4 out of 4 stars
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From being a seven-year-old who distributed newspapers to an eleven-year-old who bought his own first ice cream truck, to a school dropout who quickly rose to the category 1 of cyclists, to an amateur flourishing in the real-estate business, to someone very close to bankruptcy, to being the founder and CEO of American Homeowner Preservation, we travel with Newbery through his life's journey and unravel all his burn zones. Burn Zones by Jorge P. Newbery is a story of a starry-eyed young boy with dreams heavier than his shoulders. He propelled through every hardship with a calm demeanor and crushed each of his burn zones. But at one point his excessive optimism backfires, and he becomes a pawn in the politics played out by the City, becoming indebted to millions of dollars. Although constantly haunted by his failures, he learns from them and comes up with a strategy to help people who are stuck in a position much similar to his. He uses his expertise and comes up with a “too good to be true” solution. His loss ignites his passion and makes him look at the hindsight before taking a step, becoming financially stable once again.
The book was a marvelous read. When the story started to unfold, Newbery was sort of a superhuman in my eyes. He was always doubted, yet he would prove everyone wrong. To be relentlessly ambitious at the age of seven was something that left me in awe of Newbery. His quick learning, his extensive assessments, his passion to overcome any burn zone was undeniably inspirational. But when he lost the battle of recovering Woodland Meadows, he gained a more human touch in his character. His anxieties, his struggle to keep his head above the water in the ocean of debt pulling him under and his grinding of teeth till the point they were damaged, made him much more relatable. To be inspirational, you do not have to be heroic; you just have to be strong enough to instill a sense of courage into others. As Newbery rebuilt himself, married, became an author and took care of his parents, he inculcated a new sense of inspiration in my mind. His story's ending showed that his actions can be followed if we learn to acquire that level of determination, although it is not a smooth ride.
Constantly throughout the book, the author keeps throwing the term burn zones as a hard obstacle that can be overcome with wit and grit. However, sometimes passion overcomes rationality, and when Newbery was driven solely by his optimism, he became naïve. That naivety resulted in his dreams burning due to the mishandling of a burn zone. With this experience, the author taught the readers that to be vigilant is very important. Keeping your hopes up is a good thing, but your mind needs to be open to the negative aspects just as much.
Another aspect that added glitter to the already glowing book was the mention of economic disparity, the protests, growing gaps between the classes, the unfair usage of power by the police and the never-ending racism African Americans have faced over the years. The author taught never to treat anyone differently and even married an African American woman against social norms.
Even more inspiring than Newbery himself were his parents. They believed in him, helped him out, were always there to listen to his troubles, and always acted like a backbone. As an action of reciprocity, the author never stopped respecting them. Their relation was beautiful. It shows that if children are entrusted with unwavering trust, they can reach the stars and bring them back home.
The ending is perhaps the most delightful part, and the most vital lesson anyone needs. After all the trouble he goes through, in the end, he realizes the solution to his problems was nobody but he, himself. He was his own magic bullet. It advises the reader to believe that their most influential supporter is their own self, and believing in one’s self can change the course of life.
The book was professionally edited, and the writing style was straightforward and flawless. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars, as I cannot point out a single thing I disliked about the book. There is a brief mention of a strip club and a naked woman, but nothing too obscene to restrict it to any age group. This book would be an enjoyable read for people who appreciate autobiographies, and people stuck in their burn zones who are seeking inspiration. Lovers of adventure could equally enjoy this book.
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