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After: A Doctor Explores What Near-Death Experiences Reveal about Life and Beyond

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Cases of remarkable experiences on the threshold of death have been reported since ancient times, and are described today by 10% of people whose hearts stop. The medical world has generally ignored these “near-death experiences”, dismissing them as “tricks of the brain” or wishful thinking. But after his patients started describing events that he could not just sweep under Cases of remarkable experiences on the threshold of death have been reported since ancient times, and are described today by 10% of people whose hearts stop. The medical world has generally ignored these “near-death experiences”, dismissing them as “tricks of the brain” or wishful thinking. But after his patients started describing events that he could not just sweep under the rug, Dr. Bruce Greyson began to investigate. As a physician without a religious belief system, he approached near-death experiences from a scientific perspective. In After, he shares the transformative lessons he has learned over four decades of research. Our culture has tended to view dying as the end of our consciousness, the end of our existence—a dreaded prospect that for many people evokes fear and anxiety. But Dr. Greyson shows how scientific revelations about the dying process can support an alternative theory. Dying could be the threshold between one form of consciousness and another, not an ending but a transition. This new perspective on the nature of death can transform the fear of dying that pervades our culture into a healthy view of it as one more milestone in the course of our lives.


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Cases of remarkable experiences on the threshold of death have been reported since ancient times, and are described today by 10% of people whose hearts stop. The medical world has generally ignored these “near-death experiences”, dismissing them as “tricks of the brain” or wishful thinking. But after his patients started describing events that he could not just sweep under Cases of remarkable experiences on the threshold of death have been reported since ancient times, and are described today by 10% of people whose hearts stop. The medical world has generally ignored these “near-death experiences”, dismissing them as “tricks of the brain” or wishful thinking. But after his patients started describing events that he could not just sweep under the rug, Dr. Bruce Greyson began to investigate. As a physician without a religious belief system, he approached near-death experiences from a scientific perspective. In After, he shares the transformative lessons he has learned over four decades of research. Our culture has tended to view dying as the end of our consciousness, the end of our existence—a dreaded prospect that for many people evokes fear and anxiety. But Dr. Greyson shows how scientific revelations about the dying process can support an alternative theory. Dying could be the threshold between one form of consciousness and another, not an ending but a transition. This new perspective on the nature of death can transform the fear of dying that pervades our culture into a healthy view of it as one more milestone in the course of our lives.

30 review for After: A Doctor Explores What Near-Death Experiences Reveal about Life and Beyond

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paul C. Stalder

    So a couple aspects of this book really bothered me. First, Greyson's continued need to remind you that he was sceptical, that he approached his research sceptically, and that, in case you forgot, he was sceptical, suggested exactly the opposite. Similar to the way the more someone tells you how smart they are, the less you believe them, the more words Greyson spent telling me how sceptical he was, the more I questioned it. While elements of this book to have a sceptical vibe, Greyson misses a l So a couple aspects of this book really bothered me. First, Greyson's continued need to remind you that he was sceptical, that he approached his research sceptically, and that, in case you forgot, he was sceptical, suggested exactly the opposite. Similar to the way the more someone tells you how smart they are, the less you believe them, the more words Greyson spent telling me how sceptical he was, the more I questioned it. While elements of this book to have a sceptical vibe, Greyson misses a lot of questions that could have, and arguably should have, been asked if he was truly approaching his research with a sceptical eye. For example, one of the points Greyson uses to bolster the reality of near-death experiences (NDEs) is the effect they have on people's lives. Those who have NDEs, apparently, experience drastic changes in their outlook on life. However, Greyson does not inquire as to whether those individuals who come close to dying, or die, but do not have a NDE, have a similar change. This question seems straightforward, and rather simple to address, given the extensive research Greyson has undertaken. Second, Greyson spends far too much time on relaying individual's experiences. Page after page, Greyson quotes what individuals who have apparently had NDEs say about their experience. While some of this may be acceptable, in a book purporting to explore these experiences, I wanted more actual exploration, and less storytelling. I wanted Greyson's objective opinion, not a subjective memory. Third, Greyson seems to ignore the fact that only a small percentage of people have, or at least report, these experiences. (I believe in one study referenced the number is 14%). While he does, to his credit, have a brief discussion on other factors that could be at play in NDEs (mental illness, drug use, religious background etc), he never really addresses the elephant in the room; why only 14%? Why some people? What about the rest? What is the difference? Are they just not remembering? Did they not come close enough to death? Is there something the people who have NDEs have in common that the others do not? While this book is fairly slim, the content still felt lacking. There was so much more that Greyson should have said, and his editor ought to have suggested he cut the pages of stories, and provide something substantive. At the start of the book he suggests there is more substantive research, so why not provide some of it? Greyson's effort does give credence to the idea that something has happened to these people that cannot, at present, be explained. But he offers no helpful insight into what is happening. As for the revelations suggested in his subtitle, those are absent as well. Even though he does draw conclusions, they are often unwarranted. At the end of the day, this book feels like a failed attempt to synthesize important and interesting research. Drop the anecdotal reports, beef up the discussion about the research, and engage critically with the problem of consciousness and you might have something here. But as it stands, this book is a miss. Thanks, nonetheless, to the publisher and author for providing a free ARC.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susie Stangland

