The price of life

Jenny Kleeman


In stock

In surprising stories that take us into the worlds of hitmen, insurance frauds and modern-day slaves, Jenny Kleeman explores the value of human life.

ISBN: 9781035004966 Category:


A Radio 4 Book of the Week
‘Jon Ronson meets Louis Theroux in the style of Joan Didion’
‘Riveting . . . human stories that make the impersonal intelligible’ – The Guardian

We say that life is priceless but in these surprising stories that explore the value of human life, journalist, broadcaster and documentary-maker Jenny Kleeman takes us on an adventure to meet some of the people who decide what we’re worth.

The cost of saving a life, creating a life or compensating for a life taken is routinely calculated and put into practice. In a world in love with data, it is possible to run a cost-benefit analysis on anything – including life itself. For philanthropists, judges, criminals, healthcare providers and government ministers, it’s just part of the job.

In a series of extraordinary encounters – with people who have faked their own death or lost a loved one to terrorism, with hitmen and with modern day slaves – Kleeman discovers more questions than answers. What does it mean for our humanity when we crunch the numbers to decide who gets the expensive life-saving drugs, and who misses out? What do we learn about ourselves when philanthropic giving by the effective altruists in Silicon Valley is received by some, while others are left to suffer? Are some lives really worth more than others? And what happens when we take human emotions out of the equation? Does it make for a fairer decision-making process – or for moral bankruptcy?

Exploring the final frontier in monetization, Kleeman asks what we lose and what we gain by leaving the judgments that really matter up to cold, hard logic.

‘Compelling’ – Literary Review
‘Reframes how you think about the world’ – Sophie Elmhirst, author of Maurice and Maralyn
‘Gripping’ – Daily Mail
‘Writing, thinking and storytelling at its best’ – Ben Judah, author of This Is Europe

Additional information

Weight 0.458 kg
Dimensions 22.4 × 14.4 × 3.2 cm










179.9 (edition:23)


General – Trade / Code: K

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