4 out of 4 stars
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In the long run of life, one can choose from countless paths and gain from them given one can conquer the challenges along the way. Some even choose to take on multiple roles, learning from one and jumping to the next. Jorge P. Newbery highlights his own learning opportunities and experiences in his autobiography, Burn Zones: Playing Life's Bad Hands, the title serving as a strong statement, a common motif, and a real tool that separates those who can persevere and those who fall short of their goals. Newbery experiences many burn zones in his life, ranging from stormy days delivering papers to bike races lasting many miles to facing millions of dollars of debt head-on. While not all of his endeavors were profitable, one even nearly ruining his life if he had not gotten back on his feet, he still dared to do well and do good.
Along with his own personal success, what drives any reader to care and root for Newbery is how he strives to take the hands of those who have been coerced down by the elements of life and society and allow them to observe their own triumphs. Having so many apartment units to care for in the early 2000s, many quickly conclude that no one has the amount of determination that Newbery demonstrated, lowering crime rates and doing all in his power to raise the quality as high as it could go. Even when he faced certain financial death with his risky real estate moves, he rose back up, following his altruistic ways to this day.
Any event that Newbery mentions in Burn Zones that has any sort of online documentation is accurate. In addition, readers will not come across any errors as the text is undoubtedly proficient in terms of syntax and grammar. However, some may find the use of swears or slurs distasteful if he or she does not consider the context they are presented in, i.e. this word was used since it is a direct quote of this person in the book. Slurs are also mentioned because the book also sheds light on how African Americans fell victim to ill treatment in the places that Newbery has been a resident and how Newbery has tried to give them proper justice by lifting them up and giving them job opportunities, knowing how mistreatment feels himself.
Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed reading through Newbery's many adventures throughout the book. Even when he was, as he puts it, "maligned, publicly shamed, and financially gutted," he still rose above the challenge and established that, through the trials of life, anyone can accomplish something if he or she is willing to take the necessary steps and put his or her all into it. Because of the historical accuracy, the professional writing, the engaging stories, and overall an uplifting read, I elect to give Burn Zones four out of four stars.
I recommend this book to anyone who needs some inspiration, whether he or she may be in financial distress, in a motivational slump, or in general needs more light in his or her life.
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