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The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World's Most Successful People Launched Their Careers

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The larger-than-life journey of an 18-year-old college freshman who set out from his dorm room to track down Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, and dozens more of the world's most successful people to uncover how they broke through and launched their careers. The Third Door takes readers on an unprecedented adventure--from hacking Warren Buffett's shareholders meeting to chasing Larry The larger-than-life journey of an 18-year-old college freshman who set out from his dorm room to track down Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, and dozens more of the world's most successful people to uncover how they broke through and launched their careers. The Third Door takes readers on an unprecedented adventure--from hacking Warren Buffett's shareholders meeting to chasing Larry King through a grocery store to celebrating in a nightclub with Lady Gaga--as Alex Banayan travels from icon to icon, decoding their success. After remarkable one-on-one interviews with Bill Gates, Maya Angelou, Steve Wozniak, Jane Goodall, Larry King, Jessica Alba, Pitbull, Tim Ferriss, Quincy Jones, and many more, Alex discovered the one key they have in common: they all took the Third Door. Life, business, success... it's just like a nightclub. There are always three ways in. There's the First Door: the main entrance, where ninety-nine percent of people wait in line, hoping to get in. The Second Door: the VIP entrance, where the billionaires and celebrities slip through. But what no one tells you is that there is always, always... the Third Door. It's the entrance where you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, bang on the door a hundred times, climb over the dumpster, crack open the window, sneak through the kitchen--there's always a way in. Whether it's how Bill Gates sold his first piece of software or how Steven Spielberg became the youngest studio director in Hollywood history, they all took the Third Door.


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The larger-than-life journey of an 18-year-old college freshman who set out from his dorm room to track down Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, and dozens more of the world's most successful people to uncover how they broke through and launched their careers. The Third Door takes readers on an unprecedented adventure--from hacking Warren Buffett's shareholders meeting to chasing Larry The larger-than-life journey of an 18-year-old college freshman who set out from his dorm room to track down Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, and dozens more of the world's most successful people to uncover how they broke through and launched their careers. The Third Door takes readers on an unprecedented adventure--from hacking Warren Buffett's shareholders meeting to chasing Larry King through a grocery store to celebrating in a nightclub with Lady Gaga--as Alex Banayan travels from icon to icon, decoding their success. After remarkable one-on-one interviews with Bill Gates, Maya Angelou, Steve Wozniak, Jane Goodall, Larry King, Jessica Alba, Pitbull, Tim Ferriss, Quincy Jones, and many more, Alex discovered the one key they have in common: they all took the Third Door. Life, business, success... it's just like a nightclub. There are always three ways in. There's the First Door: the main entrance, where ninety-nine percent of people wait in line, hoping to get in. The Second Door: the VIP entrance, where the billionaires and celebrities slip through. But what no one tells you is that there is always, always... the Third Door. It's the entrance where you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, bang on the door a hundred times, climb over the dumpster, crack open the window, sneak through the kitchen--there's always a way in. Whether it's how Bill Gates sold his first piece of software or how Steven Spielberg became the youngest studio director in Hollywood history, they all took the Third Door.

30 review for The Third Door: The Wild Quest to Uncover How the World's Most Successful People Launched Their Careers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    This is satire, right? Or maybe they asked a bot to put together all the hashtag cliches and the #lifehacks and Tony Robbins/Tim Ferris/Think and Grow Rich memes together to make a book? I read the whole thing because I could not believe this kid kept harrassing these people for interviews. Like what on earth is he thinking? Buffet finally blocks him. It's the height of obnoxious privilege. He uses and abuses his networks of dudebros to get interviews with sucessful dudebros but also a few hot w This is satire, right? Or maybe they asked a bot to put together all the hashtag cliches and the #lifehacks and Tony Robbins/Tim Ferris/Think and Grow Rich memes together to make a book? I read the whole thing because I could not believe this kid kept harrassing these people for interviews. Like what on earth is he thinking? Buffet finally blocks him. It's the height of obnoxious privilege. He uses and abuses his networks of dudebros to get interviews with sucessful dudebros but also a few hot women like Jessica Alba--I mean WTF did she do? Also Maya Angelou sat down with him? These people are way too nice. I'm with this dude's mom and grandma. Go back to school

