Jonah Lehrer is the author of the very successful book, "Imagine: How Creativity Works." It turns out he was a little too creative in his own book. It has been revealed that he fabricated quotes attributed to Bob Dylan. When he was called on it by another writer he repeatedly lied over a period of three weeks.
Finally he confessed and apologized and resigned from his position as a staff writer with the New Yorker.
Houghton Mifflin, the publisher, took the e-book version off sale and stopped shipping physical copies. They haven't yet decided what to do about the copies already in stores.
It's not the only time Lehrer has been in trouble lately. Last month it was revealed that for his New Yorker work he had recycled his own blog posts and parts of essays he'd written for the Wall Street Journal. There's no problem with recycling as long as your employer knows what you're doing, which the New Yorker didn't.
Of course there's a big question of ethics in all this, particularly in relation to making up quotes. But even leaving that aside, how can somebody who is very tied in to new media not understand that these days fabrication and plagiarism are easy to discover thanks to the power of the internet? (I'm not suggesting that Lehrer plagiarized anybody other than himself, but there have been several high profile cases of it exposed recently.)
TIP: if you want to see whether anybody has plagiarized your work online, find an unusual phrase or sentence from what you wrote and search for it via Google. Put quotes on either side of the phrase or sentence so that the search engine looks for it as a complete unit, not the individual words by themselves. If somebody has copied (or quoted) that phrase or sentence, it will show up.
(My book, "Creativity Now," is guaranteed not to contain any made-up quotes! You can get it from Amazon or your other favorite bookseller. I'm not lying.)