4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones by Jorge P Newbery is a recounting of a life led by incredible work ethic that was hit with bad luck and how he managed to climb out of the mess with his wits, determination, and the help of family and friends.
Jorge (the speaker) started his life of business at just seven years old with a paper route. He lived frugally making money smart decisions and quickly made a name for himself by the age of sixteen. His work ethic gave him confidence and led him to make some risky deals. Some of those risky deals coupled with unsavory intentions by others drove his downfall.
Newbery's work ethic is definitely the highlighted trait and rightly so. It is inspiring and refreshing to hear about the reward of hard work (even if there was a fallout later). Many times I would read about one of his "burn zone" milestones, I would catch myself thinking, "Come on Jorge, you know the way out of this mess!" Its the underdog story of these times. I praised Newbery for not taking the credit for himself; he dedicates passages to those who helped him along the way such as his parents, Olympian John Howard, his friend, Cathy Hertz, and her boss Mike Dodd and more. He also brought light to some major topics plaguing the nation during this time period.
There were a few parts that, while I didn't dislike, I thought were a bit unnecessary and took away from the story. While the chapter about his cycling career (Chapter 2) and the chapter immediately after about his mortgage career were undoubtedly important to his life and played a large part to the story in terms of his reputation and experience, I felt they both dragged on a little too much. There was a lot of information that could have been left out while still keeping the same message and story. In my personal opinion, those chapters could have been shortened and combined into one chapter.
Beyond that, I have nothing negative to say about this book as it was well written and exceptionally well edited. Overall I enjoyed this book very much. It has inspired me to work harder at enduring my own "burn zones" and take risks that I previously would never had thought of. I give this book 4 out of 4 stars and would definitely recommend to anyone in a rut financially or perhaps even emotionally. I would specifically recommend this to young adults who are about to take their first walk into adulthood.
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