Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book Review: "Imagine: How Creativity Works" by Jonah Lehrer

Imagine: How Creativity WorksImagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I feel very disappointed in Jonah Lehrer, author of "Imagine: How Creativity Works". Several weeks ago, he admitted to faking quotes from Bob Dylan. Okay, this is not exactly correct. A Bob Dylan fan discovered the fake quotes, asked Mr. Lehrer about where he obtained the quotes, and Mr. Lehrer lied about his source. When the Bob Dylan fan pushed, Mr. Lehrer finally admitted his "mistake". It's sad, because the Dylan fan thought the quotes were original and was excited about getting more dialogue from Bob Dylan. And while the quotes reflect Bob Dylan's philosophy, if Mr. Dylan never said the words in that order, then it's not a quote. Later, Lehrer admitted to faking more reference material in the book.

I stopped reading the book at that point.

I have debated with myself whether or not I want to finish reading the book, or whether I should burn the book and never read anything by the author again. I finally decided that I might read the book someday, but that day is not today and probably won't be tomorrow. And I definitely will not buy anything from Jonah Lehrer again.

I feel betrayed. When someone writes and publishes a non-fiction book, I expect the book to contain non-fiction, unless the author creates a fictional story to illustrate a point. Make that an acknowledged fictional story, not something created then sold as truth. I also wonder about the publisher; how did the publisher's fact-checkers miss so many lies?

To make the situation less tolerable, Lehrer tried to use the excuse, "I felt under pressure to produce." Welcome to the world, Mr. Lehrer. We all feel pressure to produce, but that doesn't give anyone the right to cut corners to the point of cheating.

I give this book only one star.

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  1. Amen to what you said! What happened to the other "i" word: Integrity??


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