After bonding over their "hook 'em" camaraderie for their shared alma mater, the University of Texas at Austin, Jenna Bush Hager and Matthew McConaughey jumped into a captivating conversation for bookworms in Bush Hager's "Open Book" segment on TODAY.
In true Lone Star fashion, Bush Hager kicked things off by praising some of the state's finest scribes: "Okay, so Texas literature Cormac McCarthy, Larry McMurtry, Katherine Anne Porter Did you grow up reading? We know that Texas writers, there's some good ones," she said.
"I actually did not grow up as much of a reader, I'm a very slow reader," McConaughey shared. "I love reading....like, I picked up [Ralph Waldo] Emerson's essays and I got turned on to Emerson's essay on self-reliance, and it's like 23 pages long. That took me six months to read. Because I would read like two sentences and go 'whoa, I gotta put the book down. I've got to take that into life and see if I can apply that,'" he explained.
Shortly thereafter, he joked that his three children, especially his 12-year-old son Levi and 10-year-old daughter Vida, have already read more than he has in his entire lifetime. "They just gobble up books, and I'm so happy, 'cuz I'm talking to my mom about it, like 'mom, we didn't read, you didn't push us to read,' but I go, 'my kids are just ripping through books,'" he shared.
Though his kids might outpace him on the books front, McConaughey definitely has enjoyed some excellent tomes in his day. On his favorite book of all time, he revealed to Hager, "The book that I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you with the life I have if it didn't find me is [The] Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino in 1968. That was a book that found me."
He then elaborated on what he meant by the idea that the book happened upon him: "You know we have those things in our life that mean more to us because we didn't have a teacher go 'you need to read this' or a friend go 'you gotta read this.' That find us in the middle like a needle in a haystack," he said. "That book found me at a time in my life when I was at a real crossroads about what I was going to do in my life, which was really going to film school instead of becoming a lawyer, really doubling down on enacting the values that my dad taught me, but maybe I didn't have the courage to put into action. And then soon after that he passed away, which double downed on me going 'oh, you really don't have him to rely on anymore. You need to really become the man you're trying to become and quit talking about it and start doing it and start being one," he continued. McConaughey's endorsement of Mandino's book certainly makes us want to run to pick up a copy, huh?
Later in the interview, the duo discussed McConaughey's new best-selling memoir, Greenlights, what he sees for his future, and more. Watch the full segment on YouTube below.
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These everyday heroes deserve so much credit.
Share with us: What's a book that you feel came into your life at the exact right moment you needed to read it? How many times have you read it since?