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Our Longreads Member Pick: The Prophet, by Luke Dittrich and Esquire

For this week’s Member Pick, we’re excited to share “The Prophet,” the much-talked-about new story from Luke Dittrich and Esquire magazine investigating the claims made by Dr. Eben Alexander in the best-selling book Proof of Heaven, about Alexander’s own near-death experience.

Dittrich, a contributing editor at Esquire since 2008, has been featured on Longreads many times in the past and his work has appeared in anthologies including The Best American Crime WritingThe Best American Travel Writing, and The Best American Science and Nature Writing, and his article about a group of strangers who sheltered together during a devastating tornado won the 2012 National Magazine Award for Feature Writing. He is currently writing a book for Random House about his neurosurgeon grandfather's most famous patient, Henry Molaison, an amnesiac from whom medical science learned most of what it knows about how memory works.

Read an excerpt here. 

Become a Longreads Member to receive the full ebook. 
PUBLISHED: July 23, 2013
LENGTH: 42 minutes (10525 words)

My So-Called 'Post-Feminist' Life in Arts and Letters

Writer and photojournalist Deborah Copaken Kogan on her career and her experience with gender bias:

"It's 1999. I sell my first book to Random House, a memoir of my years as a war photographer, for twice my NBC salary. I'm thrilled when I hear this: a new job; self-reliance; the gift of time to do the work I've been dreaming of since childhood. The book is sold on the basis of a proposal and a first chapter under the title Newswhore, which is the insult often lobbed at us both externally and from within our own ranks—a way of noting, with a combination of shame and black humor, the vulture-like nature of our livelihood, and a means of reclaiming, as I see it, the word 'whore,' since I want to write about sexual and gender politics as well. Random House changes the book's title to Shutterbabe, which a friend came up with. I beg for Shuttergirl instead, to reclaim at least 'girl,' as Lena Dunham would so expertly do years later. Or what about Develop Stop Fix? Anything besides a title with the word 'babe' in it. I'm told I have no say in the matter."
SOURCE:The Nation
PUBLISHED: April 9, 2013
LENGTH: 10 minutes (2515 words)

Longreads Member Exclusive: The Power of a Crisis

From our first member exclusive: An excerpt from New York Times writer Charles Duhigg's bestselling book, The Power of Habit, which examines the science behind how we form and change our habits, and how companies are profiting off of them (sign up here to join):

"'Some doctors were fine, and some were monsters,' one nurse who worked at Rhode Island Hospital in the mid-2000s told me. 'We called it the glass factory, because it felt like everything could crash down at any minute.'

"To deal with these tensions, the staff had developed informal rules — habits unique to the institution — that helped avert the most obvious conflicts. Nurses, for instance, always double-checked the orders of error-prone physicians and quietly made sure that correct doses were entered; they took extra time to write clearly on patients' charts, lest a hasty surgeon make the wrong cut. One nurse told me they developed a system of color codes to warn one another.

"'We put doctors' names in different colors on the whiteboards,' she said. 'Blue meant 'nice,' red meant 'jerk,' and black meant, 'whatever you do, don't contradict them or they'll take your head off."'"
PUBLISHED: Aug. 21, 2012
LENGTH: 35 minutes (8817 words)