The best books about near death experiences

7 authors have picked their favorite books about near death experiences and why they recommend each book.

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90 Minutes in Heaven

By Don Piper, Cecil Murphey,

Book cover of 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death & Life

This book spent five years on the New York Times bestseller list. Despite what some see as controversial claims that the author spent ninety minutes in heaven and then came back to life, only five of the eighteen chapters dwell on Piper’s “near-death experience.” The majority of the book chronicles his horrifically painful struggle to survive and then recover the use of his legs which were mangled in an accident. He often begged God to let him die. Instead, God brought people into his life to help him move past self-pity and find a renewed purpose.

Who am I?

Having practically grown up at the hospital where my dad worked as a medical photographer, I wanted to be a nurse from the age of ten. I worked in ICU for five years and then retired to become a stay-at-home mom and later a homeschool mother. But once a nurse, always a nurse. I continued to care for friends and family, including my one-hundred-year-old mother-in-law, through health crises and long-term illnesses. My book and the others listed here tell stories of God’s healing—physically, mentally, and spiritually—a theme I’m passionate about and hope you are, too!


I wrote...

Health, Healing, and Wholeness: Devotions of Hope in the Midst of Illness

By Tracy Crump,

Book cover of Health, Healing, and Wholeness: Devotions of Hope in the Midst of Illness

What is my book about?

Are you facing a health crisis or battling chronic illness? Do you need a dose of hope? Through her work as an intensive care nurse, Tracy Crump witnessed lifesaving miracles when everyone involved had given up—everyone except God.

Crafted with unique examples of God's miraculous power and saving grace, Health, Healing, and Wholeness blends Scripture-rich meditations with biblical principles highlighting God's mercy in times of medical need. Moving stories of a mother's sacrifice, children overcoming catastrophic accidents, and joy despite traumatic brain injury instill hope. Whether you are experiencing a medical crisis, walking alongside someone who is, or caring for a loved one, these thirty devotions will bring comfort and peace.

The Hummingbird's Daughter

By Luis Alberto Urrea,

Book cover of The Hummingbird's Daughter

The Hummingbird’s Daughter is the first in a two-part book series about a real-life woman known as Teresita, a curandera (or Mexican folk healer) and revolutionary figure who was born in Mexico and lived in the U.S. for some time. Urrea, a descendant of Teresita, fictionalizes her life in the book. I hope readers fall in love with Teresita’s story and share it with others because she is one of many figures in North American history that we should all know.  

The magical realism in this novel makes an appearance through Teresita’s healing powers as a curandera. I’ve been obsessed with curanderismo, or the folk healing practice of Latin America that combines Indigenous and Catholic beliefs and practices, since I was in college. This is why curanderas make appearances in both my books.


Who am I?

Magical realism was created by Latin American writers, and I’m proud to continue the tradition today. I grew up reading magical stories – mostly fantasy – but there was always something missing in those books, that sense of reality that I experienced every day of my life thanks to my Mixed Latinx heritage. When I discovered magical realism, I felt at home. I’ve been studying magical realism since I was 21, so it comes as no surprise that most of the creative writing I do fall into the magical realism genre. I love helping others discover the beauty of magical realism because it is a phenomenal genre that helps readers understand their reality through magic. 


I wrote...

Half Outlaw

By Alex Temblador,

Book cover of Half Outlaw

What is my book about?

After the tragic death of her parents when she was just four years old, Raqi is sent to live with her uncle Dodge in Escondido, California. Taking after her Mexican father, Raqi immediately faces hostility from the members of Dodge's all-white, 1 percenter motorcycle club, the Lawless, and from her uncle himself. As soon as she can, she leaves the violence and bigotry behind and doesn't look back.

Years later, Raqi is a successful partner at a law firm in Los Angeles. She gets a call from Billy, the leader of the Lawless. Dodge is dead, and Billy wants her to go on the Grieving Ride. There is no way Raqi would ever attend, except for one thing: Billy promises to give her the address of her grandfather if she goes.

Dying to Be Me

By Anita Moorjani,

Book cover of Dying to Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing

This book, which is part memoir, part healing, and transformation, is about a woman’s near-death experience after her body was ravaged by stage-four cancer and the miraculous spontaneous healing that followed. It’s an incredible story on its own. But what I found particularly fascinating were Moorjani’s conclusions regarding the thoughts, beliefs, and life experiences that led to her illness, as well as her overall take on how readers can promote healing in their own lives. 


Who am I?

