Book Review: Greenlights


Title: Greenlights
Author: Matthew McConaughey
Publication Date: 2020
Publishing House: Penguin Random House

I have read more memoirs and biographies in the past year than I ever have. I’ve enjoyed learning how other people think and what they think is an important learning experience. Synopsis:

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.

 Good luck.

I enjoyed this book. I listen to the audio book that is read by McConaughey. Books read by the author, especially memoirs, seem more authentic. There is a greater sense of authorial intent. This is a fun read McConaughey has had a fascinating life and he has some great stories. This memoir is written as a way to pass on lessons the author has learned that he believes his readers can take something from to help in their own lives.

However, this book also annoyed me also. McConaughey came from a humble background but he managed to make it big. He learned a lot of lessons on big trips that he was able to take, he had the means to hold out for the type of rolls that he wanted to play. He took his lessons from a lot of things that most people cannot afford to do and I feel that this disconnects him from his audience.

I suggest this book for fans of Matthew McConaughey, for fans of memoirs, and for those who want to hear some good stories. If you have read this book, I’d love to know what you though. In the mean time, happy reading.

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3 comments on “Book Review: Greenlights”

  1. I like him, he’s down to earth. I think he’s had some TOUGH times in life. Was he able to happily wait for the right roles, I don’t think so. He might have been living on bare minimum to get buy. Some of those roles he took, when he was down, you could tell he was taking them, but it wasn’t where he wanted to be in life with that comes heart ache. At some point, he was able to change the tide for himself, but I REMEMBER those times when he was down — I felt sorry for him. He’s a good guy. I’ve listened to him on Weight Watcher’s Walk/Talk, he gives a powerful message. I will have to listen to him for his memoir. Thanks for the review.

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