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Is IMAGINE Still Worth Reading?

Cover of Imagine: How Creativity Works, by Jonah Lehrer.
Such a nice cover.
Before Jonah Lehrer was caught fabricating quotes, my mom was reading that same book last Memorial weekend.

We and the rest of the family were on vacation. She brought Imagine: How Creativity Works along with her, reading out of it back at the cabin, and probably the lakeside.

She loved it, and expressed this several times. In fact, she read some of the riddles or logic puzzles from one section of the book and had me find the solution for them. I got most of them right, but the puzzles were quite intriguing.

I even read the prologue of it at an Italian restaurant once we were back home, although I returned it to her because she wasn't done with it.

I was planning to read it, but then the controversy hit and killed future sales.

I'm not sure if Mom even knows the fact that Lehrer fabricated several Bob Dylan quotes.

But if I'm right, it's still in her room, on the shelf under the HD television.

I could still read it. Should I, or should I not?

Disclaimer: Not Your Typical Imagine Post

You know what? I'm not just going say what everyone else already said on this issue. Fabricating those quotes was dumb on Lehrer's part. I'm just going to say that, but just saying that is just adding to the echo chamber. 

Hey, can you do me a favor and tweet this? It's for an experience.

"Chiming in about a trend without contributing anything new or interesting is not helpful." <--[Click to Tweet]

It's too late to jump onto the bandwagon anyways, so I might as well play devil's advocate.

Read on to find out why.

A Rotten Apple Doesn't Spoil The Entire Barrel

A worm burrowing out of an apple.
Help! Our education apples!
I want to ask you a question: Is Imagine Still worth reading, despite the fabricated quotes?

My first point to this would be that even though some parts of the book are untrue, that doesn't automatically means that the rest is useless information.

From what I read, all Lehrer did was to use fiction to support a point. He hadn't misrepresented anything else, at least in Imagine.

Those riddles that Mom read me were pretty nifty, along with the inviting prologue. I might actually learn something or gain insight from the book that I would otherwise not have.

As long as everything is taken with a grain of salt.

That Rotten Apple Might Not Be the Only One

On the other hand, the counter-point would be that Lehrer's track record makes Imagine an untrustworthy book.

This isn't the first time this author has been in trouble. He has also been caught self-plagiarizing at least five articles. This puts his work in real doubt, since it's likely he could've fabricated more of Imagine's content, like statistics or other cited information, so it might not be worth it.

Has Anyone Eaten Any of These Apples?

Unfortunately, with the information I have, I can't answer my own question. Because I haven't read the book, so I can't judge it, only what the author did.

I presented two different positions.

It's YOUR TURN.


First of all, have you read Imagine? If you have, what kind of read was it? Do you think it still has credibility despite the controversy?

If you haven't, at what point is a book rendered completely useless due to false information? Is a case of blatant mistruths enough to make its pages untouchable, or is the rest of the work untouched?

Post your response in the comments, or on your own blog. Come back Wednesday (or later) for more responses.

I hope you give some thought into this. There will be diverse opinions.