    This book is phenomenal. Whether you are a person of faith or one who doesn’t believe in an afterlife, this book breaks down the concept of how our brains and minds can be separate entities. Weaving together science with NDE anecdotes the author paints a portrait of how this can be in a way readers can easily understand. He allows room for one to decide for themselves what they believe and is never defensive. I do have a faith and found great comfort and hope for what each of us will face at some This book is phenomenal. Whether you are a person of faith or one who doesn’t believe in an afterlife, this book breaks down the concept of how our brains and minds can be separate entities. Weaving together science with NDE anecdotes the author paints a portrait of how this can be in a way readers can easily understand. He allows room for one to decide for themselves what they believe and is never defensive. I do have a faith and found great comfort and hope for what each of us will face at some final point. Thank you Dr Greyson for being brave enough to pursue a study which can run against the grain of both religion and science.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn in FL

    3.5 Stars I believe this is my eighth book on the Near Death Experiences aka NDE sub-genre. I have seen many of the consistencies shown in the field of research as well as the compilations of individuals sharing their stories. This book detailed both however it strongly leaned toward the empirical side of the equation. Specifically, the statistical interpretation of the data, with occasional parts of people's stories presented as evidence. In short, x% of the people with NDE recalled actually lea 3.5 Stars I believe this is my eighth book on the Near Death Experiences aka NDE sub-genre. I have seen many of the consistencies shown in the field of research as well as the compilations of individuals sharing their stories. This book detailed both however it strongly leaned toward the empirical side of the equation. Specifically, the statistical interpretation of the data, with occasional parts of people's stories presented as evidence. In short, x% of the people with NDE recalled actually leaving their body, then a portion of someone's account. Dr. Greyson begins the book telling how he initially heard a story from a patient that deeply troubled him because it was so bizarre yet it had details that couldn't be disputed thus it was a prank. He proceeds to return to this story throughout the book. He also focuses on this field of study which was formerly overlooked or ignored. Being the scientist that he is, he sought to perform studies so that he could further research the stories and isolate pieces to see if there was any consistency. The book primarily focuses on his career to make the research of NDE's formalized, which included founding a national organization of doctors as well as participating in an international association. I suspect many are more familiar with Dr. Raymond Moody, Jr. who has authored a number of non-fiction stories of both the research of this experience and the many individual accounts. I have read the first two of them and was very intrigued when they were published in the mid70's and 80's. I found them amazing and never realized that they would prepare me for my own NDE in 1995. It turns out, Dr. Moody became a contemporary to Dr. Greyson when Greyson was his mentor/supervisor during his residency at the hospital Dr. Greyson was a professor. They even conducted studies together and later collaborated on studies conclusions. Both are very serious in their desire to maintain the data be studied using scientific study perimeters this book was much more oriented toward data and thus I would recommend for those with more of a science oriented need. Of the literature and more scientific pieces, I found Dr. Raymond Moody's more accessible as a reader. In additional more interesting because he uses multiple stories to make his point whereas Dr. Greyson rehashed the same few stories to make his point about different themes/occurrences of similar data within the field of NDE. Thank you to the author, Dr. Greyson, St. Martin's Essentials and Goodreads for the opportunity to read an ARC of this research in exchange for my honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tessa

    This book is absolutely amazing. After the first chapter alone it had already made its way to the top of my favorites list. I couldn't put it down. Dr. Greyson effortlessly weaves together anecdotes of near-death experiences from the patients that he works with and the research and scientific studies that he has done as he tries to make sense of his research findings. I truly appreciate how he did not argue for one specific interpretation of his findings, but instead left you with all of his res This book is absolutely amazing. After the first chapter alone it had already made its way to the top of my favorites list. I couldn't put it down. Dr. Greyson effortlessly weaves together anecdotes of near-death experiences from the patients that he works with and the research and scientific studies that he has done as he tries to make sense of his research findings. I truly appreciate how he did not argue for one specific interpretation of his findings, but instead left you with all of his research and his thoughts and let you decide for yourself how to interpret the information. This book was life-changing and I have already recommended it to everyone I know. I'm sure I will be re-reading it again and again...and again.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jena Henry

    In "After", an esteemed medical doctor and researcher "Explores What Near-Death Experiences Reveal about Life and Beyond". Near-Death experiences probably puzzle, baffle and certainly interest most of us. In this non-fiction book, the author Dr. Bruce Greyson provides us with a clear, kind and compelling look at the science of Near-Death Experiences. This book is as fascinating as you can imagine. "After" is well-written, and the scientific explorations and research that Dr. Greyson conducted fo In "After", an esteemed medical doctor and researcher "Explores What Near-Death Experiences Reveal about Life and Beyond". Near-Death experiences probably puzzle, baffle and certainly interest most of us. In this non-fiction book, the author Dr. Bruce Greyson provides us with a clear, kind and compelling look at the science of Near-Death Experiences. This book is as fascinating as you can imagine. "After" is well-written, and the scientific explorations and research that Dr. Greyson conducted for over half a century will teach you about what makes life meaningful, what you think about death and what you know about yourself. Are Near-Death Experiences (NDE's) "real"? After reading the book, they certainly seem to be. They are common and can happen to anyone. Near-Death Experiences may lead to profound and long-lasting life changes. Surprisingly to me, NDE's may reduce the fear of death and cause those who have experienced them to be more fully present in their lives after the event. The book presents a number of patient histories and their recollections and descriptions of their NDE's. Many people had out-of-body experiences and saw themselves, from above, as they were being treated in the hospital. Many also described the experience as incredibly real, perhaps the most real experience they had ever had. Beautiful colors, lights, a sense of a loving deity and interactions with those that had previously died were also noted. Dr. Greyson also presents many of his research studies. One that really interested me involved re-intervewing people about their NDE, many years after it had happened. Remarkably, their recounting of the experience did not vary at all. For many, it was still the most amazing thing that had ever happened them. How do our minds and brains work together? This informative and rather amazing book will discuss and answer many of the questions about life and death that you may have pondered. Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for an advance review copy. This is my honest review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Franchesca

