4 out of 4 stars
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I initially began reading Burn Zones: Playing Life's Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newbery because of the cover illustration showing a racing cyclist. I enjoy reading about cycling and although it was not the main focus of this book, I was glad that I picked it up as it was a wonderful surprise.
The book is about the author's business ventures and early successes and difficulties encountered along the way. Selling newspapers and ice cream in his youth were followed by years as a teenager working in the L.A. punk rock scene. His early 20s saw him racing professionally as a cyclist before he turned his focus on real estate. It was fun and inspiring to read about the author's determination to succeed, even from a very young age. The photos sprinkled throughout the book allow an intimate glimpse at the author's life and help portray the characters mentioned in the text.
The repeated theme of "burn zone" comes up throughout the book. This cycling phrase refers to a period of extraordinary effort. He uses this phrase as a way to describe several extreme challenges that he faced in his life and career. Rather than quit, the author pushes through each new burn zone, sometimes with mixed results. Frequent self-reflection allow him to analyze each challenge with eyes to how he could have done better or what to improve for the next time.
This book was an interesting insight into the real estate business, which I know very little about. The author did a good job explaining some of the complex issues that can go along with working in the field of real estate. It was also an eye-opening portrayal of how the media can twist a narrative into what they want, which is not necessarily the important or true story. The author is a bit hard on himself for what he sees as his failures in life but he strives to find lessons in each of those failures and the book ended with the same positive undertone that is present throughout the story.
I think there are several important life lessons that any reader can take away from this book. It is inspiring, well-written, and enjoyable, and I am pleased to give it 4 out of 4 stars. The author has admirable morals, an extraordinary determination and work ethic, and a generally optimistic attitude and I learned a lot from him. There were very few grammar errors and vulgarities and there is no real limit to the audience that would benefit from, and enjoy, this personal story of success.
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