The International Bank of Bob is the inspiring memoir of an ordinary American who turned his brief brush with opulence into a joyful adventure of investing in the world's working poor (from the jacket).
Bob Harris, hired by ForbesTraveler.com to review some of the most luxurious accommodations on Earth, was inspired by a chance encounter in Dubai with the impoverished workers whose backbreaking jobs create such opulence. He writes, "My Forbes Traveler cash would be about $20,000... I needed to do something good with it." He then started a list of what he hoped he could do with the money.
Help poverty in 3rd world (at least a little)
Help build an economy, not fix emergencies. Long-term, not short
Know what happened to $ - what it did where
Kiva.org, founded by Matt Flannery and Jessica Jackley in 2005, was based on the model developed by Muhammed Yunus. You can read more about his ideas and the Grameen Bank in his book, Banker to the Poor.
After some research, Harris found his way to Kiva.org, and learned that for as little as $25-50, businesses are financed and people's lives are improved measurably. Astonishingly, the repayment rate was nearly 99%. From his initial $20,000 investment, he was repaid about $2000/month which he then reloaned.
After making hundreds of microloans online, Bob wanted to see the results firsthand, and in The International Bank of Bob he travels from Peru and Bosnia to Rwanda and Cambodia, introducing us to some of the most inspiring and enterprising people we've ever met, while illuminating day-to-day life - political and emotional - in much of the world that Americans never see.