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Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  9,463 ratings  ·  957 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 ...more
Paperback, 289 pages
Published October 16th 2003 by PublicAffairs (first published 1991)
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Diwash Ghimire The book was published in 1999 for the first time.

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Apr 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Muhammad Yunus and I are best friends. (Oops, I had to double check, and I'd spelled "Muhammad" wrong. Sorry, buddy!)

Anyways, me and Mr. Yunus are best friends because once he spoke at the library in Salt Lake City, and when I heard about it I drove down and sat shyly on the back row of the auditorium and clapped really hard for him. Then after it was all over, I saw him just kind of hanging out all alone on the stage, and thought, "Maybe I could go and meet him and we could be best friends!" So
Sleepless Dreamer
While building my schedule for next year, my goal was to take as few economics courses as possible. After a year of studying economics, I can't help but feel that economic theories are far from real life problems (and yeah okay, I know that real life economics is different from what we study in uni but still). Economics seems miles away from real life. 

Mohammad Yunus, a Bengali Economics professor has the exact same feeling when he realizes his lectures are a world away from the poverty of Bangl
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
After finishing this book, I wanted to shout, "Yeah! Preach it, brother!"

Really cool book. Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his decades of work. He is an academic who roles up his sleeves and produces something practical. His book should be embraced by Christians, conservatives, liberals, libertarians, and Dave Ramsey.

Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Truly an amazing book! I highly recommend this to anyone interested in development, poverty, or those wanting to learn about micro lending. He is truly an incredible man with a heart of infinite passion and hope. This book will stay in memory for quite some time.
Riku Sayuj
Nov 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Highly recommended. A true must-read book.
Aug 28, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult
This book provides an informative overview of Grameen Bank and micro-lending, but I think that its argument in favor of micro-lending would be stronger if Yunus spent more time addressing the arguments of critics. Although some criticisms are mentioned briefly, Yunus brushes them off quickly. As one example, I think that Yunus far too quickly rejects the arguments that poor people living in the developed world would not benefit from micro-lending in the same ways as the poor of Bangladesh. I thi ...more
Azwa Ahmad
May 23, 2013 rated it it was ok
I read a 20+ pages report written by a group of MBA students from Columbia Business School and it was as concise, succinctly put as this 200+ pages book on Grameen Bank/microcredit.

The importance of open access to resources is indispensable. Hence, I agree with Muhammad Yunus that the current financial system has inevitably, and is successful in sidelining the neediest, which eventually gives birth to the need to establish alternative institutions that work on social benefits as the underlying
Apr 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Yunus could prove it is possible to lift the poorest out of poverty. He could open eyes of bankers who stick with the idea that lending could happend only when collateral is secured. His experience ilustrates the private sector is not only for the greedy but also for social-minded individuals. I would recommend the book to anyone who wish for a poverty-free world.
Mar 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book has much in common with Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time. In it, Mohammad Yunus seeks to alleviate poverty one person at a time, with micro-loans. It's a fascinating look at how the system works, and the enterprise's founding and history were equally absorbing. Like Three Cups of Tea, however, the writing is just so-so. Yunus comes across as a bit self-righteous and a bit pedantic, and the writing at times is repetitive. Overall it's an i ...more
A Man Called Ove
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5/5 What an uplifting story ! Hats off to Muhammad Yunus.
कौन कहता है आसमां में सुराख नहीं हो सकता,
एक पत्थर तो तबियत से उछालो यारों
Amidst his disastrous campaign that for the 2014 Lok Sabha campaign Rahul Gandhi said something profound amidst all the nonsense :-
"A rising tide raises all boats, but you need a boat to rise with the tide. What does he who does not have a boat do ?"
This is the story of Nobel Laureate Yunus's Grameen Bank. The Grameen bank provides collateral-free loans to those wh
Alex Perdiz
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In a year like this (2020) we´ve had a perfect example of why social businesses are vital for our society and our future.

