NYT Review: Actor Matthew McConaughey Wrote the Book on Matthew McConaughey

Devin Oktar Yalkin for The New York Times

GREENLIGHTS | Matthew McConaughey | BUY BOOK


Review by David Itzkoff | The New York Times | October 14, 2020

Would it surprise you to learn that more than 30 years ago, before he’d even sauntered across the screen in Dazed and Confused, Matthew McConaughey wrote a poem in which he vowed he’d someday become an author?

As one of its lopsided verses declared:

I think I’ll write a book.
A word about my life.
I wonder who would give a damn
About the pleasures and the strife?

This was in 1989, when he didn’t know all the twists and turns that awaited him — the acting awards he’d win, the wife and children he’d have, the bracing dramas and banal rom-coms he’d make. But he was certain he would live a life worth chronicling… more


ABOUT THE BOOK

Unflinchingly honest and remarkably candid, Matthew 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

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey is a married man, a father of three children, and a loyal son and brother. He considers himself a storyteller by occupation, believes it’s okay to have a beer on the way to the temple, feels better with a day’s sweat on him, and is an aspiring orchestral conductor. 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.

From the Academy Award®-winning actor, an unconventional memoir filled with raucous stories, outlaw wisdom, and lessons learned the hard way about living with greater satisfaction.

“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 realising that the yellows and reds eventually turn green too. Good luck.”

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