4 out of 4 stars
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It was serendipity that I stumbled upon this beautifully written book, Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newbery at a time when I was about to enter my own burn zone. Newbery, an easily lovable and impressive character from the beginning, is someone you naturally will root for throughout all of his endeavors. One major lesson that I take from this book is an encouragement to redeem the mistakes or misadventures we’ve experience in the past in a way that they can be used as an advantage instead shackles that keep us imprisoned.
In this memoir, Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands, Newbery first takes you back to key moments during his early childhood and teenage years where his entrepreneurial spirit takes him from one business venture to another. Then during his young adult life, he recounts of his career as a bike racer that involved many moments of victory and defeat and invaluable lessons about discipline, healthy living, endurance and ambition. He moves onto the climactic stage of his life and career where he delves into real estate and more specifically, the Woodland Meadows scandal that was both the epitome and downfall of his success as a real estate investor. But it certainly doesn’t end on that note. With his genius creativity, a glass half full outlook on life and perhaps some luck, Newbery was able to turn what was a source of shame into an asset which provided a very satisfying conclusion for this book.
I’m giving it a rating of 4 out of 4 stars because of its sincere, thought provoking and uplifting insights about many aspects of life. The revelations that Newbery shares about the racial injustices in society, the reality of business and politics, rewards and risks of ambition, the sweetness triumph, the sting of failure and most importantly, vindication after hitting rock bottom were all very enlightening and entertaining as well.
There are many things I appreciate about Newbery’s writing but what I liked most was the very careful presentation of the events in his life that involved mature content. That’s where I think he shined as a skilled writer. In writing about these vulgar elements, inevitable parts of the world he lived in, he steadfastly held onto to his healthy and disciplined lifestyle and strong moral principles and he did it in a way that wasn’t condemning but rather graceful.
I especially want to encourage readers who are in need of a triumph right now in their lives to take this journey with Jorge P. Newbery as he maneuvered through the various burn zones in his life. I would highly recommend this book to all young adults who carry within them that idealistic, visionary and entrepreneurial spirit because of the invaluable wisdom that can be gleaned from Newberry’s extraordinary life experiences.
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