Yunus is an extremely inspiring person and he points out the importance of helping others and the possibility of making a living off of it.

His take on enterpreneuship is really interesting and he´s truly a role model for the next generation of enterpreneurs that want to make a positive impact in the world.

"As we look into the future, Leaders will be those that empower others.
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting read especially during my visit to Kenya where I’ve visited a micro finance bank! More on the book here: ...more
Donovan Richards
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
How to Eliminate Poverty

This weekend I attended the Bottom Billions | Bottom Line Conference hosted by Seattle Pacific University’s Center for Integrity in Business. The event served as a convergence zone between business, nonprofit organizations, and the academy seeking to better understand ways that business can help alleviate world poverty.

Of the many interesting subjects discussed at the conference, the topic of microfinance seemed to continuously echo through my head. For those unfamiliar w
Jul 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Mohammed Yunus is a revolutionary for championing the concept of micro-lending. Micro-lending means lending loans to extremely poor people so that they can use that credit to rise above the poverty line. As the term “micro” suggests, these loans are very small. But, the difference that small credit can make upon the lives of people is immense. Yunus started by handing out loans to the poorest because according to him, the term “poor” is vague and often overused. So, focusing on "poor" is not suf ...more
Noah Enelow
Jun 10, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone

Just an amazing story, how an economics professor from Bangladesh, trained in the U.S., goes back to his country to do "nation-building" and finds enormous untapped potential among the poor. Harnesses a stripped-down, modified version of traditional banking to start a bank that eventually gains a client base of over 2 million people. That's nuts! How do you start anything that big? One person at a time, apparently - that's how he did it. At a certain point the book stops being a life story and s

A book like this should be read by everyone. I believe, they should put this in school curriculum so as to teach kids about - social-conciousness as a motivational force. As kids, we once always dream about growing up and changing the world for better. Unfortunately, so called practicality and rationality makes us leave all such thoughts and work for ourselves.

This book provides a real-life example of how one man's wish to lift the poorest out of the poverty and that too, not by doing something

Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Yunus would have made a great candidate for a Nobel in Economics. Unlike the theoretical university researchers who dominate the list today, Yunus’s defining traits are a supremely practical and field oriented. And like all pioneers his success comes from questioning the absolute fundamentals- why need collateral for credit? How can you be sure that the poor can’t pay? But he is also aware that the success of his experiments have been aided by his being ‘elite’. Only someone with his kind of con ...more
Liana Dumitru
Oct 12, 2014 rated it liked it
Interesting read about the history of Grameen Bank and some other Grameen initiatives. Professor Yunus tells a compelling story about how Grameen came into being, making it at times personal, at times funny, at times critical, but always keeping an optimistic tone.

This book does not offer specific and in-depth explanations on the mechanisms of microcredit, nor does it provide a comprehensive analysis of its negative aspects. It is rather focused on its positive outcomes, and, more specifically,
Jun 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: businessmen, economists, policymakers, hopeful idealists, and cynics
Recommended to Tyler by: Stumbled upon it at bookstore and bought it immediately
I LOVED THIS BOOK -- six stars. It tells the story of Grameen and microcredit from the beginning until now.

Forget theories, classrooms, and endless postulating. Acting on a desire to help others will go so much further than all of aggrandized theories and reticent intentions.

Muhammad Yunus changed the world with a simple idea spurned from his moral sense.

