4 out of 4 stars
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“‘Burn Zones’, which were relatively short periods of extraordinary effort that separated the winners and losers” is the central theme and definition in Jorge P. Newberry’s autobiographical novel called Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands. Newberry started working at the age of seven, and by the age of eleven, he had started his first business. He had an eye for a challenge and a will to prove himself, even if only to himself. He became a high school dropout, preferring the education of the real world to the education of the classroom. He took opportunities that interested him whenever they presented themselves, and soon he owned an empire of over 4,000 apartments across the united states.
An unforeseen disaster occurred in 2004, causing him to lose everything and wind up millions of dollars in debt. He hired what seemed to be all the right people to help him, but no one did. He had to claw himself out of the place he had landed through taking one too many risks. In all the struggle, he found the new challenge he wanted to pursue. Jorge would find a way to help people out of the crushing debts that they had found themselves unable to afford and start fresh.
Jorge Newberry is a determined, forward-thinking, and self-disciplined man. He has a tendency to want help people, while also challenging himself to rectify the most impossible of situations. I like his analogy of a “burn zone”, as we all experience challenging situations in life, but they won’t last forever. He explains this term to us in the introduction, which I feel was very well written. It was interesting and certainly grabbed my attention, readying me for what was to come throughout. I also enjoyed the pictures of Jorge, his family and friends, and some of his businesses throughout the book. In an autobiography, pictures can help make a connection between the reader and writer, and they really did for me.
The only thing that I disliked about this book was that I felt that some of the sections within the chapters stood alone but should have been incorporated within another section. Although these sections were relevant to the story, I felt as though I was being taken in a different direction than the title implies, only to be yanked back in the next section. For example, the “Anti-Black Racism” section would have worked well in the “Empowered Residents = Empowered Complex” section. It would have added to the value and importance of the “TEACH” program. Instead, it was between two other sections that, I felt, didn’t do it justice.
I would still like to award this 4 out of 4 stars. It was well written and well edited. I would take a half star due to some of the sections being a bit confusing in their placement, but overall relevant. This book is for almost anyone: someone who is struggling with anything in life, someone who has a dream of doing something that seems impossible, someone who feels like a loner, or someone who is looking for a little bit of inspiration. I really enjoyed this story and will be able to refer back to it in the “burn zones” of my own life.
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