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Jonah Lehrer's new book on love
June 7, 2013 11:54 AM   Subscribe

Jonah Lehrer has reportedly sold a book proposal to Simon and Schuster. In Slate, Daniel Engber examines the book proposal for possible plagiarism and comments: Having read through this proposal, I’ll propose a different lesson: If your underwear is full of grit, it might be time to change.
posted by BibiRose (63 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Guy's got grit. Or maybe it's gall; I can't really tell.
posted by k8lin at 12:06 PM on June 7, 2013


Every time read the name Jonah Lehrer it takes me several minutes to realize it's not Jaron Lanier.
posted by gertzedek at 12:08 PM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


As I said before any one else ever did, a leopard can't change his spots.©



© MCMikeNamara, 2013, All Rights Reserved
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:09 PM on June 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


it takes me several minutes to realize it's not Jaron Lanier.

Lucky you. For one brief and terrifying moment I thought Jonah Goldberg wrote the book of love.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:11 PM on June 7, 2013 [10 favorites]


This tweet made me laugh: "Prediction: Jonah Lehrer's book of love is long and boring. No one can lift the damn thing. It's full of charts and facts and figures."
posted by mokin at 12:13 PM on June 7, 2013 [21 favorites]


"The new project offers guidance for the smart set on the bedrock matters of popular psychology: mating, dating, and relating."

Nope. Because the "smart set" should go nowhere near this thing. Interested in the subject matter? Find a real writer to read.
posted by chasing at 12:34 PM on June 7, 2013


As I said before any one else ever did, a leopard can't change his spots.
posted by Think_Long at 12:35 PM on June 7, 2013 [8 favorites]


"The proposal ends with Lehrer’s 'gritty model of love,' which tells us that 'what [love] requires above all is simply this: showing up. Not giving up. Going on.'"
Anyway, just how much Lehrer knows about the book of love can be judged by his placement of this declaration in chapter 7, when, as any fule kno, it belongs in chapter 2: You tell her you're never, never, never, never, never gonna part.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:39 PM on June 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


He should plagiarize each sentence of his new book from a a different book. Offer an annotated electronic version where each sentence links to the book it is from. That would be an incredible undertaking.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:39 PM on June 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


For one brief and terrifying moment I thought Jonah Goldberg wrote the book of love

If he did, it would be long and boring.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:48 PM on June 7, 2013


He should plagiarize each sentence of his new book from a a different book.

Cassandra Clare already did that

posted by elizardbits at 12:49 PM on June 7, 2013 [14 favorites]


Was kind of hoping it was a FPP about Tom Lehrer.
posted by Melismata at 12:50 PM on June 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, you know- Jonah Lehrer's no stranger to love. You know the rules, and so does he. A full commitment is what he's thinking of. In fact, you wouldn't get this from any other guy.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:51 PM on June 7, 2013 [7 favorites]


MCMikeNamara: "As I said before any one else ever did, a leopard can't change his spots.©



© MCMikeNamara, 2013, All Rights Reserved
"

But, a leopard CAN change his shorts.

© SamizdataRebuttals LLC, Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported
posted by Samizdata at 12:55 PM on June 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


If he did, it would be long and boring.

Or possibly, short and limp.
posted by goethean at 12:56 PM on June 7, 2013


He should plagiarize each sentence of his new book

Bah. Just block copy Underworld by Don DeLillo and then add 'Word, yo.' to the end.
posted by jimmythefish at 12:56 PM on June 7, 2013 [5 favorites]



it takes me several minutes to realize it's not Jaron Lanier.

Lucky you. For one brief and terrifying moment I thought Jonah Goldberg wrote the book of love.


I, on the other hand, had a fleeting glimpse of Jim Lehrer and wondered, wtf...a book on love?
posted by darkstar at 12:59 PM on June 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


You know Jim Lehrer can deploy the mack when necessary.
posted by selfnoise at 1:04 PM on June 7, 2013 [5 favorites]


Cassandra Clare already did that

Why didn't you link to it and close the circle?
posted by notyou at 1:05 PM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


You know Jim Lehrer can deploy the mack when necessary.

Well, yes, I will grant you that.

And as far as that goes, I'd probably be interested in reading a few chapters, too.
posted by darkstar at 1:10 PM on June 7, 2013


If Jim Lehrer wrote a book on love I would buy it and proudly display it on my coffee table.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:11 PM on June 7, 2013


At the ripe old age of 31 he has managed to have two books pulled off the shelf for fabricating quotes. He resigned his position at the New Yorker for plagerism and fired from Wired for more plagerism.

Why would anyone publish him?

