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Banker to the Poor: The Story of the Grameen Bank Paperback – 11 Jul 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 245 pages
  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd; New edition edition (11 July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1854109243
  • ISBN-13: 978-1854109248
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 184,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

'An amazing account of the way in which one man with a vision and the right values can turn the established order on its ear' - John Elkington, Guardian; 'Not only does it read as swiftly as a thriller, it turns the dreary science of development economics inside out' - --Rosemary Righter, The Times

About the Author

Muhammad Yunus was born in 1940 in Chittagong, now in Bangladesh. In 1997 he led the world's first Micro-Credit Summit in Washington DC.


Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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The Grameen banking is a simple but awesomely powerful concept. As described here in detail, it appears to be an answer to alleviating poverty in a wide number of circumstances. The author and founder, Muhammad Yunus has a fascinating life story both in setting up Grameen and its enterprises, and in his personal and professional life (the section on setting up a government in exile for Bangladesh whilst an academic in Nashville is very well told with the level of passion that marks all he writes). The pen pictures of typical Grameen customers are truly involving, and really illustrate how the concept works in simple human terms.
There is however a problem with this book. It was written in 1997 and published in 1998. It says inside that it was reissued as a paperback in 2003, and the cover of this edition flags the Nobel Prize award in 2006, so this isnt old stock still being sold. There is nothing inside the book more recent than financial forecasts for 1998. As well as reviewing the history of Grameen, the book also has short chapters on Grameen's entry in mobile phones and Internet provision. Just think how the world has changed in these fields since then.
So time for a new revised edition...
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Format: Paperback
What can you say about a man who has changed the world for over 2 million people? Not single-handedly, because his bank had 12,000 employees when he wrote this book, and there are other banks now, that follow the same model - but he was the one who started it all.
If you've ever noticed that your bank only wants to give you money if you don't need it - here's how the other kind of bank would look.
He's an egalitarian Muslim, and he does his best thinking with the T.V. on. I've been waiting a long time for a super-hero with respect for the idiot box.
This is a really hopeful book. It doesn't have all the answers, but it has a bunch of fascinating questions to take down the pub with you. Read it, lend it, review it - stick a bookcrossing label in it and give it to your bank manager. Swap it for a Big Issue, mail it to your MP. What are you waiting for?
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This is the book that made me want to know more about microfinance, I found it very inspiring and Dr Yunus became my personal hero.
I then learned more about microfinance, talked to senior microfinance experts, and even though microfinance is indeed a powerfull tool to fight poverty, it is not the panacea it sometimes claims to be.

Microfinance can have a negative impact on social fabric, increasing tensions inside communities, it can also be used by governments of developping countries as a way to privatise social welfare, typically after massive lay-offs from the private sector(why spend public money on unemployment benefits, minimum wage, let's bring microfinance instead to help the poor..).
I don't mean to sound cynical or disillusioned, my point is just that overselling microfinance and creating unrealistic expectations doesn't help microfinance, better know from the beginning that it's good but far from the perfect and ultimate solution to end world poverty.

And btw, Dr Yunus didn't invent microfinance, it existed 100 years ago already.
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Format: Paperback
have heard about Micro Finance since many years. Finally got hold of a book by the father of Micro Finance. Excellent book. Amazing how much this great man has done to humanity. Only if the bankers in London can do a small fraction of Yunus has done, the world will be a better place.
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This is a fascinating book about a fascinating man. Read though if you want to understand about what made this man great not whether micro loans really are the best way to assist the poor in mainly third world countries. We all know that it is usually what's not in an autobiography that is really worth knowing not what has been included. This book contains no mention of the critics of micro loans or any of its disadvantages. It gives the reader the view that micro loans are the answer to eradicating world poverty. It may be an important part of the answer but it clearly doesn't stand alone in the fight today to make sure everyone enjoys at least a reasonable standard of living.
Yunus exposed the banking myth that only loans to the rich backed by collateral are both secure and likely to return a profit. Starting with just £17 he began lending money to the poor in Bangladesh with a repayment rate of around 99%. Acknowledged now as a major contribution to the fight against poverty Yunus's thesis is that hand outs to the poor patronise, disincentivise and are as much about allowing donors to feel they are doing their little bit to help fight poverty as they are about addressing the core problem of what keeps people poor. Micro loans, he advocates, spark initiative and encourage the very type of enterprise that will lift people out of poverty for good.
Yunus is speaking in December this year at a Leadership conference in London. Anyone interested in leadership will take a lot from this book. He's clearly :
- A Rule breaker - like many great leaders he wasn't scared to break rules. He tells the story of how he and his brother when young decided to educate themselves by getting their hands on as much reading material as possible.
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