4 out of 4 stars
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He’s just turned nineteen, but his heart is unsettled. Although his last business venture is successful, it’s no longer a challenge. Indeed, in what has become a regular occurrence over the last twelve years, it’s a cue for him to embark on finding a new thrill; one which will not only while away his time but eventually is conquered. Incidentally, this is also the same year the Olympics are being held in Los Angeles. And by buying him a used 10-speed bike, Newbery’s father inadvertently plays a big part in steering his heart to his next dream.
Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newbery is an autobiographical account that illustrates parental love as the active force that fuels a child’s ambition. Unbelievably, from his formative years, Newbery pursued his dreams freely (school was at the bottom of his list of priorities). With a dad working as an architect for IBM and a mom as a British actress, his pursuits couldn’t have been for the money. Instead, I noticed a long history of pioneering ambition in his family, stretching from his grandfather, who was “gassed and shot in the eye by German soldiers”; his mother, who followed her dreams to become an actress at 16 years of age, and in the process, landing a leading role in a play; and a father who left his homeland (Argentina) and came to the U.S. in search of a new opportunity.
Anyway, in cycling, and quite paradoxically, a trait that would prematurely end many a career in other team sports, would in his case, propel him to unimaginable echelons of success in a relatively short space of time. He describes this so-called “breakthrough” experience quite animatedly in his book.
While riding with a group of top local riders, that included Olympian Thurlow Rogers, he felt uncomfortable because he had been left out of their conversation. However, knowing himself to be a loner when they reached the base of a very long climb, he made a dash for it. Luckily, since he was a “Fred,” he was merely ignored. Needless to say, he willed himself up to the summit of this “never-ending climb.” Even more importantly, the next guy to finish this race after him “seemed a bit astonished.” As he later puts it, throughout his cycling career, and all his life, he has always remembered that experience.
And rightly so because the experience taught him a life lesson known as the “burn zone.” Quite simply put, any achievement of relevance is “the result of preparing for and enduring burn zones.” All of our lives are full of burn zones, “which test the limits of our bodies and minds.”
With an ardent and candid tone, Newbery counsels on the need to adopt a winners’ stance. In other books on personal development, his relentless shifting from one challenge to another would be termed as avoiding the “comfort zone.” Impulsively, knowing the dangers of sticking to a routine that is devoid of passion, Newbery kept moving from one dare to another. He did this even when, in his own words, he “lost everything and emerged over $26 million in debt.”
Furthermore, like birds of a feather, I marveled when he cited an enduring quote by Nelson Mandela that is so in line with his “never say die” philosophy. No wonder, then, I reckoned, he supported his dad’s tendency of still being active towards the end of his last days (through walking mainly), despite what popular opinion recommended (this included his dad’s doctor).
Besides, by writing what he’s experienced, Newbery is merely writing from the heart. In this respect, an experience he endured at one of his flagship projects marked his turning point. Going forward, he knew he wanted to share his “experiences to alleviate the suffering of others.”
As I wind up, some of the major themes he’s tackled are on family ties, personal development, life savings, and racism. Additionally, the book is exceptionally well-edited, as I came across only one instance of a missing word in a sentence. Having nothing to dislike about the book, therefore, I rate it 4 out of 4 stars.
I recommend it to anyone who wants practical teachings on how to build and sustain wealth realistically. Unlike others, the book has no complicated formula or theoretical concepts you need to cram to achieve success; but rather, it’s like a father or mother counseling their child on the secret of a happy and fulfilling life, mainly from a wealth point of view. Personally, I know I’ll be keeping Newbery’s best practices close to my heart.
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