4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life's Bad Hands is a non-fictional novel where the author recalls his life from just the tender age of 7 when he made his first impression as a formidable and dedicated young businessman, to his senior years. Burn Zones is not your typical how-to or step-by-step motivational novel but it is a fast-paced story about a young boy who was business-minded and treated each business as a game of "monopoly" that he could always win albeit all challenges and became a Millionaire.
Jorge P. Newbery's story is not to be taken lightly because it clearly reflects that he was born with high wit and business acumen. His recollections are an extraordinary teaching tool for everyday life. The author describes "burn zones" as intense and extraordinary amount of effort in a short period of time that separates you from the rest of your competitors. This term is used in cycling but can relate to anything you do in life.
There were many basic life lessons that struck me. The lessons were trustworthy, I was being reaffirmed by a person who has seen successes big and small, and even worse, as big as the one that made the author go from Millionaire status to being in millions of dollars worth of debt. Jorge Newbery states that as a person, you need to handle "burn zones" well and realize that all the strength you need is within. Keep pushing because everything you want depends on you to have it. This novel has the type of optimism, cultivation, and self-talk that may be beneficial to the like-minded person both in business, athletics and personal life. One example we see is when the author recalls his cycling coach's words to "never look back". The coach was talking about cycling competitions, looking back is a sign of weakness, yet, the author used this as a mantra to get through life's challenges and to work around what seemed like dead ends.
I enjoyed the author's overall optimism, energy, mentality as well as grace and nobility. As the sole protagonist, the author also featured his father as a secondary character and overall depicted an extremely strong relationship between him and the rest of his family. The many lessons in this book were both hidden and unhidden. The truth in life's lessons, many are hidden and just as many are unhidden. For example, the author counts aspects of himself that are his weaknesses but also counts them as strengths. He says "I do not delegate enough," as a weakness, however as a strength he measures his weakness against these words "I can work 18 hours a day if needed".
Get this, Jorge had his first company at age 11 after saving enough money to buy it. He leveraged on his previous job. He not only showed impeccable business skills from a young age but was incredibly smart, and was willing. In his eyes, nothing could go wrong and everything was a lesson and many ventures were worthy investments. The novel is set from the punk-age era which was also rife with police riots and brutality that threatened Jorge's early business ventures, to the 21st century. I love how the author touched on police brutality and how the police justified the crimes they committed just as we see it today. "As a result, the police felt justified in continuing to shoot at Macias, who died with four shots to the chest and neck" is one statement I can use as an example.
Despite one noted sentence structuring error, the novel was professionally edited and I felt like I was the interviewer and the author was the interviewee. He is a great storyteller and his style of narrating is commendable. As much as the novel was fast-paced, it reached a point where it slowed down and this was just after being halfway through it. The author might have wanted to be explicit about his profile, however, I found this exhaustive and hard to engage with largely because he was speaking of the housing business which I really do not understand. The novel has thrilling elements in it especially with how he entitled his sub-titles. The one sub-title was 'over-confidence', here, he recalls how he took a major risk that would have had heavy repercussions if he failed in closing the deal. I had my fingers crossed and could feel my heart thud.
If you have not heard of thrifting millionaires or simply have no idea how they do it or how their mind works this could be a perfect example for you. This novel is great for athletes, people who are interested in diverse careers and especially in estate and mortgage businesses. The novel can be a good piece for a person who grew up in the L.A punk scene because it can bring about a sense of familiarity. Finally, I give Burn Zones: Playing Life's Bad Hand 4 out of 4 stars. The minor editing glitch does not undermine the professionalism of the novel. One language warning would be the word "f**k" which is on page 140. The book is for all ages from 16 years upwards. Its complexities and target is suitable for people from that age group.
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