Simple goodwill is undervalued.
Aug 25, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, book-club
Great information, glad I have it, but this writer is basically terrible. It was like reading a 300-page business pamphlet written by the guy in the business who's been there from the beginning, but no one really likes him, but they let him write the pamphlet because he's the only one who knows as much as he does. This guy is basically a robot. A robot who's changed the lives of millions of poor people, but still a robot. ...more
Vikas Garud
This is an autobiography of a great man Mohammed Yunus who is also a recipient of Nobel Peace Prize.
This is a story of a miraculous work done by Dr Yunus for the upliftment of downtrodden Bangladeshis through his exceptionally creative Grameen Bank which was a path breaking experiment.
The book also gives glimpses of the contemporary rural society of Bangladesh.
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The premise of this book seemed too good to be true. A bank based on trust. A bank focused on serving women in a country rampant with gender inequality. A bank that refused donor funds because they didn’t need it anymore. I was very curious about how all this worked and wanted to learn more about global development. Reading “Banker to the Poor” felt like a breath of fresh air. It was nice to see how much good this company brought into the world. While it offers a biased look at global developmen ...more
Vikrama Dhiman
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally, also read Banker to the Poor. And, haven’t been able to get over it. What a life, what an institution and what a book! Muhammad Yunus left his life in America in the 1970s and moved to Bangladesh and set a model of how poverty can be lifted through free market banking initiative called Grameen Bank. Not a single chapter or a page in the book is without meaning. The thing that struck me the most (and I did not know beforehand) was that the Grameen Bank is an ultimate feminist bank - it l ...more
Trang Trangg
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I wonder why this book is read by not many people (Based on the number on goodreads). I wonder why this book is not published in many many languages, by many many publishing houses!

The heck is happening? The answer to end poverty for the poor is here (poor people here means those in an inescapable cycle of debt only to have their mouths feed everyday. Needless to say, they dont want to be a burden on the gvm's budget and our tax money).

People in this book, in Bangladesh, are darn poor. Poverty
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An eye opener on schemes for poverty reduction, Government thinking and mentality of funding organisations. Yunus is right, somehow we treat poor like they are children ; they dont have knowledge, wisdom or skill to improve their lifestyle. Overgeneralization of a class lead to misunderstanding and thus faulty policies.

Second thing i liked in this book is the unapologetic nature of the author in criticizing academicians. Yes, academicians should be able to offer critique on the policies based o
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really interesting book overall. At times I felt like Yunus was too excited and dedicated about the Grameen Bank to be honest about the challenges of micro lending (he continuously seemed to rush past those sections or somewhat glossing them), but it was still really interesting/inspiring to see how he structured the bank around community ownership and accountability. I didn’t agree with some of his views on governments not funding public goods, but definitely worth the read and I look forward t ...more
Anne Maddox
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So. Interesting! Disclaimer: much of the banking talk was over my head. What I loved about this was Yunus’ faith in humanity; his drive to make a difference because people are capable - they just need access to resources. “Let us take pride in our human identity above all other identities.” What if we really can, starting right now, eliminate poverty - worldwide. What if it really just starts with, say, $27?
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommendations
Loved it! Muhammad Yunus is one inspiring man — finding creative, community-based solutions to poverty and inspiring countless others across the world with his grand dreams and practical enterprise. Definitely recommend! So much excellent food for thought for anyone, no matter your particular field or areas of social interest.
Sep 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An inspiration.
Ahmad Raffay Khan
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Terrific book about poverty and how it can be tackled and eliminated. I’m blown away by the work Yunus has done with Grameen. Highly recommended!
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Dr. Muhammad Yunus is a Bangladeshi banker and economist. He previously was a professor of economics and is famous for his successful application of microcredit--the extension of small loans given to entrepreneurs too poor to qualify for traditional bank loans. Dr. Yunus is also the founder of Grameen Bank. In 2006, Yunus and the bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts t ...more

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97 likes · 76 comments
“When we want to help the poor, we usually offer them charity. Most often we use charity to avoid recognizing the problem and finding the solution for it. Charity becomes a way to shrug off our responsibility. But charity is no solution to poverty. Charity only perpetuates poverty by taking the initiative away from the poor. Charity allows us to go ahead with our own lives without worrying about the lives of the poor. Charity appeases our consciences.” 136 likes
“People.. were poor not because they were stupid or lazy. They worked all day long, doing complex physical tasks. They were poor because the financial institution in the country did not help them widen their economic base.” 90 likes
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