3 out of 4 stars
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Jorge Newberry is a very determined and hard-working man with a strong sense of purpose and mission. Here he tells his autobiography and story of how he became a successful entrepreneur and attained financial success. He attains this success while tackling what he refers to as 'burn zones, ' which is a term he learned from taking up professional cycling, and Newberry tells us these burn zones refer to relatively short periods of extraordinary effort that separate winners from losers. Burn zones would eliminate the majority of racers from contention. He adds that life is full of burn zones, which test the limits of our bodies and minds.
Hence the book Burn Zones highlights the struggles he, and at times others, have encountered in life, and frequently refers to these burn zones, whether they come in the form of stormy days, being asked to dance and not wanting to, facing creditors, burn zones for people who may go to jail for having a cause, facing having to give up a property he bought to the city, his mother trying to read a speech while crying and his father wanting to go to Argentina to pass away with family, and his challenging of his 92-year-old body to its limits. Yet he argues after each burn zone there is a reward and that each action a person takes includes uncertainty, the risk of failure, and not knowing if you will emerge. He argues in the end that if we think we have burn zones, we should get ready to prepare the limits of body and mind.
The story begins with how the young Jorge Newberry starts his working life at the age of seven when he wanted to sell newspapers. His age is brought to question, so he is faced with discrimination of age or ageism. Then again at 11, he purchases an ice cream truck, and again his age is brought into question. When he becomes a loan owner, after working as a loan originator, he was still looked upon as too young at 25 years old, and his abilities and competencies were brought into question. He also mentions the discriminations of various ethnic groups living in America, himself having a British white mother and an Argentinian father. He sets out to help the African American communities and those who are poor by buying properties and creates a low-income housing scheme for the jobless and disadvantaged, which helped to reduce crime. Yet a storm brought disaster to the building, and the event was then used by city officials to work against him, defame him using the media, and to take the property from him. This was perhaps his only failure in life which he reflects upon throughout the book. It reveals some injustice in the legal system, and corruption in the city, not caring for anyone affected. He also seems to see it as a betrayal, since he had a clear dream put in action to help the disadvantaged people of society. Yet Jorge Newberry did not give up and had to find a way to pay off his debts. Inspired by his goal to help others with their life difficulties he meets with more successes, which are the direct result of his apparent failure. Altogether it was a lovely story to read about the successes of a hardworking man who had not failed anything in life due to his hard work and determination to see projects through but faced a major failure, which in itself brought more success for him. The message of the story seemed to be to not give up when failure sets in but keep going.
What I liked about this book, was that the writer shared a lot about himself. He recollects how he undertook his journey, and from where it began. He also lists his qualities and skills to help us understand how he achieved what he did, and walks us through his activities and how he got to where he is. He speaks from the heart and at one point he mentions that while writing he is crying while remembering what he lost. He lets us know his thought processes concerning his loss, as well as his interpretation of events, and what he thinks he could have done differently. We get to know and identify with his personality throughout the book. I also liked the fact that he tackles human issues throughout the book. He is faced with ageism in the beginning, and his competence is called into question. Such issues to do with age are often overlooked in society. He also argues about the equality of black and white people, since previously he witnessed large divisions. He argues that crimes are sometimes caused by the treatment of police towards certain ethnic groups and that underprivileged groups are more likely to enter into crime. He, therefore, shows compassion to people he feels are struggling and argues for their support. The story also ended in a positive way, and inspires others that setbacks and failures don't have to mean the end, but can actually bring more success.
I guess the only negative things I found in this book, aside from a few issues with typing, was the occasional use of swearing if only to show his frustration at times, or repeating lyrics of a song. Also, the other characters in the book were not really developed, and so we never really get to know them or identify with them to a great extent.
While reading this book it occurred to me that people who may be considering setting up a business or becoming an entrepreneur could probably learn a lot from Jorge Newberry and his method for success. Also, I think that anyone facing financial difficulties and hardships in life might benefit from reading about a real story of someone who had been through that, but who did not give up and still managed to survive. Those who are feeling they have lost hope may be inspired by the story. Also, anyone who has an interest in autobiographies, biographies and memoirs and non-fiction writings.
In fact, I don't really see any particular type of person who would not enjoy the book, since I had myself thought that I have no interest in the story of an entrepreneur who loses everything. I read the book because I like biographies and non-fiction, yet found it very inspiring and a lot more beneficial and interesting than I first had assumed. However, if someone does not like biographies, non-fiction, prudish characters, and reading about someone's life setbacks that gave them some realisations, or the human issues in this book, then it may not be for you.
Therefore, I decided to rate the book 3 out of 4 stars since there were a few issues with typing, and a few swear words, but other than that I do recommend the book and would have otherwise given it 4 stars.
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