4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones by Jorge Newbery is an honest look at hard work and the pitfalls of government corruption through the eyes of an underdog. Newbery chronicles his life thus far through the ups and downs of building, then losing, a real estate empire. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars for its honest and raw portrayal of a kind-hearted and hardworking man trying to do right by doing good. This book does a great job of balancing personal storytelling with the hard knock life lessons that come from entrepreneurship. Newbery shares the importance of his relationships with parents, siblings, and friends, and also his drive and determination to make the best out of some extremely challenging situations.
Throughout the book, Newbery powers through a series of “burn zones” which he defines as “relatively short periods of extraordinary effort that separated the winners and losers” as it relates to cycling. He uses this concept of a burn zone throughout the book to show that he was going through a hard time where he had to power through and make it out the other side without stopping or looking back.
Newbery was a workaholic from a young age, starting his first job at 7 years old delivering newspapers. Throughout his years it is obvious that he was intrinsically motivated and eager to continue to take the next step in his money-making journey. What differentiates Newbery from a lot of serial entrepreneurs is his kindness. He made it a habit of treating others exceptionally well. During his teenage years when his parent’s home sometimes became a crashing place for punk rock bands, Newberry says “Our unofficial punk hotel taught me that people generally treat you the way you treat them.”
Newbery is a minority, his mother is from the UK and his father from Argentina, and throughout his stories he makes it a point to understand the plight of the underdog and side with those who seem to be repeatedly kicked while they’re down. During the height of his real estate empire, Newbery renovated several properties that predominantly housed African American tenants. He made every effort to hire workers from the people who lived in the housing in order to better the community from the inside out. While the strides he made were impressive by anyone's standards, there are certain things that were out of his control that you have to read to believe.
This book is truly a motivational story about how one person can accomplish so much, have it all taken away, then rebound with poise and humility.
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