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A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, and Zero Net Carbon Emissions

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,122 ratings  ·  165 reviews
A winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and bestselling author of Banker to the Poor offers his vision of an emerging new economic system that can save humankind and the planet
Muhammad Yunus, who created microcredit, invented social business, and earned a Nobel Peace Prize for his work in alleviating poverty, is one of today's most trenchant social critics. Now he declares it'
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 26th 2017 by PublicAffairs (first published September 2017)
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Start your review of A World of Three Zeros: The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment, and Zero Net Carbon Emissions
A disappointing collection of rhetoric.

Prof. Yunus manages to talk a lot without actually saying much. The crux of the book can be summarized as follows - the challenges of tomorrow can be met by creating "social businesses", which are basically sustainable (meaning revenue-positive) entreprenual endeavours that generate employment and are environment-friendly to boot. But there is absolutely no roadmap provided.

The anecdotes that Yunus has provided, instead of being illustrations that elabora
Saadia B. ||  CritiConscience
3.5 Stars

Muhammad Yunus launched the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh in 1976 which makes capital available to poor villagers especially women. Microcredit since then have unleashed the entrepreneurial capabilities of over 300 million poor people around the world helping to break the chains of poverty and exploitation that have enslaved them.

Wealth acts like a magnet and the biggest magnet draws smaller magnets towards it, that's how the present economic system is built. In practice, globalisation ha
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
It’s basically a pitch on his initiatives worldwide all of which I am ambivalent about. I think microcredit is a good idea in certain places for certain people, but it is no panacea and when it is treated as such, it becomes a policy decoy. Also social business is a great idea too, but it’s a bit naive to believe that business can solve the problems businesses created in the first place. It’s like he’s not quite thinking broadly enough yet he points out the right problems so...
Mar 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Chock full of great, big-think ideas, and extremely thought-provoking. And, for that reason, well worth reading. And the author is the real deal, a Nobel Prize winner, and a legitimate global thought leader, innovator, entrepreneur, and change agent. And it was informative and inspirational to learn about his aspirations, ideas, projects, hopes, and plans.

But, alas, my sense is that the book is far too dull and dry for broad, popular consumption - text book dry - which is a shame, because (I'm p
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
Some thought-provoking ideas, a good critique of capitalism that provides a hopeful alternative (while still keeping within this overarching economic structure)... but it got so boring and repetitive in the middle that I mostly skimmed the second half. I appreciate Yunus’s optimism, but by the end of this book, I was tired of hearing the same buzzword-type phrases repeated over and over again. This type of vague, inspiring, “world-changing” theory is hard to write about without cliche, and altho ...more
Ananya Ghosh
There are so many problems in the world and then there are few solution-oriented people like Muhammad Yunus who are constantly working to address them. In "A World of Three Zeroes", Yunus talks about poverty, unemployment and unfavorable climate change and proposes a way to tackle these challenges.

Oxfam's 2017 report shed light on the extent of income inequality when it published that only 8 men in the world have the same wealth as that of 3.6 billion poorest people. Certainly, this situation ca
Rich Paz
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was a good book. I like what the author is actually doing to help the world. And I like that he actually making a difference in our world. He is definitely a role modelcto look up to and I hope that through this book he is able to help others to better understsnd what is actually going on behind closed doors. Poverty is growing but it can be stopped. This was a very inspirational read.
Ailith Twinning
Oct 24, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2017
The writing is below the par for this kind of work, that didn't help -- but just, ugh.

If you think changing your idea of the world from "worker" to "entrepreneur" will save the world, well, you're an idiot, but you might like this book.
Nov 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
This may not be a road map to the best possible world, but may be a route to the best world possible today.

First the major flaw is that carbon emissions is barely addressed. In fairness though unemployment and poverty are big enough topics for one work. The larger problem though is that continuing economic growth requires energy, which still today means more energy and ergo carbon. This book assumes economic growth can continue.

That being said it's refreshing to see a book start in the right p
Rick Wilson
I think I’m left a little cynical because I just finished Evicted. And the dark hole that book put me in is it going to take more than an empty platitudes and Jedi hand wave business plans to get out of. But this book was a disappointment.

Many of these initiatives sound very nice. And I'm impressed by their successes. But much of this book reads like the Ted talk your girlfriend recommended about communication. Morally righteous, Slightly passive aggressive and while you can't fundamentally dis
Henry Barry
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
A lot of fascinating ideas in this book make it worth reading, despite its shortcomings. I really enjoy Yunus’ idea of social businesses as self-sustaining alternatives to traditional philanthropy. In theory they offer a more clearly beneficial use of philanthropic funds while still using business to solve problems. From the arguments Yunus sets out here, social businesses are a great alternative to simply donating money because they empower the people they are helping. I love his point that we ...more
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: politics
"Grameen Bank in Bangladesh lends out over $2.5 billion a year to 9 million poor women on the basis of trust only."

"Anger on the part of people who feel victimized by the economic system help lead to trump's election."

