4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life's Bad Hands is a book by Jorge P. Newbery. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The book is an autobiography taking the reader through highs and lows in the author life. This motivational narrative would appeal to all readers who are looking for a real-life example of how to take life in their own hands and rise to the occasion.
Jorge explains early on why he chose the name “burn zones” which specify a short period of the intense and extraordinary effort that separated the wheat from the chaff – winners from the losers. His life is recounted as a series of burn zones where he takes the readers on a journey to see firsthand how he accomplishes a goal and bounces back after each setback. Jorge believes that everyone’s life has a series of burn zones that “test the limits of our bodies and minds”.
Jorge got his first job at the age of 7 selling newspapers. He explains his business savviness and ability to spot and cash on opportunities to increase income. His money-saving doctrine is simply based on living “Spartan life”. He would save most of his earning, avoid luxurious lifestyle and reinvest him earning into achieving a bigger goal. From selling newspapers, he graduated on to selling ice cream on a tricycle and on to a busboy. He increased his utility by working hard and taking on shifts no one wanted and by always keeping his eye on the next target. Jorge never rested on his laurels! Jorge was very good at spotting opportunities and taking the initiative to cash on them and moving on before he settled down. He recounts his entrepreneurship with fondness “I proved that I could do what I set my mind to and learned real-life lessons that I would never have been exposed to…”
He got hooked on to bicycling when his father bought him a racing bike when he reached 19th birthday. Jorge set his target on becoming an Olympic athlete and decided to go in for bike riding training with pros. He would work on getting tips from pros and often scrounge for a lesson or two from the top bike athletes. He rose steadily in amateur cyclist ranks reaching elite cyclist category through promising performances starring in Tour de Mexico but shuttled out once he found that he could not get into the top category. Next came selling mortgages a new promising pursuit, he applied and passed for his license exam and got a new job as mortgage arranger at Univest. He took his advice for being “professional, welcoming, courteous and knowledgeable” and he stuck to his guns to continue performing rising steadily to the branch manager's position from where he moved on to start his own company.
Jorge moved on to buying neglected properties, renovating them and selling them at a profit. His turning around of Ford Hotel was an impossible feat where he succeeded where the previous four owners had been jailed for not taking care of the violations. Purchasing Woodlands Complex was his nemesis as this property got him into the red. City officials worked against him to sequester the property. He later went on to found the American Homeowner Preservation (AHP) to provide help to homeowners facing foreclosure by buying the loan from banks and then offering it refinanced to the homeowner at the lowered market rate for all those owners whose homes were suddenly worth much less than their mortgages.
The book is a motivating recount of life experiences – it is meant to inspire to urge others to push through their burn zones. I would take out too many photographs which tend to slow the pace of the book. As Jorge states at the end as a simple formula for success “prepare to test the limits of your body and mind…”
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