USC Professor Book Plagiarism Uncovered by LA Times Investigation

Famed oncologist Dr. David Agus has recalled all sales of his new book amid a plagiarism scandal following an investigation by the LA Times.

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David Agus portrait

March 7, 2023 would have marked the release date of Dr. David Agus’ new health book, The Book of Animal Secrets: Nature’s Lessons for a Long and Happy Life. However, an investigation by the LA Times, released last week, upended all the fanfare surrounding Agus’ new books after uncovering almost 100 separate instances of plagiarism. 

It was announced March 6, 2023 that all book sales will be halted until a fully revised book can be released by Agus, in a joint statement released by him and publisher Simon & Schuster, 

“We take these matters seriously, as does the author, and regret that these errors were included in the initial editions of the book,” the statement read. “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.”

The Book of Animal Secrets: Nature’s Lessons for a Long and Happy Life

David Agus new book cover
Image via David Agus

Per the investigation, Agus plagiarized at least 95 times from a number of sources, including The New York Times, National Geographic, Wikipedia and smaller, local publications. Some plagiarism comes in the form of a couple of sentences lifted from a passage, but in other cases, multiple paragraphs have been copied word for word, without attribution of any sort.

The book had already reached bestseller status on Amazon before its publication was halted partly because of a successful press tour that included airtime on CBS News and The Howard Stern Show. Agus is relatively well known in the field of medicine, and somewhat of a celebrity owing to his TV mini-series on Paramount Plus showing interviews with the likes of Oprah, Ashton Kutcher and Jane Fonda. 

David Agus plagiarism
Image via David Agus

“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 released on his personal website.

“Writers should always be credited for their work, and I deeply regret these mistakes and the lack of rigor in finalizing the book.”

–David Agus

Agus is a famed oncologist who serves as a professor of medicine and engineering at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and Viterbi School of Engineering. He is also the founding director of the Lawrence J. Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine. He previously published three books on health and well-being.

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