He writes of his 2008 space trip: 'I returned from that mission with a compelling need to share a profound feeling of hope that was singed into my awareness from the experience. I called this awareness the orbital perspective, and this awareness came with a responsibility to highlight the need for effective global collaboration.'

He continues that, with this in mind, his goal in writing this book is to 'spark change'. Garan says, 'I write this book to start a global conversation and spread the awareness that it is no longer acceptable to have a go-it-alone attitude. The problems facing our world are too big, the challenges too critical, and the potential catastrophes too imminent to adhere to the old way of doing things.'

A former fighter pilot, Garan became an astronaut and lived on the International Space Station (ISS). That experience of learning to work and collaborate with individuals from other nationalities not only reversed his negative us vs. them military mentality but also made him realize that if this could happen in space exploration, why not in other realms?

Not only does Garan describe what it was like learning how to work with a diverse group of men and women in a very controlled space environment but also he and others are today attempting to apply that orbital perspective here on Earth.

In the first part of this book the author addresses the U.S.-Russian space collaboration that eventually led to the fifteen nation ISS partnership. In this section Garan discusses the kinds of issues that this international group faced and solved along the way.

Next, in Part Two, the author goes into more detail on what he means by orbital perspective and the lessons to be learned from it. Finally, the concluding part cites the international collaboration that went into saving a group of Chilean miners and how some groups of people and initiatives have been used to solve local and global problems.

For Ron Garan this book is a call to action to rally those who would be interested in developing new partnerships and processes to promote peace and combat hunger and other world problems. He explains, 'You don't have to be in orbit to have the orbital perspective ... If we commit to working together, we won't have to accept a status quo far beneath the potential of this beautiful world.'

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