4 out of 4 stars
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From rags to riches, and back to rags. Burn Zones is the inspirational story about the legend that is Jorge P. Newbery. Jorge was one of the big players in real estate, owning over 4000 rental units across America at a stage. His hobby was to find the most inhabitable buildings and overhaul them into profitable real estate - usually for low cost housing. Jorge made his millions by letting his ambition drive him and lacking the fear that would give others pause. This was a potent combination that built Jorge's empire, but it also led to his fall. Jorge lost it all in the blink of an eye. An ice storm hit over Christmas and destroyed his biggest property, this caused the chain of events that left Jorge millions of dollars in debt and no way to pay it less that 18 months later. In this book Jorge reveals the whole story. He reminisces about his childhood, revealing his many early ventures (including becoming a competitive cyclist). He reveals how he entered the real-estate business and how his ambition led him to build his empire. Jorge describes his inspiring rise, his fall to rock bottom, and his stubborn rise again.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars! This is the best book that I have read in a while. I'm generally not a fan of autobiographies or true stories, however this book was phenomenal. I could not put the book down.
I love how Jorge goes into such detail about his journey. He explains his steps, his mindset and his thoughts so well through out the book that you feel a part of the action and it gives a greater understanding. At times Jorge uses quite a bit of jargon, but he uses it in such a way that you understand the process better rather being left confused. Jorge exhibits such rare optimism, charming wit, dry sarcasm and creative ingenuity that I actually wish I could meet him in person. He adds many photos of his life in the book which adds nice a personal touch. The only aspect that I did not thoroughly enjoy was that Jorge made many references to race-related violence and murder. While I fully understand that this is an important topic and was particularly prevalent at the time, I also feel that it was not always related to the story at hand and seemed a bit out of place at times.
I would recommend this book for everyone to read. Although business-minded people will probably gain more from this book than others, I truly believe that there are life lessons for every single person to learn from in this book.
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