4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life's Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newbery is an autobiography of a man who was pushed to his limits, mentally and physically, and came out stronger. Starting as a paperboy at seven to selling ice cream and interviewing rock bands, quitting school at sixteen to start bike racing to loan originator and officer and finally to a real estate mogul, a point where he 'takes one chance too many' leading to his downfall where he loses everything. Later, he rises to start American Homeowner Preservation, a company to help others burdened by debts as he had been.
This book is written as a narrative of Jorge's life; an interesting well-written self-improvement narrative, helping us to draw life lessons from his story rather than taking us through a step-by-step guide on how to deal with failures. Jorge gives an honest account of his failures and emotions as he is completely open with his readers and recounts the decisions and circumstances leading to these failures, making the book quite insightful and relatable. He explains everything in detail but in a simple manner too, leaving no room for confusion. Jorge also makes reference to many other themes in his book such as racism, dealing with peer pressure, drug abuse, financial crises among others. The book is also organized in a chronological manner, making it easy to follow and enjoyable.
I was truly inspired as I traveled with Jorge through his life, getting quite attached, invested and engaged to an extent where I could share his happiness, love for his family, feel his sadness, despair, and hopelessness. It was refreshing to read about someone who isn't blaming others for his setbacks but rather draws lessons from them, pinpointing them such that his readers can easily pick them out. I loved how honest and open Jorge was as accepting one's failures especially in business is not something that many would put out there. One thing I picked from Jorge is the power of books. He read books about every venture he went into, including bike racing. One of the greatest lessons I've learned is to dissect my failures as Jorge did and draw out a lesson; examine what brought on the failure and learn from it. I also loved how he brought out the meaning of the book title, describing burn zones as those periods or situations that put one to the test with two options; to quit or to push on. I particularly loved the fact that the author added photographs from his life. It added reality to the story. I also didn't find any grammatical mistakes or any erotic scenes.
I rate the book 4 out of 4 stars due to its narrative nature and the easy compelling way in which Jorge's story is put out. The writing also moves at a reasonable pace, keeping the reader always focused. Also, Jorge organizes the book in the perfect way, dividing it into easy short and quick chapters whose titles make it easy to follow the story. The book also has many practical lessons and great ideas for the readers to obtain, very inspirational and interesting.
I recommend the book to young adults especially those seeking to start-up businesses for its inspirational and motivational value as it puts to light ways to overcome adversities, solving different problems, be it financial, psychological or social, perseverance and most especially work ethics.
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