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Publisher's Summary

A Harvard-trained neurosurgeon's minute-by-minute account of his own near-death experience - and what he discovered in the heavenly realm beyond life.

On November 10, 2008, Dr. Eben Alexander was driven into coma by a disease so lethal that only 1 in 10,000,000 survive. Seven days later, he awakened with memories of a fantastic odyssey deep into another realm that were more real than this earthly one - memories that included meeting a deceased birth sister he had never known existed.

Dr. Alexander deployed all his knowledge as a scientist to find out whether his mind could have played a trick on him. In its shutdown state, there was no way it could have functioned at all. That left only one conclusion: that we are conscious in spite of our brains - that, in fact, consciousness is at the root of all existence.

The evidence supporting Dr. Alexander's experience transformed him into a believer in God's unconditional love and brought reconciliation to his family - and will upend our ideas about human consciousness and spirituality.

©2012 Eben Alexander (P)2012 Simon & Schuster, Inc

Critic Reviews

"Dr. Eben Alexander's near-death experience is the most astounding I have heard in more than four decades of studying this phenomenon. In my opinion, Dr Alexander is living proof of an afterlife." (Raymond Moody, MD, PhD, author of Life Beyond Life)
"Eben Alexander brings a unique perspective to the sacred world combining a glorious, personal vision of spiritual consciousness with patient, insightful scientific inquiry. Proof of Heaven is a compelling story of what may lie ahead for all of us in the life beyond this one. We have nothing to fear." (Allan J. Hamilton, MD, FACS, author of The Scalpel and the Soul and Zen Mind, Zen Horse)
"I can highly recommend this important book that has the potential to break many scientific taboos." (Dr. Pim van Lommel, cardiologist, author of Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience)

What members say

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  • Kelly
  • Omaha, NE, United States
  • 10-27-12


If you're reading this review then you are contemplating the purchase of this book. Correct? Just get it. You won't be disappointed.

However, if you (as other readers have) expect the book to "deliver on it's promise" of including "God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit" then you will be disappointed. But, I do urge you to get the book and listen with an open mind.

I find it quite rude to give a negative review and rating to a book based solely on the fact that it does not conform to your set of beliefs. Nowhere in the description of the book does it promise to do so either. It is a well-written and researched book and deserves to be reviewed as such.

Those of you who do purchase the book I ask you to give it a fair review. No need to type out a response, just a click on the stars will do. Thanks!

199 of 218 people found this review helpful

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  • John
  • Chamblee, GA, United States
  • 11-18-12

This Book Will Challenge Non-Believers

I spend most of my Audible "reading" on business books, but bought this book because the story sounded so interesting. This book is very compelling. The author, an accomplished neurosurgeon who was a committed scientist and religious skeptic (if not an outright non-believer) before he went into a coma that should have killled him or left him hopelessly brain damaged, made a miraculous recovery. That alone would be an interesting story, but Dr. Alexander absolutely believes that he visited heaven during his near death experience.

Dr. Alexander's prior skepticism, when combined with his scientific analysis of why what happened to him could not have been produced by his brain, makes his story extremely compelling, and, for some, will probably be life changing. The book has certainly caused me to examine my own beliefs, and has also added some comfort to my belief that there has to be something out there more than the day to day linear existence of our life on this small planet. At the same time, Dr. Alexander's story also makes you thankful for your life and blessings here on earth.

If you are buying this book because you expect a detailed description of heaven, you should know that it is a small part of a pretty short book. The book is as much about Dr. Alexander's life and family and his struggle to deal with the fact he was given up by his birth family and adopted as it is about his experience while in coma.

I do not want to say much more because I feel it will be spoiling the reader's experience. Read this book. It may change your life.

By the way, it turns out the doc is a pretty good narrator, too!

37 of 40 people found this review helpful

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  • Brock
  • 04-11-13

So much better than I expected

Proof of Heaven has been the #1 book on the NY Times best seller list (nonfiction) for quite some time, but it didn't appeal to me at all. To me Near Death Experience stories don't carry much clout because people can claim anything they want, and nobody can contest it. I finally purchased it because a friend told me it was super good, and I wasn't disappointed.

