4 out of 4 stars
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Richard Rowe is an inventor who always thinks of things from an engineer's perspective. However, in 2004, a blood clot almost cost him his life. Rowe's near-death experience did not cause him to change his way of thinking, but it did make him think of questions that had no clear answers, such as: What happens after we die? Is there an afterlife? Why is there so much suffering in the world? Why do bad things happen to good people? In his book Imagining the Unimaginable, he uses years of system engineering experience and research from first-hand accounts and experts in near-death experiences (NDEs) to come up with possible answers to his own questions. A large part of the book focuses on what happens to souls after death and why NDEs occur, as well as what the visions seen by those who experience NDEs could possible mean.
Rowe is very honest with the reader, admitting right off the bat that he in not an expert in the subject at hand and that he does not have all the answers. He is thorough in explaining where he got his research anecdotes and, when he comes to a possible conclusion, he reminds readers that it is only an idea with no substantial evidence behind it. He tried his hardest to keep his own experiments from being swayed by outside influences, but admitted that there's only so much you can do with firsthand experiences.
Overall, Rowe's down-to-earth attitude toward the subject and conversational writing style made the book a very pleasant read, even though the subject matter could have easily gone right over my head. I personally really liked the fact that Rowe did not try to slap a specific answer onto his questions and call them done. Everything in his book is simply a suggestion, one possible answer out of many, but given to provide food for thought. I found myself agreeing with many of his points and, although there is no way to prove them, quite a few seemed plausible to me. I was especially intrigued by the topic of children's souls and how they retain memories of their time before birth.
I found less than ten mistakes in the book, although for some reason the spacing was wonky with some of the words. Sometimes there would be extra spaces in words, such as with 'past- life regression." However, when I highlighted the word and made a note, the spacing was fine in the note itself. I'm not sure what the problem was there. My biggest concern was that a good chunk of the book consisted of direct quotes from Rowe's research. At times I had flashbacks to the research papers I used to write in college. However, it was easy to get used to and did not affect my enjoyment of the book.
Imagining the Unimaginable is a great "What if?" book that makes readers question not just what will happen after their death, but the very lives they are living at the moment. I rate it 4 out of 4 stars and would highly recommend it to readers interested in psychology, philosophy, and short reads that introduce new ideas. Despite Rowe mentioning things such as fourth dimensions and other technical terms, it is not a difficult read. Like Rowe, I hope that many people can read this book and question themselves and how they can become better souls.
Imagining the Unimaginable
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