Greenlights Book Cover


Let me reflect on this, I thought. That seemed like the most important thing I could do after reading Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey. Both a memoir and a book of advice, McConaughey is clear in his book not to call it ‘self-help.’ The titular greenlights being a metaphor for life’s moments that work, how every red light is bound to turn green eventually. It’s a cool and clever idea. I like it.

Ok, let’s see what he has to say. He’s an actor, and he’s played some great parts. I’m interested. I also decided I’d double-fist this one and listen to the audiobook while reading his eBook. Both are complementary. McConaughey personally reads the six-hour audiobook. The book includes pictures. It’s as rich an experience you’re going to get.

Hearing McConaughey speak for the first time; he sounds American. He sounds like a ‘typical’ American. His voice is now a calling card, and like his famous persona, it precedes him and type-casts him. This is how we start. I take note that his stories are personal; this is definitely a memoir. His childhood. His personal diary notes. His father. Through this, McConaughey appears not to be sugar-coating things (even though he has chosen what stories to tell and what stories to notably avoiding). McConaughey is not trying to make himself look good here.

There’s a distinct cheese-factor to this book. Filled with breaks in the stories that are either bumper stickers or pre-scriptions. McConaughey even pronounces words a little differently, choosing to offer word-plays often. Stuff like this “Truth’s like a Jalapeno, the closer to the root the hotter it gets.” Your tolerance for cheese will be tested especially if the ‘good ‘ole boy’ persona is grating.

However, let me tell you, this book is a fucking goldmine. His retelling of an argument in Africa between two men and how he came to understand his place. His struggles in Australia in a very uncomfortable place –  truly in need of finding himself. These are wonderful and powerful life-lessons and worth practicing in our own lives. Not only learning from him through successes but learning through his “livin.” So much to cherish about this book if you let it in. I’m not going to give away too much, but the journey McConaughey takes us on is sprinkled with so many life lessons because he lived a life of putting himself out there. We duly benefit from these insights. This is a short boo, but I think one you’ll read more than once.

One passage I particularly loved:

“I’m an optimist by nature, my eye is high, I have hope, and the man I want to be sleeps in the same bed with the man I am, in head, heart, spirit, and body.”