A shock diagnosis of a blinding eye disease at the age of 37, coupled with a trip to South Africa to write about the devastating toll of AIDS, drove home the importance of focusing on the Now. This newfound perspective led me to radically change my life and turn my author dream into reality. Eleven years later another shock diagnosis—this time with aggressive breast cancer—led me to the intersections between spirituality and science. That’s where I learned about the proven impact our thoughts and beliefs have on our health and overall life. I now use my transformative journey to empower audiences and help them pursue the lives they want—regardless of the challenges they face. 


I wrote...

Focus

By Ingrid Ricks,

Book cover of Focus

What is my book about?

At the age of 37, I learned I suffered from Retinitis Pigmentosa, an incurable eye disease that was stealing my eyesight and would eventually leave me completely blind. Gripped with the terrifying fear that I would miss out on my daughters’ lives, become a burden to my husband, and lose the career and independence that defined me, I embarked on a quest to fix my eyesight that ended up fixing my life. 

Passage

By Connie Willis,

Book cover of Passage: A Novel

Technically this might be an adult book, but I read it as a teen and it gripped me completely. It was my first encounter with Connie Willis and I became an unconditional fan. This one is different from the other books on my list as it is a SciFi novel, starting with a medical deep dive into near-death experiences, or, more accurately, the replication of safe near-death experiences in labs… or are they? 

Willis is the queen of urgency, and throughout this unusual novel we are wrenched and rushed and held to the edge of our seat in suspense. The afterlife looms into every corner, every thought, every event, like another character – and best of all, it mostly looks like the sinking Titanic. It’s a wonderful blend of SciFi and historical novel, written like a thriller. I highly recommend it, though, I warn you, this is a monument…


Who am I?

I grew up with the cartoon Beetlejuice, fascinated by the composed Lydia running around a bright and insane afterlife. Any cheerfully gothic story I would latch on with glee. Perhaps this is why fantasy has always been my favourite genre, and why I cannot help but mix dark and light, and why my first novel naturally took place in the afterlife. I wrote my first book for my brother, because he was as interested as me in all the weird in the world, but unlike me, he had dyslexia and hated reading. He received the story in instalments and to my amazement and pride, he just gobbled them up. 


I wrote...

Voice from the Dead: A Young Adult Portal Fantasy in the Afterlife

By Aster Shock,

Book cover of Voice from the Dead: A Young Adult Portal Fantasy in the Afterlife

What is my book about?

After being killed by bullies at 16, Tosho collides with a mind-bending afterlife that's gripped in a battle for leadership of the dead. But while a vibrant resistance group of teens welcomes him with open arms, someone in the afterworld wants him gone. Not only is Tosho carrying a heinous family legacy, but he had a gift for angering the powerful in his past life. Now, someone with a monster of a grudge is set on taking their revenge and devouring him down to utter oblivion. Pursued from one end of the afterworld to the other, the trap closes in. Barely escaping the gnashing jaws of the nightmares hunting him, Tosho must figure out who wants him gone, or his new friends will become victims once again.

After

By Bruce Greyson, MD,

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

The author, because of some eye-popping experiences early in his medical career, found himself compelled to question his orthodox assumptions and attempt to document, as scientifically as possible, the near-death events he witnessed. I really related to his descriptions of himself as a young physician who downplayed his research and professed more skepticism than he actually felt because he was terrified of ruining his career. “Studying things that fit our preconceived ideas helps us understand their fine points better,” he writes. “But studying things that don’t fit our preconceived ideas is what often drives breakthroughs in science.” This book offers provocative insights and a kind of comfort this mother was happy to discover.


Who am I?

I’m an award-winning author of fiction that always explored existential questions but in a ruminating sort of way. After the loss of my only child, I turned to memoir and wrote Little Matches: A Memoir of Finding Light in the Dark, to tell the story of my search for satisfying answers to the big life questions. I spent months reading the philosophers and visiting people who claimed psi abilities. I sought out books on the paranormal written by critical thinkers, books by people who possessed real-world credentials, and/or had been tested and certified by groups I respected. They opened the door to a fascinating world of ideas and beliefs.


I wrote...

Little Matches: A Memoir of Finding Light in the Dark

By Maryanne O'Hara,

Book cover of Little Matches: A Memoir of Finding Light in the Dark

What is my book about?

After losing my only child, I looked for answers to the big life questions. Where is she? Is she? Is there more to life than this life? Does consciousness survive death? Does my existence serve any real purpose? Does anyone's? 

