4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newberry is an inspirational book about a gentleman that took risks and seemed never to fail, until he did. His first business venture was an ice cream bike before he could drive, then he started a successful music career, not by performing but through promotions and creating a fanzine. Newberry became a competitive cyclist and then became a real estate mogul. He did all of this after dropping out of high school. He had the drive and determination and an unerring belief in himself that allowed this to happen.
Readers who enjoy feel good stories about people who do good for the community will enjoy this book. Newberry did a lot for his community, ever since the beginning of his journey. He saw opportunities and he took them, but not in a malicious manner and he never beat people down to do so. He recruited people to take over his ice cream business from his own community and this idea of altruism held out through all of his business ventures.
Readers who are not interested in nonfiction would not be overly invested in this book. Readers who pick this up looking for a book only interested in bicycle racing would also be disappointed in this book. Newberry does talk about bike racing and even Lance Armstrong briefly, but this is not the main focus of the book.
This book is very well-edited. I did not notice any spelling or grammar mistakes. There was only one mention of profanity that I noticed, on page 97 referencing an NWA song title. This was surprising considering there was a part of Newberry’s youth when he was hanging out with punk bands.
I would give Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newberry a 4 out of 4 stars. This book shows that just because something is going badly at the moment, you can turn it around and use the experience to learn and grow from it. Newberry had strong family ties that allowed him to believe in himself and have the determination to not give up through the hard times. While his journey is not traditional by any means, many readers would be able to glean some great lessons from his story. The biggest takeaway is not everything works out the way you plan, but being able to work through those failures and learn the lessons means that nothing is done in vain.
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