3 out of 4 stars
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Life is rollercoaster ride with its fair share of ups and downs which make or break us. Anyone can ride the peaks but it is how we climb up the steep inclines of the valleys of life that make us who we are. The self -help genre is populated by ‘life coaches’ and self-anointed gurus that aim to act as guides on how to live a failure proof life with very little insight on how to turn our failures into launching pads for later success.
The brand new book, Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newbery is an autobiographical account of the author’s extraordinary life. The term “Burn Zones” coined by the author and also the title of the book, refers to short bursts of “extraordinary effort that separated the winners from the losers”. The book is not about one success followed by another but how the author braved the many setbacks or “burn zones” as author likes to put it, life threw at him.
His journey starts as at the age of seven as a paper boy for a local newspaper and owning an actual business by the age of eleven. In his quest for gaining experience of the practical life he made the risky decision of dropping out of high school. As he progressed the author setup a record company, raced bicycles with seasoned professionals and became a real estate tycoon with investments in America’s most neglected and crime ridden properties. Despite the immense wealth he amassed, Jorge P. Newbery had to face his most difficult “burn zone” when he lost everything and went into debt. A normal person would have thrown in the proverbial towel after such a monumental failure, but as the reader would find out, he treated it as just another challenge.
I would rate the book 3 out of 4 stars for the vivid and gripping accounts of the many challenges the author has faced while displaying admirable courage. However, I would not give it 4 stars because it could have been longer; there is little mention of the many marathons and ultra-marathons the author has raced, surely those accounts would have been informative and engaging to the reader That is a noteworthy omission. Since the book Is a cut above the average of the usual fare one finds in the self-help genre I wouldn’t give it 2 stars.
Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newbery would appeal to different audiences: readers who like to read memoirs would find a riveting account of an accomplished individual, self-help aficionados would find in this book an instruction manual on endurance, while budding entrepreneurs would find a living example of a man who amassed a lot of wealth without compromising on his principles. Interestingly enough the book could also serve as a guide to policy wonks and city planners on ideas to curb crime and converting derelict spots in cities into civic assets. All things considered Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newbery is a well written book that bears many important lessons on how to make lemonade when life throws lemons at you.
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