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

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  7,971 Ratings  ·  848 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
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.

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-and-ya
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.
Baru mulai beberapa hari lalu bacanya dan langsung suka. Ekonomi yang terkenal sebagai "fisikanya ilmu sosial" ditangan Yunus berubah menjadi antropologi ekonomi. Ilmu yang sarat identik dengan asumsi nomethetik sebagai kacamata paradigmatiknya, di tangan Yunus dikemas menjadi sangat ideografis, sarat dengan muatan lokal melalui pendekatan kasuistik dan misi perubahan sosial.

Yah, Pak Yunus dengan sangat rendah hati telah mengubah dirinya dan lingkungan akademisnya untuk mau menjadi mahasiswa di
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
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
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
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.
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.
Mónica Delgado
May 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
La escritura/traducción no son increíbles pero lo grandioso de este libro es la historia que cuenta. Me hizo recuperar mi espíritu juvenil de "quiero salvar el mundo". Sólo necesito poner manos a la obra antes de que ese espíritu se vuelva a oxidar en mí
Vishal Goel
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: list-of-recs
Yunus is a God among men.
Nandhitha Hariharan
Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-to-read
Loved reading this book.
Pratishtha Chaurasia

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

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
Danny Kim
Mar 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Definitely sets the industry standard for microfinance sector. Teaches readers the founder's motivation to start the enterprise + hardships he went through.
Aug 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
Summary: Yunus' personal account of developing micro-lending and the Grameen Bank to help lift the rural poor out of poverty by providing the small loans they needed to develop their own small businesses.

How often does it happen that a person has an epiphany, a revelatory moment that changes their lives? For Muhammad Yunus, brought up in a merchant family, and as a Fulbright scholar representing the "best and brightest" of a Bengali elite that would achieve independence in Bangladesh, the future
Siddiq Husainy
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
[ Banker to the Poor ]
[ Winners of Nobel Prize - Muhammad Yunus & Grameen Bank ]

An inspiring book indeed. Mengisahkan tentang the pioneer of *microcredit*. Basically, microcredit ni berikan small loans to individuals/groups of people without collateral.

Besarnya pengaruh bank dan individu ini sehingga tertubuh beratus-ratus brach bank-nya di seluruh dunia, sama ada directly under Grameen atau mengambil model perbankan-nya.

Sangat memberikan inspirasi, terutama bagi mereka yang nak terlibat s
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a very interesting and unusual book about an economist dedicated to helping the poor. As in, trying some things to help the poor, watching the effects, and figuring out whether they really are reaching the poorest that he is trying to help. I found his discussion of real-life effects engaging and basic, i.e. you don't need to be an economics expert to understand what he is saying. For example, the author first tried helping a collective of farmers and sharecroppers with improved irrigati ...more
Mustafa Sheikh
Aug 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
i wanna give this book 6/5!

Muhammad Yunus is certainly an outstanding thinker and leader. he has a clear view of what he wants to achieve and is a real revolutionary in the way he works to help his society and humans all over. he's highly passionate when it comes to the poor, and he really shows us how we can do a lot of good though social activity rather than going into politics.

the book starts with the an account of his typical childhood and his memories of those days. he finishes school, gets
Lisa Faye
I live and work in Bangladesh and I've met Grameen borrowers who are so incredibly oppressed and stressed out by the repayment of their loans and women who have been forced to get loans and then hand them over to family members, but I've never yet met a woman who told me that a Grameen loan changed her life for the better.

Professor Yunus is a capitalist and thinks that the capitalist economy is a positive thing, even for the poor. He believes in competition rather than cooperation. He believes
Kathleen Hagen
Banker to the Poor: micro lending and the battle against poverty, by Muhammad Yunus, narrated by Ray Porter, produced by Blackstone Audio, downloaded from

Professor Yunus was an economics professor teaching at a university in what is now known as Bangladesh. In the late ‘70’s, he came to the conclusion that his students needed more hands-on experience in the economics of being poor. He discovered that the very poorest people, mostly women, could never get beyond being poor because no
Aug 13, 2009 rated it liked it
As a professor of economics at Chittagong University in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Muhammad Yunus witnessed first hand the devastating poverty, disease, and death associated with the famine in 1974. He grew frustrated with the disconnect between the ivory tower of the university and the people dying right next door in the village of Jopra. He decided to take his students right into the village and study poverty. "I wanted to teach my university students how to understand the life of one single poor pers ...more
Asri Wijayanti
May 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for anyone working in development field. It is loaded with thought-provoking facts and motivation to work on something that will really be useful for what so-called grassroot communities. His explorations reveals important facts on who are "the poor", what they need, how they are at the face of conventional economics, and the breakthrough in cutting the circle of poverty.

His questions on how academic world can give real impacts to the community is the question that remains in many p
Aug 27, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: global-health
I picked this up because I was interested in learning a little more about Grameen bank, which as I understand it is pretty much the granddaddy of micro-credit organizations. I very much enjoyed the book. It's divided into about four parts: a quick autobiography of Yunus, a quick history of how Grameen got started and its principles, some criticism of some current (actually now somewhat dated) movements in global development, and a summary of Yunus's vision of social entrepreneurship.

I always fin
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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
More about Muhammad Yunus
“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.” 130 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.” 75 likes
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