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Dead or Alive (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition

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Length: 41 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews Review

What happens when we die? In this brilliant and effecting meditation on death and what might lie beyond, former Los Angeles Times writer Erika Hayasaki pursues that very question, one with which she's become "quietly obsessed" since her college days when she moonlighted as an obit writer for a local Illinois newspaper. Hayasaki examines all aspects of the question, describing moving scenes of near-death and life-after-death experiences, exploring the science behind them, and tracing the emotional crescendo that comes with approaching death. Woven throughout is the story of her Uncle Richard, who survived a near-death experience 20 years ago, and who eventually succumbs to a chain-smoking habit that he'd kicked decades earlier. Hayasaki's telling of how she sought out and bonded with her bright but distant uncle is worth the price of admission alone. But for those who wonder what lies beyond, this is a must-read piece capable of generating real chills. --Chris Schluep

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Product Details

  • File Size: 101 KB
  • Print Length: 41 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publication Date: February 1, 2012
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0074FJDQQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #403,563 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Erika Hayasaki is an assistant professor in the Literary Journalism Department at the University of California, Irvine, an undergraduate degree program dedicated to teaching narrative journalism. She spent nearly a decade as a reporter covering breaking news and writing feature stories for the Los Angeles Times, where she was a staff metro reporter, education writer, and New York-based national correspondent. She is the author of The Death Class: A True Story About Life (Simon & Schuster January 2014), and has published two Kindle Singles (Dead or Alive, 2012) and (Drowned by Corn, 2014). She regular writes for Newsweek and The Atlantic. Read more at or follow her on Twitter @erikahayasaki.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Rett01 VINE VOICE on February 3, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Washed by "zillions and zillions" of otherworldly pinpoints of bright light, like stars. Being caught up in diorama of your own life. Floating outside your own body, hovering near the ceiling, looking down at the efforts to save you.

Nearly all Near Death Experiences (NDEs) include recurring images, sensations and emotions often of euphoria or extreme pleasure.

One patient, resuscitated after being declared clinically dead, recalled observing a serial number written on the top of a ventilator in the hospital room. She could repeat the number to the nurses. A janitor was called, got a ladder and climbed to the top of the machine. It contained a serial number. He read the numbers. They matched.

Maybe it's time to cue the "Twilight Zone" theme music. But as Erika Hayasaki explores, she finds more and more scientific evidence that death and the way we define the end of life may not be exactly as we think. Consciousness may live on after our heart stops, eyes dilate and our brain waves flat-line.

Maybe the sensation of your life flashing in front of you or out-of-body experiences have a physiological explanation but then, again, maybe there's more to it. Hayasaki does a convincing job of research that provides an introduction to current thinking about NDE and the clinical meaning of death.

She writes with a clear head and presents a persuasive argument that the finality of death might not be so final. Her essay is also the story of her uncle Richard, who at 43 had a severe heart attack in 1991, was clinically death, then revived and recounts a vivid, believable memory of his out-of-body experience that included communing with a twin brother, who had died at birth.

"It was instantly like I knew him, and he instantly knew me," Richard said.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bojan Tunguz HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on February 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Death is probably one of the grimmest and saddest topics that I can think of. I don't really like to think about it, nor do I like to read about it. However, "Dead or Alive" is one of those rare books that manages to challenge our ideals about death, without trivializing them or making them overly sappy and cloying.

This short Kindle single deals with death rom the perspective of near death experiences (NDE). There is a substantial literature on this subject, and in recent history it has been attracting more of the attention from the mainstream scientific and medical circles. However, the author of this single, Erika Hayasaki, has a very personal take on this matter. It turns out that her uncle has had a NDE in his thirties, and his life story forms a substantial portion of the narrative in this single. It is a warm and intimate look at one man's life and death experiences, and how the two have come to shape each other.

This single also provides a substantial amount of references and information on the subject of NDEs in general, and anyone who has had any interest in this subject will appreciate this. Hayasaki is not trying to evangelize or proselytize any particular view of NDEs or afterlife, but she is definitely very sympathetic to the notions that there is more to life and self than the purely material reality. Whatever your religious or spiritual background may be, this single may be able to shape your attitude towards death and dying, and add a thread to the tapestry of your outlook towards the ultimate things in life.

One of the more appealing aspects of this single is the quality of writing. Hayasaki is a masterful writer, and she manages to weave various sources of information with her own personal experience in a disarmingly effortless manner.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Chambers HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on February 4, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I imagine that most people have at least heard of near-death experiences (NDE), but author Erika Hayasaki does a fine job of summarizing current knowledge about the subject, and making it more personal with the experience one of her uncles had after a heart attack.

Near-death experiences have been reported for many years, but the scientific and medical communities are finally beginning to take the phenomenon seriously, and a number of studies have been done, with some of these ongoing now. For example, since many people who have died and been resuscitated reported that they were weightless and floating above their body, one current study has pictures placed in hospital rooms in locations that only someone who was almost to the ceiling could see. It's a long shot, but if a resuscitated patient does identify one of the pictures, it could be the hard evidence to validate the experiences that many have reported.

But the author doesn't only report on various studies and reported experiences. It got personal when she interviewed her Uncle Richard about his experience after a heart attack two decades ago, when he stated that he briefly joined a community of brilliant lights, like a "zillion, zillion stars in one place."

The author gave a fairly balanced look at NDE, including the views of professionals who believe the phenomenon can be explained through traditional neurophysiologic or psychological factors. There's even a bit of humor, as in comedian Jeff Foxworthy's story of the fish who had a near-death experience and lived to tell his buddies about it.

"Dead or Alive" is a fascinating look at what we know about the near-death experience. With 677 Kindle locations, it's about the length of an extended magazine article, and is an excellent introduction to a topic of interest to many people.
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