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Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle against World Povertyby Muhammad Yunus
WINNER — 2006 Nobel Peace Prize
Synopses & Reviews
Muhammad Yunus is that rare thing: a bona fide visionary. His dream is the total eradication of poverty from the world. In 1983, against the advice of banking and government officials, Yunus established Grameen, a bank devoted to providing the poorest of Bangladesh with minuscule loans. Grameen Bank, based on the belief that credit is a basic human right, not the privilege of a fortunate few, now provides over 2.5 billion dollars of micro-loans to more than two million families in rural Bangladesh. Ninety-four percent of Yunus's clients are women, and repayment rates are near 100 percent. Around the world, micro-lending programs inspired by Grameen are blossoming, with more than three hundred programs established in the United States alone.
Banker to the Poor is Muhammad Yunus's memoir of how he decided to change his life in order to help the world's poor. In it he traces the intellectual and spiritual journey that led him to fundamentally rethink the economic relationship between rich and poor, and the challenges he and his colleagues faced in founding Grameen. He also provides wise, hopeful guidance for anyone who would like to join him in "putting homelessness and destitution in a museum so that one day our children will visit it and ask how we could have allowed such a terrible thing to go on for so long." The definitive history of micro-credit direct from the man that conceived of it, Banker to the Poor is necessary and inspirational reading for anyone interested in economics, public policy, philanthropy, social history, and business.
Muhammad Yunus was born in Bangladesh and earned his Ph.D. in economics in the United States at Vanderbilt University, where he was deeply influenced by the civil rights movement. He still lives in Bangladesh, and travels widely around the world on behalf of Grameen Bank and the concept of micro-credit.
"The Grameen Bank's record is illuminating and inspiring. This is an aid program that works." The New York Times
"Muhammad Yunus is a practical visionary who has improved the lives of millions of people in his native Bangladesh and elsewhere in the world. Banker to the Poor [is] well-reasoned yet passionate." Los Angeles Times
"[Yunus's ] ideas have already had a great impact on the Third World, and...hearing his appeal for a 'poverty-free world' from the source itself can be as stirring as that all-American myth of bootstrap success." The Washington Post
"Muhammad Yunus's book is both provocative and inspiring....Students of Development Studies and Economics should remember to take it along with them (together with their mosquito repellent creams) when venturing out on their field trips." Times Literary Suplement
"[Yunus'] incredible story is told in a simple, straightforward manner; no need to understand complicated economic theory to appreciate this book." KLIATT
This autobiography of the world-renowned, visionary economist who came up with a simple but revolutionary solution to end world poverty — micro-credit — has become the classic text for a growing movement.
About the Author
Muhammad Yunus was born in 1940 in Chittagong, a seaport in Bangladesh. The third of fourteen children, five of whom died in infancy, he was educated at Dhaka University and was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study economics at Vanderbilt University. In 1972 he became the head of the economics department at Chittagong University. He is the founder and managing director of the Grameen Bank.
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