Length: 304 pages
Audiobook Length: 6 hours and 42 minutes
First Published: 2020
Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey offers a memoir on his approach to getting the most satisfaction out of life. McConaughey poured over decades of his diaries to share the highs and lows of his life and the funny stories that shaped him along the way.
Have you ever watched Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln car commercials where he waxes philosophical in his slight Texas drawl? Apparently, that’s his actual personality. McConaughey is an interesting character and knows exactly how to tell a story. You should definitely listen to the audiobook; McConaughey’s narration brings depth to the text, and I don’t think I would have liked it as much if I had read the printed copy.
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.
Quotes from Greenlights
I’m not perfect; no, I step in shit all the time and recognize it when I do. I’ve just learned how to scrape it off my boots and carry on.
Persist, pivot, or concede. It’s up to us, our choice every time.
We cannot fully appreciate the light without the shadows. We have to be thrown off balance to find our footing. It’s better to jump than fall. And here I am.
A denied expectation hurts more than a denied hope, while a fulfilled hope makes us happier than a fulfilled expectation.
I’d rather lose money havin fun than make money being bored.
About Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey is an actor and producer. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor in the biopic The Dallas Buyer’s Club. He is a professor of practice at the University of Texas at Austin, an owner of the Major League Soccer club Austin FC, and co-creator of the bourbon brand Wild Turkey Longbranch. He is also the author of the memoir Greenlights. He and his wife are the founders of the just keep living Foundation, which helps at-risk high school students. He currently lives in Austin, Texas.