No one knows Matthew McConaughey like Matthew McConaughey. But now, the world has the chance to know him as he knows himself thanks to Greenlights , the actor’s love letter to life that hit shelves this October. View this post on Instagram Are you lit? #GreenlightsBook available now for preorder. info at Greenlights.com - link in bio - On sale 10.20.20 A post shared by Matthew McConaughey (@officiallymcconaughey) on Jul 29, 2020 at 11:48am PDT The Oscar winner didn’t aim to write a memoir, though the book has many of the same elements and is told chronologically, with a narrative backstory following the 50 years of his life so far. Like its author, the book has come a long way – and hasn’t, at the same time. McConaughey initially planned to use a ghostwriter, a journalist who he had worked with in the past, but the arrangement fell through. Miley Cyrus, Samuel L. Jackson: 10 stars who quit veganism View this post on Instagram A post shared by Matthew McConaughey (@officiallymcconaughey) on Aug 28, 2020 at 8:04am PDT “When he got off the project, I was like, ‘Oh, I’ve got to do this,’” McConaughey explained, noting that he had to let go of any preconceived notions of what the book would be as he went through his journals. He originally thought the project would be a back-pocket book that could be pulled out for “wisdom bombs”, but it morphed into much more. McConaughey’s own story is arguably more interesting than any character he has embodied on the silver screen over the decades. And he didn’t write it because he is a celebrity, he explains. “I remember writing this down: ‘The words on this page need to be worthy of being signed by anonymous, but also be words that only I could have written,’” he says. “And that was sort of my North Star of what I wanted it to be.” Uber to Airbnb: did you know Ashton Kutcher is a serious Silicon Valley investor? McConaughey has released a book that looks back to look forward, highlighting the philosophy of Greenlights , which say to us “go – advance, carry on, continue”, similar to a green light at an intersection. Likewise, yellow means pause and red means stop. McConaughey delves into how he has identified these signals in his life and how he uses them to move forward – the green lights, along with red and yellow, which might indicate a lesson or a time to change or grow. “I had been threatening, daring myself to go open my treasure chest of diaries for the past 15 years but never had the courage to do it,” he says. The milestone of hitting 50 was the encouragement he needed. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Matthew McConaughey (@matthew_mcconaughey_fan) on Dec 5, 2019 at 10:52am PST In digging into his past, he learned something about himself: While he has evolved, he remains interested in the same things he was interested in at age 14. “I was always intrigued by being the head investigator and head interrogator on who I am and what is life about. And what am I doing in it? And then that led to what are we doing in it? What is it all about? Where do we put value? What matters to us and when?” He’s found some answers over the years, and his questions have evolved too. However, the subject matter – his interest in the riddle of life – hasn’t changed. He’s found that “life is a verb” and there is no real arrival. He says that realisation helps him enjoy life even more. Readers of McConaughey’s book will learn plenty about the actor’s early life. His audience is taken down memory lane in every direction, getting an intimate look at his upbringing, education – inside school and outside it – and his life as an actor, among other things. Sharing that kind of intimate detail was something McConaughey was ready to do, he says. 6 celebs with unlikely degrees – which A-listers wanted to be scientists and lawyers? View this post on Instagram A post shared by Matthew McConaughey (@officiallymcconaughey) on Oct 18, 2020 at 12:27pm PDT “It’s quite freeing,” he explains, noting that in this book, he’s laid everything out: “I haven’t made straight As in life the whole way through, and I’m glad. I’ve made some Cs – I’ve probably learned the most when I made the Cs.” The most important thing, he says, is to continue on the “chase” of life, while acknowledging that it “isn’t always pretty.” “I tried to give context to everything (in the book) and be very self-effacing about when I was on it, when I was off it, when I thought I had it, when I dropped it. But I stayed in it, (kept) recalibrating,” he says, pointing out how important it is to continuously check in with ourselves. And to be fair to McConaughey, a 50-year look-back is a big check-in. “I did a huge amount of laughing with myself when writing, I did a huge amount of crying – most of my tears came from being able to go back and feel the love that my family had, that my mum and dad had for each other, that they had for us.” McConaughey also shares how his father’s death in his early twenties – a “red light” event – impacted him. It turns out that the red light, which according to him can make you stop and reassess, had green light elements too: his father’s passing forced him to grow up, as the father who seemed above the law was no longer there to look out for him. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Matthew McConaughey (@officiallymcconaughey) on Feb 20, 2020 at 8:24am PST He shares intimate details of his relationship with his mother and with his brothers – coming-of-age stories and fights they had with their father (including bouts of actual wrestling). And he also shares details about his relationship with his wife, Camila Alves, with whom he shares three children – one of whom prompted him to marry Alves by asking a series of intensely honest questions in the way only children can. Video: 10 Hollywood stars who started off as models It started with a question from his son, Levi: “Why isn’t momma a McConaughey?” McConaughey quotes his son asking in the book. His answers were met with follow-up questions about why they didn’t marry, and finally, one that made McConaughey think: “Are you afraid to?” View this post on Instagram A post shared by Matthew McConaughey (@officiallymcconaughey) on May 10, 2020 at 5:30am PDT “I think the reason (I shared those) is that those stories of discipline or consequence were so human and they were moments when the love was most tested,” he says. Love was always going to win. “Our family was never going to be punctuated,” McConaughey adds. View this post on Instagram A post shared by @intr90s on Jun 21, 2020 at 12:00pm PDT The actor’s voice, familiar to many from films like How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days , Dallas Buyers Club and The Lincoln Lawyer , among others, is almost audible as one reads the text. But if the reader wants to take it a step further, McConaughey created an accompanying audiobook, which does offer a more authentic experience, a deeper look at McConaughey in his own voice as well as words. Ivanka Trump’s BFFs: 5 surprising celebrity friends of the president’s daughter At its core, Greenlights serves as a résumé on its way to his eulogy. “What story do we each want to introduce us after we’re gone?” he ponders. “Well, let’s work towards that story that we want, knowing that the headline is going to change.” But if he were to have a eulogy written about him now, he says, it would go something like this: “He was at home in the world. Loved being a father – had the most reverence for fatherhood, incredible reverence for fatherhood – believes that that’s the greatest job for a man in the world,” he says. “(And) if God loves a trier, then he loves you McConaughey, because you sure tried.” Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter . This article originally appeared on USA Today.