4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones is an autobiography written by Jorge P. Newbery, an American entrepreneur, distressed real estate and debt investor, and endurance athlete. This book tells us all about how he started as a newspaper delivery boy at the age of 7 to eventually rise to the top of the business world. However, nothing lasts forever, and a natural disaster brought an end to Newbery's success and glory. This is a story of his rise to the top, his devastating fall, and his inspirational journey back up.
I really like the title of this book because it connects cycling, something that is very important to the author, to life overall. He describes a burn zone as a period in a race that separates losers from winners: it's a very challenging section that only the most skilled riders can successfully overcome, while others are forced to be left behind. As Newbery states, life is full of burn zones that challenge our bodies and minds. We can prove our strength by surmounting all of them and learning from our mistakes.
I also love the fact that this book is so positively different from most of the autobiographies that I've read. For instance, it only focuses on the important facts and doesn't provide the reader with any information that isn't related to the story. I'm not a fan of those autobiographies where authors feel the need to also write whole chapters about their parents, brothers, wives and childhood dogs, even though they don't really add anything significant to the plot. In Burn Zones, the author introduces his family to the readers and mentions a few family events, but there is a clear reason why he brings them all up. Reading this book, I noticed that Newbery does not mention anything accidentally: every detail plays a role sooner or later. One of my favorite examples is how Newbery describes his dancing skills and his confidence on the dance floor first at a Christmas party with his colleagues, and then on his wedding day.
If I had to find something I didn't like about Burn Zones, I'd say it is the fact that I got a little bit confused when the author was describing the business that he started after he lost all of his money. Maybe there were too many business terms for me, and I would have preferred if there were more explanations of what exactly was happening and why it was important. However, it only happened once or twice in the whole book, and it certainly wasn't enough to spoil the general impression.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars and happily say that it's one of the best autobiographies, or maybe even books overall, that I have ever read. It is perfectly edited since I haven't found a single grammatical error or missing comma while reading it. If you are looking for an inspirational read about rising after a terrible fall that will teach you many life lessons, you will love this book. If you want to read a true story about a man who was never afraid to do whatever he wanted, this is a book for you. If you are wondering whether it is possible for someone to start his own business at the age of 11, drop out of school, and soon become very successful, you'll find the answer in this book. However, I have to warn you that the author uses swear words a few times, so the book is not suitable for very young readers.
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