A Book About Love

Jonah Lehrer. Simon & Schuster, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-4767-6139-8
Controversial writer Lehrer, whose last two books Imagine (2012) and How We Decide (2009) were recalled in 2012 on the basis of fabrication and plagiarism claims later acknowledged by the author, draws from scientific study, literature, history, and pop culture to address the vast significance of love in modern Western society. The discussion includes the “limerence” of Romeo and Juliet, the effects of divorce on children viewed through the autobiographical fiction of John Updike, and the effects of parental love on human happiness and the ability to adapt later in life. Giving space to less-conventional angles, Lehrer includes thoughts on the “entanglement of love and religion” and the position of God as a parental stand-in. The most emotionally compelling chapter depicts perseverance using disparate sources, such as a psychologist who survived the Holocaust through his devotion to helping others, and another chapter analyzes the performance of new recruits at West Point to make a larger point about love and adversity. Lehrer also provides tactics for successfully overcoming heartbreak, backed by scientific research and inspired by essayist Michel de Montaigne’s love for and loss of his best friend. While Lehrer does not provide a wealth of original insight, he proves himself an able curator of information (thankfully with plenty of attribution this time around). Agent: Andrew Wylie, Wylie Agency. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/16/2016
Release date: 07/12/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-1-4767-6141-1
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-5082-2465-5
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-1-4767-6140-4
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