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Listen in 21 min.
Learn the key ideas of the book by Matthew McConaughey


The colourful life of Matthew McConaughey

A series of greenlights can feel great, it makes us feel safe and lucky. Matthew McConnaughey, the eternal optimist, has always considered himself a lucky man, the lead in a downhill race, along a long, open road, full of greenlights. From his childhood in a loving, and slightly unconventional family, to his career as an actor and the birth of his children, McConaughey has always tried to live according to his principles, striving to become a better version of himself every day. His book, Greenlights, is the tale of the reds and oranges that, sooner or later, turn green.

Read in 17 min.
Listen in 21 min.

The McConaugheys: an unusual family, yet very close and loving

Matthew McConaughey was born in 1969 in Uvalde, Texas. His father, James Donald McConaughey, known as Jim, was a retired professional American footballer, who first worked as a manager at a petrol station, then as a pipe hauler, then as a pipe salesman for a company called Gensco. He was of Irish origin, but born in Mississippi and raised in Louisiana; his mother, Mary Kathleen McCabe, or Katy, was a simple, devout woman from Pennsylvania. Over the years, they were married three times and divorced twice – to each other! An unusual family, they didn’t always like each other, but they always loved each other. They would hug and kiss, wrestle, and fight, but they never held a grudge. Punishments were old school, and the kids were often disciplined to teach them values. The McConaughey children, Matthew and his two older brothers, Michael (who everyone called Rooster) and Pat (who was adopted) were expected to follow the rules and if they didn’t, they had to make sure that they didn’t get caught! This was a sort of “outlaw” mentality, in which punishment was used to teach them not to waste their time and to learn from their mistakes.


The key ideas of "Greenlights"

The McConaugheys: an unusual family, yet very close and loving
Jim McConaughey and his rites of passage: a wrestling match to prove your worth
The family moved to Uvalde in Longview, to follow the petrol boom
The title “handsomest boy in school” brings the case against mink oil to a close
The last year of high school and a trip to Australia to find his place in the world
The college years: from law school to film school
A meeting with Don Phillips and the start of his acting career
A new life with agents, houses on the beach and acting lessons
A Time to Kill made him famous around the world
On the trail of a dream along the Amazon River and in a caravan across America: a three year adventure
A dragon hunter travelling to Africa: another dream after shooting Rain of Fire takes McConaughey to Mali
Meeting Camila and realising his biggest dream of all: becoming a father
A life of “green lights”: having the road laid out before you is not only a matter of luck, but also depends on what you do with it, as well as your willpower
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