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Greenlights Hardcover – 20 October 2020
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NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE GUARDIAN
"McConaughey's book invites us to grapple with the lessons of his life as he did--and to see that the point was never to win, but to understand."--Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
I've been in this life for fifty years, been trying to work out its riddle for forty-two, and been keeping diaries of clues to that riddle for the last thirty-five. Notes about successes and failures, joys and sorrows, things that made me marvel, and things that made me laugh out loud. How to be fair. How to have less stress. How to have fun. How to hurt people less. How to get hurt less. How to be a good man. How to have meaning in life. How to be more me.
Recently, I worked up the courage to sit down with those diaries. I found stories I experienced, lessons I learned and forgot, poems, prayers, prescriptions, beliefs about what matters, some great photographs, and a whole bunch of bumper stickers. I found a reliable theme, an approach to living that gave me more satisfaction, at the time, and still: If you know how, and when, to deal with life's challenges--how to get relative with the inevitable--you can enjoy a state of success I call "catching greenlights."
So I took a one-way ticket to the desert and wrote this book: an album, a record, a story of my life so far. This is fifty years of my sights and seens, felts and figured-outs, cools and shamefuls. Graces, truths, and beauties of brutality. Getting away withs, getting caughts, and getting wets while trying to dance between the raindrops.
Hopefully, it's medicine that tastes good, a couple of aspirin instead of the infirmary, a spaceship to Mars without needing your pilot's license, going to church without having to be born again, and laughing through the tears.
It's a love letter. To life.
It's also a guide to catching more greenlights--and to realizing that the yellows and reds eventually turn green too.
The short dust jacket included with this hardcover edition is an intentional design choice.
"A delightful surprise, full of stories that [haven't] been shared on late night talk shows or made headlines over the years. It's a wild ride to be sure, but if you enjoy McConaughey and all of the eccentricities and contradictions that come with him, it's one you won't want to miss."--Texas Monthly
"A brilliant memoir . . . [Greenlights] is unmistakeably 'a book that only Matthew McConaughey could have written.' This is a good thing."--The Times Magazine (UK)
"McConaughey's own story is arguably more interesting than any character he has embodied on the silver screen over the decades."--USA Today
"McConaughey's approach to memoir is the opposite of careful, instead opting for pure candor. . . . Taken together, the stories in Greenlights paint the picture of someone who could not care less of what the world thinks of him, which has--not coincidentally--resulted in lots of people in the world liking the actor and his work."--John Warner, Chicago Tribune
"At its best moments, Greenlights . . . delivers memorable life lessons."--Pico Iyer, Air Mail
"Candid . . . Greenlights is more than an autobiography, far more than a comedy or a series of adventures. The author gives us a lively look at his life in and out of his movies and provides readers with an honest look at who he is."--The Florida Times-Union
"McConaughey is a talented actor and a fine writer, but a total genius at living. He attacks life with an exhilarating ferocity. This is a wildly unexpected and delightful book you can't just read, you have to experience."--Lawrence Wright, author of The End of October
"It shouldn't surprise you that this book is good, but it will surprise you just how good it is. Wise and entertaining, this is an inspiring memoir and how-to from one of the great outlaw philosophers and artists of our time."--Ryan Holiday, author of The Daily Stoic
"A Renaissance man on the big screen, McConaughey shows he is the same on the page. Mystical and spiritual but mostly just wonderful, Greenlights is an inspired memoir that celebrates the idea that it's the journey rather than the destination that will fulfill us."--Michael Connelly, author of Fair Warning
"Written with great intensity and rare candor, Greenlights is a whirlwind of wisdom that's as singular and fervent as its author. Read the book, experience the behind-the-scenes adventures, then pursue your own greenlights full throttle."--Shaka Smart, head coach, men's basketball, The University of Texas at Austin
"I cannot recommend it highly enough."--John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, co-author of Conscious Leadership
About the Author
In 2009, Matthew and his wife, Camila, founded the just keep livin Foundation, which helps at-risk high school students make healthier mind, body, and spirit choices. In 2019, McConaughey became a professor of practice at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as Minister of Culture/M.O.C. for the University of Texas and the City of Austin. McConaughey is also brand ambassador for Lincoln Motor Company, an owner of the Major League Soccer club Austin FC, and co-creator of his favorite bourbon on the planet, Wild Turkey Longbranch.
- Publisher : Crown Publishing Group (NY) (20 October 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0593139135
- ISBN-13 : 978-0593139134
- Dimensions : 15.8 x 2.8 x 22 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 27,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Reviewed in Australia on 26 March 2021
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It grew on me. As the author grew, so did the book. Wisdom comes from experience. Experience comes from mistakes. They were made, and more learned from than dwelled upon.
There's a lot of wisdom in this book. Worth the read, we can learn from those different to ourselves, and I reckon Matthew McConaughey is different to most of us.
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“All lives can’t matter until Black Lives Matter more” What? Does this make you feel better. This statement was written at the end of the book. I would not have proceeded any further had it been at the beginning.
Born into the lower middle class in East Texas, McConaughey looks back nostalgically at a childhood few would envy. His parents divorced and remarried each other twice, he was subject to corporal punishment and money was always an issue. Yet he doesn’t complain about disadvantage. In fact he honors his parents despite their shortcomings. He adheres to a philosophy of choosing to recalibrate what seems like the inevitable until it turns into a green light or way forward in life.
After a rite of passage involving brawling with a barroom bouncer, McConaughey pursued acting with the drive and hard work ethic that was instilled into him. Finding early success, he choose to live in a way directly opposite to the Hollywood scene. Traveling the country with his dog, going off on expeditions to the middle of Africa and South America, McConaughey sees livin (drop the g to indicate it’s always a verb) as more than just the material success and creature comforts many of us settle on.
Finally, after years of womanizing, McConaughey settled into a successful monogamous relationship and fulfilled his life long ambition of being a father. Nearly simultaneously he chose to walk away from lucrative rom-coms to focus on something more artistic. Initially successful in winning an Oscar for the Dallas Buyers Club, McConaughey admits that he hasn’t achieved the popular success he envisioned. But that is all grist for the mill, experiments in livin that are ongoing.
If this is the kind of man you would like to read about, Greenlights will be an enjoyable and inspirational read. It’s rare that a successful actor has such a distinctive off air personality. But if you’re turned off by physical conflict, wild adventures and a man who brags about rarely showering alone than Greenlights is not for you.
Personally, while not finding all parts of McConaughey’s biography admirable, I found enough of him to be so different than what Hollywood typically churns out that the book was worth reading. Recommended to all who feel they’re similarly traveling in unmapped regions and want to gather around the campfire to hear a fellow wanderer’s tales.
A refreshing read where it is so clear that he is a man to is true to himself and his loved ones - not willing to sell his soul.
If I have one critique it is that with its unusual presentation - there are pages that are barely readable. They do not detract from the storyline but because of the illegibility - they do not add to it.
I knew from previous interviews I had seen that he was one of those more down to Earth actors - not the usual bleeding heart Liberal do as I say not as I do type.
He is certainly a very deep thinking man, he questions everything about life, about people and about his choices in life that have sent him on his own path. A very religious and spiritual man he brings up interesting advice about self determination and how to slow down and take a look around every now and again.
After reading about his upbringing you can see why he’s like he is. A tough but fair childhood prepared him for the drive he would need to become an actor where it’s a dog eat dog world.
I laughed out loud numerous times as he shared his stories of growing up and highlighting the mistakes and decisions we have all made which increased my respect for the man.
Certainly someone id like to have a beer with and set the world straight.
A great read.