  2. 4 out of 5

    Arash

    I heard an interview with Alex and was intrigued to learn more of his story but I'm disappointed I wasted my time. The whole book is just anecdotes of how he got to meet all of these people he wants to interview. I didn't find his interviews insightful or interesting at all. I don't think anything the people shared was particularly useful or different than what is out there already. Also, because I don't share Alex's enthusiasm and exuberance for billionaires and business people (especially egot I heard an interview with Alex and was intrigued to learn more of his story but I'm disappointed I wasted my time. The whole book is just anecdotes of how he got to meet all of these people he wants to interview. I didn't find his interviews insightful or interesting at all. I don't think anything the people shared was particularly useful or different than what is out there already. Also, because I don't share Alex's enthusiasm and exuberance for billionaires and business people (especially egotistical narcissists like Elliott Bisnow) his interview subjects just weren't that interesting. I got the sense that the book was written more as a fulfillment of Alex's ego. Business-wise, I don't understand what anyone would get out of this other than the fact that if you're as shameless, overly persistent, and pushy as Alex, then maybe you can meet some successful business people. His Price Is Right story was a great one and I thoroughly enjoyed that but everything else was a mess of naive worship of narcissism.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cassette

    Look, everything said in this book has been said before in other books. At some point you've got to ask yourself, "where did these people learned what they learned from?" That'll lead you to books, peers, and dead people they've learned from. And the deeper you go you too will see too you can find these advices elsewhere. So if you have a long, long list of books read skip this one, you won't miss out. For everyone else, yeah, if you have the time and money I'd recommend reading this book—your e Look, everything said in this book has been said before in other books. At some point you've got to ask yourself, "where did these people learned what they learned from?" That'll lead you to books, peers, and dead people they've learned from. And the deeper you go you too will see too you can find these advices elsewhere. So if you have a long, long list of books read skip this one, you won't miss out. For everyone else, yeah, if you have the time and money I'd recommend reading this book—your experience instead will be like the other reviewers. Scratch that, even if you're well read read this book as a refresher. (Space Repetition Practice) Or read this book to get another hit of that feel good motivational or inspirational whoo whoo. (Make those feelings of uncertainty temporarily go away) Or read this book because it can be very validating to read the ideas you concluded to are the same advice being offered. Personal Tidbits: Never knew of Stefan Weitz, Qi Lu, and Dean Kamen before this book, and others but it's these three I feel indebted for the introduction. Stefan Weitz, Briana, Talia are the best. Cal and Larry know. Bill Gates comes across as someone to get to know in person (without the motives of the author) and not through another person’s experience of him, but that can be said about everyone interviewed in this book. And for some strange reason I want to thank Elliott for always being there for Alex and his dad. Edit: Also it's weird... all those Harry Potter references and no mention or attempt to interview J.K Rowling. I'm missing something here.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    I tried to hate this book and the author for being self-aggrandizing and name dropping constantly in what seemed like a long love letter to Elliott. Even though it took me months to get through this short and easy to read book full of compelling stories, I am glad I did. The lessons in this book are actually invaluable. We have the power to make the most of ourselves and our one shot on this dust mote. And some of these lessons, both from the author and from those he interviewed, will help steer I tried to hate this book and the author for being self-aggrandizing and name dropping constantly in what seemed like a long love letter to Elliott. Even though it took me months to get through this short and easy to read book full of compelling stories, I am glad I did. The lessons in this book are actually invaluable. We have the power to make the most of ourselves and our one shot on this dust mote. And some of these lessons, both from the author and from those he interviewed, will help steer me on my path through life!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ben Rostami

