4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newbery is a short autobiographical novel detailing the life of an American entrepreneur. Jorge Newbury is a driven individual who worked throughout his youth to build a successful real estate venture. He was a record producer and professional competitive bicyclist in his younger years. He then moved into the field of lending and then into real estate renovation. By the early 2000s, he had owned thousands of apartment complexes and had become known for turning around distressed properties that all others had given up on. His optimism, confidence, and faith in fair dealing unfortunately led him into a multi-million dollar disaster in Ohio when he took on the project of a lifetime. Jorge's successes and setbacks are a tale to inspire and a lesson to all in getting back up when life kicks you down.
Newbury's writing is clear, honest, and informative. Besides the details of his business ventures, he writes of his family, their history, and the impact they have on his life. He includes wonderful stories of his youthful venture as a record producer in the 80s LA punk scene and his firsthand account of the Sunset Riots. He also details his career as a professional cyclist and the competitions he took part in.
I found nothing in the book that I personally disliked. What I enjoyed most about the book was its honest simplicity. Newbury speaks from his heart and seems like a decent human being. From his financial collapse he has gone on to create a unique business devoted to helping those with unreasonable mortgage debt. This business buys up distressed mortgages from lenders at extreme discounts and then passes those discounts on the owners. This allows people to remain in their homes and actually be able to pay them off. A compassionate solution to the country's real estate crisis which, surprisingly to most, has turned out to be a successful business model.
It seems Newbury has now embarked on yet another successful venture, that of an author. Having also read his book Debt Cleanse, I have no doubt that if he continues writing he will excel at this as well. He is clear, concise, and has what I consider as the most positive of motivators, the drive to help others. I would enjoy seeing him put his hand to other genres such as biography or modern history as some passages in this novel show great promise in those areas.
Overall, I found Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands to be an excellent novel and give it a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. I can recommend it to any reader who enjoys autobiographies, inspirational tales, and those with an interest in American entrepreneurship. I cannot recommend it to the youngest of readers because of profanity and one amusing, yet mildly erotic scene. However, due to to its inspirational nature, I could recommend that parents selectively share excerpts with children as they see fit. There were very few grammar or formatting errors and I can confidently recommend the book as a four-star read.
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