twenty-seven Dollars

and a dream

How Muhammad Yunus Changed the World and What it Cost Him

     Twenty-Seven Dollars and a Dream: How Muhammad Yunus Changed the World and What It Cost Him tells the riveting story of Muhammad Yunus's life-long struggle to end global poverty. When Muhammad Yunus lent $27 dollars to 42 women in rural Bangladesh, he sparked what became the microcredit movement that has empowered millions of poor women in nearly 100 countries.

     Yunus was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2006, the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 and the US Congressional Gold Medal on April 17, 2013. Social psychologist Katharine Esty paints a cool-eyed and richly textured portrait of this charismatic and controversial hero of our time. Twenty-Seven Dollars and a Dream captures the drama of Yunus's story — the challenges, betrayals and astonishing successes from his founding of the Grameen Bank in 1983 to his removal from his position at the Bank in 2011. Undaunted by his ouster, Yunus is using his celebrity status to promote social businesses around the world.

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     Katharine Esty shows how it happened that one person has been able to change the world and she provides guidance for all those who wish to make a difference themselves. The book is filled with fascinating stories about Yunus from his colleagues, his family and his critics. Katharine Esty's personal impressions of Muhammad Yunus and her experiences in Bangladesh add additional spice to Twenty-Seven Dollars and a Dream. This book is a wonderful way to learn about microcredit and it provides insight into the strategies and patterns of actions that undergird Yunus's ongoing successes.

what people are saying

"In Twenty-Seven Dollars and a Dream: How Muhammad Yunus Changed the World and What it Cost Him, Katharine Esty explains and upholds the world and legacy of this complicated, gifted man. Her frank and coolheaded portrait of Yunus, and her clear, perceptive assessment of the strategies that made the Grameen Bank thrive show not only what it takes to dream a possible dream, but how to make it real."

Liesl Schillinger, New York-based writer and literary critic

“Katharine Esty’s personal journey of discovery captures the essence of Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus, father of microfinance, and his pathbreaking work to transform the lives of the poor.”

Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School Professor and author of Confidence and SuperCorp: How Vanguard Companies Create Innovation, Profits, Growth and Social Good.

“This book tells the story of a true pioneer in the worldwide movement to empower women and in the recognition that women hold the key to fixing our impoverished societies.”

Alan Lightman, author of the international bestseller Einstein’s  Dreams and MIT professor.


"Yunus is the most famous social entrepreneur in the world and a world class change-maker. He and the Grameen Bank have inspired hundreds of thousands of organizations. ... Katharine Esty's book is full of wonderful details that shed light on Yunus's personality, the development of his ideas, and how he has led broad changes in the world." 

David Bornstein, journalist and author

“Katharine Esty, an American social psychologist and organizational change consultant, explains and upholds the work and the legacy of this complicated, gifted man. Her frank and coolheaded portrait of Yunus, and her clear, perceptive assessment of the strategies that made the Grameen Bank thrive show not only what it takes to dream a possible dream, but how to make one real.”

Liesl Schillinger writer and literary critic.

"Esty draws on her own background as a social psychologist and consultant to extract seven “patterns of action” she says underlie Yunus’ success. The result is a powerful template for any organization seeking to make a difference. Relentless and inspiring, the life of Muhammad Yunus shows how capitalism and conscience need not be at odds."

Kirkus Reviews 



To Catch a Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America. Dir. Gayle Ferraro. Aerial Productions, 2009. DVD. 


The Yunus Center


Muhammad Yunus: Banker to the Poor: The Social Entrepreneurship Series. Ashoka's Global Academy for Social Entrepreneurship, 2006.


Pennies a Day


Bonsai People: The Vision of Muhammad Yunus. Dir. Holly Mosher. Filmbuff, 2012.


Small Fortunes: Microcredit and the Future of Poverty. Prod. BYU Broadcasting, 2005. DVD. 


Lessons from Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank. Esty, Katharine. OD Practitioner, Vol. 43, No. 1, 2011.