4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newbery is an autobiography that follows the author from his first job as a paperboy at the ripe old age of seven up until his current business known as the American Homeowner Preservation. He uses many analogies from earlier parts of his life, such as his experience with punk music as a youth and cycling as a young adult, to help demonstrate how to overcome difficulties in life. His life story also doubles as a self-help book that can teach the audience how to overcome their own struggles in life, which is referred to as burn zones.
The concept of the burn zone comes from his cycling days when he would put in a maximum amount of effort to get through either a hard hill or particular stretch of road that would result in a burning sensation in his legs. If one could just work through the pain and get through that particular hurdle, it would bring them out on top in front of their competition both in the race and in real-life. As a cyclist myself, I enjoyed reading about the author’s cycling history and I was able to visualize the concept of burn zones perfectly well from my own past experiences.
I also enjoyed the author’s perspective on the straightedge lifestyle that he adopted from his punk days. The straightedge lifestyle promotes not indulging in alcohol, drugs or excessive amounts of sex unlike its popular counterpart: sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll. Not only did this suddenly make him one of the cool kids on the block, but it also helped to keep him on the straight and narrow path throughout every other aspect of his life including during his financial disaster when the newspaper headlines were insinuating the exact opposite.
I thought a lot of the financial difficulties Newbery experienced were very relatable. The struggles he went through after the collapse of his real estate business and the impending possibility of bankruptcy reminded me a lot of my current financial problems. Through all of the hardships he underwent, he usually managed to find a way to turn his bad reality into a positive learning experience.
The only thing I didn’t quite care for about the book was the amount of financial and broker terminology and jargon that went right over my head. The portion of the book that revolved around the development of the American Homeowner Preservation was confusing to comprehend how the business not only operated but also made money off of its endeavors. The vast majority of this book was very easy to read and understand; however, this one topic could have been explained a bit better with some more details so laypeople could better comprehend.
I give this book 4 out of 4 stars due to its exceptional editing and riveting plotline. I was only able to find one minor grammatical error, which shows how exceptionally well this book was edited. It seemed the author tried to perfect every aspect of this book in a similar fashion to how he tried to prefect every other aspect of his life, which is demonstrated throughout every page. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in autobiographies and self-help books.
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