Six Books We Recommend on Poverty & Microfinance Worldwide

Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle Against World Poverty

Muhammad Yunus, Alan Jolis

Banker to the Poor is Muhammad Yunus’s memoir of how he decided to change his life in order to help the world’s poor. In it he traces the intellectual and spiritual journey that led him to fundamentally rethink the economic relationship between rich and poor, and the challenges he and his colleagues faced in founding Grameen. He also provides wise, hopeful guidance for anyone who would like to join him in “putting homelessness and destitution in a museum so that one day our children will visit it and ask how we could have allowed such a terrible thing to go on for so long.” The definitive history of micro-credit direct from the man that conceived of it, Banker to the Poor is necessary and inspirational reading for anyone interested in economics, public policy, philanthropy, social history, and business.

Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism

Muhammad Yunus, Karl Weber

Creating a World Without Poverty tells the stories of some of the earliest examples of social businesses, including Yunus’s own Grameen Bank. It reveals the next phase in a hopeful economic and social revolution that is already under way—and in the worldwide effort to eliminate poverty by unleashing the productive energy of every human being.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide

Nicholas D. Kristof (Goodreads Author), Sheryl WuDunn (Goodreads Author)

Kristof and WuDunn help us see that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. They make clear how so many people have helped to do just that, and how we can each do our part. Throughout much of the world, the greatest unexploited economic resource is the female half of the population. Countries such as China have prospered precisely because they emancipated women and brought them into the formal economy. Unleashing that process globally is not only the right thing to do; it’s also the best strategy for fighting poverty.

Deeply felt, pragmatic, and inspirational, Half the Sky is essential reading for every global citizen.

The Blue Sweater

Jacqueline Novogratz

Novogratz describes her personal journey from the world of international banking to understanding and combating poverty. The title, The Blue Sweater, comes from a moment Novogratz describes as the beginning of her journey; when she sees a young boy in Rwanda wearing a sweater she once owned and had donated to Goodwill years before. Be sure to check out Novogratz’ TEDTalk.

The Last Hunger Season

Roger Thurow

This chronicle follows the lives of four African women over an extended period of time as they pursue entrepreneurship for the first time. Taking the less-travelled and challenging path, the women work with One Acre Fund to try and escape the chronic “hunger season” they annually face.

End of Poverty

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Economist Jeffrey Sachs explores the degrees of posterity in the world today and provides some positive and realistic directives for fighting poverty. This book is an inspiring and empowering one, in a genre that is often overwhelming.

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