4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life's Bad Hands by Jorge P. Newbery is a fascinating novel that follows the life and trials of Jorge Newbery. From newspaper deliverer to punk record label creator to loan originator to real estate investor, I think it is more than fair to say that Newbery had quite a full life and many experiences throughout it. However, in this first publication of his, he focuses on the trials (or what he likes to refer to as "burn zones") and how he got through them.
Newbery was a natural born businessman, obtaining his first job at the age of 7 and his first business at the age of 11. Clearly, that talent as a child followed him into adulthood as he became a real estate investor and made millions and then, after a stroke of misfortune, lost millions. The novel follows the rise and fall of Newbery starting with his childhood career as a newspaper deliverer and ending with his ownership of the American Homeowner Preservation.
Despite, Newbery being generally green to writing, he delivers an honest, thought-provoking novel. He is open about his mistakes that he made and what he has learned since. I especially appreciated his ability to put a reader into his previous mindset and then bring a reader forward into his current mindset. Honestly, I came into this novel thinking that I would not like Newbery as a person because, in my opinion, the book summary casts him in a bad light, but by the end of the novel I was undoubtedly rooting for Newbery’s success.
Contrarily, I did not enjoy that he sometimes fluctuated through topics without any reason it seemed. In certain instances, it was easy to get lost as he abruptly switched through topics. However, the times where this was an issue were few and with, at the worst, a little re-reading, anyone could understand what Newbery was trying to convey.
Due to the well-written, insightful, and ever-entertaining content of this book as well as the author's skill in guiding a reader through his emotions, I rate this book four out of four stars. This novel was truly a page-turner and Newbery did an excellent job building up tension to the disasters of the story. I strongly recommend this book to any aspiring businesspeople and to anyone involved in the punk community because you can see how Newbery's experiences in the punk community impacted his views on the world forever.
Truly, I hope that this is not the last of this kind of writing that we see from Newbery. I do know that he has plans to write at least one more book, but it will be about how to settle debt.
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