Monday, October 8, 2012
Jonah Lehrer's Imagine: The Pulled Book
I continue to enjoy reading the now-tragically ironic Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. I guess he just created his quotes! I'm about halfway through it. I found this rather harsh passage on Wikipedia,
"A review of Imagine: How Creativity Works in The Washington Post said, 'Lehrer practices what he preaches, showing an appetite for learning, a determined effort to cross fields and disciplines, and a delight in exploring new possibilities.'
By contrast, The New Republic, called the book 'inaccurate,' 'simplistic,' and 'glib,' and concluded, 'Like Malcolm Gladwell and David Brooks, Lehrer writes self-help for people who would be embarrassed to be seen reading it.'
The New York Times published two reviews of Imagine. The first called Lehrer 'adept' at 'teasing out the social and economic implications of scientific theories while commuting easily among the realms of science, business and art. He deconstructs the creative process behind a Bob Dylan song with the same verve he brings to the story of how Procter & Gamble created the Swiffer, its New Age mop.'
But the second, in The New York Times Book Review, criticized Imagine for its 'many elementary errors' and 'formulaic' approach, as well as for 'Lehrer's failure to grasp some fundamental principles of scientific thinking.'
Before it was pulled from the shelves by the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Imagine was on the Los Angeles Times' hardcover nonfiction bestseller list for many weeks."
So, what's so embarrasing about reading self-help books, anyway? Personally, I rather enjoy some of them. I enjoyed reading Galdwell and Brooks' book as well. I personally think Jonah Lehrer should write another book, about this fall from grace and what he's learned from it!