4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands by Jorge. P. Newbery is a motivational memoir following the life of the author, Jorge, from the childhood struggles to a multimillionaire and his ultimate fall. He defines “Burn Zones” as relatively short periods of an extraordinary effort that separate the winners and losers. For instance, in bicycle racing, a burn zone would be a period when one is cycling uphill, when the feet really hurt, or downhill when the cyclist has to struggle with steering the bicycle.
Jorge started a newspaper delivery job when he was only seven. He was formally employed when he was eleven and started an ice cream business when he was thirteen. Growing up, he was very determined and dedicated to his job, despite several discouraging remarks by his close friend and family about his age. After finishing high school, he declined to join any college and focused on making lots of money. He started a music recording company where he also interviewed popular musicians. He also acquired a stage where artists could perform their music. After an interruption by the police, he later, together with his friends, formed a band. With the earnings from his band, he started buying and leasing used buildings at a profit. His acquisition of the Woodland Meadows, an 1100-unit apartment in Columbus, Ohio, marked his downfall. From a millionaire to tens of millions of debts.
This book carries a mixture of emotions. I could celebrate whenever the author was doing well and grieve whenever he became broke and bankrupt, whenever the police harassed him and his friends, or whenever he was facing discrimination because of his skin color. Since the events covered in this book happened between the late 90s to around 2013, I realized that racial discrimination hasn’t been fully eradicated. The police still view African Americans as criminals and often lock up even the innocent.
Apart from getting motivated and starting to view life from a more positive perspective, this book made me learn valuable virtues. Some of these virtues are honestly and dedication to one’s work. This book was also well written, with subheadings which made it very easy to read. Since I didn’t find any grammatical errors, it was well edited too.
There was one major disappointment that I encountered. On page seventeen, the author lists some reviews of his work as he interviewed some popular musicians. He says that shavedeneck.com posted the whole interview online. Since this is a non-fiction book, I checked the website. The first words I saw at the top of the website were very gross, mostly adult contents. I didn’t search the site further for the recording.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Although I got disappointed by the website, it is not part of the book and, therefore, can’t affect my ratings. I recommend it to people who enjoy reading realistic success stories where there are periods of success and failures. There is no specific group of people that won't find the book helpful.
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