4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands is the auto-biography of Jorge P. Newberry in which he describes his professional life from his ascension to a real estate mogul all the way to his financial collapse.
Jorge started working at seven years old as a paper delivery boy. He made good money, as he developed an efficient method of delivering two publications at the same time. Then, at 11, he bought an ice-cream tricycle and started his own business selling iced treats around the neighbourhood. After two years of selling ice-cream, Jorge felt that it was time to take his professional career to the next level so he got a job as a busboy where he earned a decent amount of money. At the age of 14, he decided to start a record company but felt that school was holding him back. So, at almost 16 he dropped out. He was now free to pursue his dream of becoming a record mogul, which he achieved at the age of 17.
His next challenge was becoming a cycling Olympian. He didn't get to race at the Olympics but he became a champion. At 24 he had another career shift: he got a job as a loan originator. From there he moved up and became a very successful loan officer. He started buying run-down rental properties which he renovated. In just a few years he amassed a fortune and 4000 rental units. But then, catastrophe stroke and not only did he lose all his money but he was left with massive debt. Still, Jorge found a way to pull through by founding the American Homeowner Preservation, a company that helped people who found themselves in debt and foreclosure.
Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands is the kind of autobiography that will have a long-lasting impression on me because of the valuable messages that it carries. Jorge Newberry is a rare kind of person who, through hard work, commitment, perseverance but also resourcefulness, managed to succeed in every endeavour that he undertook. After reading the book I ended up having nothing but respect for Jorge.
Many children are encouraged by their parents to get a summer job or a part-time job, just to get some pocket money and learn responsibility. In Jorge’s case, it is apparent that things are different. He is driven by an extraordinary ambition to excel at everything he does, even if we are talking about the humble job of delivering newspapers. He did it remarkably well. Each career path that he took (and he had quite a few career shifts) Jorge worked tirelessly to be the best and to bring value to his work by helping others.
I truly admire the resourcefulness he possesses in overcoming challenges and the energy to grind away towards his goal. The author describes himself as being very shy and almost socially awkward. So, I can only imagine the strength of character needed to overcome this and succeed. If we think about it, most of his jobs involved people skills and being sociable.
Jorge is extremely confident in his abilities and in general it serves him well. He managed to successfully renovate hundreds of run-down buildings between 1992 and 2002. I am absolutely convinced that he would’ve managed to turn Woodland Meadows (the last building complex that he bought) around as well, had it not been for Mother Nature. Even so, he probably would’ve repaired the extensive damages, but the Columbus city politicians had other plans. They financially ruined Jorge, publicly shamed him and even tried to put him in jail. This is where Mr Newberry’s strength and determination shines the most. After this huge loss, with a debt of $26 million, Jorge chooses to move forward and learn from the mistakes that he’s made. The Woodland Meadows disaster taught him how to deal with overwhelming debt, creditors, anger and frustration. He took those lessons and founded American Homeowner Preservation, a company that helps people that are crushed by debts to hold on to their homes.
In general, the book talks about the author’s professional life, however, glimpses of his personal life are shown to the reader. Jorge is extremely close to his family, especially to his father and you can just feel the emotion when he writes about him.
I loved every single page of this book and can’t find a negative thing to say about it. The book has several powerful messages: through hard work and unrelenting perseverance there is nothing that can’t be achieved; constantly fight for what you believe in; every failure has a valuable lesson to be learned; never stop moving forward.
Because of these messages, I would especially recommend Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands to young people as there are so many things to be learned from it and Jorge P. Newberry can be an example to them. Of course, I’m sure that people of all ages would benefit from reading this book.
I will rate Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands 4 out of 4 stars for the inspiration that Jorge’s life and challenges provide and also for the strong messages that it transmits.
The book was certainly professionally edited as there were no mistakes that I could find.
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