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Banker to the Poor

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Banker to the Poor

Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

Public Affairs,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

How Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus pioneered microcredit to make a revolutionary difference in the lives of the poor.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


In 1974, while Muhammad Yunus was teaching economics in Bangladesh, the country was ravaged by famine. Increasingly uncomfortable teaching abstract theories while starving people shuffled by outside his classroom, Yunus realized his economic education was incomplete. To complete it, he went to local villages to "learn from the poor" about what they actually needed rather than what a textbook said they should have. The answer was credit, so Yunus founded a bank to provide it - Grameen Bank. The name means the "bank of the village." Today, Yunus is a Nobel Peace Price winner and Grameen Bank has extended credit to more than 2.6 million people. This down-to-earth, unsentimental autobiography recounts what inspired him, the obstacles he overcame and the ultimate success of this project, his life's work. getAbstract highly recommends it to anyone who wants to know how one person's efforts can have a huge impact.


A Creative Childhood

Muhammad Yunus was born in 1940. He grew up in Chittagong, a commercial city of some three million people in the southeast of the Indian state of East Bengal (which became part of Pakistan in 1955 and then of Bangladesh in 1971). The third of 14 children (five died in infancy), Yunus lived with his family in a small two-story house. His father, Dula Mia, a devout Muslim, owned and ran a successful jewelry shop on the ground floor. While generally lenient, Yunus' father insisted that his children study, otherwise leaving discipline to Yunus' mother, Sofia Khatun, a resolute yet compassionate woman who was her son's strongest influence. Fortunately, studying was not an issue. Yunus was an enthusiastic reader as a boy; as a teenager, he won a prestigious academic competition. He found time for creative hobbies, including photography, drawing, painting and graphic design. At one point, he even apprenticed with a commercial artist.

The Good Boy Scout

His first passion was the Boy Scout program at his secondary school. In the Boy Scouts, Yunus hiked, played games, participated in variety shows and discussions, and raised money. The Boy Scouts...

About the Author

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus is the founder and managing director of Grameen Bank. He chaired economics at Bangladesh's Chittagong University.

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