UPDATED: Simon & Schuster has announced that it will cease distribution of The Book of Animal Secrets by Dr. David B. Agus amid allegations of plagiarism.
The Los Angeles Times reports that it found at least 95 separate passages in Agus’ book that appeared almost word for word in other publications that can be found on the internet. The excerpts are not credited in Agus’ book.
Agus is a USC oncologist who serves as a regular contributor for CBS News. His book was set to go on sale March 7.
“Numerous issues regarding the text of The Book of Animal Secrets by David B. Agus, MD (Simon & Schuster, March 7) have been brought to the attention of the author and Simon & Schuster,” the publishing house announced. “We take these matters seriously, as does the author, and regret that these errors were included in the initial editions of the book. Dr. Agus has decided, with our full support, to recall the book, at his own expense, until a fully revised and corrected edition can be released, and which Dr. Agus is currently working on. We do not currently have a projected publication date for the new version of the book. As a result, Simon & Schuster has ceased distribution of all formats of the book and advised our retail and distribution partners to return copies of the book.”
CBS News released this statement: “We are reviewing the situation with Dr. Agus’ book. As a news organization, we take accusations of plagiarism seriously. Dr. Agus is not currently scheduled to make any upcoming appearances on our air.”
Agus issued an apology — and an explanation. “I was recently made aware that in writing The Book of Animal Secrets we relied upon passages from various sources without attribution, and that we used other authors’ words. I want to sincerely apologize to the scientists and writers whose work or words were used or not fully attributed. Because I take any claims of plagiarism seriously, I am taking two immediate steps. First, I have asked the publisher to halt the publication of the book in all formats. Second, I will rewrite the passages in question with new language, will provide proper and full attribution, and when ready will announce a new publication date. These corrections will be included in all future printings and editions of the book. Writers should always be credited for their work, and I deeply regret these mistakes and the lack of rigor in finalizing the book. This book contains important lessons, messages, and guidance about health that I wanted to convey to the readers. I do not want these mistakes to interfere with that effort. Once again, I apologize.”
Agus’ previous books are “The End of Illness.” “A Short Guide to a Long Life” and “The Lucky Years: How to Thrive in the Brave New World of Health,” all of which were New York Times bestsellers. Recently, Agus headlined a new docuseries for Paramount+ called The Checkup with Dr. David Agus.
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