    In this book we explore near death experiences and out-of-body experiences by recounting the stories told by a number of experiencers of this phenomena over more than 4 decades, and from research findings, and the lack of, over the same period of time. There are absolutely recurring themes in people who have these experiences, which have no bias toward religion, age, race, mental health or seemingly anything else and can happen to anyone. A couple of these out-of-body NDE experience stories real In this book we explore near death experiences and out-of-body experiences by recounting the stories told by a number of experiencers of this phenomena over more than 4 decades, and from research findings, and the lack of, over the same period of time. There are absolutely recurring themes in people who have these experiences, which have no bias toward religion, age, race, mental health or seemingly anything else and can happen to anyone. A couple of these out-of-body NDE experience stories really got me wondering how they could have known that if they didn't truly have the experience. While I am skeptical, I feel that this is something, along with how the mind and brain work independently from one another (or not), that deserves further scientific study and research and open minded people to come up with new and innovative ways to do that. This review is of an ARE I won in a Goodreads giveaway.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    After 45 years of research, academic psychiatrist Dr. Bruce Greyson presents his findings on Near-Death Experiences (NDEs). Dr. Greyson began as a skeptic but after interviewing thousands of patients, he is now a believer. He recommends that you let go of any preconceived notions you may have and read his book with an open mind: "Objective truth... is the kind of truth science discovers. And it's the kind of truth that is true whether or not you believe in it. It exists outside of your culture, y After 45 years of research, academic psychiatrist Dr. Bruce Greyson presents his findings on Near-Death Experiences (NDEs). Dr. Greyson began as a skeptic but after interviewing thousands of patients, he is now a believer. He recommends that you let go of any preconceived notions you may have and read his book with an open mind: "Objective truth... is the kind of truth science discovers. And it's the kind of truth that is true whether or not you believe in it. It exists outside of your culture, your religion, your political affiliation." As for me, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I did go in with a receptive mind ready to learn about NDEs. Overall, I was fascinated by the multitude of first-person NDE experiences provided, and I enjoyed learning more about NDEs in general. According to Dr. Greyson's research, NDEs remain vivid for decades and profoundly affect the trajectory of the rest of the experiencers' life and may result in: an increased compassion for others, a belief in a higher power, a belief in life after death, improved self esteem, etc. In essence, "[NDEs] are ultimately not about death, but about transformation, about renewal, and about infusing our lives with purpose." If you're at all curious about NDEs, then I would highly recommend this book. I received an advance copy of this book. All opinions are my own. Newsweek Article: https://www.newsweek.com/i-worked-peo...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    Dr. Grayson spent many years of studying near death experiences which he reported in his book. The cases he studied were average people of all age groups, races, religious, non-religious and atheists. A common thread I noticed was almost all people reported a sense of love and peace enveloping them in a way that could barely be described. This book is written in layman’s terms and is an easy read. I would definitely recommend this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    4.5 stars. Dr. Greyson has studied "near-death experiences" (NDEs) for 50 years, collecting over 1000 cases, and he culminates his findings in this book. This is a topic I find particularly fascinating, as well as comforting, inspiring, and faith-promoting, so I loved hearing these stories that corroborate each other. He approaches his research (and this book) from a skeptics perspective, as he has no religious background. Since I am a believer, I didn't need all the exploration of side theories 4.5 stars. Dr. Greyson has studied "near-death experiences" (NDEs) for 50 years, collecting over 1000 cases, and he culminates his findings in this book. This is a topic I find particularly fascinating, as well as comforting, inspiring, and faith-promoting, so I loved hearing these stories that corroborate each other. He approaches his research (and this book) from a skeptics perspective, as he has no religious background. Since I am a believer, I didn't need all the exploration of side theories disproved, but I did appreciate the process of science and spirituality coming together for the discovery of truth. I recommend this to anyone who is interested in this topic or wonders about life after death. -People with NDEs report: ability to think and understand clearer and faster, to understand based on impressions more than words, a recollection of life events with a greater clarity and understanding, the feeling of timelessness, the heightening of senses, colors, light, beauty, feelings of peace and love, interactions from loved ones who have passed away, interactions with God, a feeling of truth remembered but long forgotten, these experiences are more real to them than their earthly/physical ones, experiencing the pain you caused others from their point of view, the feeling that mortal words can't begin to describe the beauty and vastness of experience -Transformative power of NDEs: life-changing, they come back more compassionate, altruistic, and connected to others, don't fear death (restful, peaceful, loving place), their life now has more meaning, purpose, and they feel more alive, less worldly, they come back feeling more loved and more loving, feeling of interconnectedness, a feeling of the good they need to do, wanting to enjoy life and live it to its fullness -*I feel like everyone could use an NDE at some point in their life as a wake up call and reminder. -The personal experiences were the best part of the book for me. Here are a couple: "I felt embraced by such a feeling of bliss that there are no words to describe the feeling. The nearest I can come to it in human terms is to recall the rapture of being in love, the emotion one feels when one's first born is put into one's arms for the first time, the transcendence of spirit that can sometimes occur when one is at a concert of classical music, the peace and grandeur of mountains, forests, and lakes or other beauties of nature that can move one to tears of joy. Put all these together and magnify a thousand times and you will get a glimpse of the state of being one is in when the restriction to one's true heritage is partially removed." -"It wasn't scary moving through the black, I was just watching. Then there was this light at the end. It wasn't just a light like a transparent color, it was intense love. When you are in it it doesn't just surround you like water does when you jump into a pool. It was like sun going through a piece of glass. It went completely through every spot on your body and everywhere else. It was warm and comforting. It was like warmth, comforting, a peaceful silence, and love surrounding everything and within. There were no walls or boundaries or anything solid, just light and beings. The light was like a magnet too. You just cannot be apart from it, you want to be with it more than anything you have ever wanted. Everyone loved each other more than can be comprehended here because of what we were, not who we were. We are limited but they are not. I don't know how to explain how we talked. We didn't talk like we do here, we just knew." Later when he woke from his accident: "As long as I am on earth I will never be able to comprehend it, because I only have a human brain. Here we can really think about only one thing at a time and there you know, really know, everything. You can't compare it to earth things. Talking about it or trying to draw it diminishes it entirely. It would be like trying to talk to an infant about DNA or some kind of medical technology in space. An infant couldn't even speak the language and he definitely couldn't even understand the idea. He could know about things only on his level like we do. We are just like babies and contrary to what a lot of people think, we know nothing. I will never be able to feel what I felt there while I am here because I am back in this human body again. It is way beyond superior, bigger than anything a human brain can comprehend, and more wonderful too."

