Summary and book reviews of Banker to the Poor by Muhammad Yunus

Banker to the Poor

Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

By Muhammad Yunus

Banker to the Poor
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  • Hardcover: Jun 1999,
    258 pages.
    Paperback: Oct 2003,
    288 pages.

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Book Summary

This autobiography of the world-renowned, visionary economist who came up with a simple but revolutionary solution to end world poverty - micro-credit

In 1983 Muhammad Yunus established Grameen, a bank devoted to providing the poorest of Bangladesh with miniscule loans. He aimed to help the poor by supporting the spark of personal initiative and enterprise by which they could lift themselves out of poverty forever. It was an idea born on a day in 1976 when he loaned $27 from his own pocket to forty-two people living in a tiny village. They were stool makers who only needed enough credit to purchase the raw materials for their trade. Yunus's loan helped them break the cycle of poverty and changed their lives forever. His solution to world poverty, founded on the belief that credit is a fundamental human right, is brilliantly simple: loan poor people money on terms that are suitable to them, teach them a few sound financial principles, and they will help themselves.

Yunus's theories work. Grameen Bank has provided 3.8 billion dollars to 2.4 million families in rural Bangladesh. Today, more than 250 institutions in nearly 100 countries operate micro-credit programs based on the Grameen methodology, placing Grameen at the forefront of a burgeoning world movement toward eradicating poverty through micro-lending.

CHAPTER ONE

Number 20 Boxirhat Road, Chittagong

Chittagong, the largest port in Bangladesh, is a commercial city of 3 million people. I grew up on Boxirhat Road in the heart of Chittagong’s old business district. A busy one-way lane, just wide enough for one truck to pass, Boxirhat Road connected the river port of Chaktai to the central produce market.

Our section of the road lay in Sonapotti, the jeweler’s section. We lived at Number 20, a small two-story house with my father’s jewelry shop workshop tucked beneath us on the ground floor. When I was a boy, my world was full of the noise and gasoline fumes of the street. Trucks and carts were forever blocking our road, and all day long I would hear drivers arguing, yelling, and blaring their horns. It was a sort of permanent carnival atmo¬sphere. When toward midnight the calls of passing street vendors, jugglers, and beggars finally subsided, the sounds of hammering, filing, and polishing ...

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If most of us were asked to name the person most famous for helping the poor people of the Indian subcontinent, we would probably reply Mahatma Gandhi; but if you walked into many a village in Bangladesh today and asked the same question, the answer would be Muhammed Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

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Media Reviews
Kliatt

His incredible story is told in a simple, straightforward manner; no need to understand complicated economic theory to appreciate this book. It is a story of reaching out and improving the lives of poor people and proof that socially conscious-driven businesses can succeed.

Library Journal

This program has empowered thousands of people - many of them women - and surprised experts in economic development who never believed that the very poor would find the initiative and ability to repay even the smallest ($25-$500) loans. Definitely recommended.

Reader Reviews
Phearun Kuch

Idea from student from a developing country
After hearing the title of the book from a friends of my. I remembered the name of the book straight away "Banker to the Poor" It is a very interesting book with clear and easy to understand message. It is so important for us all as ...   Read More

Velma

War Against Poverty
It sounded so simple I wondered that no one had ever tried it before. Then I remembered big business and the lending companies that I had personal experience with. No, they would never do this even if it occurred to them. There isn't enough profit....   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Bangladesh: In 1947 the Partition of India caused the formation of East and West Pakistan (separated by a distance of about 1,000 miles).  Although the two regions shared a common religion (Islam) large ethnic and linguistic differences existed which in 1971, following the Bangladesh Liberation War, led to the formation of Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) as a country separate from both India and Pakistan.  It is the third largest Muslim-majority nation, and one of the most densely populated countries in the world; about 147 million people live in an area about the size of Iowa, with about a third of the land prone to flooding each year.  The infant mortality rate is 61 out of every 1,000 live births, the ...

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