4 out of 4 stars
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I am not into bicycles or racing, and the idea of exercising though a burn sounds unappealing to me; therefore, I thought the book Burn Zone by Jorge P. Newbery held no interest for me. I was wrong. This book is more about perseverance than pedaling. Newbery uses his experience in the cycling world to show how the qualities he learned through that sport helped him grow a multi-million dollar business.
The author's first business adventure was at age seven. He rode his bike to deliver newspapers for two different publishers. He saved his money from that adventure and bought a bicycle-powered ice cream cart to sell treats to children. He was 11 at the time. With his parents’ permission, Newbery dropped out of school at 16 and started a punk rock music business. His racing career began in his 20s, and his determined attitude helped propel him to the Olympic trials in 1988.
The first cycling reference to the burn appears in a section titled "Breakthrough." The term then becomes a part of almost every chapter. Later in the story, as he is preparing for his first meeting as a loan officer, Newbery states, “I was ready to enter a burn zone. I stepped into the lobby and greeted them, then welcomed them into my office. 'ACT CONFIDENT,' I thought." Newbery learned to work through his lack of confidence just as he learned to work through the pain in a bicycle race.
This quote from Chapter 8 is a good example of what the burn zone means to the author. "In my mind, when I survived a burn zone, there was a reward for my sacrifice. I had survived Woodland Meadows and expected my eventual prize to be a return of my financial losses. This had not happened, but maybe my reward was something better. I needed to allow myself to be happy."
My favorite part of this book is that the chronology of events that led to the rise and fall of Newbery's empire is easy to follow. Although Burn Zone is a memoir, and less credible than a biography, the honest tone of the writing instills belief in the facts that the author presents. The work ethic that Newbery describes in Chapter 3 sounds like the character Chris Garner in the movie Pursuit of Happiness. My least favorite part involves the idea of negotiating your way out of paying your bills. Ethically and morally, I feel that this concept is wrong, but the way that Newbery explains it, it feels right.
I am happy to rate this book 4 out of 4 for bicycling enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. The book was well-edited, interesting, and motivational.
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