4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life's Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newbery is a touching and inspirational memoir about the author's high's and low's in business and in life. Newbery shares his childhood, career choices, success, and failures candidly.
Newbery got his first job as a paperboy at the age of seven and started his first business at age eleven. As a young adult, he began buying real estate, primarily apartment complexes in need of repair and located in the more impoverished areas of cities. He would renovate the complexes to make living conditions better for the residents. Newbery rose to the top as a real estate mogul owning over 4,000 apartments in various cities across the country until tragedy struck in the form of a significant ice storm. There was substantial damage to his largest apartment complex in Columbus, Ohio. Despite trying to renovate the property, the destruction was too considerable, and he lost everything he had worked hard for all his life, including his reputation. His sudden fall from success due to one natural disaster left him 26 million dollars in debt. Throughout his life, Newbery looked at each challenge and business adventure as entering a "burn zone" (a term used by athletes for the most physically challenging part of a competition). This time the author knew he was facing the most difficult "burn zone" of his life.
I like Newberry's writing style. It is conversational and easy to understand, and the story flows smoothly from page to page. He has the talent to vividly describe situations in a way that allows the reader to visualize what he is describing. He also adds subtle humor throughout his narrative, which I enjoyed. I found myself tearing up as the author described his wedding, and again when his father passed away. I believe one mark of a great author is to be able to elicit the reader's emotions. I must say I went through a myriad of emotions as I read this book.
What I liked most was the author's relationship and interactions with his father. Especially his father's persistence in calling him "Jorgie" and Newbery's immediate correction of "It's Jorge, dad," to which his dad would ignore. I also enjoyed the pictures of family and friends included in the book.
I can't think of anything I did not like about this book. It appears professionally edited as I did not notice any errors. There was some scattered profanity, however, not enough to be overly offensive to most readers. Therefore, I gladly give Burn Zones by Jorge P. Newbery 4 out of 4 stars.
I would recommend this book to anyone seeking the courage to start their own business as well as to those who enjoy reading memoirs. Young adults just starting in life could greatly benefit from the determination and perseverance of the author.
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