"Imagine: How Creativity Works", a non-fiction book about "the new science of creativity," is no longer available for purchase. The online sales and the physical shipment were stopped after its author Jonah Lehrer admitted he fabricated Bob Dylan quotes in the book.
A spokesperson for publishing company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt said "Imagine" is expected to be yanked off all online retailers by the end of Monday, July 30. So far, the book has sold more than 200,000 copies in digital and physical formats. It sat at No. 22 on New York Times non-fiction bestseller list dated August 5.
The book supposedly revealed "Bob Dylan's writing habits and the drug addiction of poets" among other revelatory looks at the new science of creativity. A source from Dylan's management said there was no record of any contact with Lehrer.
Lehrer himself said, "Three weeks ago, I received an email from journalist Michael Moynihan asking about Bob Dylan quotes in my book 'Imagine'. The quotes in question either did not exist, were unintentional misquotations, or represented improper combinations of previously existing quotes."
"But I told Mr. Moynihan that they were from archival interview footage provided to me by Dylan's representatives. This was a lie spoken in a moment of panic. When Mr. Moynihan followed up, I continued to lie, and say things I should not have said," he continued.
The author, who has written two other books 2007's "Proust Was a Neuroscientist" (2007) and 2009's "How We Decide", concluded, "The lies are over now. I understand the gravity of my position. I want to apologize to everyone I have let down, especially my editors and readers."
Moynihan confirmed it in his own statement, "I wanted to see what he was about. I got his book. And Dylan is an interest of mine. Some of the quotes sounded off, and it didn't seem well sourced, so I started looking into it." The journalist added, "We did a long bout of emailing back and forth, and this is where we ended up."
In the wake of his confession, Lehrer resigned from his position as a writer in the New Yorker. "This is a terrifically sad situation, but, in the end, what is most important is the integrity of what we publish and what we stand for," said editor David Remnick.
Lehrer also provided articles for The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, Wired and The Guardian. Earlier this year, he came under fire for copying some portions of his own blog posts in those sites and submitting them to the New Yorker. The articles that have self-plagiarized contents now include an editor note that explains the duplication.
Amid the issues, the Wall Street Journal said, "We are currently reviewing Mr. Lehrer's work for the Journal."