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    This is a fascinating, amazing book, and ultimately, most comforting book! In it, Dr Bruce Greyson, a psychiatrist, and a person attached to no religious faith or doctrine, describes his 45 + years researching and studying thousands of near death experiences in a countless number of scientific tests and presents his startling conclusions. I so appreciate how he blends details about the ways he approached the topic from many different angles for his tests with stories of Near Death Experiences, an This is a fascinating, amazing book, and ultimately, most comforting book! In it, Dr Bruce Greyson, a psychiatrist, and a person attached to no religious faith or doctrine, describes his 45 + years researching and studying thousands of near death experiences in a countless number of scientific tests and presents his startling conclusions. I so appreciate how he blends details about the ways he approached the topic from many different angles for his tests with stories of Near Death Experiences, and admire how he kept his "scientific mind" open to the possibilities of what the results were showing him. Throughout his research he didn't take a stance "for" or "against" such experiences, he just kept track of the data, continuing to get enough data to prove or disprove each test, and note commonalities or lack thereof. For instance, NDE's do not favor a particular age group, race, culture, or religious/non-religious group. They happen in such frequency amongst people who have undergone medical death to be considered common, and have been recorded and reported for hundreds of years. There is enough evidence to conclude that the mind can be separate from the physical brain which alone is flabbergasting! He presents his research and the NDE stories in a straight-forward and understandable way. The whole book is just incredible and affirming! I am so glad he invested his decades of research and his findings to the medical communities and now the public, so that we all can appreciate how even knowing that NDEs happen and are real, we can live and view our lives differently in the here and now, and rather than fearing death, look at death, not as an end, but rather as a transition to a brighter, "more real" and soul-expanding, love-filled place. My sincere thanks to the author, NetGalley and St. Martin's Essential for writing and publishing the book, and allowing me the privilege of reading and reviewing it. It is a read I will never forget! The book is scheduled to be published March 2, 2021. All opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own; I have not been influenced by anyone associated with this book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shamashtika

    A brilliant novel that challenges both medicine and religion. This novel explored the two separate entities that are the mind and the brain; and how they play a factor in near-death experiences (NDEs). Whether you are a person of faith or an atheist, going through an NDE would forever alter the way you look at life. After explores numerous interviews and reports of individuals with varying backgrounds who have seen and experienced an unearthly moment during their NDEs. Some report seeing “guides A brilliant novel that challenges both medicine and religion. This novel explored the two separate entities that are the mind and the brain; and how they play a factor in near-death experiences (NDEs). Whether you are a person of faith or an atheist, going through an NDE would forever alter the way you look at life. After explores numerous interviews and reports of individuals with varying backgrounds who have seen and experienced an unearthly moment during their NDEs. Some report seeing “guides”, some openly say they went to heaven or hell, and an overwhelming majority report an “out of body” experience where they saw themselves from an outside perspective. More so, some describe meeting deceased individuals, seeing the future, or seeing their "life review", which is when the time would infinitely slow down and they would review their various instances of their lives. This was incredibly interesting to read about. I loved reading about Bruce’s thoughts, connections, and inferences of all the reports he presented. He presented the reports in a manner that allowed his readers to question and ponder varying thoughts and ideas. The pacing, structure, and writing were brilliant. I never lost interest, I just want to keep reading! In the end, I was left with peace and hope for the future, because the “afterlife” or death is something I never really thought about, but hearing about it throughout this novel, it's not something I feel ambiguity about anymore.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    One of the final frontiers of modern medicine may be the very real, but inexplicable, phenomena known as near-death experiences, or NDE's. Author Dr. Bruce Greyson, a preeminent psychiatrist, has delved into every conceivable aspect of this field since its infancy (and has documented hands-on data from some of his wide realm of "experiencers" going back as many as 40 years since their brush with death!). Here he lays bare for the intrigued lay reader his irreproachably exhaustive scientific meth One of the final frontiers of modern medicine may be the very real, but inexplicable, phenomena known as near-death experiences, or NDE's. Author Dr. Bruce Greyson, a preeminent psychiatrist, has delved into every conceivable aspect of this field since its infancy (and has documented hands-on data from some of his wide realm of "experiencers" going back as many as 40 years since their brush with death!). Here he lays bare for the intrigued lay reader his irreproachably exhaustive scientific methods of studying NDE's (yet not always appreciated by his colleagues), and illustrates them with an abundance of case studies of real-life subjects, past and present. His admitted innate skepticism at the start of said research notwithstanding, Dr. Greyson reveals the distinctions he has learned to make between the life and death of the physical brain and that of the more ethereal and less understood mind, and the very real positive longterm effects that NDE's have had on the majority of patients who have experienced them: notably, less fear of dying and more zeal to become a better person. For a thoroughly entertaining, thoroughly informed, and thoroughly heartening introduction to near-death experiences (and experiencers), one could do no better than Dr. Greyson's book. "O death, where is thy sting?", indeed!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Darren Mac

