A famed oncologist's bestselling new health book about 'animal secrets' got yanked off the shelves after the LA Times discovered he copied from Wikipedia

image of Dr. David Agus speaking on a talk show
Dr. David Agus on Late Night with Seth Meyers in 2016.NBC/Getty Images
  • A new health book by a USC oncologist contains nearly 100 plagiarized passages.

  • The LA Times discovered the plagiarism and alerted Dr. David Agus and his publisher, Simon & Schuster.

  • The best-selling book has been pulled from shelves, and a new version will be released.

A USC oncologist's bestselling new health book about animal secrets has been yanked off the shelves after the LA Times found it contained nearly 100 separate instances of plagiarism.

The Times found that in his book, "The Book of Animal Secrets: Nature's Lessons for a Long and Happy Life," Dr. David Agus appears to have plagiarized at least 95 times from a slew of sources including big-name outlets like The New York Times and National Geographic and even Wikipedia.

But, according to the LA Times, Agus also lifted passages from small, niche sites like the Times Union Online, a newspaper serving Kosciusko County, Indiana.

One chapter plagiarized large chunks of a listicle called "The Ten Craziest Facts You Should Know About A Giraffe," from the blog of a South African safari company, according to the Times.

In some instances, only a sentence or two was ripped from another outlet, but at other points, entire multi-paragraph passages were copied word-for-word, without attribution.

A week before its release date — which was scheduled for March 7 — the book had already reached the top spot on Amazon's list of best-selling books about animals.

The hype around the book was partly because of Agus' high-profile reputation. The doctor has a TV mini-series on Paramount Plus, where he interviews celebrities like Ashton Kutcher, Oprah, and Jane Fonda about their health problems.

The LA Times said it told Agus and his publisher Simon & Schuster about the plagiarism at the end of last week.

On Monday, Agus and Simon & Schuster released a joint statement announcing that all sales of the book will be halted until corrections are made, at Agus' expense.

In the statement, Agus apologized for using other authors' words without attribution but did not explain how or why there were so many instances of plagiarism in the first place.

"This book contains important lessons, messages, and guidance about health that I wanted to convey to the readers," he wrote in his statement. "I do not want these mistakes to interfere with that effort. Once again, I apologize."

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