    “The Third Door” by Alex Banayan is the key to an empowering point of view and life strategy that will open countless doors for people who read the book and embrace its way of thinking. As he says in the opener, “Life, business, success… it’s just like a nightclub. There are always three ways in. There’s the First Door: the main entrance, where the line curves around the block; where 99 percent of people wait around, hoping to get in. There’s the Second Door: the VIP entrance, where the billiona “The Third Door” by Alex Banayan is the key to an empowering point of view and life strategy that will open countless doors for people who read the book and embrace its way of thinking. As he says in the opener, “Life, business, success… it’s just like a nightclub. There are always three ways in. There’s the First Door: the main entrance, where the line curves around the block; where 99 percent of people wait around, hoping to get in. There’s the Second Door: the VIP entrance, where the billionaires, celebrities, and people born into it slip through. But what no one tells you is that there is always, always… the Third Door. It’s the entrance where you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, bang on the door a hundred times, crack open the window, sneak through the kitchen—there’s always a way.” It’s this very mentality of thinking out of the box and pure and utter chutzpah that has led to the success of the countless huge names Banayan interviewed during the writing of this book: Gates, Gaga, Buffet, Leonard, King—the list goes on and on. I read the book in one day, a Saturday, from cover to cover. Once you start it, you can’t put it down! The whole time I was thinking back to when I was in college with Alex, and he went on the Price is Right the night before our final exam instead of studying like everyone else. The rest was history. We went shopping for the notebook he bought to take notes for all of his interviews in the school bookstore one day after lunch! To see this all come together some eight years later is proof that if you have the motivation, the dream, the passion, and a hint of chutzpah to turn your dream into a reality, you can. But you can’t do it by doing things the way you think everyone else expects you to do them! You have to constantly keep an eye out for that Third Door. With this book, I’ve come to embrace that empowering philosophy, and think that it will be priceless for me in the future. I bought a few extra copies to give to my friends and family too! Definitely pick up a copy of the book today, and also do yourself a favor and google Alex’s speeches. Watch how great of a speaker he is and hear his message straight from his mouth in addition to reading his book. It will change your life! Great book, great summer read. Highly recommend it to everyone.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Katie Shim

    I met Alex in November of 2018 where he invited me as one of his personal guests over Instagram to his keynote at the World Trade Center. I took a 15-hour bus ride from Toronto to New York to make it happen. It was that well worth it. Alex himself is electrifying. His presence and his energy is one people want to be around and he emits an aura that radiates and affects people. It feels that way when you’re reading (and listening!) to his book. Effectively enough, it’s like the words are jumping o I met Alex in November of 2018 where he invited me as one of his personal guests over Instagram to his keynote at the World Trade Center. I took a 15-hour bus ride from Toronto to New York to make it happen. It was that well worth it. Alex himself is electrifying. His presence and his energy is one people want to be around and he emits an aura that radiates and affects people. It feels that way when you’re reading (and listening!) to his book. Effectively enough, it’s like the words are jumping off the page and although considered a business book, it feels like an adventure novel that has me on the edge of my seat. The Third Door was hands down the fastest I had ever read a book. I read it in one sitting. The words were just begging to be read and Alex has a way of drawing you in, making you feel like you are a co-pilot on his journey. The biggest takeaways for me were fully believing that: - There is always, always a way. - When you change what you believe is possible, you change what becomes possible. I gravitate towards Alex’s book because I see myself reflected in it. It feels fitting that I am writing this book review while I am on the plane to LA. This isn’t just any plane ride for me though. This is a plane ride that is realizing a 5 year dream of mine. This is the type of Plane Ride that has the same tone of when Alex finally meets Bill Gates and he reflects on every moment it took to get there. The red scarf. The endless phone calls. The rejection letters. The crouching in the bathroom, and the interviews. For me, this entire plane ride has been myself reminiscing on everything it took for me to get here, to finally obtain my visa and to finally move to LA. The struggle of the home situation, the conversations with certain people, the realization that nobody was holding me back except for me. All to change a self-limiting belief and to work SO hard to make a dream happen. I have my utmost and wholehearted support behind this book and Alex Banayan himself. Having read his book, gifted his book to people 10+ times (and had these friends gift the book to others), met him him in person, and listened to him on numerous podcasts and a speech in person by him—I know that he is a wholesome human. They say to be wary of meeting your idols for they may have a different way of behaving that what you’ve perceived. Alex is exactly who he is across all his mediums and smashes that fear-based stereotype. He cares. His message is coming from a place so deep in him that’s unshakeable and resonates hard. This is the book I recommend to everyone first and has maybe, just maybe knocked off Outliers as my favourite book at the moment. Anyway I’m sitting on my flight from Toronto to LA about to land and my copy of the third door signed by Alex himself is in my bag. There’s something comforting knowing that these people are out there. The ones who are chasing their dreams + creating their lives. And if you have a dream that wants to be realized, highly recommend picking up the Third Door and gifting yourself a solid evening to read it. Having read the book, I am better because of it and the experience of reading it and the knowledge within it are well worth it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rick Wilson