    As a layperson untrained in any field of science or philosophy, but also as a casual but determined researcher of consciousness and the possibilities of life after death, I hold Dr Greyson in incredibly high esteem. He is certainly one of, if not the most knowledgeable person in the field of Near Death Experiences. From my lay perspective, After is a fantastic, clear illustration of Dr Greyson’s journey into accepting and exploring the phenomena, from the point of view of a truly skeptical scien As a layperson untrained in any field of science or philosophy, but also as a casual but determined researcher of consciousness and the possibilities of life after death, I hold Dr Greyson in incredibly high esteem. He is certainly one of, if not the most knowledgeable person in the field of Near Death Experiences. From my lay perspective, After is a fantastic, clear illustration of Dr Greyson’s journey into accepting and exploring the phenomena, from the point of view of a truly skeptical scientist. The word skeptic is thrown around a lot these days, but rarely do we find someone who is truly deserving of the description. Dr Greyson, although certainly accepting of the phenomena, approaches it in the most constructive way, always looking for material explanations before paranormal ones. His many papers published in peer reviewed journals, and as shown from his background in psychiatry given in After proves that he cannot be said to be bias, a wishful thinker, or a ‘woo peddler’ as is so often declared by those who call themselves critical thinkers. Anybody who is looking to approach Near Death Experiences from a truly scientific, and truly meaningful way should certainly read this book by one of the world’s leading authorities in the field, and by a man who is the very poster child of true skepticism and scientific investigation. - Darren Mac, Casual Researcher of Consciousness and Life After Death, and Podcast host at Seeking I

  14. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. An absolutely fascinating look at near death experiences (NDEs) and their impact on the people who experience them, as well as those around them. The book is a little bit scientific, but not so much that it is over the head of a person of average intelligence. It’s so interesting to learn that most people fear death less following an NDE and that they tend to move away from caring about material things and can grow more compassionat ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. An absolutely fascinating look at near death experiences (NDEs) and their impact on the people who experience them, as well as those around them. The book is a little bit scientific, but not so much that it is over the head of a person of average intelligence. It’s so interesting to learn that most people fear death less following an NDE and that they tend to move away from caring about material things and can grow more compassionate and concerned for others. Overall an amazing read for how NDE stay with people and can transform their lives.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    I received a copy of After by Bruce Greyson in exchange for an honest review. I’ve always been skeptically curiously about near death experiences (NDE) and life after death. As a scientist and teacher, I need data and scientific processes. Greyson provides both in this engaging, readable book. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to be fascinated by After. I found myself reaching for this book every chance I got to read more and more about NDE. It was a thoroughly enjoyable book that is makin I received a copy of After by Bruce Greyson in exchange for an honest review. I’ve always been skeptically curiously about near death experiences (NDE) and life after death. As a scientist and teacher, I need data and scientific processes. Greyson provides both in this engaging, readable book. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to be fascinated by After. I found myself reaching for this book every chance I got to read more and more about NDE. It was a thoroughly enjoyable book that is making me look at my our life differently.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Gareis

    Thanks to @stmartinspress for sending me this ARC of After by @brucegreysonmd . 4/5⭐️s Five things about After by Bruce Greyson. # 1. Dr Greyson is the world’s leading expert on near death experiences. 2. This is his presentation of the knowledge he’s gleaned concerning the nature of life, death, and the continuation of consciousness after death - pointing toward a transition - not an end. 3. This book approaches these subjects from a completely scientific perspective. 4. I’ve read a lot of books Thanks to @stmartinspress for sending me this ARC of After by @brucegreysonmd . 4/5⭐️s Five things about After by Bruce Greyson. # 1. Dr Greyson is the world’s leading expert on near death experiences. 2. This is his presentation of the knowledge he’s gleaned concerning the nature of life, death, and the continuation of consciousness after death - pointing toward a transition - not an end. 3. This book approaches these subjects from a completely scientific perspective. 4. I’ve read a lot of books and watched a lot of shows (and a cartoon...thanks Soul) exploring this great unknown. I love how familiar much of this information is but presented in such a supported manner. 5. This is not a speculative exploration. It’s a fully documented, scientific dive into the biggest question any and all of us can ask. Well written, well documented, and recommended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    A most excellent book regarding one psychiatrist's use of science to prove the authenticity of NDEs(Near Death Experiences.) I had read books by Raymond Moody and Ian Stevenson, pioneers of NDE research, along with Eben Alexander's book. Very well-written. This was an ARC I had won from a Goodreads giveaway. I only found ONE error(where there should have been a space between two words,)and that is better than some finished books published by major publishing houses. This book has notes at the en A most excellent book regarding one psychiatrist's use of science to prove the authenticity of NDEs(Near Death Experiences.) I had read books by Raymond Moody and Ian Stevenson, pioneers of NDE research, along with Eben Alexander's book. Very well-written. This was an ARC I had won from a Goodreads giveaway. I only found ONE error(where there should have been a space between two words,)and that is better than some finished books published by major publishing houses. This book has notes at the end, and it looks like the finished copy will have an index. Personally I would give the author a suggestion to have the notes placed on the bottom of the page instead of at the end of the book. I highly recommend this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    This is an depth look at how doctors have studied the near death experience. The author, Bruce Greyson, shares how when he first encountered someone who said they could see him talking to her friend, while she was dead, he quickly brushed it off. As time has gone by, he began to study what people experienced and even developed a set of questions to see how what people saw stacked up against others. With a combination of science and real experiences, this was a very interesting book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    4.5 Stars I read a book on NDEs every year. This one was fantastic.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Riann

