4 out of 4 stars
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Is life hurling a storm of stones in your direction and you don't know how you'll get through it?
Are you stuck in an unhappy situation and not getting what you want out of life?
Are you looking for inspiration to bring out the best in you?
If so, Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newbery is the book for you.
Newbery is a serial entrepreneur who started from the bottom rung, climbed to the top, and fell off the ladder. Was he pushed off? Was the ladder unstable? Or did the author climb so high that he had no choice but to fall off the ladder?
The book provides an answer to these questions, but I won't spoil it for you.
The author defines burn zones as “relatively short periods of extraordinary effort that separated the winners and losers.” He uses the same term to describe difficult passages in his life. Instead of seeing them as obstacles to avoid, he sees them as periods when you put your head down and push even harder.
It’s a rags-to-riches story that reads a lot like a thriller, especially in the beginning. The author sets the tone from the introduction, laying the groundwork for his story: born to immigrant parents, he started from nothing, built a large real estate empire, then lost everything and fell deeply into debt.
The tone of the first half of the book made me want to read on, just to know what happened next. I can't say that I've had this experience often with business or self-help books.
The second part of the book, the part after the collapse, has a very different tone. You can tell that Newbery changed drastically before and after the event. The writing matches that change of perspective. The book's pace slows, much as you would slow down after going through a burn zone: you need to let up to reach the finish line.
The book displays two very different points of view for the same person. I thought it was a tour de force—if not a Tour de France!
I find it fascinating that an author can write about his life from the perspective of how he was feeling at that time. It's a bit hard to explain, but it's as if there were two voices in the book. One voice before the collapse and a different voice after the collapse.
I recommend this book to readers looking for inspiration in their life. It’s for people looking for a reason to keep pushing ahead despite challenges. It's also a great read for those who are turned off by savage capitalism but still want to be rich; people looking for something that will benefit themselves and help others without needing to take advantage of them.
If you're looking for quick fixes, life hacks, or strategies on how to manage your company and employees, this is not the book for you. I don't think it was meant as a learning tool, but more as an inspirational tool. It shows how hard work, a noble goal, and the love of others can bring you far in life.
From a technical point of view, Jorge P. Newbery’s Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands is flawless. I tend to find minute errors in books, but in this case, I didn't find any. The editing was done exceptionally well. It is a great testament to the author’s attention to detail in everything he does.
I give this book an enthusiastic 4 out of 4 stars.
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