(I used wiki as a source. See, was that so hard?)
posted by munchingzombie at 1:12 PM on June 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a bit of a digression, but I noticed they keep talking about grit as in: "...was a function of his grit, a term devised by psychologist Angela Duckworth to describe a person’s “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”"

Hasn't "grit" always meant this? I can't speak for the US, but I'm pretty sure it has in the UK.
posted by rhymer at 1:15 PM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Why would anyone publish him?

Because his books will probably still sell and publishers can't afford to be too picky these days, I'm guessing.
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:19 PM on June 7, 2013


I'm not defending Lehrer, but there are thousands of legitimately written, non-plagiarized books, that don't read as well and are as interesting as what he has written. Don't you just love the fact that "second-chance" doesn't seem to live in the vocabulary of the mostly-privileged writing crowd. I wonder how many thousands of people who read and enjoyed Lehrer's books don't give a shit about his plagiarism, and will buy his new book on love. I say stop judging the guy, and stop obsessing about a fallen star. The latter begs more analysis that Lehrer's current attempt to get published again.
posted by Vibrissae at 1:21 PM on June 7, 2013




It's a bit of a digression, but I noticed they keep talking about grit as in: "...was a function of his grit, a term devised by psychologist Angela Duckworth to describe a person’s “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”"

Hasn't "grit" always meant this? I can't speak for the US, but I'm pretty sure it has in the UK.


"Grit" has always meant that. Sounds like the writer is A) ignorant, B) sloppy ("devised" should be "used"), or C) making fun of Jonah Lehrer's pulling factoids from nowhere.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:24 PM on June 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


If your underwear is full of grit, it might be time to change.

Horticultural grit is used to provide drainage.
posted by srboisvert at 1:24 PM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hasn't "grit" always meant this? I can't speak for the US, but I'm pretty sure it has in the UK.

Why didn't you credit me for your use of the word "always," which is a term I developed to signify "at all times" or "perpetually"?
posted by stopgap at 1:25 PM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought it was a MacNeil/Lehrer book on love, which I assume one reads while hungover on a Sunday morning, waiting for one's significant other to get home with the goddamn bagels and coffee already.
posted by padraigin at 1:29 PM on June 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


posted by munchingzombie at 1:12 PM on June 7: At the ripe old age of 31 he has managed to have two books pulled off the shelf for fabricating quotes. He resigned his position at the New Yorker for plagerism and fired from Wired for more plagerism.

posted by Vibrissae at 1:21 PM on June 7: Don't you just love the fact that "second-chance" doesn't seem to live in the vocabulary of the mostly-privileged writing crowd.

Vibrissae, you meant "fifth-chance", right?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:31 PM on June 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


If the brutal reaction here in any way signals that I'm less likely to hear about how interesting this book is from people in my social/working life, then I welcome it wholeheartedly.
posted by brennen at 1:35 PM on June 7, 2013


He should plagiarize each sentence of his new book from a a different book. Offer an annotated electronic version where each sentence links to the book it is from. That would be an incredible undertaking.

Sounds kinda like 'The Ecstacy of Influence' by Jon Lethem, and also 'Reality Hunger' by David Shields. More essaying than fiction, though.
posted by ovvl at 1:38 PM on June 7, 2013


Why would anyone publish him?

For his charming manner and good looks, presumably. Lehrer's writing inspirational prose. He doesn't need to be right, or even particularly erudite, he just needs to make with the happy.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:40 PM on June 7, 2013


Lehrer's writing inspirational prose. He doesn't need to be right, or even particularly erudite, he just needs to make with the happy.

Cf. TED, Gladwell, my nightmares
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:45 PM on June 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


As I said before any one else ever did, a leopard can't change his spots.

© baf, 2013, All Rights Reserved
posted by baf at 1:47 PM on June 7, 2013


Why didn't you credit me for your use of the word "always," which is a term I developed to signify "at all times" or "perpetually"?

So it was created for stopgap usage?
posted by mephron at 1:51 PM on June 7, 2013


Consider the leopard. There's nothing wrong with loving him, just don't expect his spots to change.

© IRFH Industries, 2013, All Rights Reserved
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:57 PM on June 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's a bit of a digression, but I noticed they keep talking about grit as in: "...was a function of his grit, a term devised by psychologist Angela Duckworth to describe a person’s “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”"

Hasn't "grit" always meant this? I can't speak for the US, but I'm pretty sure it has in the UK.
--rhymer

Maybe he's saying that Angela Duckworth created a precise and researched definition of grit. Because, to illustrate your point, she was busy being born around the time John Wayne's True Grit came out.
posted by eye of newt at 2:02 PM on June 7, 2013


Someone's going to regrit that comment, I fear.
posted by mephron at 2:03 PM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


as i said before anyone else ever, ever, ever did, a leper can't change his spots

© 2013, termite labs, inc, all lights reversed
posted by pyramid termite at 2:08 PM on June 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Because his books will probably still sell and publishers can't afford to be too picky these days, I'm guessing.

