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The second book–and first children’s book–by Academy Award-winning actor Matthew McConaughey sends a fresh message to children – and to “the kid in us all.”

This charming and insightful book proves that “contradictions are all around us. And they make us who we are.”

Take an early page: “Just because I’ve got skills, doesn’t mean there is no luck.” Or a later page: “Just because I did it again, doesn’t mean I don’t regret it.” Or later still: “Just because they don’t hear you, doesn’t mean you have no voice.” Or my favorite, “Just because I’m in the race, doesn’t mean I’m fully ready.”

Cadence rollicks through the wise axioms. In fact, it was apparently the cadences of singer Bob Dylan that coaxed the lines from McConaughey. In a recent New York Times interview, McConaughey explains, “I had a little ditty in my head. I’d been listening to Bob Dylan’s ‘Highway 61 Revisited.’ I woke up and I was like, I got a rhythm going here. I think I got something kind of cool.”

He heeded his muse, got up and wrote. “Next thing, I’m up for hours and I’ve got 120 couplets.”

McConaughey’s couplets coach us about life – whether we’re kids or not. Upon hearing a few of them, my therapist husband smiled and said, “He’s breaking things out of black-and-white thinking.”


John Keats, too, might smile. This famous British poet would recognize what these couplets share: “negative capability.” Keats coined this phrase in 1817 – an important phrase that’s widened to mean our need to hold paradox well. 

When journalist Sadie Stein asked the actor why a children’s book, McConaughey said, “Paradox is a tough thing for a mind to grasp, not just a young mind.” 

McConaughey’s first book, Greenlights, published Oct. 2020, was a memoir articulating his life philosophy. Although it had its naysayers, it remained on the New York Times best-seller list for more than 55 weeks. And his new book? An utter delight. (Viking)

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