4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands is an inspirational autobiography (written like fiction) by Jorge P. Newbery. At only 7 years old, Jorge or “Jorgie”, as his father called him, knew how important it was to work hard. This showed in his work ethic at two separate newspaper companies. This early realization gave rise to a lifelong ambition to seek challenges and conquer them. Especially challenges that previously bested others in their attempts. At only 11, with money he saved as his time as a paperboy, he bought a small motorized ice-cream cart and started his own business. Jorge went from selling ice-cream in his neighborhood, to bidding on multi-million dollar properties across the country.
A “burn zone”, which is derived from professional bike racing and described by the author as, “ … relatively short periods of extraordinary effort that separated the winners and losers.” Jorge refers to his hardships in life and work as metaphorical “burn zones” which push his physical and mental ability to the limit.
In 2004, after an ice storm caused significant damage to Woodland Meadows, an apartment complex owed by Jorge, he would be thrown into one of the most difficult “burn zones” of his life. An expensive legal battle, media defamation and the loss of his financial status would shake him to his core. This left only one question to answer: What next?
I really enjoyed this inspirational story of overcoming adversity and pushing yourself beyond what you believe you can handle. I was extremely impressed by Jorge’s activism in his local community, wherever he may be at the time. Not only did he empower young African-Americans to realize their full potential to do great things; he gave them the opportunity to show, not only others, but themselves that they have what it takes to make it in life. Jorge completely submerged himself into the lives of the people around him.
It was an easy decision to give Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands, a 4 out of 4 stars. I only came across a couple of minor errors, so it is well-edited. I think anyone struggling with what life is throwing at them would benefit from reading this book. Which, I believe, is all of us. It has a universal message and if translated into others languages the message would be just as well received. The only thing I disliked was not getting to know each person as well as I would have liked. They all seem like such great people who I found myself wanting to read more about. Overall, this book is inspiring, informative, well written and, all around, a great book.
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