Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Nonfiction Tuesday -Imagine by Jonah Lehrer

So I just finished reading Jonah Lehrer’s book Imagine.  You may or may not have heard that Lehrer was found out to have made up a Bob Dylan quote,-phil

This book on creativity might be the worst of its kind. False quotes. Therefore there has been a recall. We've even had to discard this book at our library.

Lehrer has resigned his job at the New Yorker after having admitted to making up quotes in his book. Oddly, I think of the movie THE WORDS. Perhaps to some it might be creative nonfiction. Using someone like Bob Dylan for his muse. Perhaps he takes creativity to a whole new level. I suppose he was imagining.

This book is amazing, and it's a shame that the controversy over journalist ethics has led to it being pulled from the shelves. A book of this caliber certainly needs to be available to the public -- hopefully it will be back again in an edited and properly cited form.
The problems with quotes, attributions, and plagiarism are a shame, and they'll certainly haunt Jonah professionally. But one also can't help noticing the irony that a good chunk of the book talks about the value of plagiarism, copying, and creative license in allowing for creative recombination. The book itself is a creative achievement that has fallen victim to the same principles of creative stifling that the author warns against.

Bottom line: this is a groundbreaking book and the controversy does not diminish that. Underlying ideas are accurate and the overall assembly and progression of ideas is eye-opening. The book is a must for any creative professional who wants to improve their game!-Darren Bright

There is no creativity without risk, there is no risk if there is no failure, therefore there is no creativity without failure.
It might be natural, then, for us to celebrate the failures of Jonah Lehrer.-Paul Reali

In Defense of Self-Plagiarism

The effect [hyper-priming] has been reported, albeit inconsistently, in people with schizophrenia and some have suggested it might explain why affected people can sometimes make false or unlikely connections or have disjointed thoughts.
As cannabis has been linked to a slight increased risk for psychosis, and certainly causes smokers to have freewheeling thoughts, the researchers decided to test whether stoned participants would show the ‘hyper-priming’ effect.
Volunteers who were under the influence of cannabis showed a definite ‘hyper-priming’ tendency where distant concepts were reacted to more quickly. Interestingly, they also showed some of this tendency when straight and sober.-Jonah Lehrer


The biggest lie of human memory is that it feels true. Although our recollections seem like literal snapshots of the past, they’re actually deeply flawed reconstructions, a set of stories constantly undergoing rewrites. (…) we talk ourselves into having a memory that doesn’t actually exist.
Jonah Lehrer: “When Memory Commits an Injustice” (in The Wall Street Journal, U.S. edition, April 14, 2012, page C18) 


Cafe Fashionista said...

I would definitely be interested in taking a peek at this book. :)

Sara said...

Intersting enough, I think I would like to check this out!

ellie said...

I feel really bad for him. He's written some really amazing work.