    I’ll save you the time, the real lesson from this book is “fake it til you make it.” The first 2/3 of the book is basically no interviews. Just a story of a self absorbed kid doing his best to annoy executive assistants. Waste of time really. Last 1/3 is decent but unrefined. My best guess is that Alex had to fill pages to have a “book” and did the college essay thing of writing fluff to fill pages. The core problem here is that this is a coming of age story masquerading as a business book. And it I’ll save you the time, the real lesson from this book is “fake it til you make it.” The first 2/3 of the book is basically no interviews. Just a story of a self absorbed kid doing his best to annoy executive assistants. Waste of time really. Last 1/3 is decent but unrefined. My best guess is that Alex had to fill pages to have a “book” and did the college essay thing of writing fluff to fill pages. The core problem here is that this is a coming of age story masquerading as a business book. And it ends up being mediocre at both. I think I reacted so negatively to this book because I really wanted it to be better. I’ve had the same idea, the same hope that someone's advice could give me a clouds-parting, white light, sense of meaning. And bits and pieces of a better book are present, the arc that Alex sucked at interviews until he learned to connect with people better. The interview with Jessica Alba after Alex finds out his dad has cancer is touching, and some of the discussion really gets to the core of what it means to "make an impact" on the world. But the soulfulness of Jessica Alba’s interview rang hollow after 100 pages of Instagram bro hustle BS.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    It was mostly just him sending emails mixed with some corny motivational quotes..

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elena

    I really enjoyed this. It was not so much a collection of interviews revealing clear steps to success (there are none!) as it was a roller coaster story about Alex Banyan's quest to interview these people. I just liked him and his honest, introspective style. Many of his ideas and bits of wisdom really resonated with me where I am at right now. Thumbs up. I really enjoyed this. It was not so much a collection of interviews revealing clear steps to success (there are none!) as it was a roller coaster story about Alex Banyan's quest to interview these people. I just liked him and his honest, introspective style. Many of his ideas and bits of wisdom really resonated with me where I am at right now. Thumbs up.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Diana Lucaci

    Extraordinary book bringing you both laughter and tears, walking through inspiring and uplifting stories, and conveying the feeling that you are actually living the author's life. Great read! I would always recommend it! Extraordinary book bringing you both laughter and tears, walking through inspiring and uplifting stories, and conveying the feeling that you are actually living the author's life. Great read! I would always recommend it!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lynda Filler

    Impossible to categorize. A must-read book of the year I was introduced to Alex in a YouTube video and immediately knew I had to download his story. If the book was half as good as his passionate story I had to read it. I was totally blown away! It’s impossible to label this story. It’s so much more than what it promises to be. I would say it’s a coming-of-age autobiography as much as it is a journey to discover how each wildly successful person achieved his or her turning point towards success i Impossible to categorize. A must-read book of the year I was introduced to Alex in a YouTube video and immediately knew I had to download his story. If the book was half as good as his passionate story I had to read it. I was totally blown away! It’s impossible to label this story. It’s so much more than what it promises to be. I would say it’s a coming-of-age autobiography as much as it is a journey to discover how each wildly successful person achieved his or her turning point towards success in life.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hadi Abedini

