4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones is an autobiographical book by Jorge P. Newbery. The title is explained early on as it relates to bicycle racing. Burn zones are relatively shot periods of extraordinary effort, such as long uphill climbs, which separate the winners and losers. The author proposes that everyone's life is full of burn zones, which test our bodies and minds.
Newbery started working at age seven, delivering newspapers. He created his first business at 11 and then dropped out of high school at age 16 during his second month of 11th grade. He had passed the GED (General Education Development) exam and wanted to go into the real world. His career spanned several industries from producing records and music concerts to racing bicycles, to becoming a loan officer, broker, and real estate investor. He looked for opportunities and took risks investing in apartment homes, long-term hotel rentals, and later a very large (1,100 units) rental community. He was successful by taking these risks and working hard, but ultimately a weather-related natural disaster caused him to lose everything and eventually put him into over $26 million debt.
The book held my interest to see what challenge or success would happen next. The author's writing manner is lively and upbeat. I liked the autobiographical style of how to succeed in business, while helping and investing in others. His approach of training and hiring his own tenants for property maintenance work is very clever. The tenants gained new skills, earned extra money to help them afford their apartments, and overall it cut costs for Newbery since he did not need to contract with outside firms. The author not only shared his six business principles for being successful but he also shared his lessons learned. The overarching theme is to never give up.
I would give this book a 4 out of 4 stars rating. It is an excellent book and there was nothing to warrant less than all four stars. I very much enjoyed reading the book, and believe that most people would also enjoy it. Property owners and managers in particular may benefit from Newbery's experience. The individual stories kept me curious to see how Newbery would handle each situation. I like most that this book incorporated personal thoughts and details of family relationships throughout the years. What I disliked most was that Newbery did not seek advice often, other than professional advice such as legal advice. It might have been helpful had he sought the opinion of others at times, rather than trying to go it alone.
The book was well-edited and should appeal to a wide audience. Somehow this autobiography is able to include the elements of business, self-help, and inspirational books all wrapped up into one.
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