4 out of 4 stars
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The most dreadful and embarrassing moment in life is when we lose our jobs or properties that we cherish and rely on for our daily survival–when giant hurdles stand on the paths of our lives, and overwhelming debts pull us down. While Jorge P. Newbery's Burn Zones: Playing Life's Bad Hands is an autobiography, it also informs its readers that life is full of disappointments, and only those who will stick to their guns and press on to overcome their “burn zones”—short periods in life that require extraordinary effort—will emerge successful.
Jorge P. Newbery, a half-cast born of an Argentine father and a British mother, began his quest for success as a young boy. He took on his first job as a paperboy at age 7. His entrepreneurial life commenced at age 11 as an ice cream vendor, and later as a busboy. The major stride in his business life began after leaving his job at Univest Home Loans and joining Sunset Mortgage Inc, a company they formed together with Mr. Darin.
Mr. Newbery was at the peak of his entrepreneurial life while at Woodland Meadows, an 1100-units apartment complex in Columbus, Ohio, where a great ice storm plunged him into a battle with the city council. He ended up relinquishing Woodland Meadows. In his almost endless battle to redeem his property, he was maligned and publicly ashamed to see his property go down in flames. He lost everything and earned himself a debt of millions of dollars. In his memoir, he tells how he managed his debts, and his success story as a founder of American Homeowner Preservation (AHP).
Reading this book, I immersed myself in Mr. Newbery's story. I could ponder how aggressive his childhood life was. He learned how to ride a bicycle at a tender age, and most unbelievably, earning his first dollar as a paperboy at age 7. His entrepreneurial spirit and thirst for success were admirable. He encourages his readers to stop allowing their dark pasts to influence their future because looking back is a sign of weakness. He instead, encourages them to forge ahead while embracing hard work and persistence.
Mr. Newbury not only gives his rugged-path-of-success story but also some pillars of life. He alludes that people generally treat you the way you treat them. He retrospects an event when his coin bag busted after emptying his laundry and payphone at 10412 Figueroa, and his coins got scattered on the sidewalk. The onlookers were very excited to grab up the coins, but he got a helping hand from Ricky–an African American with whom they had mutual respect for each other. Ricky was a frequent police target, but Mr. Newbery decided to respect him regardless of his race.
This book also involved quotes from popular and less popular personalities. His message was likely never better captured than by this quote from Nelson Mandela: "The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but rising every time we fail." His new plan to initiate AHP after his downfall demonstrated his mastery of these wise words.
While reading this book, I liked the writing style of Mr. Newbery. He smartly avoided beating around the bush by including only the necessary information in his autobiography. This novel, therefore, becomes the best memoir I have ever read. The general arrangement of this book and its chronological narration were adorable. This book also incorporates pictures that make its story more interactive.
The section of this book that blew me away was its third chapter (Loan Originator to Real Estate Mogul). I could laugh at his description of his dancing style: "I was dancing more like Shaggy in Scooby Doo." I also got impressed with how he could smartly venture in real estate; fixing the unfixable. He could take the country’s most troubled buildings and transform them into assets to benefit all. His determination and his nature of stretching his limits while avoiding luxury left a mark in my life.
Honestly, I didn't find anything to dislike in this book. It was easy to read as it is simply a weekend read. The writing style was superb, and I didn't find any typo or grammatical error. This made me believe that the book was exceptionally edited.
I rate Burn Zones: Playing Life's Bad Hands a 4 out of 4 stars. The superior writing style, professional editing, and its illustrative content could deserve nothing less. I recommend this book to readers who love memoirs. If you are interested in real estate and challenges that come with entrepreneurial ambition, you will find this book very relevant. Nevertheless, I won't recommend it enough for children, because the concept of this book is above their intellect.
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