    Although there seems to be a lack of subject and being a half done mission(as called in the book), It takes you through the adventures of a teenager finding the way to success and happiness. It's really inspiring and for me it was hard to put the book down. the book gave me a new point of view and changed my thinking about the way to get into business world. Although there seems to be a lack of subject and being a half done mission(as called in the book), It takes you through the adventures of a teenager finding the way to success and happiness. It's really inspiring and for me it was hard to put the book down. the book gave me a new point of view and changed my thinking about the way to get into business world.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ava

    Well, there were times when I was not sure, if Alex is just annoying or naive. "The Third Door" is a book, written by a young man trying to find his calling. I am from an older generation, and have to say that we all had times, when we questions society and the path we were supposed to go. And this is good. I like how he described his thoughts, motivation and the determination to succeed, even though he had quite a few moments, when he was close to giving up. Having said all that, there was noth Well, there were times when I was not sure, if Alex is just annoying or naive. "The Third Door" is a book, written by a young man trying to find his calling. I am from an older generation, and have to say that we all had times, when we questions society and the path we were supposed to go. And this is good. I like how he described his thoughts, motivation and the determination to succeed, even though he had quite a few moments, when he was close to giving up. Having said all that, there was nothing new in this book. It encourages you to look at your options from all angles, being open for opportunities and brave enough to take them on, and work hard to achieve your dreams. We have heard that a thousands times. I liked the snippets of interviews and some interesting facts about the people he interviewed. I did not like how unstructured the book was. Sometimes, I felt it was a bit all over the place. It is entertaining to read, but nothing groundbreaking.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mediaman

    I heard this author interviewed on the radio and thought he was dynamic. The book, however, is not. It's the story of a crazy college drop-out who thinks bugging famous people enough times will get him an interview with them for a few minutes. He claims to be trying to make a point but instead he comes across as inept and pushy. If it weren't for his handsome looks I doubt he would have made the couple of key contacts that he needed to meet the people he wanted. Instead of his silly "third door" I heard this author interviewed on the radio and thought he was dynamic. The book, however, is not. It's the story of a crazy college drop-out who thinks bugging famous people enough times will get him an interview with them for a few minutes. He claims to be trying to make a point but instead he comes across as inept and pushy. If it weren't for his handsome looks I doubt he would have made the couple of key contacts that he needed to meet the people he wanted. Instead of his silly "third door" theory about using the back door to a nightclub that you can't get in, the real lesson here is that it's all about who you know. Big deal--plenty of books do a better job explaining networking. This is so impractical that anyone who tries to copy it will end up discouraged and broke. It's not inspiring at all--it just makes a normal person wonder what's wrong with Alec Banayan. He wasted a lot of time and energy that could have been better spent learning much more important lessons about life. He's a somewhat typical Millennial who mooches off others, goes to a game show to make money instead of earning it through hard work, and would rather travel on adventures instead of using that same energy to stay in school. There are a few stories here that you can learn from but mostly the book teaches you what not to do. Instead stay in school, do the hard work, listen to others, and constantly network.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Khairul Imran

    Gives you a lot of motivation to continue with your dreams.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michael Huang

    The author wanted to succeed by learning from successful people. He managed to interview Tim Ferriss, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Steve Wozniak, and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh. Each taught him something they thought was important at least in their own success.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Benner

