4 out of 4 stars
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Burn Zones: Playing Life’s Bad Hands is an autobiography written by Jorge P Newbery. He started working at a tender age of seven, found success, and became rich early in life. A severe snow storm crumbled his empire and left him about $26 million in debt just as quickly. Eventually he found stability as Founder and CEO of American Homeowner Preservation.
Newbery begins his autobiography by defining burn zone. In cycling, burn zone is a short period of time towards the end of a race when everyone around you is tired and hurting just as much as you. But you focus on enduring the pain until the pace slows and the effort gets easier. This short period requires extraordinary effort - that tests the limits of your body and mind - to win the race. Burn zones can be found in all the walks of life. The theme of this book is to show how Newbery’s success is the result of preparing for and enduring burn zones.
I liked how the chapters were organized and the general flow of the story. The tone of this book is conversational. Newbery gives a candid account of events in his life – his successes, failures, what led to those outcomes, and what he learned from them. The author analyses events and decisions that shaped his life. The story is well paced generally but dragged towards the end.
His good work ethics is the main takeaway from this book. I admire his resilience in the face of his most trying burn zone and his grit to gradually rebuild his life. His frugality and modesty are commendable. I enjoyed reading the emotional part of his story where he talks about his father. It was good to know about his family and personal life. A supportive family helps build a strong character.
Another point that struck me in Newbery’s memoir is the frequency and ability to change his career. From where I come major career change is rare. I don’t understand his need to do that but I must say he does it well.
The book is professionally edited. It is smooth and easy to read. I rate it 4 out of 4 because there is nothing about this book that I didn’t like. The cover doesn’t match the book’s content. Nevertheless, it’s a pleasant surprise. I recommend this book to people who are looking to change careers. Also, to people looking for motivation, people who feel like they are bogged down, overwhelmed with work, are going through a tough time in life.
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