Banker to the Poor
By Muhammad Yunus
As I said, this is the autobiography of a man I admire tremendously. He was an economics professor in Bangladesh during the 1970s famine, and he felt sick to his stomach that he was teaching economic theories while passing dead bodies in the street. So he dismantled his curriculum and encouraged his students to go out with him to the poorer districts to understand what kept people impoverished. He eventually loaned $27 from his own pocket to 42 stool makers. He told banking officials that if you take somebody's life and possibility of a future as a form of collateral, it will be much more valuable than traditional collateral. He was right. Grameen Bank, which he established, has given out $6.3 billion worth of loans, and they have a 98 percent return rate, higher than many other loans. But what I loved about Yunus is that he wanted to be a teacher, but he couldn't turn away from what he saw. The universe or God or whatever you want to call it is giving us signs all the time about which way to go, and Yunus followed them. In doing so, he's revolutionized the world, creating one of the most practical and lasting solutions to poverty.