    Life changing

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Jacobs

    Prior to searching for the best career books of 2018, I had heard of neither the author or this particular book. Since I was able to get my hands on the audiobook of The Third Door, I decided to give the book a try. I did not expect to finish the book in a day, but that’s exactly what happened. I simply could not stop listening. Although it was less about how successful people launched their careers and more about the author’s journey to interview these individuals, it’s still a story that will Prior to searching for the best career books of 2018, I had heard of neither the author or this particular book. Since I was able to get my hands on the audiobook of The Third Door, I decided to give the book a try. I did not expect to finish the book in a day, but that’s exactly what happened. I simply could not stop listening. Although it was less about how successful people launched their careers and more about the author’s journey to interview these individuals, it’s still a story that will stay with me for a long time. As a freshman in college I too came to the realization that pre-med was not for me. For years I was groomed to believe this was true, a self-proclaimed science nerd in high school. Coming to this conclusion was not an easy one by any means. I ultimately decided to choose a type of business major but this book makes me wonder what would have happened if I chose a different path. It reminds me that it’s not too late to change my trajectory in life and that I should pursue my dreams, no matter what anyone else has to say about the matter. I can only imagine the amount of persistence required for Banayan to accomplish his dream of interviewing all those successful individuals. I admire his strength to press on with that journey, particularly when he was not always faced with loving support from his family. I love all that this book represents and will definitely keep an eye on Alex Banayan. I’m sure his future will be filled with success. If you’re able to get your hands on the audiobook, I strongly recommend it! Banayan does a great job of telling his own story and it only adds to all the emotions conveyed throughout the book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jason V

    With too many lessons learned to list, this book has already changed lives and will continue to change and inspire many, many more lives ahead. Alex Banayan has left his mark and a gift for those who decide to embark on the journey that is The Third Door. Banayan has a relentless focus and a drive that is rarely seen. One of my favorite chapters is with Steve Wozniak. Woz offers his candid view of what it means to be successful. It has to come from within and be your own definition. Not your boss’s With too many lessons learned to list, this book has already changed lives and will continue to change and inspire many, many more lives ahead. Alex Banayan has left his mark and a gift for those who decide to embark on the journey that is The Third Door. Banayan has a relentless focus and a drive that is rarely seen. One of my favorite chapters is with Steve Wozniak. Woz offers his candid view of what it means to be successful. It has to come from within and be your own definition. Not your boss’s or your parent’s or your best friend’s definition of success but YOUR OWN! Today, many people get caught up in the highlight reel of social media and don’t get to see enough of the grit, failures, difficult decisions and time it takes to accomplish big things. Alex not only invites his readers along for the ride, but he offers a front row seat as he juggles the expectations of his parents (who immigrated to the United States from Iran to provide a better life for their children) and his wild quest to learn from some of the world’s most successful people. I read this book in a day, I simply could not put it down! Three things I know for certain: 1) This will be the first book I recommend to people for the foreseeable future. 2) If you’re reading this, do yourself a favor and buy this book. You will not regret it! 3) This is just the beginning for Alex Banayan! Thank you for this gift, Alex. I've already gifted a few copies to friends and plan to continue to spread the word!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joerenz Tabanda-Bolina

