4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life's Bad Hands is an inspirational life story about an American entrepreneur full of grit and ingenuity. Jorge P. Newbery starts off his book with the story of how he got his first job at age seven, delivering papers in Los Angeles. His parents were very supportive of his desire to work, as long as it didn't interfere with his schoolwork. He then goes on to describe how he started his own ice cream truck business, stage rental business, and punk band interview records business; and shares what he learned about people from all areas of life while running these businesses. What I like most about this book is the author's way of writing what he was thinking as his life events were happening.
He describes how he came up with the title for his book and how he realized that the concept of getting through a 'Burn Zone' is necessary for success after failure in life. His attitude about these situations is what enables him to pick himself up and get back into the game of business after one of his largest investments takes a devastating financial blow. He discovers that the people he was relying on to help him make a difference in the world were only telling him what he wanted to hear, to profit from his loss. What I like most about this book is the author's motives behind all of his business endeavors: to help the American underdog. He specifically addresses the prejudices against young male African Americans, and how they are not given a fair shot in life because of them.
In one of his business purchases, a huge apartment complex in Columbus, Ohio, he puts his theory that African Americans just need a chance to prove themselves into effect. When he first buys the property, it is overrun with drug dealers and prostitutes, poor people just trying to make a living, and the majority of them were African Americans. Since prejudiced people refused to hire them, they were forced to rely on whatever means of shady business they could get to pay their rent. With the help of a man named John, who ran a nonprofit help center at the center of the complex, Jorge Newbery started hiring the renters to clean up the place and used his connections to find them jobs outside of town also. They started their own construction company and once people in the town of Columbus saw the quality of their work, they wanted them to do work for their companies too.
When the previously poor and jobless African Americans started making decent money at their jobs, they were able to pay their rent and live more respectable lives. Jorge loved seeing how their spirits and work ethics were rising as they took pride in their work and ability to provide for their families. His experiment was a roaring success. I really couldn't find anything to dislike about Burn Zone: Playing Life's Bad Hands. I think anyone who is struggling financially to get a business up off the ground needs to read this book.
The author explains his personal revelations through the ups and downs of his life, the successes and failures of his businesses, and has a lot of helpful advice through it all. I rate this book a 4 out of 4 stars. Any lower rating would be unfair to the author. It also appears to be professionally edited.
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