4 out of 4 stars
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When I found Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newbery, I was in reader heaven because the book is a combination of autobiography, memoir, and self-help, which are genres I consider myself a colossal devotee of in my book choices. This book is an inspirational page-turner, urging the reader to never quit on your dreams or goals. The book is a quick read and, I must confess, I read the book straight through in about 160 minutes.
The book starts at early 7-year-old Jorge, who delivers newspapers. As a child of 7-years-old, he was already thinking about profit and self-improvement when he discovered he could make extra delivering nights. We then move to 11-year old Jorge, who sells ice cream from a tricycle (his first business). The reader learns of Newbery’s trek to success as a high school drop out to a bike racer, and ultimately to being self-made in real estate investing. When life through him lemons through failed real estate in his early forties, Newbery declared bankruptcy but picked himself up and continued to strive for success through his intense ethic, hard work, and desire to not quit or give up on himself. Today, he is Chief Executive Officer and Founder of American Homeowner Preservation, an idea that developed from his situation with owing millions in debt, which Newbery describes as a “socially responsible hedge fund.”
Throughout the book, Newbery uses the metaphor of “burn zones” in life whenever he had turmoil. Each “burn zone” he discussed encourages the reader to not give up on themselves in times of trouble, to push through, and to be okay with disappointments. I guess that the constant metaphor to “burn zones” became a little old for me after a while, and I wished for some other idea or concept to emerge to compare the new tribulations. But, a “burn zone” is a good term for the downs of life.
I think my favorite part of the book was Newbery’s humbleness and humility in his description of his life and in the tone of the work. He is thankful for all his experiences- the good and the bad “burn zones”- and he is trying to tell his reader that you don’t need to be broken- just work hard, pick yourself up, and create a defined purpose you can be proud of for yourself.
My rating for this book is 4 out of 4 stars. It is a contemplative autobiography of a very driven American who has had a rollercoaster of successes and failures but, remarkably, keeps finding himself re-boarding the roller coaster to ride again. I think that the book appeals to many people; those who have a broken spirit, are going through something hard, have experienced failure, or are undergoing depression may particularly like the book as it us uplifting, as would any autobiography reader.
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