    When I first sat down to read Alex Banayan’s ambitious adventure narrative, the last thing I expected was to be taken on a 48-hour long emotional roller coaster ride that would leave me enlightened and craving more. Written endearingly and in a vernacular style, Banayan succeeds in playing celebrant to a beautiful marriage between guide book and inspirational story that is sure to take a proud place in your bookcase. 18-year-old Banayan starts his journey at the University of Southern Californi When I first sat down to read Alex Banayan’s ambitious adventure narrative, the last thing I expected was to be taken on a 48-hour long emotional roller coaster ride that would leave me enlightened and craving more. Written endearingly and in a vernacular style, Banayan succeeds in playing celebrant to a beautiful marriage between guide book and inspirational story that is sure to take a proud place in your bookcase. 18-year-old Banayan starts his journey at the University of Southern California, staring at his dorm room ceiling and contemplating his (or rather his parents’) dream to become a doctor. Realizing medicine doesn’t align with who he is, Banayan takes a wild risk: he gives up studying for his biology final, “hacks” into The Price Is Right, wins a sailboat that he sells for $16k, and (much to his parents’ fury) drops out of premed and enrolls in the business program. From this point on, Banayan declares his mission boldly: to travel the world and record the big secrets of success that lost young people like him need to reach the heights of luminaries such as Bill Gates, Oprah, and Warren Buffett. Banayan’s life-changing journey in interviewing these big names is riddled with constant trials, triumphs, and tribulations that cause him to question his very being, but, armed with the lessons he has learned along the way, he is able to secure his resolve and watch his story unfold in ways not even he could have never imagined. While the book offers an entertaining plotline, one must remember to also treat the book as a string of connected biblical parables, a culmination of lessons but from a variety of celebrities and influencers instead of Jesus. It’s a treasure chest full of gold without the struggles the author experienced to get it all. Without giving away too much, a few of the teachers include rapper Pitbull (“... there’s nothing better than to be an intern for life.”), poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou (“Takes as much as you can from those who went before you.”), Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh (“... no one ever asks.”), actress and The Honest Company founder Jessica Alba (“Facing death makes you sensitive to how delicate life is.”) and former professional boxer Sugar Ray Leonard (“You may have a desire, a wish, a dream… you’ve got to want it to the point that it hurts.”). These lessons have a dual mission: to carry forth the book’s plot and string together lessons drawn from the lives of successful people that conveniently save time for readers looking to take a shortcut on wisdom hunting. I found myself personally connecting to Banayan’s story: from the struggle to the parental expectations to stepping into the void of the unknown and especially to the moments of self-doubt and depression, it was almost a play-by-play of my life. You don’t hear about these specific struggles in many success stories or celebrity biographies: Banayan chooses to write in what often seems to be missing from other books of this type. You may find this book touches more than your mind: it will touch your heart. The book’s main source of power comes from its brute, emotional honesty: Banayan is unafraid to convey his vulnerability to the reader, whether it’s him celebrating a successful interview, experiencing “The Flinch,” or “cradled on the floor, shivering, thinking about the rejections from the past six months … tear trickle down my cheek.” This vulnerability allows Banayan to give his readers lessons next to them and not up from a pulpit, a quality which puts The Third Door in a different lane from other success story books. Banayan’s willingness to include the nitty gritty details of his life (apart from his career as a venture capitalist), whether it be his unfortunate turbulent relationship with his parents that results from his new pursuit or the delineation of every person and department he went through to reach the respective celebrity interviewee, makes his book very relatable and much less unbiased. He provides details that so many other “success books” and even biographies tend to skimp out on, another strength of The Third Door that once again sets his story apart from others. There are no attempts to put Banayan in a better light than his journey proposes: good or bad, what you see is what you get. On the other hand, some may find Banayan’s naivety and seeming lack of common sense annoying or frustrating, but given the context of the book, it is necessary for the plot to happen and advance. You’ll likely roll your eyes here and there, but Banayan is undeniably a charming protagonist who even the most stubborn reader will find him or herself rooting for at the book’s major events (such as the meeting with Gates or Buffet’s shareholders meeting). Another possible frustration may stem from there being few female characters and influencers in the book until the last 100 or so pages; while this can be disappointing for millenial and gen Z readers, particularly females, Banayan has an explanation that may hopefully provide some solace. Admittedly, the book was flawless for me until I was left feeling unsatisfied at the book’s conclusion, throwing out an audible “That’s it?” upon reaching it. The Third Door spends more than 200 pages snowballing such a magnificent tension and plot that when you reach the final ~30 pages, you’re left wondering why the snowball has melted into a puddle. It feels rushed and lackluster, which is surprising considering the hard work Banayan has clearly put in. Upon reflecting in the puddle’s water, however, I came to understand the ending: as a result of his increased maturity, it full circles the warmth he has learned to imbue and the lessons he has learned throughout his life-changing voyage, hoping that it may all be imparted onto the reader. The book may not leave you feeling satisfied, but you will definitely have that “Oh, now I get it!” moment that has you thinking. If you are a jaded or skeptic critic of “success books” like I am, you can be rest assured that this will challenge you if not change your mind. If you are looking for the coming-of-age success story of the year, look no further than The Third Door. The price tag for the physical copy may be a little much at ~$26, but I can promise you that it’s well worth the buy. Don’t wait too long after June 5th to get it: you may soon find yourself trying to find “the third door” just to get a copy.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    This book was easy to read, surprisingly entertaining with many insightful life lessons. It’s an inspirational book to young adults who are still trying to find their mission in life, but also a book for older adults to self-reflect and perhaps give life a more meaningful purpose. The acknowledgment was as good as a standalone short story. Well done Alex. I smiled when I read the part when one of the advices Alex received was that it is more impressive to use a pen as the more digital the world g This book was easy to read, surprisingly entertaining with many insightful life lessons. It’s an inspirational book to young adults who are still trying to find their mission in life, but also a book for older adults to self-reflect and perhaps give life a more meaningful purpose. The acknowledgment was as good as a standalone short story. Well done Alex. I smiled when I read the part when one of the advices Alex received was that it is more impressive to use a pen as the more digital the world gets, and to never use your phone in a meeting. So always carry a pen with you because you never know who you will impress. It's a repeated theme I've encountered that it is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. Everyone has the power to make little choices that can alter their lives forever. You can either choose to give in to inertia and continue the status quo, or do something unexpected. And when the choice is in front of you, make your move. When you see an opportunity, it’s up to you to grab it. There are certain things in this world that are destined to be, but all you can do is control your effort since you have no way of knowing what’s going on in the lives of others. You can’t anticipate their mood or control their actions. Lastly, growth comes from mistakes. Over the years, I’ve made some but I’ve come to cherish them and learn from them. In this book, I couldn’t agree more with “humbling yourself enough to learn, even when you’re at the top of your game. It’s about knowing that the moment you get comfortable being an executive is the moment you begin to fail.”

