4 out of 4 stars
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Jorge P. Newbery's Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands is an autobiography that chronicles the author's childhood, business, passion, achievements, successes, failures, relationships, trials, and lessons learned in life. It motivates the readers to explore, come out of comfort zones, take risks, and never give up. I love the black-and-white photos with captions artistically inserted in the contents. Certainly, this nonfiction book is neither pushy nor preachy. It is a labor of love that oozes both memories and motivations to set an example for readers to follow.
At the age of seven, Jorge started delivering newspapers using his bike. From the money he earned, he bought an ice cream trike which he used in pedaling ice cream at the age of eleven. Dropped out of high school at the age of sixteen, he became a busboy, built a record company, and joined in bicycle competitions. He built his own mortgage company after being a successful loan officer. He also purchased problematic apartment units across the United States and turned them into assets. His drive for money was tested by a natural calamity that the government used against him. Read how Jorge emerged despite having a deficit of over twenty-six million dollars.
Tough times, difficult situations, and challenging opportunities contributed to "burn zones". These burn zones could test the resilience of our minds and bodies. Everyone experienced burn zones, but not all came out unscathed and victorious. Most people even chose the easy way out by quickly giving up. I admired Jorge for his exceptional drive for money, business ideas, work ethics, and resilience in handling his burn zones in life. His installation of laundry machines, payphones, and vending machines in his apartments reminded me of fast-food chains that offer not only main dishes but also drinks and sweets.
Jorge took notes of the lessons he learned from his mentors, his own strengths and weaknesses, and some inspiring quotes and song lyrics. I loved this quote from Nelson Mandela: “The greatest glory in living lies not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.” Truly, all of us have ups and downs. We just have to get up, move on after every fall, and learn our lessons. The narrative was smooth, but my reading flow lagged when Jorge discussed mortgage issues and AHP (American Homeowner Preservation). The narrations made my mind play like I was watching Jorge's video as I read along. After knowing about Jorge's extreme highs and depressing lows, the ending was a relief for me - the same feeling after a roller coaster ride.
I only found a typo error and a sudden press of the "enter" button separating a word from a whole sentence. This book has no curse words other than this expression: “f**k THA POLICE” (copy-pasted as is). It is free from sexually explicit scenes and religious issues. It is for general patronage. Nothing seems unlikable in this book, so I give it 4 out of 4 stars. Business-minded individuals will surely love it. Readers who are not into autobiographies may skip reading it.
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