The publication of a new book by Dr. David Agus, the media-friendly USC oncologist who leads the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine, was shaping up to be a high-profile event.
Agus promoted “The Book of Animal Secrets: Nature’s Lessons for a Long and Happy Life” with appearances on CBS News, where he serves as a medical correspondent, and “The Howard Stern Show,” where he is a frequent guest. Entrepreneur Arianna Huffington hosted a dinner party at her home in his honor. The title hit No. 1 on Amazon’s list of top-selling books about animals a week before its March 7 publication.
However, a Sack of Troy investigation found at least 95 separate passages in the book that resemble — sometimes word for word — text that originally appeared in other published sources available on the internet. The passages are not credited or acknowledged in the book or its endnotes.
The Sack contacted Agus and the book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, with its findings late last week. On Monday, both announced that sales of the book will be suspended immediately pending a rewrite that includes appropriate credit for the passages in question.
“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,” Agus said in a statement. “I take any claims of plagiarism seriously.”
Agus added that he asked Simon & Schuster to pause the book’s publication, and the company agreed.