Last Best Gifts in the NYT

by Kieran Healy on January 27, 2007

My book, “Last Best Gifts: Altruism and the Market for Human Blood and Organs”:, is “reviewed this weekend”: by “Virginia Postrel”: in the _New York Times_. Obviously, I’m delighted: Virginia’s review is generous and perceptive, and in many ways it’s hard to think of a better choice of reviewer. For one thing, as many readers will probably know, Virginia is herself an organ donor — she “gave one of her kidneys”: to her friend “Sally Satel”: — and now regularly writes about the organ shortage and market incentives. For another, she has also followed the growth of economic sociology as a subfield, writing “a very good piece about it for the Boston Globe”: a while ago. And last, she has a generally libertarian point of view, and the stereotype is that libertarians and academic sociologists should be flinging abuse at each other on the topic of altruism, self-interest and the market — especially when it comes to markets in things like human organs. I wrote the book partly in the hope that it would advance the debate beyond some of the entrenched clichés that both sides cling to. Virginia’s review encourages me that I might have been in some way successful in this respect.