Out on 14 March 2024

The Price of Life

Jenny Kleeman

14 March 2024
352 pages


'Like Louis Theroux channelling Margaret Atwood' - New Statesman
'Writing, thinking and storytelling at its best' - Ben Judah, author of This Is Europe

* $2-3,000 to save the life of a child in Africa
* £15,180 to hire a hitman
* $368,901 to pay the average ransom demand

We say that life is priceless. Yet 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 The Price of 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.

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 – she 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.

Praise for Sex Robots & Vegan Meat:

‘A tour of the lurid fringes of the tech world’ - The Times
‘A moreish page-turner of a book’ - Herald
'Compelling and thoughtful' -The Guardian
'Mesmerising' - Daily Mail
'Alarming, funny, thought-provoking and fascinating' - Stig Abell

I found this book unputdownable, missing Tube stations and bus stops I was so engrossed by it . . . I urge you to take this book home with you, even steal it.