    A fascinating read! This book was written in such a way that it is very accessible to the average reader. I have long had a fascination with accounts of near-death experiences. Reading this book changed my perception of near-death experiences as well as made me think more of the mind/brain connection. This book was very well done!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shelly

    I loved this book! I think the author did an outstanding job of interviewing a large cross section of people that have experienced near death experiences. He presented all his findings objectively and without judgement. He explains, in terms that are understandable, the difference between the brain and the mind. I found this book very comforting, when death is such a mysterious and often uncomfortable subject.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    What happens after death and are Near Death Experiences a gateway into the afterlife? I have always been fascinated with peoples stories of near death experiences. Years ago I read Dr. Moody’s book, Life After Life. Now Dr. Greyson has extended the research and has offered more dramatic accounts of many individuals’s first hand accounts of this phenomenon. I am a believer and this book only validated for me that our soul does live on.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Wagner

    This is a book that will leave you different after. It's a paradigm-shattering work that will challenge you whether you believe in "the afterlife" or not. This is the first credibly science-based, real world applicable book I've read or even heard of that's about near-death experiences. What ARE they, really? What do they mean? What do they do? How are they relevant to our lives and to medicine and psychiatry now? I have very little to say about this other than to present quotes from it. Please This is a book that will leave you different after. It's a paradigm-shattering work that will challenge you whether you believe in "the afterlife" or not. This is the first credibly science-based, real world applicable book I've read or even heard of that's about near-death experiences. What ARE they, really? What do they mean? What do they do? How are they relevant to our lives and to medicine and psychiatry now? I have very little to say about this other than to present quotes from it. Please see below... The brain is a device for the mind to act more effectively on the physical body and to focus our thoughts on the physical world. It is the organ of attention to life...The mind can be a function of the brain the way the keys of an organ make music, by opening the various pipes to let the wind escape in various ways. The organ does not produce the wind or the music -- it removes the obstacle holding the wind back...Your brain may function like a cell phone. It receives the thoughts and feelings and converts them into electrical and chemical signals that the body can understand and use. It is consistent with what we know of our neurobiology that, if our thoughts and feelings come from outside the body, the brain would act to filter out those that are not essential to our physical survival, just as other parts of our nervous system filter out nonessential information coming from the outside. Hallucinogenic drugs like LSD and psilocybin suppress brain activity. (!) [Does this reduce the filtering, thus giving us additional access to mystical experiences?] We are conscious not because of the brain but in spite of it. Those who are exposed to NDE information have a greater appreciation for life, greater spirituality, and a more positive attitude toward death; and they had less anxiety about material possessions and achievement. We may well find ourselves somewhere else after we die, but we are here now. We may eventually come up with another explanation, but until then, some form of continued consciousness after death seems to be the most plausible working model. What you do with this information is up to you. It's comforting to think that death is not necessarily the end of consciousness, not when just about everyone who's returned from death claims it's absolute bliss on the other side. What are we here to do in the meantime?

  24. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Love

    Bruce Greyson didn't win me over with After. This collection of near-death experiences (NDEs) has many interesting cases in it, but the presentation of those cases is lacking. Since it reads like a text book, it's boring. Still, there are poignant facts worth taking notice of if you can manage to slog through the pages. Do you remember that ending of the Lord of the Rings movies where it felt like it was ending, but then it didn't and fooled viewers three or four times? Reading After is like that Bruce Greyson didn't win me over with After. This collection of near-death experiences (NDEs) has many interesting cases in it, but the presentation of those cases is lacking. Since it reads like a text book, it's boring. Still, there are poignant facts worth taking notice of if you can manage to slog through the pages. Do you remember that ending of the Lord of the Rings movies where it felt like it was ending, but then it didn't and fooled viewers three or four times? Reading After is like that. Even in Greyson's final chapter where he's specifically summarizing each lesson learned, there were too many false wrap-ups with "and that brings us to the next lesson," type of structure. There were at least seven lessons spelled out in the conclusion. If the subject of what happens after we die appeals to you, there are certainly plenty of books on it. Due to the various ways in which people face death, take note that suicide is addressed sporadically. Greyson calls them "suicide attempters" which in 2021 when language has evolved to be more inclusive and sensitive, these subjects should be referred to as "suicide survivors" at the very least. The main conclusion of addressing suicide is that, even though people had pleasant experiences when they left their bodies, they were not compelled to try again and get to that peace any quicker. The opposite happened among that demographic. They were more inclined to appreciate every moment of living. For others who were taken from their bodies by means of accident or natural causes, there were some cases where returning to their living state after having time in a state of complete peace left them utterly depressed. Greyson does interview subjects who have set religious practices and others who have lapsed and atheists. Some people saw what they expected to see: deceased loved ones, Jesus, or a God of one form or another. Certain people were surprised by what they encountered. Greyson has a passion for his psychiatric practice and for the NDE subject. That much comes through. The book just did not stick the landing in organization and presentation of people's deeply personal stories. His writing between the stories is extremely repetitive.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Zachary Houle

