Nina's Reading Blog

Comments on books I am reading/listening to

Banker to the Poor

Posted by nliakos on October 29, 2011

by Mohammed Yunus. Original pub. date 1999 ~ 2003. Blackstone Audio 2007; read by Ray Porter

I first encountered the concept of micro-lending, and the name of its inventor, Mohammed Yunus, when teaching a semi-intensive English course at the University of Maryland years ago. There was a chapter about it in our textbook, Quest 3.  I was fascinated. It made so much sense: giving impoverished women a way to escape poverty by lending them tiny amounts of money to start or grow a business.  Yunus and his Grameen Bank (or Village Bank, in Bengali) usually lent money only to women; they discovered that men tended to be irresponsible and did not use the money well; they did not use it to grow a business or take care of the family.  To supplement the chapter, I found videos about micro-lending programs in other countries too.  I thought that Yunus should win the Nobel Prize for economics. He didn’t, but he did win the Nobel Peace Prize (in 2006). (I still think it should have been the economics prize.)

So when I discovered that he had written an autobiography, Banker to the Poor, I had to read it. (Coincidentally, it happens to have been the first audiobook which I successfully downloaded from my local public library and listened to on my iPod.) And I did like it; it was interesting to read about how Yunus grew up, how he came up with the idea for microfinance and tried it out.  I did not find the book to be particularly well-written; it seemed kind of self-serving at times. But hey! He’s an economist, not a writer.  He’s someone who has changed the world for a lot of very, very poor people. Read the book.

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2 Responses to “Banker to the Poor”

  1. Writing about English…

    […]Banker to the Poor « Nina’s Reading Blog[…]…

  2. […] iPod by now, but the one time I successfully installed an audio book from the library on the iPod (Banker to the Poor), I found it inconvenient (difficult to borrow, to install, and to navigate around in), and I have […]

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