Jan. 7 (Bloomberg) -- In 1976, Bangladeshi banker Muhammad Yunus took $27 from his own pocket and loaned it to a group of bamboo-stool makers to help them buy materials. Thirty years later he received the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for his role in founding the Grameen Bank and spearheading the use of ``microcredit'' to help the needy.
Today, $27 covers the cost of Yunus's new book, ``Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism'' (PublicAffairs, $26). It's a kind of manifesto, arguing that a business model similar to that which built Grameen Bank can develop self-sustaining ``social businesses.''
Such enterprises will provide safe drinking water, housing and affordable medicine for the poor, Yunus says. He recounts the creation of Grameen Danone, a joint venture started in 2005 between Grameen Bank and the French food company Danone that provides nutrient-enriched yogurt to the needy.
Among Yunus's tenets is the notion that an investor in such a company would forgo taking a financial dividend and be content with the moral and spiritual satisfaction provided.
``There are sure to be critics of his ideas, especially among the philanthropic community,'' says Clive Priddle, editorial director at Yunus's publisher, PublicAffairs. ``But Yunus likes to develop his ideas in public so they can be challenged.''
Yunus's previous book, ``Banker to the Poor,'' has sold more than 100,000 copies. PublicAffairs thinks ``Creating a World Without Poverty'' could match that and is printing 100,000 copies to start.
John Grisham won't be touring to support his first legal thriller in three years, ``The Appeal'' (Doubleday, $27.95), to be published on Jan. 29. Grisham doesn't ``do appearances,'' says his publicist, Alison Rich. It's not like he needs to peddle the product: He has sold about 235 million copies of his books worldwide.
Grisham will be making a rare speech two days after ``The Appeal'' is released, but not to promote the novel. He'll be speaking to ``The Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant,'' a conference for Baptists being held in Atlanta, where he'll appear alongside Bill Clinton, Al Gore and Jimmy Carter.
In the past few years, Grisham, who served in the Mississippi House of Representatives, has been increasingly vocal about his political views. He supported the writer James Webb in his successful 2006 Virginia Senate campaign and, more recently, interviewed Hillary Clinton on stage as part of a Clinton fundraiser in Charlottesville, Virginia.
``The Appeal'' tells the story of a billionaire chemical baron as he tries to get elected to the Mississippi Supreme Court to help reverse a damaging judgment against his company. The book reflects the compromises of political campaigning and suggests that high office can be bought.
Grisham's is by far the biggest book of the month in terms of print run, with Doubleday putting out an initial 2.8 million copies. That tops the 1.5 million copies for Stephen King's newest novel, ``Duma Key'' (Scribner, $28), scheduled to go on sale Jan. 22.
King tells the story of a construction worker who survives an accident, moves from Minnesota to Florida and begins painting pictures that have a horrific effect on the real world around him.
Finally, fans of Roger Rosenblatt can expect another dose of satire in his second novel, ``Beet'' (Ecco, $23.95), which concerns efforts to save an off-the-rails university, surely one of the few that offers a major in Homeland Security. The writer's debut novel came in 2006 with ``Lapham Rising,'' which dealt with social life in Long Island's Hamptons enclaves and the construction of a 36,000-square-foot house. ``Beet'' sprouts on Jan. 29.