My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
The title promised me a neurosurgeon's view of near death experiences (NDEs). There certainly was some of that, but I think he was trying to make the book do too many things. It alternates between being a memoir of his own life, telling the story of his own medical emergency and coma, struggling to relate the details of his NDE, and defending why his NDE cannot be dismissed as a brain-constructed fantasy. I confess I was far more interested in the last two than the first two. Note that he had four years to construct a coherent version of what he experienced in coma, so it's a little frustrating to be told that most of it cannot be conveyed in human language. His defense of NDEs relies almost exclusively on his own analysis of the situation. Again, having had four years to review this, I would have welcomed support from the medical establishment of his own conclusions.
However, these are in the last analysis somewhat superficial criticisms. Whatever it was that happened had a profound effect on Dr. Alexander, and on how he has chosen to live his life since then. Clearly there are things that medicine and science are not able to adequately explain. I hope that Dr. Alexander will eventually come up with a followup book that is more technical in tone that addresses his experiences in more detail.
This is one case where I absolutely support the idea of the author reading his own book. Hearing him tell his own story conveys the conviction he feels about what happened better than any other narrator could have done.
I have a hard time reading/listening to true fiction books. I think this is because my main reason for reading is to learn and not necessarily just for enjoyment, although I do read many historical fiction books. Favorites history/biography books and science/tech info books.
Dr. Alexander's expertise in knowing the brain and how he couldnt have possibly dreamed the experience and how convincing he is in telling the reader how real it was (even more real than his earthly expieriences) makes this story even more believable and amazing!!
Married with 4 children. Love listening to the books. I have a variety of interests in titles.
I recommend this book to everyone, but especially those who are nonbelievers. I think Dr. Eben Alexander was chosen by God to go through this experience for two reasons: 1) because he was a nonbeliever and 2) because he is a neurosurgeon. Scientifically he was able to prove without a doubt that Heaven and God truly exist. I love this book and will most likely read it again and again!
I need to be able to add fuel for philosophical exploration, this was an excellent springboard. I've read many of the sources he listed (years ago), you don't have to buy in head first, but it is compelling.
I enjoyed the book and don't regret purchasing it, but I really wished the author had spent more time telling the things he learned while in heaven and what heaven was like. The book seemed more like a super detailed description of what the author was told happened to him by relatives and doctors while he was sick and in a comma, how it effected his family and what was medically happening in his body. The books seemed like a detailed diary of a person's harrowing experience with a life threatening illness, not the insight into heaven and the afterlife I had hopped for. There's very little descriptive narrative about heaven or what you see and learn when there.
I was hoping to hear more about what he learned while in heaven and was hoping for more reassurance that we will see our past loved ones and pets. Unfortunately, the author never saw anyone he knew while there. The author expresses dismay over this but toward the very end of the book says one person he met in heaven was a sister he had never met in life. This revelation is pretty anti-climatic by the time the author shares it in the last few minutes of the book.
The author recommends prayer and meditation as a way to transcend and hopefully experience what he experienced and learned, but he never says if he has been able to reach that level again via prayer and meditation.
I do like that the book was read by the author. I think that's very important for giving the story validity.
Becaue this book was written by a medical doctor who specializes in neurology he brings a level of scientific thought to a subject that is frought with doubters and skeptics. Please read this book as it will ease your mind in all matters related to what happens after our physical body dies.
I appreciated how this NDE opened a neurosurgeon's mind to the afterlife. I was particularly interested in how his brain was completely non-functioning during his coma, therefore could not be creating this experience as is often alleged by the medical community.
The author was adopted as an infant. I enjoyed hearing his challenges and eventual success in locating his birth family. I was moved by the role a family member played in his NDE.
HIs sincerity and spiritual conversion were affecting.
The author's voice and delivery are a little clinical. However, his authenticity and my interest in the subject rendered it irrelevant for an enjoyable listening experience. The descriptions of his experience in heaven, while fascinating, were not as much a focal point of the story as his medical circumstances proving his experience was not created by his mind.
Perhaps this book represents as much credible proof of the reality of NDE as anyone could expect
As a physician touched many of my own thoughts. Glad he's the one that went through the experience and not me. An amazing illness and journey.
I could feel the emotion of the story in his voice
Couldn't stop listening.
This book is an interesting story but the author's attempt to cast his opinion as proof is wrong. The author dismisses a number of things that might explain his "out of body" experience. All of the things he dismisses are not proof either. They are just an attempt by people to explain why the "out of body" experience might have occurred. I doubt any of the people who have had such experiences accept these explanations. The thing is, the lack of an explanation does not make his explanation the only acceptable answer or the true answer.
I also do not see any science in the book. The author seems to think that if he says that it is science; then it is science. If his hypothesis is correct the next step would be to see what things that the idea would predict and what things we might do to test the hypothesis. He mentions at the end that he has started a non-profit organization and that site says that it supports a "rigorous scientific research concerning spiritually transformative experiences" but it doesn't say what that research is.
The author suggests:
Edward Kelly's "Irreducible Mind".
I would suggest:
"How the Mind Works" by Steven Pinker
"The Greatest Show On Earth" by Richard Dawkins