4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands is a brilliantly written memoir by Jorge P. Newbery. The author details his life in “burn zones,” which tests the limits of the body and mind pushing past breakpoints of winning or accepting defeat and losing. “Talking” his way into his first “real” job as a paperboy, Jorge set the course of entering and surviving the burn zones leading to his multi-million-dollar real estate empire.
By his own admission, Jorge enjoyed playing the “real-life game of Monopoly.” Strategically buying short sale and foreclosure properties, while holding millions in the bank, he successfully built a portfolio of properties all over the country. The ‘baby-faced business tycoon’ certainly had the ‘Midas Touch.’ One miscalculated choice and the wrath of Mother Nature caused an implosion that broke the bank, ruined his health, and destroyed his reputation. Suddenly, the real-life Monopoly was no longer fun.
The purchase of his flagship property, Woodland Meadows, a 1,100-unit apartment complex in Columbus, Ohio was his greatest achievement and a colossal failure. A crippling ice storm destroyed his pride and joy, collapsed his empire and revealed a conspiracy so twisted it was unbelievable.
I liked the simplicity of Mr. Newbery’s writing style. The chapters flowed in a naturally progressive tone and did not contain the cliché, “This Is How I Overcome Adversity and You Can Too!” jargon. Instead, he shares his rise to riches and falls to $26M in debt with authentic honesty and relatable ‘burn zone’ stories. I did not dislike any part of the book. The tone was so natural and conversational. It felt like catching up with an old friend over coffee.
Jorge’s ability to see a potentially successful opportunity, act swiftly, and devise unheard of ‘out-the-box’ potential profit strategies was incredible. I was mesmerized by how a seven-year-old took a calculated risk delivering papers for rival competitors, doubling his salary with minimal effort. How can a young boy, with no formal education, possess a savvy aptitude for business and entrepreneurial prowess? He is totally amazing!
Jorge “embarked on a real estate crusade to fix the unfixable,” yet his determination to succeed was palpable. One last burn zone renewed his confidence to explore ways that could relieve stress, anxiety, and desperation for homeowners facing foreclosure. The American Homeowner Preservation company provided fresh starts for both Jorge and the homeowners.
I rate Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands 4 out of 4 stars. The book is professionally edited and well written. Mr. Newbery has written an excellent memoir sharing how surviving and being defeated by burn zones shaped his past and present failures and successes. Many will relate to Mr. Newbery’s passion to connect with a purpose and “fix the unfixable” yet, hindsight is always 20/20. Once Jorge realized his business values and integrity were not shared by his counterparts, it was a hard pill to swallow.
Although Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands is a memoir, it has invaluable advice, information, and resources that surprisingly serve as “how-to” guides: real estate investing, ways to avoid foreclosure, how to settle and/or eliminate debt. The book has more than one target audience and spans several genres. I would recommend this book to aspiring athletes, entrepreneurs, real estate investors, and readers who enjoy inspirational stories.
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