Jonah Lehrer Makes Shit Up

Noted neuroscience writer Jonah Lehrer’s best-selling new book Imagine: How Creativity Worksan exploration of the intersection between neuroscience and creativity, contains fabricated passages and has been pulled by his publisher.

Tablet Magazine’s Michael C. Moynihan investigated discrepancies within a chapter on Bob Dylan. Once he started pulling at the thread, Lehrer’s dishonesty revealed itself.

When I asked about aspects of his interactions with Rosen, Lehrer provided a sketchy timeframe and contradictory specifics—he first told me that he had personally exchanged emails with Rosen, then attributed this supposed email exchange to his literary agent—then further claimed that Dylan’s management had approved the chapter after being sent a copy of Imagine. He added that Dylan’s management didn’t want their cooperation sourced in the book. But when I contacted Dylan’s management, they told me that they were unfamiliar with Lehrer, had never read his book, there was no bobdylan.com headquarters, and, to the best of their recollection, no one there had screened outtakes from No Direction Home for Lehrer. Confronted with this, Lehrer admitted that he had invented it.

Lehrer has since resigned from The New Yorker. A shame, too, because, I’ve obviously been a huge fan of his work.

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