Little Matches is my recounting of my search and the surprising, affirming answers I discovered.

Imagine Heaven

By John Burke,

Book cover of Imagine Heaven: Near-Death Experiences, God's Promises, and the Exhilarating Future That Awaits You

While this is a non-fiction book, it gives the reader a lot to ponder and consider about what heaven will be like. There are many near-death experiences that are collated. While the experience of each person is not the same, one finds what is overlapping is the wonder, amazement, and awe-inspiring scenes that were experienced.


Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by science fiction and by Biblical Scripture. That may seem dichotomous to some, but not to me. I have a passion for science and for Scripture because both bring understanding about our world from the microcosm to the macrocosm. My writings are a mixture of science and mystery with a science fiction feel and a Christian perspective. I like stories that show how truth arises even from the dark, confusing, and ambiguity of life to help one discover something about God they may not have considered before, and at the same time enjoy a fun, fast-paced, and exciting journey as they read.


I wrote...

Rebellion in the Stones of Fire

By Randy C. Dockens,

Book cover of Rebellion in the Stones of Fire

What is my book about?

Come read how who we call the Adversary, or Lucifer, or Satan, or the devil falls from the highest of places to where he is today. Understand the conflict that starts in Heaven and how it extends to Earth. See everything through the eyes of Mikael, the Captain of the Lord’s Hosts: from the beginning of the universe, the initial rebellion, creation of time, the Garden of Eden, and up through the time of Noah, the Nephilim, and the Flood. Get a different perspective on these events that will help you rediscover the awe of age-old Bible stories and give you a new perspective for you to ponder. 

Proof of Heaven

By Eben Alexander,

Book cover of Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey Into the Afterlife

Every once in a great while, something remarkable happens and lets us learn about life in a different dimension than what we are used to. This book is penned by an author who is a neurosurgeon and who had a near-death experience upon falling critically ill with meningitis. I love this book because of the author’s ability to use his profound knowledge gained by his own near-death experience to unravel the deepest and most insightful meaning of life and its secrets. The lessons learned from the author’s own experience of the fusion of the spiritual and scientific self is well explained. The book is also unique from a point of view of the author being vulnerable enough to reveal his personal life and how his past played a role in the experiences during the 7-day coma and recovery from it.

Who am I?

Life caught me by surprise when our youngest son was born with a birth defect that launched our family into the world of surgeries, and treatments. After experiencing the management of chronic care for our child firsthand, I realized how important it is to share personal stories and experiences. It enables empathy and a deeper understanding and appreciation of what patients and families go through. Autobiographical accounts of patients and families are still very limited. We need more people to come forward and share their own patient/family experiences in order to promote the betterment of healthcare and healing through relating with others and learning from others’ experiences.



I wrote...

The 5000th Baby: A Parent's Perspective and Journey through the First Year of Life

By Devesh Dahale,

Book cover of The 5000th Baby: A Parent's Perspective and Journey through the First Year of Life

What is my book about?

A story of the first year of life of a baby who was born with a rare birth defect which occurs with a frequency of one in approximately 5000 babies born. A vivid description of the journey of a family that was shocked and overwhelmed by the fear of the unknown, and the perils of the surgeries and treatments that would follow. The story is a detailed account of the medical aspects (surgeries, recoveries, complications, infections, and treatment regimens) while often encountering a “not so friendly” medical system at times as well as dealing with psycho-social aspects of life.

The book provides valuable tips and suggestions so that others may benefit from the author’s experience. Learn about the journey with its trials and tribulations as experienced through the patient / parent’s perspective and appreciate the blessing of a normally functioning healthy human body.

Is Consciousness Primary?

By Stephan A Schwartz (editor), Marjorie H Woollacott (editor), Gary E Schwartz (editor)

Book cover of Is Consciousness Primary?

This book includes essays by some of the foremost thought leaders of our time, on the topic of consciousness seen through the eyes of postmaterialist science. Each seeks a scientific understanding of consciousness that is not reducible to physical processes in the brain. Their intention is not to exclude traditional science and its reliance on neurology and the brain, but rather to reach for a broader view of reality, one that includes well documented nonphysical dimensions of conscious experience, including phenomena such as out-of-the-body and near-death experiences, as well as telepathy, precognition, and more.

Each of these authors is well known and respected in their own field and presents here the cream of a lifetime of research in these areas.


Who am I?

