3 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life's Bad Hands is an inspirational autobiography by Jorge P. Newbery. It details his journey to success before disaster struck. In his quest for success, he had been a paperboy, an ice cream seller, a busboy, record Mogul, loan originator, and a real estate Mogul (Where he encountered the "burn zone"). He started as an adventurous child; trying his hands on different trades. Fortunately, it all paid off on the initial stage. His successes as a child continued into his adulthood. These successes in his life inspired him to take on greater challenges; taking risks with total disregard to possible consequences. However, after taking one risk too many, he suffered his first major setback in life; a huge financial debt caused by a natural disaster. At this point, he began to reevaluate his life and open his mind to truths he had not considered before.
One of the positive and most important aspects of this book is the inspirational aspect. His struggles to succeed from "Paper boy to record Mogul" and from "Loan originator to real estate Mogul," which paid off eventually are inspirational. These journeys in his life showcase his hard work mindset and how he scaled through some difficult obstacles being a risk taker. Some of the motivational attitudes in his life which people can be inspired by are the boldness with which he took risks and confidently ignoring under dog tags to succeed through determination and resilience.
Another unique quality of the book is the way and manner in which he handled the financial crisis. He took a path that will be a surprise to most people (I found it surprising myself). The author disregard the "happy ever after" cliche to narrate a story that is down to earth and devoid of trivialities.
On the plot structure, language and style, the author was concise and straight to the point with a few flashbacks. The diction is simple with no complexity. Even though it was not filled with suspense, it was definitely not boring. One may even be carried through by his quirky sense of humor. He also made use of pictures to support events in the story.
On the down side, I find it a bit confusing that most of the qualities he listed as his strengths were also listed as weaknesses. I also discovered some minor grammatical errors which would have been missed if I had not been out to hunt them.
Overall, the positives far outweigh the negatives. I recommend this book to people passing through difficult times, I believe they will derive inspirations from the the book. If not for the few shortcomings listed above, I would have given the book a 4 star rating. And it can't be less than 3 because that will undervalue the book. I hereby rate this book 3 out of 4 stars.
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