4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newbery is a memoir that touches some extraordinary events of the author’s life. Every new challenge that appeared in his life alternated his life course to a new direction with new energy. He termed such phases the ‘burn zones’ of his life. As a successful entrepreneur, Mr. Newbery was fond of taking risks and facing daunting challenges. From a paperboy to a record mogul, from Olympic dreamer to a real-estate mogul is the story of the author’s unrelenting struggle towards his goals.
Buying the ice cream trike was Newbery’s first business acquisition. After quitting high school education, he joined a punk band and conducted several street concerts along with his mates. Then he became a bike racer; though, couldn’t make much out of it, it left a far-reaching impact on his life late on. From the seat of loan originator, he stepped into the real-estate business. As a real-estate mogul, he successfully bought many bankrupted properties like Ford Hotel, Pickwick Plaza, and turned them into profitable assets. However, the flagship project of Woodland Meadows proved to be his first leap towards bankruptcy. He was maligned, betrayed, and got frustrated. Was his pride, optimism, and risk-taking nature was the cause of his downfall? Could he revive his previous position?
Burn Zones is an inspirational story of the rise and fall of a man with many bitter and revitalizing life experiences. Mr. Newbery was the survivor with many wounds. He wrote in detail the business strategies that helped him to build a successful real-estate empire. He also discussed some bad decisions with some internal and external factors that buried him under the pile of debt. However, as an ambitious sportsman, he courageously faced all odds and his optimistic approach kept the ray of hope with him.
On the family side, his life was soothing. He spent the major part of his life at his parents’ home. Though he married late, it brought the happy turning in his life. Being the son of culturally diverse parents, he had great respect for other ethnicities, especially the black community of African-American people. However, he discussed a little about his siblings and other family members. Moreover, at many places he added his photos to elaborate the relevant text; this made the book more interesting. The pace was good in the start; however, it slowed down in the middle due to excessive business details that somehow boredoms the story. I wish the author had focused more on characters because some of them were either numb or had no representation at all. It is my only complaint about this book.
On the technical side, the book is the mirror of the author’s life, in which a reader can see happiness, grief, fear, loss, and betrayal from society. The writing style was easy to follow, frequently supported with references from newspapers about racial discrimination or perfidy; he had to face at the hands of city administration and police. Mr. Newbery maintains a very clear approach towards the administrative flaws and the subsequent dissatisfaction of the business community that is often blackmailed by administrative red-tapism.
On the essence, Burn Zones is a blend of autobiography, business strategies, and a protesting note against the prevailing social fabric that rarely incorporates the poor and marginalized sections of society and protects the rich and the white skin, and holds prejudice and stereotypical behavior towards the black members of their society. Simultaneously, it’s an inspirational memoir of a bike racer, who never knew to give up. Though it falls under the non-fiction genre, it has the taste of an unpredictable and twisting novel. The editing of this book is fine. Thus, I am pleased to rate this book 4 out of 4 stars . It’s not for those who feel annoyed with excessive business details, especially of the real-estate business. Nevertheless, if you have a liking for real- estate business or seeking some inspirational life lessons; it’s a good book for you as everyone has to go through such burn zones in one’s life.
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