4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands by Jorge P Newbery was extremely interesting to me largely because of quite a bit of takes place in Ohio. This is a location that does not seem to get much attention in books. It also doesn't hold back any punches, covering topics ranging from interracial marriages, police riots, debt, and even death.
This book follows the life of Jorge P Newbery and is, in fact, his biography. It chronicles his life from his early childhood to his present-day life. As a child, he started building his financial future with a paper route and using that money he started selling ice cream around his neighborhood. From there he got a job as a busboy and convinced his parents to allow him to leave high school early. He started making a name for himself when he started his own record company.
It was during this time that he entered his first major burn zone and realized how cruel the world can be. It largely followed his time as a professional bicycle racer and the trials he went through during his climb to the top. The largest focus of the book, however, was the Woodland Meadows. This area was a large apartment complex that was considered a bad area, to say the least. Mr. Newbery buys the Woodland Meadows and successfully started turning the complex around. Sadly a bad winter storm destroys all he has accomplished and creditors start knocking at his door, putting him in his biggest burn zone ever.
I enjoyed the lessons this book offers. It encourages readers to be able to push through their burn zones or tough times. Frequently in life things can feel like they are falling apart and everything is going wrong. Yet this book shows there is usually a solution and that you can and will make it through. Also, everything Mr. Newbery accomplished at such a young age is extremely inspiring. It is rough trying to find something in this book that I did not like. However, being forced to choose I would have to say that around Chapter Six: American Homeowner Preservation, it gets into some financial stuff that is quite confusing. It also started talking about a few other companies and started to lose my attention during that time frame.
Adults will enjoy this book the most. I also believe that teens in high school would benefit from the lessons in this book as well. Although most teens will probably find it out of their typical interests and might have to be forced or heavily influenced to start it. Once they start reading it I believe many will enjoy it, especially if they are goal-oriented. I rate this book 4 out of 4. This book was excellently edited for starters. It also moved at a nice, quick pace and did not get boring as many non-fiction books can over time. This book did not become dry or hard to read as it progressed which is something else that I can not say about most non-fiction. Overall I was extremely impressed with this book.
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