"It's almost impossible for a democratic government to achieve any significant success through a redistribution program. The wealthiest people from the government are politically very powerful and use their disproportionate influence to restrain the government from taking any meani
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is mainly a sum up of all the different things Muhammad Yunus achieved with Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and the rest of the world, but also from different people who followed his lead. Maybe it sounds a little boring, but I actually really enjoyed reading this book. It was a nice change to read about long term projects that have had a big influence already and is so widespread over the world. It gave me a bit more hope and inspiration. It is good to know that there actually are a lot of ...more
Scribe Publications
A book to make Wall Street quake — if Wall Street paid attention to the developing world … The author's humane proposal for economic reform, far from impractical, makes for provocative reading for development specialists.
Kirkus Reviews

The book has a lotto like and Yunus's faith in the entrepreneurial spirit is uplifting. His focus is on communities in developing countries but with lessons for everyone, and a wealth of ideas.
In the Black
Mugren Ohaly
Jul 29, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
He talks so much but says so little. You have to sift through a lot of garbage and self-promotion to get to anything interesting. The book is poorly written and ends up sounding like a generic essay written by a high school student. I agree with others who said the whole book could’ve been condensed into a 30-minute TED talk.
Dan Call
Aug 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Mr. Yunus describes some fine ideas in this book, detailing several experiences and laying out his argument for the potential that social business could unleash on communities around the globe. I applaud his efforts and wish him the best - I only give the book 3 stars because it felt overwrought, too long. It should have been much shorter.
Ruth McGuinness
Dec 26, 2019 rated it did not like it
Poorly written, repetitive, and unashamedly full of self-promotion. Yunus clearly has achieved a lot, but this book is more about his achievements in micro-financing than anything else. What is said in 266 pages could have been said in 26!
Kate Roscher
it's crazy how much u can read on planes !!! ...more
Anastasiya Mozgovaya
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
a very idealistic book, but still worthy of your time. there is so much to learn, so much to reconsider, so much to change.
Nannaakan Vellayappan Mathari
I got a chance to meet Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus on 10/06/2020. Thanks to the IPADE Business School and University of North Florida (Department of Economics and Geography) for arranging the MBA International Week. The 2006 Nobel Peace prize winner, Professor Yunus (University of Chittagong, Bangladesh), provided his thoughts on the topic ‘Post-Corona Reconstruction Program: NO Going Back’. He also answered everyone’s question during the later part of the session. I am happy to post ...more
Behnam Robatmili
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love the concept of micro economy and social business and this book introduced me to most of those concepts. And also the books gives a good idea on fixing the existing capitalistic system to empower a much larger number of people across the world whom are currently under represented given their poor credit history or the lack of access to bank system. However, I felt there are tow issues with the book:
-Did not like how the author tries to take credits for many of the ideas in the book
-The bas
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An ideal world. Solutions could come out more
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Yunus is a contagiously positive character that has done incredibly well in passing his message of business for good, or social business, to the world.
Unfortunately, the book remains simply a positive message, albeit a bit naive, on how social business could theoretically transform the world.

My main issue with the book is that social business and entrepreneurship remain the main solution - the narrative of "everyone is an entrepreneur" fails as many of the much needed society roles will never be
Minh  Buii
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great starting book for social entrepreneurs who wanna explore the world of social businesses!
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Muhammad Yunus was actually the commencement speaker at my graduation ceremony and even though the whole day is a bit of an emotional blur, his speech (which I'm trying desperately to find somewhere online) stuck with me. It was the first I had ever heard of microfinance- his revolutionary movement creating entrepreneurial opportunities for the impoverished by offering small loans. In A World of Three Zeros, Yunus expands on his vision for the future - one in which economics is shaped by and rel ...more
Jafreen Alamgir
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Book Review: Dr.Muhammed Yunus’s “A World of Three Zeros

This book is about Dr Yunus who thinks that social business is the only solution to fight against a capitalist system. Written by him with Karl Weber, it is possible to fight against capitalist system by ensuring the achievement of 3 zeros- no poverty, no unemployment and no carbon emissions. And this will only happen if we work together to develop a business model that is cause-driven not profit-driven. Capitalist system has created so muc
Lloyd Fassett
10/26/18 He mentions Angus Deaton and Thomas Picketty in the first few pages so you know this has to be a good book. This author and Angus Deaton are current Nobel laureates I'll need to create a list based on the distribution of wealth that includes all three authors.

11/7/18 Everyone should read one of Muhammad Yunus' book because he's been one of the most impactful people to have lived in terms of the number of people his initiatives have touched. The reason is that he's from Bangladesh and ha
Nov 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How to solve the problem of poverty, inequality and environmental disaster? Yunus has the answer. After all, he had sent up the Nobel-price winning Grameen Bank issuing micro credits, with its board made up of the borrowers themselves who were voted by their peers. Repayment rate is more than 98%, better than most bank loans. After that, he has set up lots of social businesses which solve social problems. Poor people with good ideas compete for funding, and the chosen ones are given training, bu ...more
Jennifer Kowash
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
A thought provoking book that a lot of people should read. While I do think the main claims of this book are over exaggerated, the central idea is interesting.

Social business as an alternative to charities is a hopeful yet difficult to believe in model. This book sets up the idea of starting these businesses well, but lacks in how they are maintained without corruption. There were even mentions that the main Grameen Bank or first social business was fending off such corruption via governmental
Mudasir Hussain
Apr 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
As should the title of the book suggests, this book really gives the optimistic and idealistic vision of developing a world of zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero carbon emission. Not only the vision but author has also given a methodology for achieving it. This book is effectively written to convey the message i.e. motivating youths around the globe to be entrepreneurs and to challenge the current capitalist system that has proven to be very much ineffective for eradicating poverty.

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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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