A bestselling book was recently removed from bookstore shelves across the country and Amazon’s rankings after its author revealed he fabricated some of the quotes in his book.
Imagine: How Creativity Works, written by Jonah Lehrer, was released in March and reached the #14 spot on The New York Times non-fiction bestseller list as recently as last week. But according to The New York Times, the book was subsequently pulled when an article in Tablet magazine explained Lehrer fabricated some of the Bob Dylan quotes used in his book.
This is not the first time Leher has done something like this. He also writes for The New Yorker and admitted just a month ago that he recycled some of his writing from other publications for an article in The New Yorker. His boss reluctantly kept him on the staff, but not after his most recent stint. Lehrer has since resigned from The New Yorker, while publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt removes his bestselling book from bookstore shelves.
This is one of the more serious fraudulent writing cases in recent years, as Julie Bosman explains.
A publishing industry that is notoriously ill-equipped to root out fraud. A magazine whose famed fact-checking department is geared toward print, not the Web. And a lucrative lecture circuit that rewards snappy, semi-scientific pronouncements, smoothly delivered to a corporate audience. All contributed to the rise of Jonah Lehrer, the 31-year-old author, speaker and staff writer for The New Yorker, who then executed one of the most bewildering recent journalistic frauds.
As a journalist, blogger, and someday hopeful author, this is not just a mistake; this is an act of betrayal. Lehrer misconstrued someone’s words to fit his story, lying to his audience. Whether you consider yourself a journalist or not, that’s simply not right. I’m glad the truth came out, and hope other journalism frauds are also caught in the act.