Fabricated Quotes in Jonah Lehrer’s “Imagine”

Well this sucks.

I just read an article on The New York Times’ website that states Jonah Lehrer fabricated quotes in his book Imagine. Yes, this is old news (the article was posted on July 30th) but I am just going through my emails. I do not find this surprising, though, since Lehrer was previously accused of recycling material from his blog posts into his New Yorker articles. That, however, is minor compared this: fabricating quotes. What is going on with this dude?

Now Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is recalling all print copies of Imagine. Smh. This news is disappointing. I enjoyed reading Imagine and trusted what was stated. Now I wonder how much of the book’s content was fabricated. Was it just the Bob Dylan quotes?

The article also states that Lehrer has resigned from The New Yorker. How unfortunate. I was looking forward to reading his articles there. Obviously, the book’s topic had too much influence on him. Maybe he should of used less imagination when writing Imagine.


“Imagine: How Creativity Works” by Jonah Lehrer

Available on Amazon and in your local book stores.

This book fascinated me. I am always curious about the mind, thoughts, and how creativity works (mine seems to come in spurts). Why some people are creative and others are not? Jonah Lehrer tackles this question and more in Imagine. It is a great read. The theories discussed are easy to understand and the explanations and experiments explained are easy to follow.

I did not expect to like this book or to even want to read it. Really, the only reason why I picked it up is because the cover looks cool (I couldn’t stop staring at it) and it had a 30%-off sticker on it– two good reasons to purchase a book. My plan was to buy it, stare at the cover until I got tired of seeing it, and then return the book to the store. I should have known that this plan was doomed because I have NEVER returned a book that I bought. I opened up the book and began to read and was unable to put it down.

Sometimes it got boring when experiment procedures are being discussed (it doesn’t last long) but because it is written in a simple, uncomplicated way and because I find the subject matter to be interesting, I kept returning to the book.  I enjoyed reading about how successful companies like 3M, Google, and Pixar use the imagination to their company’s advantage. The discussion on those “Aha!” and “Eureka!” moments, those moments when you figure out the answer to a bothersome question, was of particular interest to me. It was also interesting to note that people tend to create greater ideas when they interact with others. Therefore, the internet and some social media outlets are actually beneficial for the progression of the human race. The more we interact and exchange ideas, the more we are able to develop outstanding ones.

Imagine is easy to read and engaging and because of this, all those who are interested in how creativity works and how the imagination influences us, will enjoy reading this book. Really, you don’t have to be a scientist to understand what is being discussed.