The International Bank of Bob
is part comic memoir, part informative travel journal, and, because we are introduced to so many people, a little like a speed-dating session. Still the book's organizing principle is simple and humane: The author, Bob Harris, who has made many loans through the micro-ﬁnance loan organization, Kiva.org, decides to travel the world get to know the recipients of his loans. Harris sees how these loans affect their lives, and to meet the volunteers and representatives of Kiva's partners in the field.
Before becoming a micro-financier, Harris reviewed the most sumptuous and expensive food, drink and accommodations available on the planet for ForbesTraveler.com. Among his assignments was a stay at the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai where "the World's Most Expensive Cocktail," at a cost of $7,438, is whisky served in a gold tumbler....
Beyond the Book
Founded in 2005, Kiva.org is a non-profit that uses the Internet and a global network of micro-finance institutions to allow people to make loans that will help alleviate poverty and create financial independence. Loans can be as small as $25. Once a loan is made, the lender receives updates. As the loan is repaid, the money is credited to the lender's account and is ready to be used again for another loan.