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Jonah Lehrer's new book

Jonah Lehrer has written a book about love.



In case the name of the author rings a bell, but you aren't quite sure why ... that is THIS fellow. Lehrer was a high-flying pop-science pundit over a five year period, from 2007 until 2012. He wrote a series of books with such titles as Proust Was A Neuroscientist with a lot of specific messages but with the over-arching meta-messages that Neuroscience is Wonderful and Explains Everything about Us.

The link I provided you above takes you to a blog entry I posted here in August 2012, amidst Lehrer's fall from grace. The specific cause was a lot of crap he wrote about Dylan. But, as is often the case in these scandals, once some blood is in the water other sharks arrive, and other chunks of flesh are torn away from the reputational body. In this case, the "sharks" weren't doing anything more predatory than fact checking, and source checking. Which turned out to be quite predatory indeed for Lehrer.

For example: Wired hired a journalism professor to look over the contributions Lehrer had made to their publication. The professor, Charles Seife, did so: but Wired then declined to publish his findings. Slate then stepped up and published the Seife report, which focused on instances of plagiarism rather than of fraud.
Read here.

Anyway, all this is simply to say that Lehrer is back. He issued a number of apologies while the sharks were taking these chunks out of his once formidable reputation, and he withdrew from the literary/journalistic waters.

I'm a sucker for comebacks, so I find this news cheering. I may get around to the new book at some point, although frankly it isn't very high on my To Do list.

What I do know is this. It's about love. It has a cute self-referential title, "A Book About Love." It tells us various things about romantic love that the author relates to contemporary neuroscience. And it would seem to have Lehrer back in the business of his Capital Letters Meta-Story, identified above.


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