4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newbery is a well-written non-fictional book that will plunge you into a teeth-grinding experience of a millionaire that lost all his riches because of one natural disaster.
The author starts off by listing his flaws and strengths which turns out are the same points, perhaps relaying to his readers that his biggest strengths might work against rather than for him. He lands his first job as a newspaper delivery boy at age seven, recalling himself to have been a shy kid struggling to fit in with other kids of his age. At age 16, he set up a 'DIY record label' where he amassed new band-contracts, renting halls and setting up shows.
He recollects racist incidences attributed to his Hispanic background. One defining event was an escalation of a benign punk-rock concert, a stage show he rented and helped set up, to a police rioting. A particular incident that shook him most was the brutal murder of close friend John Macias by the police, echoing the same racial bias behind Ferguson mass shooting of 2014.
The root of determination to succeed in the author's life stems from an in-built need to succeed, to face new challenges and win them too. He found such a challenge in cycling. At age 22, he trained hard and soul to be at par with the leading cyclists of the time. He was quick to catch up, leading with cleverness and instincts, and soon proved to be a reliable competitor. Maximized by racial discrimination, he still struggles to feel as if he belongs, and only could if he worked profusely hard at it. In his mid-twenties, he set up a real-estate company buying run-down buildings and renovating them. Success is a way to prove himself that even as an outcast, he can make an impact in society. He does not shy away from quoting inspirational people of the past, including those of his grandmother which I found to be the most heart-warming, and applying them to critical moments of his life.
His biggest challenge also equaled his biggest downfall, succumbing to powers beyond his control - natural disasters and prejudices, his defining ‘burn zone’. With his entire belief system crumpled, he is determined to move ahead. Ever identifying with the underdogs, the author has you rooting for him. While he does not go into extreme details about how he legally cleared his debts, he will take you through his difficult journey of resurrection from failure.
I found the book an easy read with no grammatical errors. There are many instances of racial prejudices, and a brief mention of a dismal experience at a strip club which may qualify as graphic for some. The book is essentially a great motivational read and aimed at readers of such. The author will walk you through little stories that seem out of the blue, but will definitely shine insight into the support system that surrounds him, and the hard-working philanthropist that he is at heart. I rate it 4/4 stars for its simple yet inspirational narrative.
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon