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Fast Lane to Heaven: Celestial Encounters that Changed My Life Hardcover – March, 2001

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Editorial Reviews Review

Ned Dougherty, author of Fast Lane to Heaven, almost died at the age of 37--an experience that ultimately saved his life. Before he collapsed on the cement outside of his nightclub in the Hamptons of New York, he was leading a hedonistic lifestyle of heavy drinking and short-term relationships with women half his age. Then, one day after fighting with his business partner, Dougherty felt his chest tighten and suddenly he was unable to breathe. "My sense of hearing turned inward, and I was listening for sounds from my now silent lungs, which seemed to have collapsed," he recalls in his characteristic gripping narration. "For a long, pregnant moment, everything before me stood still. I was dying and I knew it. In a split second, I thought: This is it! This is how it all ends! Suddenly, I felt what seemed like an electrical explosion in my head, and my body collapsed to the sidewalk." As an ambulance crew valiantly tried to resuscitate him, Dougherty shifted in and out of his body. Finally, he felt his spirit lift out of the ambulance and he was left standing before a tunnel that curled like an ocean wave and "stretched directly in the heavens." From there he entered a "life review process" in Heaven that forced him to reckon with his past as well as the life he created in the present. Nothing was the same after that.

Readers can't help but like Dougherty. He's brutally honest about his character flaws and alcoholism, so when redemption comes, it's all the sweeter. (And it isn't instant--he has to return to a few years of hard lessons before the benefits of the near-death experience truly take hold.) Count on an exceptionally smooth read with an endearing narrator who offers classic, yet unique encounters with life and death. --Gail Hudson

About the Author

Ned Dougherty was born on September 19, 1946 in Hazleton, Pennsylvania where he attended St. Gabriel’s High School in Hazleton. In 1968 he graduated from St. John’s University in New York with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics and Finance. Following a brief career on Wall Street, he became a licensed real estate broker in the Hamptons where he owned an active real estate business. For over twenty years he owned and operated both Club Marakesh of the Palm Beaches in Florida and Club Marakesh in Westhampton Beach, New York.

Ned Dougherty also worked with Dr. Bruce Greyson, the preeminent psychiatrist and leading Research Director of the International Association for Near Death Studies (IANDS). Dr. Greyson currently holds a position at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. In October 1995, he was elected to the Board of Directors of IANDS and served as Media Spokesperson for IANDS for two years. He has been a featured speaker in the IANDS Speakers and Listeners Bureau and a participant in the New York City and Connecticut Friends of IANDS Support Groups.

He is currently living part-time at Valley of the Lakes, Hazleton, PA where he returned to write and to fulfill a prophecy that was part of his near-death experience--to create a non-profit organization, called Mission of Angels, and to assist in the creation of a new community of spiritually-minded people.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Hampton Roads Publishing Company; 1st edition (March 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157174200X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571742001
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #520,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Michael E. Tymn VINE VOICE on August 21, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read dozens of accounts of near-death experiences, I would have to rate Ned Dougherty's account as one of the two or three best, very possibly THE best. It is very well written and keeps the reader captivated and wondering what comes next. As the owner of two prosperous night clubs, Dougherty was leading a very hedonistic life, striving to be "one with his toys." He was a playboy who had strayed far from the spiritual path on which his Catholic school had tried to direct him toward. After becoming involved in an altercation at his New York nightclub, Dougherty had a near-death experience, which involved nearly every one of the characteristics associated with the NDE. He was met on the "Other Side" by an old friend, who had been killed in Vietnam, then accompanied "into the light," where he encountered other deceased friends and relatives and had a life review. "While in the presence of God's light, many revelations were conveyed to me," he writes. "As God was bestowing a radiant energy upon me, I recognized that the energy contained information about universal laws, revelations that were part of God's plan for the universe." Several chapters are devoted to these revelations, but Doughtery's own awakening is what kept me glued to the book. He comes across as very credible in explaining why there is no way that his NDE can, as the pseudo-skeptics claim, be written off as nothing more than an hallucination or dream. It so impacted him that he gave up his nightclubs as well as alcohol to pursue a life of helping others. The book meets my "4-I" test -- interesting, informative, intriguing, and inspiring. I plan to give some copies of the book to friends and relatives as Christmas gifts.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mark Playford on October 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The thing that impressed me about this book is that I read it before 9/11. After 9/11 I had to go back and re-read some of his predictions, and he came very close to describing the events in the news today. He discribes religious fanatics who think they are doing Gods will but are not. He says they attack either Washington D.C. or New York, and that these attacks change the way we live. That is pretty impressive to me. If the rest of what he pridicts comes ture we are in for a very rough ride.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By stkevin on January 26, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a story of an NDE that happened to a very worldly human being who struggled with the clear message of the NDE for a long time after returning to this world before finally accepting it. Strangely, to me at least, this makes Dougherty's account quite believable and entertaining. Dougherty claims that his NDE immediately affected his life profoundly and turned him into a more loving and less worldly human being. Reading between the lines of Dougherty's book, it's clear that although Dougherty's heart may have been changed, Dougherty still struggled to abandon his old way of life for a long time after his NDE. Despite the change in Dougherty, he clung to his old Nightclub business until it was taken away from him. But eventually he embraced the message from his NDE and changed the focus of his life. The message that I took from Dougherty's book was that even when your heart changes, it can take a lot longer to turn your life's focus around. Dougherty's book inspires you to have hope, don't give up on the changes you want to make, and take heart, sometimes it takes a lot longer to change yourself than you think it will. I like this book and recommend it. As for his predictions and prophecies, they are neither convincing (just a little too unclear) nor unconvincing. If you are looking for miraculous predictions to convince you of the veracity of NDEs, then you are missing the most important content in virtually every NDE.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Katie on May 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In the last few years, I have read many books on the topic of near death experiences (NDE's), and I have yet to tire from reading about the wonderful journeys these people have experienced.

This particular book is about a man who took a wrong turn during his life, and wound up being an alcoholic club owner who was dabbling in drugs and had some pretty shady characters as friends. After a violent fight with one of these "friends", he started to not feel right, and within a few minutes he was dead.

The book then goes on to describe the experiences he had while clinically dead, how he was treated by the medical profession after he was brought back to life, and how this experienced impacted his life.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who's had an NDE and is looking to hear of other's experiences, as well as those who are just plain interested in this topic.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By John Jay Harper on May 13, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The 21st century is upon us--ready or not--and Planet Earth is being called to the "centerstage of being" in a cosmic drama that unfolds according to the script we write for her finale. This is the message that I get from reading Fast Lane to Heaven: our collective consciousness will determine how this divine play ends, either as a comedy of errors compounded on a global-wide scale environmentally, until we are humbled by the forces of Nature, or as a love story consummated in a restored Garden of Eden. So, for me and my household, I am glad that Ned Dougherty took the time to write this "program of performances" to follow based upon what he was shown as "potential" upcoming major events in our history during his near-death experience (NDE). To me, his NDE is a map that I will glance back at frequently in the next couple years, especially. With headlines reading more like science-fiction thriller movies every day: War in the Middle-East seems inevitable, China disagrees with U.S. policy, Japan rebuilding their military, polar ice caps melting; bizarre weather patterns plague U.S. and Europe, solar flares increasing in intensity, etc., I want to know what in the world is going on with our world. Don't you? Then read this book and heed its message: love thy neighbor--and our world--as oneself!

Dr. John Jay Harper is author of Tranceformers: Shamans of the 21st Century.

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