Live a Less Impressed, More Involved Life: “Greenlight” by Matthew McConaughey — Book Review

Try Khov
3 min readNov 9, 2023

Greenlights is one of the most enjoyable memoirs that I’ve read in recent memory.

It’s a great read filled with valuable insight into Matthew McConaughey’s life and life’s philosophy.

Despite his media appearance as a hotshot Hollywood actor, I was surprised to learn about his life from childhood to becoming an actor and how all the in-betweens shaped his perspective on life.

Greenlight is a metaphor for this road we call life. (Hey Siri, play “Life is a Highway” by Rascal Flatts)

While red lights give us opportunities to stop, wait, or redirect ourselves. Green lights are the opportunities that allow us to move forward in life.

Life can give them to us or we can create a path such that it has many of them.

While the book discusses a lot of valuable life lessons, I felt the one that resonated with me the most was:

“Less Impressed, More Involved”

Shortly after his father died, Matthew realized that despite all his money, fame, and achievements, they mattered little compared to his family, personal development, and his passion for acting.

Similar to McConaughey, I lost my grandmother earlier this year. While we didn’t have a good relationship, witnessing death once again forced me to ask myself:

“What do I really want out of life?”

If I was in her shoes as she was taking her last breaths, can I truly say I lived a fulfilling life? One that I was proud of and lived true to myself? The honest answer was no.

To live a less impressed, more involved lifestyle means to forgo living for other people’s approval and validation. It means to live according to your values, take action in life, and redefine what success means to you. It also means to be more involved with yourself, your loved ones, and your community.

For me, I sold many of the things I thought I wanted and found the courage to travel alone for the first time. Despite the discomfort and loneliness, I returned with a sense of newfound confidence and a glimpse of just how large this world truly is.

I realized that the prestigious company that I worked for wasn’t actually what I ultimately wanted professionally and that I’m capable of doing something more fulfilling and true to my values and aspirations. Despite seeming like a downgrade or career suicide, I should still consider taking the road less traveled if it means living a more fulfilling and true-to-myself life.

I’m far from saying that this book was transformative. But it was great to read something that I so strongly resonated with. McConaughey writes in such a way that you can hear the humor, pain, grief, and revelation in his voice.

If you’re looking for a fun biography with interesting insights into life, I can’t recommend this book enough.

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