4 out of 4 stars
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“Everyone’s life is full of burn zones, which test the limits of our bodies and minds.”
Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands, by Jorge P. Newbery, it’s an alluring and conscientious insight into the author’s boisterous life. The title itself perfectly encapsulates the overarching theme throughout this autobiography: the burn zones are short periods of extraordinary effort towards the end of a bicycle race. It is a key moment that separates those who succeed from those who fail, as cyclists fight against the physical wear and tear they have accumulated throughout the entire competition. Yet the author applies this concept not only to sports events but to life itself, with burn zones being the most stressful moments he had ever faced.
It only takes a few pages to figure Newbery out. Right from the start, he pictures himself as a thrill-seeking person who never shies away from pursuing new challenges. He began working as a paperboy when he was seven-years-old, then acquired a sleek ice cream trike at eleven to kick off an early entrepreneur calling. Years later, with a used 10-speed bike his father bought him for his 19th birthday, Newbery ventured into the world of professional cycling competitions. But a rather promising career took an unexpected turn after a dumb accident during the 1988 Olympics trials, shattering his dreams of glory for good.
Never giving up, Newbery moved to the real estate business, excited about the thrills new deals could provide him. Yet as his amount of properties and wealth increased, so did the risks. When a natural disaster in 2004 struck one of his biggest investments, he lost everything overnight. The local government took over the property, his debt to the insurers skyrocketing to the point he had to sell everything ask his family and friends for money. But Newbery did not give up. For all the lessons he learned in his life were all he needed to get ahead.
In this story of winning and losing, Newbery never gets carried away by his ego. As a newcomer author, he discusses his experiences effortlessly while looking back on his mistakes without falling into childish self-pity segments. Even more important, he focuses on what he learned from them, adding an extra layer of depth to his narrative that enriches his work from top to bottom. He doesn’t shy away from recognizing how his ambition brought him to the brink of ruin, or how his pride in the project that turned out to be his downfall prevented him from letting go of it in time. Each additional observation gives us valuable insight into his mindset so we can better understand how he felt when facing the difficulties that arose in his path.
Without the slightest doubt, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. The book is professionally edited, so there aren’t any typos or grammatical errors that could potentially ruin such a moving reading experience. There is nothing that I have particularly disliked, although it seems worth mentioning that some readers may not find the lengthy real estate segments compelling. After all, they are filled with technicalities and jargon regarding investment and mortgaging that may prove a bit tedious. On the other hand, I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an inspiring story about success amid the various twists and turns of life.
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