4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands is a memoir written by, and told from the viewpoint of, Jorge P. Newbery as he traverses through life. It is a behind the scenes look at the circumstances and events that allowed Newbery to reach for the top in whatever he set his mind to. This book has been very well edited, and has a natural flow that keeps things engaging. By the end of the book, the reader will be cheering Newbery on, and perhaps a little mad at the city counsel of Columbus, Ohio.
Burn Zones follows the life of the author from his first business venture as a young child to being a mortgage tycoon. His journey has many ups and downs, but one thing stayed the same: his mindset and determination to be the best. Told from the viewpoint of an honest, trusting man, the reader feels every betrayal that Newbery feels himself as he is torn from the top of a self built mountain, and thrown to the bottom only to watch him try and piece his life back together.
The element I liked the best was how relatable the book was. Everyone fails. Everyone can remember a time where they came up just shy of their goal. Newbery faces this scenario multiple times, and afterwards, he needs to decide to quit, or try to build everything back up. I think anyone reading this book can relate to what he was feeling and the choices he had to make. I did not like how dry the book was. This isn't a book that has tense action scenes that have you sitting on the edge of your seat. Instead, moments such as elite bike races where Newbery keeps pace with Olympic level riders are described in an informative and calm manner, which is reflective of Newbery as a person.
Burn Zones is one of those rare books that leave you looking inward and reflecting on your own life. You think of what “burn zones” you have gone through personally, and what you gained on the other side. While not everyone, in fact very few, walk a similar path of Newbery, his concept of “burn zones” is universal.
I would rate Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands 4 out of 4 stars. It was interesting, and will leave a long-lasting imprint on me. I will take the concept of “burn zones” and apply it to my own life. It is certainly a book I will be recommending to friends and family. This book is something any young adult or older would enjoy. I think young adults will have enough experience to relate to the book, and be able to understand how they can apply what they read to their own lives. As Newbery writes, burn zones can happen even when one is on death’s door, and is something to always be ready for.
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