Retraction – Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer
by Michael Zabel
Today, I unfortunately have to retract my previous statements and recommendation of Imagaine: How Creativity Works. When I read this book I was impressed at the substantial scope of both the topics and people covered. The comfortable pace and language made it an enjoyable way to learn about some truly fascinating ideas and, at the time, I appreciated the seemingly honest effort to objectively analyze the very personal and intimate moments of creation. The most interesting part of the book (the part that hooked me at least) was the anecdote of a young Bob Dylan struggling with his own creativity. As it turns out, the Dylan quotations in this opening chapter were fabricated and the entire validity of the book has been compromised.
Though I am very disappointed that one of my recent favorite books has been discredited, I’m not going to stand on the proverbial soap box and berate Mr. Lehrer for making up these quotes, or lecture on ethics or the immorality of plagiarism (yes…even if it’s with your own work). Since the exposé he has made a public apology, resigned from his staff writing position at The New Yorker and jeopardized his own meteoric rise to journalism fame. Furthermore, Imagine: How Creativity Works has been recalled by the publisher and has virtually disappeared overnight from bookstores, so I’m optimistic that the seriousness of this situation motivates him to straighten out these facts and be more accurate in the future.
Read the Tablet Magazine article for the full story as uncovered by Michael C. Moynihan.