4 out of 4 stars
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If you have a burn for a good book, you might want to pick up a copy of Jorge Newbery's Burn Zones . An autobiography, Newbery takes you through his life and particularly through what he calls his burn zones.
Jorgie, as his father called him, grew up in a suburban Los Angeles neighborhood. It was a different kind of childhood as his work was his play. Taking on 2 paper routes at the tender age of 7, he began to develop a solid work ethic that was to follow him through selling ice cream off the back of a trike with a freezer to having his own record label. His parents espoused a truly John Taylor Gatto approach to education and allowed him to drop out of high school at 16 so he could spend more time on his music business. The punk bands featured by his record label often crashed at his house and his mother made them breakfast.
With Los Angeles hosting the Olympics in 1984, and upon receiving a 10-speed bike for his birthday, Jorge was inspired to take up competitive bike racing at 19. Applying the lessons learned from his previous endeavors, he was able to work his way up to competing at elite level 1 races. He discovered the burn zones, where the combination of physical training and sheer will propelled him past his competitors when things got difficult. Burn zones were to become a metaphor for periods in his life wherein the ability to overcome challenges required steady, focused effort.
After a bike race went badly, Jorge made some changes to his training that ended up making him less competitive. His burn for cycling began to play out and he looked for a new challenge, finally hitting on mortgage lending and real estate. Applying his willingness to work hard, he was able to build a prosperous mortgage lending business. He began to buy properties that needed repair to renovate and turn for a profit. This eventually led to one of the biggest burn zones of his life. I won't spoil the details for you, but if you've read another of his books, Debt Cleanse, then you are probably aware of where this is going. The resolution of this difficult period expands his understanding of the financial system. He then takes this knowledge and creates positive solutions for others finding themselves in financial crisis. He is able both to do well and do good, which helps him to finally rebuild his life with a sense of peace and accomplishment.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The writing is clear and concise and the book appears to have been well edited. The tone of the book is mostly upbeat. Sprinkling pictures throughout the book instead of grouping them in the middle was a great way to illustrate the story. As a whole the story was well rounded, encompassing both his personal and professional life. He touches on the racial difficulties he sometimes faces without focusing too much on the negative aspects. Poetry and song lyrics are included in several places to help convey his state of mind or emotions. However, the book ends somewhat abruptly. I would have loved a glimpse of future dreams and plans as it might have given the book a more finished ending.
Burn Zones rates 4 out of 4 stars in my book. There are a few instances of foul language, so this might be a book geared more for adult readers or older teens who enjoy autobiographies. Anyone who has already read Mr. Newbery's Debt Cleanse would also probably enjoy hearing 'the rest of the story.' The book is a relatively fast read, so you won't burn to much time with it. So go ahead, grab a copy and enjoy the burn.
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