4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones by Jorge P. Newbery is a heart-warming autobiography about taking chances and never giving up despite all hardships life may throw at us. It’s also a valuable lesson about how sometimes ambition may end up being a double-ended sword.
If I’m being completely honest, I’ve never been a big fan of autobiographies. I’ve always felt awkward and even somewhat uncomfortable while reading them. But this one I liked and I believe this is saying something in itself.
The story starts in 1973, in Los Angeles. Jorge P. Newbery is seven-years-old and already running his first business of selling ice cream around the neighbourhood. Only in the next few years, he’ll prove himself as a genius businessman by going through jobs of all walks of life and achieving striking results in all of them. I had to stop reading a few times to reflect on my own life choices…
The main moral of the book, however, is how that same ambition can completely backfire on you and ruin everything you’ve worked for. After going as far as almost qualifying for the Olympics and abandoning all of that for a job in banking, the author finally reaches his breaking point. All of a sudden, everything bores him and nothing inspires him anymore. His achievements lose meaning, and he feels empty despite his high salary and overflowing CV.
I highly recommend the book and give it 4 stars out of 4 exactly for this lesson. It’s such a vital one to learn. Especially for teenagers and young adults who tend to be, more often than not, recklessly brave in their pursuit of success.
I enjoyed the non-committed tone of the author and the overall friendliness pouring out of the pages. I also enjoyed all the family photos. For the first time, instead of weird or unfitting, I found them to give a nice touch of authenticity to the story.
There isn’t anything I truly disliked. The descriptions of the author’s work as a loan officer were a bit boring, but this isn’t something worth taking off points for.
The book is professionally edited; I managed to find only a few grammatical errors.
There are no erotic scenes but there is mild profanity.
I recommend it to everyone who enjoys autobiographies and is in need of an educational read but dislikes the in-your-face feeling and complexity some such stories tend to have. You really don’t have to worry about that with this one — it’s short, unpretentious and easy to read. It took me just under three hours of binge-reading to finish it.
A true gem in everyone’s library, indeed!
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