4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands is an autobiography by Jorge P. Newbery. It follows his life starting from his experiences as a paperboy at age seven. He dropped out of high school at sixteen to start a record company, but at nineteen he was looking for a change of pace. He dedicated himself to becoming a competitive cyclist, a challenging test of endurance for both his mind and body. About five years later, he switched course once again and dove into the world of real estate. From managing thousands of properties to being millions in debt and trying to pick up the pieces, Newbery invites readers to share in his trials and triumphs.
I found this book to be very enjoyable to read. The pacing was well done with each section of the book focusing on a different part of the author’s life. Newbery did a good job at balancing an explanation of his entrepreneurial ventures with more personal moments of introspection. Newbery’s dedication to striving for success was motivational to read about. The book was also very well written and it had no noticeable grammar errors.
The only negative I found in this book was that sometimes Newbery got a bit repetitive. This mainly occurred at the end of a section when he is reminiscing on what he learned from that period in his life. He almost always references how he had to overcome his burn zone (a time of intense difficulty) in order to succeed. While I understand that this ties in with the message of the book, it did feel like he was unnecessarily repeating himself. This was only a small issue that didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the book.
My favorite parts of the book were reading about Newbery’s interactions with his father and with his tenants at Woodland Meadows Apartments. The relationship between him and his father was very touching, especially when Newbery helped his father travel back to Argentina. Newbery also showed deep compassion for his tenants at the apartment complex he owned. Many of them were from rough backgrounds, but Newbery implemented many community based programs to help them get back on their feet. Even as he was struggling with rapidly increasing debts, he did everything in his power to try and salvage the community he created.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Its messages of overcoming hardship and never taking what you have for granted really resonated with me. I believe all readers would be able to learn something valuable from reading about Newbery’s experiences.
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