47 Breathtaking Muhammad Yunus Quotes

Muhammad Yunus is a social entrepreneur, banker, economist, and civil society leader. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his concepts of microcredit and microfinance, Yunus has seen his share of controversies during his lifetime. With several publications and rated as one of the Top 100 Global Thinkers in the world, here is a look at some of the best Muhammad Yunus quotes ever recorded.

“A university should not be an island where academics attain higher and higher levels of knowledge without sharing any of this knowledge with its neighbours.”

“All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

“Analyses of the causes of poverty focus largely on why some countries are poor rather than on why certain segments of the population live below the poverty line.”

“Changes are products of intensive efforts.”

“Even today we don’t pay serious attention to the issue of poverty, because the powerful remain relatively untouched by it.”

“Human beings are extremely creative and resilient, especially when they are operating within an institutional framework that encourages and supports their actions.”


“I am not a capitalist in the simplistic left/right sense. But I do believe in the power of the global free-market economy and in using capitalist tools.”

“I believe that the emphasis on curbing population growth diverts attention from the more vital issue of pursuing policies that allow the population to take care of itself.”

“I believe that we can create a poverty-free world because poverty is not created by poor people.”

“I learned that things are never as complicated as we imagine them to be. It is only our arrogance which seeks to find complicated answers to simple problems.”

“I profoundly believer, as Grammen’s experience over twenty years has shown, that personal gains is not the only possible fuel for free enterprise.”

“I thought, if you can become an angel for 27 dollars. It would be fun to do more of it.”

“I try to kind of enlightened my frustration and agony by coming to the conclusion that I may not be useful as an economist but I m still a basic human being.”

“I would define development by focusing on the quality of life of the lower 25 percent of the population.”

“I’m encouraging young people to become social business entrepreneurs and contribute to the world, rather than just making money. Making money is no fun. Contributing to and changing the world is a lot more fun.”

“If we want to help poor people out, one way to do that is to help them explore and use their own capability. Human being is full of capacity full of capability, is a wonderful creation.”

“If you go out into the real world, you cannot miss seeing that the poor are poor not because they are untrained or illiterate but because they cannot retain the returns of their labor.”

“In the United States I saw how the market liberates the individual and allows people to be free to make personal choices.”

“In this world of plenty, a tiny baby, who does not yet understand the mystery of the world, is allowed to cry and cry and finally fall asleep without the milk she needs to survive.”

“Like navigation markings in unknown waters, definitions of poverty need to be distinctive and unambiguous. A definition that is not precise is as bad as no definition at all.”

“Mother always put money away for any poor relatives who visited us from distant villages.”

“Nothing is quite as beautiful as farmers harvesting their rice.”

“Once poverty is gone, we’ll need to build museums to display its horrors to future generations.”

“One cannot but wonder how an environment can make people despair and sit idle and then, by changing the conditions, one can transform the same people into matchless performers.”

“People like Sufiya were poor not because they were stupid or lazy. They worked all day long, doing complex physical tasks. They were poor because the financial institutions in the country did not help them widen their economic base.”

“People.. were poor not because they were stupid or lazy. They worked all day long, doing complex physical tasks. They were poor because the financial institution in the country did not help them widen their economic base.”

“Poverty does not belong in civilized human society. Its proper place is in a museum. That’s where it will be.”

“Poverty is the absence of all human rights. The frustrations, hostility and anger generated by abject poverty cannot sustain peace in any society. For building stable peace we must find ways to provide opportunities for people to live decent lives.”

“Still, it became a big challenge to train our bank workers to overcome opposition from political and religious leaders without endangering their safety and that of the women they were serving.”

“The able-bodied poor don’t want or need charity. The dole only increases their misery, robs them of incentive and, more important, of self-respect.”

“The challenge I set before anyone who condemns private-sector business is this: If you are a socially conscious person, why don’t you run your business in a way that will help achieve social objectives?”

“The fact that the poor are alive is clear proof of their ability.”

“The poor have a better chance in a bigger open market than in a smaller protected market. Everyone would benefit from the free flow of commodities, finances, and people.”

“The poor themselves can create a poverty-free world. All we have to do is to free them from the chains that we have put around them!”

“The process of breaking down fear was always my greatest challenge and it was made easier by the careful work and gentle voices of my female workers.”

“The system we have built refuses to recognize people. Only credit cards are recognized. Drivers’ licenses are recognized. But not people. People haven’t any use for faces anymore, it seems.”

“There are many ways for people to die, but somehow dying of starvation is the most unacceptable of all. It happens in slow motion.”

“There is no room in the economic literature for people making a living through self-employment, finding way to develop goods or services that they sell directly to those who need them.”

“Things are never as complicated as they seem. It is only our arrogance that prompts us to find unnecessarily complicated answers to simple problems.”

“To me, the poor are like Bonsai trees. When you plant the best seed of the tallest tree in a six-inch deep flower pot, you get a perfect replica of the tallest tree, but it is only inches tall.”

“We are faced with famine in 1974 and people are dying of hunger. When people are dying of hunger, and you are a young economic teacher, teaching an elegant economic theory in the class room, it doesn’t make you feel good.”

“We lent to poor women, the more I realized that credit given to a woman brings about change faster than when given to a man.”

“We prepare our students for jobs and careers, but we don’t teach them to think as individuals about what kind of world they would create.”

“What I did not know yet about hunger, but would find out over the next twenty-one years, was that brilliant theorists of economics do not find it worthwhile to spend time discussing issues of poverty and hunger.”

“When a crisis is at its deepest, it can offer a huge opportunity. When things fall apart, we can redesign, recast, and rebuild.”

“When a destitute mother starts earning an income, her dreams of success invariably center around her children.”

“When we want to help the poor, we usually offer them charity. Most often we use charity to avoid recognizing the problem and finding the solution for it.”

Serving on the Board of Directors of the United Nations Foundation, here is a look at the top ten rules for success by Muhammad Yunus.