Simon & Schuster is willing to give a second chance to Jonah Lehrer, the best-selling author of How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist. Lehrer’s most recent book Imagine was pulled by his previous publisher Houghton Mifflin after he admitted to falsely attributing quotes to Bob Dylan. He subsequently resigned from his post at The New Yorker, where he was accused of recycling material from other publications. Despite the controversy, Simon & Schuster announced the future publication of Lehrer’s next book, tentatively titled The Book of Love.
According to a book proposal obtained by The New York Times, it appears Lehrer is actually using his public disgrace as the driving force of his next book. He wrote in the proposal, “Careers fall apart; homes fall down; we give away what we don’t want and sell what we can’t afford. … And yet, if we are lucky, such losses reveal what remains. When we are stripped of what we wanted, we see what we will always need: those people who love us, even after the fall.”
The proposal also includes a first-hand account of the day his journalistic fraud was exposed. “I listen to the message. I have been found out. I puke into a recycling bin. And then I start to cry. Why was I crying? I had been caught in a lie, a desperate attempt to conceal my mistakes. And now it was clear that, within 24 hours, my fall would begin. I would lose my job and my reputation. My private shame would become public.”
Simon & Schuster publisher Jonathan Karp described the book as “a meditation on and exploration of love through different prisms – psychological, scientific, historical, literary.”
“We acquired it because we believe Jonah Lehrer is an unusually talented writer with a distinctive approach to a subject with enormous appeal,” said Karp. “In fact, it’s arguably the subject with the greatest appeal in history.”
The book does not yet have a set publication date.
Are you willing to give Lehrer a second chance? Or is this his most brazen move yet?
Follow @EWStephanLee on Twitter.