    What happens to us when we die? That’s a universal and age-old question. At my church, we talk about people who have died as moving from the “life beyond this life.” Whether there’s an afterlife or some sort of consciousness that exists in people after death, though, seems to be the great unknown. Or is it? Psychiatrist Bruce Greyson has been studying near-death experiences for more than 40 years and brings the results of his decades-long study of the phenomenon to the fore in his new book After What happens to us when we die? That’s a universal and age-old question. At my church, we talk about people who have died as moving from the “life beyond this life.” Whether there’s an afterlife or some sort of consciousness that exists in people after death, though, seems to be the great unknown. Or is it? Psychiatrist Bruce Greyson has been studying near-death experiences for more than 40 years and brings the results of his decades-long study of the phenomenon to the fore in his new book After. It’s a slightly complicated and challenging book because it is stuffed to the gills with stories from whom Greyson calls “experiencers” (those who have experienced a near-death or out-of-body experience) and conclusions on what data gleaned from these people might all mean. How did Greyson — who grew up in a household without religion and is a self-described skeptic — come to study near-death experiences? One day some 50 years ago, and while he was eating spaghetti in a hospital cafeteria, his pager went off and startled him. He wound up getting a spaghetti sauce stain on his tie, which he promptly hid under his lab coat. He’d been called to see a young woman named Holly who had tried to commit suicide and was now unconscious in a bed in one room of the same hospital. He then went to a nearby room to talk to the woman’s friend about what had happened, and he unbuttoned his lab coat to reveal the stained tie. The next day, he went back to talk to Holly, who was now conscious, and Holly indicated that she had been in the neighbouring room as Greyson and her friend during the day before and had heard the conversation. Holly also mentioned that she had seen the spaghetti sauce stain on his tie. Greyson was puzzled. How could have Holly known about the stain unless someone had told her about it? And why would they mention this to her as part of a complicated plot to befuddle the doctor into believing she had been awake when she clearly hadn’t been? It just didn’t make too much sense. Why would anyone want to play such an elaborate trick? However, Holly’s insistence that she was in the same room as Greyson and her friend while she was actually lying unconscious in a different room, if true, didn’t make much sense, either. Read the rest of the review here: https://zachary-houle.medium.com/a-re...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elisamatt

    Scientific and Reassuring I met Dr. Greyson at a conference about 1.5 years ago when this book had not yet been published. At the time, I was familiar w/ Ian Stevenson’s and Jim Tucker’s work on reincarnation—which I discovered by accident—but didn’t know much about NDEs. I had barely heard about them. I had not read Dr. Greyson’s work prior and looked forward to reading this book. It doesn’t disappoint, from its coherent and logical layout to the conclusions he draws. He does not write as a “tru Scientific and Reassuring I met Dr. Greyson at a conference about 1.5 years ago when this book had not yet been published. At the time, I was familiar w/ Ian Stevenson’s and Jim Tucker’s work on reincarnation—which I discovered by accident—but didn’t know much about NDEs. I had barely heard about them. I had not read Dr. Greyson’s work prior and looked forward to reading this book. It doesn’t disappoint, from its coherent and logical layout to the conclusions he draws. He does not write as a “true believer”, but as one who, having studied the evidence, is almost reluctantly drawn into his observations that there might be more to life than what we now know. One possibility, for instance, is that we may be connected to something larger than ourselves. As such, this is the best kind of “science writing.” When I discovered the initial JAMA article on Stevenson’s work years ago, I personally wasn’t in a good place, w/ two seriously ill children and a flagging career. In further exploring the topic, some hope did arise that there might be more than misery ahead for us. This book affirmed those thoughts—life might be more than a chancy jungle where the lucky and smart survive while the others (us) don’t. So, the book has achieved at least that one goal of its author, (for me) as well as the other goals he mentions. Some critics have dismissed this book as a review of known research (known to who? I might ask). I’m less familiar w/ NDE research, so perhaps the critics are correct. Big deal. It’s the coherency of the presentation of even supposedly known fact in this book that makes it helpful. Also, this book is not written for a scientific audience so assumptions about a purported reader’s prior knowledge of the topic cannot be made. That criticism and others I saw as the usual cat fighting among academics that is often based in envy. I was an academic, and I know more than I care to about this nasty behavior. It’s a good book. Read it if you are interested. And thank you, Dr. Greyson, for writing it. Sheila Wall, MD, MFA, CAc

  27. 5 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    Captivating! Inspiring! Phenomenal! Dr. Bruce Greyson lays the foundation for the NDE's through individual perspective while being presented with evidence in scientific research and skepticism. As a firm believer in faith and higher power and having been myself on near death experiences - in particular- a placenta abruption- and then to watch my own son struggle for his own life in the NICU for two months -often going code blue- I can speak from experiences that it does change a person. What I find Captivating! Inspiring! Phenomenal! Dr. Bruce Greyson lays the foundation for the NDE's through individual perspective while being presented with evidence in scientific research and skepticism. As a firm believer in faith and higher power and having been myself on near death experiences - in particular- a placenta abruption- and then to watch my own son struggle for his own life in the NICU for two months -often going code blue- I can speak from experiences that it does change a person. What I find difficult is prior to this if one is an empath and then goes through the NDE it truly gives off a vibe of energy because you experience things at a far greater frequency and having nearly died you learn to appreciate every day as a gift. So, if there's a puddle having just rained I would take my son as a minor and jump in it and explore the world via senses and not just audio or visual cues. In terms of what these individuals experiences and having dealt with mediums and other frequencies both with lights going off, butterflies powerfully circling for my attention around me, eagles flying circles above my home, double rainbows, etc.. I know that those who don't believe are often those who also don't hold much faith in the after life. After is a fab novel that discusses not just the scientific event but the form of consciousness as never ending but rather transitioning. Therefore, it transforms the fear of dying into a more healthy alternative point of view that encompasses a multitude of events in one's life. The doctor does has over 40 years of research and does well in addressing these so called, "tricks of the brain" or "wishful thinking" occurrences. It was a rather interesting take on something that many lack the ability to make a proper judgement upon for the lack of experience in having undergone something of such magnitude. It's one of those things that you truly have had to lived in order to understand.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Hoss

