The International Bank of Bob
The six months since The International Bank of Bob was released have been a blast. I have so many people to thank.
Since last I updated this site (in February! I suck at the Internets):
Day of release, the book shot to #3 on Amazon, mostly thanks to a ton of Kiva lenders grabbing copies all at once. The book went into its second printing in less than 24 hours. Thanks, Kiva lenders! (I’m sure Bloomsbury, my publisher, thanks you, too.)
Even Chinese state television (!).
The tour of SF, LA, NY, and DC was awesome. Big crowds, lots of old friends. The Strand event in NY was a real highlight. I was also invited to give talks at Citi, Visa, and Google, whose team lending total increased by almost tenfold soon after. (I’m not sure how much my talk had to with that; I’m sure that the people who organized my talk drove all that lending, and I was a handy prop at most. Still, cool.) A bunch of book clubs have asked me to Skype in, too, some from as far away as Europe and Australia. Meeting people who appreciate the book never gets old.
More important by far: more than 15,000 new lenders have taken advantage of the “Bank of Bob” free trials page at Kiva, creating new accounts and making their first $25 loans to small mom-and-pop businesses all over the world. (If you’re curious, click the link. Poke around. You’ll probably dig it.) Meanwhile, the Friends of Bob Harris team at Kiva is approaching $4 million in loan volume, having made nearly 130,000 loans to small businesses in 76 countries. I can’t even get my head around those numbers.
And we’re just getting started. This fall, the book has already received academic adoption at a number of university “first read” programs. And as I write this, I’m in New York, taking a little time for fun. Then I head for Brussels, where I’ve been invited to present the book in the European Parliament. (Those words look really weird to write.)
I’ve said this individually to everyone I can reach, but for the record: heartfelt thanks to readers, lenders, Kiva, friends, family, booksellers, my publisher, various writers and interviewers, nice folks at a bunch of colleges and corporations, and most of all, to the kind and hardworking people in nearly two dozen countries who opened the lives and work and homes and hearts in various ways, just because I asked.
I have been given more than I ever dreamed of asking for, nearly everywhere I’ve gone. Best summer—heck, best four and a half years—of my life. Thank you.
It's, like, an actual thing.
"No book this important should be this delightful… funny, tender, and incisive… Give this book your time. It will pay you back."
— Joss Whedon, filmmaker, The Avengers
"Surprising in so many ways: a travelogue that makes the people in exotic locales as accessible as your next-door neighbors; a book about poverty alleviation that often makes you laugh out loud (or cry, sometimes on the same page)… In short: joyous, humane, and inspiring."
— Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief, The Huffington Post Media Group
"Bob Harris shows us how to save the world without being an insufferable prig — The International Bank of Bob is enlightening, inspiring, and entertaining."
— Steven Pinker, Harvard College Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and author of The Better Angels of Our Nature