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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 listeners say about Proof of Heaven

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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.

36 people found this helpful

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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!

63 people found this helpful

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Egotistical rambling

Ugh….yet another surgeon with an overinflated ego. I’ve been an OR nurse for 30 years and should have known better than to download this book. I find near death experiences very interesting and thought maybe this author would present some unique insight to align the NDE with the clinical world. However, this is nothing but another vehicle for the author to talk about himself and his greatness. It started with a prologue about his skydiving days…stats about how many jumps he’s done, free fall speeds, formations he participated in, etc… Information that has no purpose other than to alert the reader of his accomplishments. I knew then that I should quit listening, but stuck it out for several more chapters. I finally had as much of his egotistical BS as I could take, and threw in the towel. The final straw was when he was talking about reaching out to the agency in which he was adopted through. Instead of saying he reached out to the social worker in attempt to find his birth parents, he went out of his way to say that he called the social worker while driving to a weekend ski trip in Maine. Really?? Who cares about his weekend ski trips? This is just one of many examples, but the entire book follows the same framework. Whether he had an actual NDE or not, I don’t know. But if so, he failed to learn basic lessons like humility and humbleness.

11 people found this helpful

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Compelling

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!

234 people found this helpful

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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.

9 people found this helpful

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Captivated

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.

14 people found this helpful

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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.

12 people found this 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 data...in 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.

83 people found this helpful

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Misleading

The book’s title and heading both are misleading. The story is not a proof that there is a heaven, nor is it a story of an atheist scientist dying and coming back to life and converting to Christianity after what he saw.

Instead it is a journey into universalism and mysticism. I nearly spit my coffee out in surprise and laughter when he first brought up ESP and binaural beats. I was also surprised to see the author considers himself a Christian when every part of his belief points towards him being a universalist and mysticist. Im not sure if he is misinformed or if there is purposeful misleading involved, but the book is definitely NOT written by a Christian. Additionally, there is a notable lack of evidence towards proving heaven is real. Im no brain surgeon, but even i see the flaws in his attempt to claim his NDE is special and beyond any other and could see the holes in his attempt at an argument.

I would recommend the author actually read his Bible, read up on theology and philosophy, and i would recommend prospective readers look elsewhere.

5 people found this helpful

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Powerful to hear a brain surgeon write about NDE's

Any additional comments?

This book touches your heart in many ways. I laughed but I cried more. The author and reader of this book works VERY WELL. The story gets so difficult for him to tell you can tell he is having a very rough go at writing and reading about meeting his biological parents. He is barely makes it without tears, just at that part, you can hear it In his voice. I had to stop the book and allow my own compassion to be expressed so I could continue listening.
This is one of the best autobiographies about the NDE experience because it is written by a scientist formally a non believer.
I recommend this book with the wholeness of my soul. I will listen to this book over and over. It is that good.

Another book with great appeal is "Does the Soul Survive?" by Rabbi Eli Kaplan Spitz.

You will not regret either purchase.

5 people found this helpful