4 out of 4 stars
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Hard work and determination are the only things you need to be successful in life. Skills can be learned and experience acquired, but success comes from more than just what you know. These are just a couple of the lessons Jorge P. Newbery shares in his book Burn Zones. Newbery’s life experience started at the tender age of seven when he approached the newspaper man and asked for a paper route. Nothing but pure determination got him that job, and nothing but hard work helped him keep it. From that moment on, Newbery lived his life and pursued his passions with these characteristics in mind.
Newbery’s autobiography is full of wisdom, life lessons, and regrets. Fueled by his ceaseless motivation to be great, he tells the story of his successes and failures and how they shaped him to become the man he is today. The author tells his story in first person and utilizes long chapters broken up by small headers. These chapters are significant moments in his life categorized in chronological order.
There were many aspects of Newbery’s work that resonated with me. His many anecdotes with life lessons are probably my favorite parts. As I am entering a time where I can pursue my own career and passions, his advice is very relevant in my life. Everything from the golden rule of “treat others the way you want to be treated” to understanding that you learn more from losses than wins are outlined in the book.
“Everyone’s life is full of burn zones, which test the limits of our bodies and minds” (5). This quote was one of many that spoke to me as I read. What is life but a series of challenges? Within his story, the author credits many of his life passions to seeking the next challenge, to see how far he can push his body and mind before they break. These “burn zones” are the extremes in life that separate the quitters from the winners. Giving up halfway is something Newbery never did, as he always sought to push through even the most dire of situations.
The author’s work also touches on heavier themes of racial discrimination, police brutality, and nonconformity as it pertains to his life. Growing up in the 1970’s with a mixed family in a white neighborhood, Newbery experienced life as an outsider in a world struggling with many of the issues still seen today.
Ultimately, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. With only one minor typo, this book seems professionally edited. Additionally, there was nothing I disliked about Newbery’s book. His life story is inspiring to anyone looking to pursue their passions, and I highly recommend it to everyone ages 16 and up. I put an age here because of the topics mentioned above and the presence of some non-borderline profanity including a few ethnic slurs. There is no explicit content. Amazing story!
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