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Greenlights Audio CD – CD, January 5, 2021
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“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
“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
“Greenlights is many different books at once: an entertaining autobiography, a delightful adventure story, a very funny comedy, a wise self-help guide, an inspiring argument for love and family, and a candid tale of spiritual and personal discovery. I cannot recommend it highly enough.”—John Mackey, co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market, co-author of Conscious Leadership
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
This is an approach book. I am here to share stories, insights, and philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it.
This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life. Adventures that have been significant, enlightening, and funny, sometimes because they were meant to be but mostly because they didn’t try to be. I’m an optimist by nature, and humor has been one of my great teachers. It has helped me deal with pain, loss, and lack of trust. 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.
We all step in shit from time to time. We hit roadblocks, we f*** up, we get f***ed, we get sick, we don’t get what we want, we cross thousands of “could have done better”s and “wish that wouldn’t have happened”s in life. Stepping in shit is inevitable, so let’s either see it as good luck, or figure out how to do it less often.
What is a greenlight?
Greenlights mean go—advance, carry on, continue.
On the road, they are set up to give the flow of traffic the right of way, and when scheduled properly, more vehicles catch more greenlights in succession. They say proceed.
In our lives, they are an affirmation of our way. They’re approvals, support, praise, gifts, gas on our fire, attaboys, and appetites. They’re cash money, birth, springtime, health, success, joy, sustainability, innocence, and fresh starts. We love greenlights. They don’t interfere with our direction. They’re easy. They’re a shoeless summer. They say yes and give us what we want.
Greenlights can also be disguised as yellow and red lights. A caution, a detour, a thoughtful pause, an interruption, a disagreement, indigestion, sickness, and pain. A full stop, a jackknife, an intervention, failure, suffering, a slap in the face, death. We don’t like yellow and red lights. They slow us down or stop our flow. They’re hard. They’re a shoeless winter. They say no, but sometimes give us what we need.
Catching greenlights is about skill: intent, context, consideration, endurance, anticipation, resilience, speed, and discipline. We can catch more greenlights by simply identifying where the red lights are in our life, and then change course to hit fewer of them. We can also earn greenlights, engineer and design for them. We can create more and schedule them in our future—a path of least resistance—through force of will, hard work, and the choices we make. We can be responsible for greenlights.
Catching greenlights is also about timing. The world’s timing, and ours. When we are in the zone, on the frequency, and with the flow. We can catch greenlights by sheer luck, because we are in the right place at the right time. Catching more of them in our future can be about intuition, karma, and fortune. Sometimes catching greenlights is about fate.
Navigating the autobahn of life in the best way possible is about getting relative with the inevitable at the right time. The inevitability of a situation is not relative; when we accept the outcome of a given situation as inevitable, then how we choose to deal with it is relative. We either persist and continue in our present pursuit of a desired result, pivot and take a new tack to get it, or concede altogether and tally one up for fate. We push on, call an audible, or wave the white flag and live to fight another day.
The secret to our satisfaction lies in which one of these we choose to do when.
This is the art of livin.
I believe everything we do in life is part of a plan. Sometimes the plan goes as intended, and sometimes it doesn’t. That’s part of the plan. Realizing this is a greenlight in itself.
The problems we face today eventually turn into blessings in the rearview mirror of life. In time, yesterday’s red light leads us to a greenlight. All destruction eventually leads to construction, all death eventually leads to birth, all pain eventually leads to pleasure. In this life or the next, what goes down will come up.
It’s a matter of how we see the challenge in front of us and how we engage with it. Persist, pivot, or concede. It’s up to us, our choice every time.
This is a book about how to catch more yeses in a world of nos and how to recognize when a no might actually be a yes. This is a book about catching greenlights and realizing that the yellows and reds eventually turn green.
By design and on purpose . . . Good luck.
- Publisher : Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (January 5, 2021)
- Language : English
- ISBN-10 : 0593416953
- ISBN-13 : 978-0593416952
- Item Weight : 2.2 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.06 x 1.11 x 5.87 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #10,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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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.
“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.
UPDATE! Wow! I listened to the audio book and let me tell you something, WOW! So awesome, such a good story, I laughed, I cried, I really loved it. He’s such a good story teller. This is a must!
By dixie l higgason on October 20, 2020
Top reviews from other countries
This account of a life being lived, enjoyed and embraced whilst not being for sale is filled with sincerity, warmth and humility.
In Matthew’s own words, it’s a love letter to life, and listening all the way to the end, I really felt that is true.
I do not fan celebrities at all, especially Hollywood ones or typical A listers, but this voice was played to me at a time in my life when I needed to hear it so I was excited to get to know the full soul behind that personal experience for me.
There are lots of motivational videos online featuring this man’s voice.
The book is fast pace and a true page turner, I finished it in the one day and feel nothing but warmth and uplifted.
Thankful to have had this experience today. A great read / listen. Five stars from me.
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.