4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newbery is an autobiographical account of the author’s financial rise, fall and rise again. The book tells stories of social injustice, athletic competition, racism and of course business. Jorge tells how the love of family, hard work, dedication, and a positive attitude allowed him to navigate all of these obstacles.
The story begins with a 7-year-old Jorge asking for and receiving a paper route. He expands on this initial opportunity with a second route that allowed him to divide his time and effort into an area north of his home and an area south of his home. This is the earliest example of his ability to see and capitalize on money-making opportunities. At age 11 he uses money earned from his paper routes to buy an ice cream trike from a neighborhood teen. He only continues from there.
Moving from busboy to renting stages to punk bands, to running his own record label. His desire for the next challenge leads him to bike racing where he coined the phrase “burn zone” to describe difficulties encountered that must be pushed through. Using the mantra “this is just another burn zone to get through” he builds from a loan originator to a real estate mogul. It was a financial disaster in his real estate investments that taught him to accept failure.
Early on, I was drawn into this story. The author tells each story chronologically and allows you to go for the ride. Through his meteoric rise, where it seems he can do no wrong, to his equally spectacular fall, where nothing seems to go right, Jorge tells of some of the social and economic events of the 1980s through the 2010s and how they affected his life and business. He emphasizes certain quotes from influential people that stuck with him and helped him fight through his burn zones. Throughout the book, we are told of how interactions with police, city and federal government institutions colored his outlook on life and how they affected his business decisions.
Being of mixed ancestry, his mother is British and his father is Venezuelan, he is acutely aware of the casual and institutional racism that is still occurring.
I am giving this book 4 out of 4 stars. The book is well-edited as I saw no punctuation or grammatical errors. It is quick to read as the story flows very organically. I enjoyed every minute of it. Anyone who enjoys inspirational books would do well to read this one. If you are interested in business or real estate, this book could be a great help.
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