My impression of Dr. Alexander, who also read the book himself, was of a real genuine and likeable guy. There were some very moving times in the book as he told about his life where you could hear the emotion in his voice, and I'll be honest, I teared up as I listened.

I liked the way he used his scientific background as a neurosurgeon to explain a lot of what he went through, and why major parts of his experience are physically impossible in this present world. As a Christian I also enjoyed seeing the way Dr. Alexander's experiences mirrored many Biblical descriptions of God and Heaven, even though he had no theological background or even prior belief in God. This book was in no way written to support Biblical Christianity, but it's hard to ignore the number of times his recollections unknowingly do align with the Bible.

It is very enjoyable and easy to listen to. It doesn't get overly scientific, or get too bogged down lengthy, sci-fi-like descriptions. I highly recommend this book.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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a challenge to the skeptics

The title "Proof of Heaven" is a bit of an overstatement but Dr. Alexander does add interesting data to the debate. He had a near death experience as a result of bacterial meningitis. This illness placed him in a coma and took his neocortex off-line for seven days. The highly detailed and hyper-real NDE experienced by Dr. Alexander would be dismissed by some skeptics as brain activity while the doctor was in coma. The thing is that with the neocortex non-functional it was biologically impossible for him to have the NDE that he did, if it was reliant upon brain activity. This basic fact is the prime message that he presents through the book. The book is a challenge to skeptics who automatically reject any experience that can not be explained away through material means. His data do not fit the material paradigm and he sees this as requiring the serious seeker of truth to look for alternative explanations. His personal conclusion is that consciousness is more than just an epiphenomonon of brain activity. Now, some might like to reject his conclusion out of hand and seek the opinion of experts, the thing is that he is the expert! There are few people in the nation who know more about the working of the brain than Dr. Alexander.

The book is fascinating and works at several levels. First, it tells the story of Dr. Alexander's illness and the impact it had on his family. This part of the story is moving and offers insight not only into Dr. Alexander and his family but into the plight of many families who are trying to cope with the devastation of brain injury and coma in a loved one. It is worth a credit for this part of the story alone. It also works in delivering Dr. Alexander's challenge to the scientific community. He has good, well documented data and challenges others to make sense of the good scientific fashion.

The frustrating part of the book is that he doesn't really give much information on his NDE experience other than the general outlines and visual impressions.
Though he suggests that he experienced a good deal of intuitive insight during the experience. Perhaps the insight is too difficult to translate into more mundane concepts but it is a real loss to the interested reader/listener who doesn't have to be convinced of the validity of his experience.

The author is also the narrator. He does a good job. It helps that the book is about very personal experiences, so that he brings an emotional investment to his narration that enriches the listening experience.

73 of 85 people found this review helpful

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Interesting and hopeful.

On the one hand, I needed no convincing as I have always believed there to be a consciousness of spirit after the death of one's body/shell. On the other hand, though, there were enough "holes" in the narrative to allow some of my conviction to leak out.

In the end, I am convinced of Dr Alexander's Proof of Heaven and that he experienced what he says he did. The cause of that, though, is a little more murky to me than it was before.

I envy Dr Alexander his after-death experience, as harrowing as his illness was. And coming out to the medical community about it could not have been an easy thing to do. This alone leads me to believe him all the more.

Interesting to listen to, and hopeful too.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Cindy
  • Chandler, AZ, United States
  • 12-11-12


If you could sum up Proof of Heaven in three words, what would they be?

Comforting, moving, inspiring

Who was your favorite character and why?

The author as he came from a scientific background and was able to find a bridge between science and spirituality that makes sense.

Which character – as performed by Eben Alexander – was your favorite?

Eben himself, as he as the main person everything was happening to.

If you could give Proof of Heaven a new subtitle, what would it be?

There is an afterlife, and so much more beyond that!

Any additional comments?

