Book Review: Life: Four Quarters Plus Overtime
Publication Date: Sep 25, 2019
List Price: $29.99
Format: Hardcover, 238 pages
Publisher: Author Solutions
Parent Company: Najafi Companies
Book Reviewed by Robert Fleming
Life: Four Quarters Plus Overtime, is truly wisdom from the ages. In this self-help guide. Floyd Griffin Jr., a man of many notable experiences, examines the development of human life, with each life stage coming under the microscope. Often, with books that purport to impart wisdom, it helps if the author is accomplished and experienced. From his publicity, Griffin is exactly that. He has been a Vietnam helicopter pilot, army colonel, college football coach, professor, businessman, state senator, and a mayor.
Griffin sums up the premise of the book with a quote by George Washington Carver, an early achiever in our community: “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have all of these.”
In the book, Griffin separates the life span into quarters: 1st Quarter (0-17 years), 2nd Quarter (18-35 years), 3rd Quarter (36-52 years), 4th Quarter (53-70 years), and Overtime (70+ years). He then analyzes each quarter of life, and supports his thesis with African-American proverbs, quotes, philosophical theory, spiritual references, and words of wisdom from experts in every field.
Griffin values moral and spiritual progress in every quarter, to accomplish goals and also to show evolution and growth. He acknowledges the legacy of America with its enduring trauma and subjugation, citing the oppression of Africans and descendants through slavery and institutional and systematic racism. He laments the miseducation of our children, the diminishing stature of the churches with its prized social justice history, the shunning of our elders, and the neglect of our youth.
In the First Quarter, he advises parents and caretakers to support their youth. “Encourage your sons and daughters to strive to become better and better versions of themselves. Afford them the compassion and empathy they need. Support them as they push through their fears. Provide positive feedback and discipline with an equal dose of rules and rewards.”
In the Second Quarter, Griffin writes: “Put on your thinking cap. Work out a resolution between your own ideas and those of your parents and factor in your unique perception of what the world demands. Get serious about the rest of your life. In the end, it’s all about the business of becoming your authentic self.”
In the Third Quarter, he discusses the crisis of midlife: “You may be gripped by boredom, frustration, disappointment, and resentment, but don’t despair. You’re right where you should be, doing exactly what needs to be done. Take a respite from the competitive, dog-eat-dog mentality and reflect on the deeper meaning of this place in time, this great transition.”
In the Fourth Quarter, late adulthood, the author praises the passage of time and accumulation of experience. “Take the sting out of aging. Only VIPs make it this far. Set your attitude gauge on happy. Pursue regenerative interactions. Create giving relationships that can sustain you. Avoid all mental and emotional rigidity. Dare to grow.”
In Overtime, the silver years, Griffin hails the role of our elders: “You dreamed the world we are now living, bejeweled the crown, and placed it on our heads. We owe our breath, our life, our love. You are the healing way.”
Within these pages, Griffin touches on issues such as longevity, game changers, the merits of winners, ideal fathers, black medical care, parenting, the role of play, the joy of reading, higher learning, historically black colleges and universities, love and marriage, economic freedom, and success and failure.
At a time when the economy is in tatters, the author has words of encouragement: “Keep your employment pipeline open. No job is the only job; everyone risks rejection until the right opportunity comes along. Establish a human connection; people who hire people were once sitting right where you are now, a resume and cover letter away from changing their professional status.”
Chocked full of folksy wisdom and common sense, Griffin’s book embraces all phases of life, giving the readers the needed tools to master the challenges presented by the passage of time. This is not a book that should be read in one setting. It is to be savored, absorbed, and each and every concept carefully considered.
Griffin concludes with practical tips that anyone can use to be inspired to be their best self. He believes that with introspection and mindfulness, anyone can reach their full potential.
“Whether you’ve endured a life change, have experienced loss, or are in the midst of discovering who you are now, consider directing your energy toward the next optimistic opportunity—the one that moves you from good enough to better, the one that launches you from adequate to extraordinary, the one that gives you the stamina to reach your personal best. For that proverbial eighth time when you rise, dust yourself off and shine.”
Using grace, wit, stories of redemption, and a series of epiphanies, Griffin has written a book that is a testament to the healing power of truth and the wisdom of the elders.