4 out of 4 stars
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In his autobiography, Burn Zones: Playing At Life’s Bad Hands, Jorge P Newbery describes life’s problematic situations as “Burn Zones” which he believed he could overcome with hard work, endurance, and determination. Indeed, he overcomes the burn zones in his life with optimism, until disaster strikes in the form of a natural disaster.
An extremely focussed, goal-oriented and hard-working individual, Jorge depicts work as his play. It is evident from the fact that he starts earning money right from the age of seven, delivering newspapers for the Herald, and then, the Evening Outlook, every day. Saving money from delivering newspapers, Jorge now 11, brings a tricycle for selling ice-cream and then works as a bus-boy. Wanting to experience real-life challenges, he drops out of school to start a record company. He doesn’t stop there, inspired by the Olympics, he sets a new goal for himself: To be a bike racer. He doesn’t make it to the Olympics but races bicycles for a living. Developing bronchitis, prompts him to leave bike racing. After getting a real estate license, he gets a job as a loan originator. Some years later, he starts his own mortgage company with his partner Darin. A few years later, he starts brokering houses foreclosed by the U.S. Department Of Housing And Development(HUD), becoming the ”number one HUD REO broker” in the country, selling over 600 properties in 1999.
He experiences the most difficult burn-zone of his life when an ice-storm hits one of his property, the woodland meadows, a 1,100 unit apartment complex in Columbus, Ohio. He loses everything overnight. Now, $26 million in debt, Jorge is despondent. He doesn’t file for bankruptcy, unable to accept his failure. The remainder of the book is about how he overcomes this burn-zone of his life, helping not only himself but also other people.
From his work ethics to aiding other people, Jorge is likable. He learned from adversity. The most touching part of the book for me was Jorge genuinely helping hundreds of African-Americans improve their lives. I got so much involved in his story that his failure felt personal. The book also has glimpses of the 80’s punk era.
I loved this book, which is why I’m rating it 4 out of 4 stars. It must have been edited professionally as I didn’t find any grammatical errors. There are some instances of swearing and no explicit content.
I would recommend this book to people committed to a path of self-improvement or people who enjoy reading autobiographies.
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