If we were talking about The Snooki Cocaine Diet, I could see that being very true. But two of his three books had to be pulled off the shelves, most recently in March of this year. Folks who purchased a book would be given a refund. This isn't JT LeRoy pushing sales, this is a financial loss it seems.
posted by munchingzombie at 2:08 PM on June 7, 2013


It would be sweet, sweet karma if reviewers of this book recycle sentences from their past reviews and include in their reviews passages from the book that don't actually exist.
posted by MoonOrb at 2:11 PM on June 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


It would be sweet, sweet karma if reviewers of this book recycle sentences from their past reviews and include in their reviews passages from the book that don't actually exist. Also, as I said before any one else ever did, a leopard can't change his spots.©
posted by MoonOrb at 2:11 PM on June 7 [2 favorites −] [!]


Indeed.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:13 PM on June 7, 2013


I feel I must direct you all to my (copyrighted) 1994 monograph, "Novel Idioms On the Relative Immutability of Variegation Patterns in Panthera Pardus", excerpts of which were published in Reader's Digest.
posted by darkstar at 2:17 PM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


YOU CAN'T SPOT A LEPER
posted by klangklangston at 2:33 PM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whatever, "Lepers never change their pants" according to Speaker of the House, John Boehner, who I interviewed earlier for this comment.
posted by bongo_x at 2:36 PM on June 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


In the first chapter of my contrarian pop-psych book meant to make you sound smarter at a cocktail party, I ask:

"Is it the leopard that changes spots, or is it the spots that changes the leopard?"
posted by FJT at 3:04 PM on June 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, I see you got your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat
Yes, I see you got your brand new leopard-skin pill-box hat
Well, you must tell me, baby...
Why can't he change his spots?

---Bob Dylan, personal communication
posted by Svejk at 3:07 PM on June 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sounds kinda like 'The Ecstacy of Influence' by Jon Lethem, and also 'Reality Hunger' by David Shields. More essaying than fiction, though.

or maybe even this book by jonathan safran foer (which i bought for my wife, but never read myself, so i can't comment on its content).
posted by rude.boy at 3:13 PM on June 7, 2013


it takes me several minutes to realize it's not Jaron Lanier.

Lucky you. For one brief and terrifying moment I thought Jonah Goldberg wrote the book of love.


Oh well I wonder, wonder who,
I wonder who,
Who wrote the Book of Love?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:21 PM on June 7, 2013


octobersurprise, it should actually be in the middle of - chapter 3. (But: he'll still own the film rights and'll be working on the sequel...)
posted by progosk at 3:35 PM on June 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


progosk - awesome.
posted by rude.boy at 3:39 PM on June 7, 2013


You know who has a spotty track record? Def Leppard.
posted by box at 4:14 PM on June 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


"Is it the leopard that changes spots, or is it the spots that changes the leopard?"

neither - it's your MIND that's spotty
posted by pyramid termite at 5:40 PM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, I ain't never seen no leopard change none of his spots.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:18 PM on June 7, 2013


"You know who has a spotty track record? Def Leppard."

lock thread
posted by klangklangston at 6:44 PM on June 7, 2013


stopgap: "Hasn't "grit" always meant this? I can't speak for the US, but I'm pretty sure it has in the UK.

Why didn't you credit me for your use of the word "always," which is a term I developed to signify "at all times" or "perpetually"?
"

Sorry, patented by MPAZ Solutions, my company. My lawyers will be contacting you soon. I hope you clot fast, so we can talk after they are done.
posted by Samizdata at 7:15 PM on June 7, 2013


> He should plagiarize each sentence of his new book from a a different book.

"Index I copied from old Vladivostok telephone directory."
posted by jfuller at 7:19 PM on June 7, 2013 [3 favorites]


How about this one:

Go Fuck Yourself

Released under GPL
posted by hellslinger at 8:19 PM on June 7, 2013


You know who has a spotty track record? Def Leppard.

Reminds me of a good joke: what has 9 arms and sucks?
posted by hellslinger at 8:20 PM on June 7, 2013


Hellslinger: sorry, that's already been taken by The Departed
posted by armoir from antproof case at 8:24 PM on June 7, 2013


I claim Patent Trolling! I'm pretty sure that one is Open Source anyway.
posted by hellslinger at 8:29 PM on June 7, 2013


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