His voice is easy to listen to. His story is compelling. I've heard so much about this book and all the positive reviews were correct, from my perspective. Whether you believe his conclusions or not, his experience is his and his alone and there is no question that the actual medical situation was real and the fact that he survived at all is in and of itself a medical miracle. If nothing else, it is inspiring to hear a story where someone was on the brink of death and miraculously survived. Those are the stories that give all of us a little faith that if a circumstance that looks hopeless happens, maybe just maybe we or our loved one, will be given a second chance and if you believe his conclusion, even if there isn't a second chance, the beyond is not to be feared. Everyone should be able to take something positive away from this story.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • MEL
  • 10-26-12

Better Than 90 Minutes In Heaven

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I downloaded this book after seeing a special on ABC about the author's experience. I found his testimony of life after death to be remarkable and strong.
What I loved the most was his honesty. I enjoyed, Proof of Heaven better than 90 Minutes in Heaven,because of his overall message of God's love verses a detailed religious overtone. I didn't feel preached to in Proof of Heaven or that the author was trying to convert me to a specific religion.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Proof of Heaven?

I love the message that we are loved and cherished. Would recommend this audio to anyone having a hard day or feeling alone-will give you peace knowing that God loves you.

What about Eben Alexander’s performance did you like?

I felt as if the author was telling me first hand his experiences. Eben is a good storyteller and I found myself not being able to pause the book!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I felt as if I knew the author and he was a friend telling me his experience in real-time.

51 of 61 people found this review helpful

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  • Diane
  • Louisville, KY, United States
  • 03-26-13

The Mind Outside the Brain

In this moving autobiographical account, Dr Alexander chronicles an astonishing experience that transformed him from a hard-core materialist, believing (or rather assuming) that all thought and consciousness was solely a function of brain activity, into a crusader for an understanding of consciousness transcending our physical being. From a scientific perspective, Dr. Alexander's account is probably the most credible we have had yet--he is an experienced neuro-surgeon and it is at considerable professional risk that he has gone public with his account. He goes to some lengths to consider possible brain related sources for his experience and ultimately rejects them all based on his careful examination of his medical records kept during the course of his illness in which his higher brain functions were completely shut down.

Whether one agrees with his conclusions as to the ultimate significance of his experience, those who dismiss any such account as necessarily being the product of a distressed brain would do well to at least study his case. Unfortunately, when I have recommended this book to such individuals, once they know its premise they reject reading it out-of-hand. Indeed, Dr. Alexander confesses that this would have been his own reaction prior to his experience--hence his determination to reach out to those in the medical and scientific communities in the hope that they will take such experiences more seriously.

This book is written for the general audience and thus may be somewhat lacking in the gravitas necessary to make any impression on those communities. Still, perhaps none of us should be too confident that our understanding of the world--or even our way of understanding it (such as through the scientific method)--is fool-proof when it comes to understanding ultimate reality.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Carole
  • Oregon, OR, United States
  • 12-11-12

Interesting NDE experience

What did you love best about Proof of Heaven?

Interesting twists involved.

What did you like best about this story?

In depth description, inclusion of details.

Which scene was your favorite?

The overview of a happy open area where people and DOGS played.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

As I grieve the recent loss of my beloved dog, I was thrilled and comforted when the author said there were dogs "up" there. Also mentions of multiple universes, etc. I appreciate astral sciences. But most of all I appreciated the confirmation of our loving God. I knew it anyway but love to hear of HIM, our Creator.

Any additional comments?

I was somewhat perplexed as other was no mention of Jesus Christ, the son of God who bridges the gap between us and God, the Father. But I do believe that they are one, Father, Son, and Spirit. So I am not misled, just curious.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Margaret
  • San Francisco, CA USA
  • 12-14-12

Good Listen on a Bad Day

I downloaded this book on a day that, later that afternoon, brought a surprise pink slip.

It was serendipitous to have this to listen to since I'm a person who swings between materialistic nihilism and "this has to mean something" and a hope that borders on belief, and this was a day that needed a push towards the positive.

The narration of the doctor's Near Death Experience certainly isn't radical if you are familiar with other works about the same subject. But the message is quietly radical in and of itself: life is eternal. Well written and well narrated. Recommend.

22 of 27 people found this review helpful