4 out of 4 stars
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Jorge P. Newbery's autobiography Burn Zones is a captivating and inspiring account of his entrepreneurial struggles and successes. The author, once a professional bicycle racer, defines a burn zone as a difficult or strenuous period in a ride that separates the winners and losers of a race. While the metaphor that life a race full of burn zones extends throughout the book, this is a wonderful read for more than just sports fans.
Before the age of 18, Newbery had already worked multiple jobs, from ice cream vendor to punk rock producer. He later became involved with a loan business, professional cycling, and real estate before an ice storm damaged one of his properties, an apartment complex housing hundreds of families. Insurance failed to cover damages, leaving him with millions of dollars of debt. As disheartening as it seemed, he didn't let this tragedy stop him. His determination and strength displayed throughout the autobiography show how he was able to overcome even seemingly insurmountable challenges.
Beneath his savvy business skills, it was always apparent to me how much Newbery cared for those around him. Through his jobs, he worked to improve the lives of people in any given community and never shied away from a challenge. This is one of the many reasons that I give this book four out of four stars. While Burn Zones is an autobiography, it is about more than just hard times in business.
One of my favorite aspects of this book is Newbery's writing style. Each chapter seems very personal, as if Newbery is telling a friend about his experiences. The editing is almost perfect, and the book is written at a fast pace without neglecting any important details in transitions from one chapter of his life to the next. The business terms are well explained, so readers don't necessarily need to know anything about loans or mortgages, for example, to understand his story. The engaging words and imagery make this such an inspiring book as readers see burn zones being overcome and positive changes in people's lives resulting from Newbery's actions.
Overall, I can't think of a single negative aspect of this work. I would recommend this book to any teenager or adult. It is a motivational read with a central message that applies to people of any age group or background. Facing hardship is something that all people share. Newbery tells readers that, while you may face challenges, you are the only person who can take control of your life to make things better.
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