    The most scientific (but accessible) book on near-death experiences I've read so far. Regardless of what "skeptics" (re: dogmatic atheists) will get out of this (nothing, because they don't want to learn anything that contradicts their worldview), Greyson is a true scientist who gives us the evidence and doesn't force a conclusion. Yes, much of the evidence is anecdotal. It's not easy (or ethical?) to force an NDE for scientific purposes. But with enough anecdotes, you have a dataset. And if wha The most scientific (but accessible) book on near-death experiences I've read so far. Regardless of what "skeptics" (re: dogmatic atheists) will get out of this (nothing, because they don't want to learn anything that contradicts their worldview), Greyson is a true scientist who gives us the evidence and doesn't force a conclusion. Yes, much of the evidence is anecdotal. It's not easy (or ethical?) to force an NDE for scientific purposes. But with enough anecdotes, you have a dataset. And if what Greyson says is true, there are many, many more people having NDEs than we know about. It's still a subject that people are very uncomfortable talking about, either for scientific or religious reasons. I especially like his hypothesis about how the brain and mind could be different entities. Your brain may function like a cell phone. It receives the thoughts and feelings and converts them into electrical and chemical signals that the body can understand and use. It is consistent with what we know of our neurobiology that, if our thoughts and feelings come from outside the body, the brain would act to filter out those that are not essential to our physical survival, just as other parts of our nervous system filter out nonessential information coming from the outside. Hallucinogenic drugs like LSD and psilocybin suppress brain activity. [Does this reduce the filtering, thus giving us additional access to mystical experiences?] We are conscious not because of the brain but in spite of it. Executive dysfunction? Mental illness? That's not the fundamental YOU, it's the chemistry of a biological organ that is acting as flawed radio to pick up your soul's frequency. Whether this is true or not, it has changed my mental health for the better in the days since I've read it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Wenger

    As Dr. Greyson points out in the book, the plural of anecdote is data. This book is a data-driven compendium of the state of the science regarding near-death experience. It doesn't pretend to offer explanations for what is so far unexplainable. It doesn't speculate. It classifies and organizes NDEs into different types. It reveals what is known: That NDEs are not hallucinations nor signs of mental illness. That the experiences can be life-changing, but positive outcomes require acceptance from l As Dr. Greyson points out in the book, the plural of anecdote is data. This book is a data-driven compendium of the state of the science regarding near-death experience. It doesn't pretend to offer explanations for what is so far unexplainable. It doesn't speculate. It classifies and organizes NDEs into different types. It reveals what is known: That NDEs are not hallucinations nor signs of mental illness. That the experiences can be life-changing, but positive outcomes require acceptance from loved ones and the medical community. That experiencers can develop a deeper sense of empathy and lose their fear not only of death, but of life. I was struck by how closely some NDEs resemble Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor's descriptions of her stroke: the vibrancy, the sense of oneness. Dr. Greyson touches on this but doesn't explore it. He avoids the speculation that some NDEs could result from a loss of blood flow to the left hemisphere of the brain while the right hemisphere (for some moments at least) remains active. It seems the implication is there, but he's careful not to state it outright. However, this does not adequately explain other types of NDEs, like out-of-body experiences. So we're left with what's still a great mystery—the profound question of whether consciousness is a function of the brain or something else—and whether consciousness can continue even after the brain has died. This book doesn't reveal any great secrets of the universe. But it does offer great insight on how to offer compassionate care to patients and loved ones who've had NDEs, and how the experiencers can process the NDEs and integrate them into their lives. Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    After is a very interesting book on a topic that is little discussed and even less understood. Bruce Greyson has been investigating in this area for some 40 years, ever since he first encountered unusual behaviors in an unconscious patient early in his career as a psychiatrist. This book helps all who might be interested learn what his and many others’ years of research have revealed about those who have near death experiences (NDEs), how they may occur and some characteristics. As it happens, th After is a very interesting book on a topic that is little discussed and even less understood. Bruce Greyson has been investigating in this area for some 40 years, ever since he first encountered unusual behaviors in an unconscious patient early in his career as a psychiatrist. This book helps all who might be interested learn what his and many others’ years of research have revealed about those who have near death experiences (NDEs), how they may occur and some characteristics. As it happens, there is evidence for NDEs in historical and literary records going back hundreds to thousands of years (the Greeks). There are mentions of injured people seeming to be dead, then being alive and reporting strange visions or experiences. It appears to occur in about 10 to 20% of those who come close to death. Dr. Greyson presents extensive detail as he has set up a format to move methodically from the existence of NDEs, through the physiology of the brain, theories of brain vs mind, comparison of life pre and post an NDE, etc. There is an international association dedicated to this work now, one in which Dr. Greyson has been very important. While absolute answers may never be possible, there are very intriguing results found here, such as specific information a person may bring back from an NDE that they didn’t know at the time of their illness/injury. This leads to questions about the possible existence of the mind without the brain. As I said, intriguing. I do recommend this book to all who have any interest in this area. A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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