I am a teacher and professor of psychology and consciousness studies. I have been fascinated by the enigma of consciousness my entire adult life. Over the years I have written and taught in a number of different fields including biology, psychology, history, art, and philosophy, always looking to the nature of consciousness, and always exploring its spiritual dimensions. My writings include the present selection, Consciousness Explained Better, described by Ken Wilber as “the finest book on consciousness in modern times, bar none” and The Radiance of Being, that shared a book of the year award with Nobel laureate Roger Penrose’s book, The Emperor’s New Mind. 


I wrote...

Consciousness Explained Better: Towards an Integral Understanding of the Multifaceted Nature of Consciousness

By Allan Combs,

Book cover of Consciousness Explained Better: Towards an Integral Understanding of the Multifaceted Nature of Consciousness

What is my book about?

This book is about the nature of consciousness. I wrote it at the suggestion of my friend Ken Wilber. It is an effort to write a highly readable yet sophisticated book on consciousness. In it, I follow Wilber’s integral model of “all quadrants all levels.” This approach divides our perspectives of the world into inner or subjective vs. outer or objective, and into singular vs. plural. For example, my view of my own inner life is subjective and singular, whereas my perspective on my relationship with those I love most is subjective and plural.

On the other hand, if I am a scientist studying a particular example of a butterfly, I see it in a singular objective way, whereas a flock of butterflies is seen as objective and plural. Most scientific investigations are on the objective side of the fence, but much of psychology, and especially consciousness studies, is on the subjective side. In addition to the above, living things including minds and consciousness tend to grow over time through developmental stages. 

The Way to Love

By Anthony De Mello,

Book cover of The Way to Love: The Last Meditations of Anthony De Mello

I am a self-help junkie and have read a ridiculous amount of books about relationships. But if I had to pick one, this would be it. This little book reveals the secret to peace in your relationships… and it’s not what you think. Anthony de Mello teaches that love is found only in fearlessness and freedom. He provides a simple formula for releasing the angst caused by unhealthy attachments to our partners, so we can feel joyful and complete in their company or on our own. Anthony de Mello’s wisdom has been instrumental in my personal healing and provided the foundation for my own teachings. 


Who am I?

Sonia Frontera is a divorce lawyer with a heart. She is the survivor of a toxic marriage who is now happily remarried. Sonia integrates the wisdom acquired through her personal journey, her professional experience and the lessons of the world’s leading transformational teachers and translates it into guidance that is insightful and practical. Through the years, Sonia has supported domestic violence survivors as an advocate, speaker, and empowerment trainer.


I wrote...

Relationship Solutions: Effective Strategies to Heal Your Heart and Create the Happiness You Deserve

By Sonia Frontera, Connie Wilson,

Book cover of Relationship Solutions: Effective Strategies to Heal Your Heart and Create the Happiness You Deserve

What is my book about?

Your marital troubles are not the end of the road but a detour on the road to happiness. 

Whether you’re unhappily married, on the road to divorce recovery, or somewhere in between, this inspiring guide will lead you step by step through a journey of self-discovery and personal transformation, so you can create the happiness you deserve—with your spouse... or alone.

An End to Upside Down Thinking

By Mark Gober,

Book cover of An End to Upside Down Thinking: Dispelling the Myth That the Brain Produces Consciousness, and the Implications for Everyday Life

If you are curious about the science of the unexplained realms of consciousness, and how to explore their possibilities, then this accessible, well-researched guide is the perfect place to start. Citing peer-reviewed studies, Gober covers near-death experiences, telepathy, “remote viewing,” and other phenomena which, though part of the anecdotal heritage of all cultures, remain unexplored by all but the bravest scientists. 


Who am I?

From when I first learned to read, books opened a whole new world, which has given me vast pleasure ever since. I think it’s made me wiser, too. But it wasn’t until the sudden death of my younger son in 2020 that I began to read about the edges of the known world, and to discover that by opening my mind I could re-learn what I instinctively knew as a young child: that we come from somewhere else. Even before encountering tragedy, I’d been fascinated by the dividing line between what science can prove, and what still remains conjecture: it’s a theme I have returned to again and again in my fiction. 


I wrote...

The Rapture

By Liz Jensen,

Book cover of The Rapture

What is my book about?

The Rapture is an ecological thriller about an incarcerated teenage murderer who claims she can foresee natural disasters. When she predicts a terrifying geological event on the horizon, she provides enough proof to convince her psychologically and physically damaged therapist that she is right. But who will believe either of them? Together, two vulnerable, frightened but determined people join forces to warn the world of a major disaster before millions lose their lives. 

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