  22. 4 out of 5

    Zia Gogh

    While the whole book is about possibilities--the need of grabbing onto that exponential Life and holding onto it with all you've got if you want to live a life of inspiration, adventure, and wild success, here are some of the career and life lessons I have learned: 1. Richard Saul Wurman, Founder of TED, has inspired me with two rules he lives by: "If you don't ask, you don't get. Most things don't work out." --Life is about taking initiatives and failing fast. Life, business and success are like a While the whole book is about possibilities--the need of grabbing onto that exponential Life and holding onto it with all you've got if you want to live a life of inspiration, adventure, and wild success, here are some of the career and life lessons I have learned: 1. Richard Saul Wurman, Founder of TED, has inspired me with two rules he lives by: "If you don't ask, you don't get. Most things don't work out." --Life is about taking initiatives and failing fast. Life, business and success are like a nightclub. The majority of people wait around passively at the 1st door, hoping to get in, while a few born with fortune took the VIP entrance. But there's always the 3rd door that's opened to the adventurous. Successful people don't follow a linear path; instead of going step-by-step, they skip steps to move to the top. 2. "Always staying an intern" Pitbull humbles himself to learn, even when he is already at the top of his game. I learned I should keep an open heart to every learning opportunity that comes in my way despite the experience I already have in my field. Also, "Surround yourself with mentors and a tribe of people who are genuinely excited about your successes." The author associated himself with a helpful mentor, and a group of incredibly enthusiastic and supportive people appeared to be in pushing him toward success. Currently, a self-centered boss who does not seem to be excited about my improvement can't bring me any joy at work. Seeking out the right mentorship/boss would be at the top of my priority list for my next job. 3. "Reframe the problem." The author failed to get a one on one interview with Warren Buffett after he tried all approaches he could think of. But then he thinks outside the box, and successfully had Buffett answered his questions during a conference Q&A session. In the book Designing You Life, Bill Burnett & Dave Evans also talked about the importance of reframing the problem from a different angle when you feel stuck. Next time when the 1st and 2nd door don't work, I would encourage myself not to be afraid, but think differently.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Srikantadatta Tagadur

    I happened to stumble upon the book title in a LinkedIn post, out of curiosity I read through the cover page and was so hooked by its caption that I immediately got myself a copy of the book and started reading. The book narrates the exhilarating story of the author in his quest to uncover the 'Holy Grail' of advice to teenagers from the world’s most successful people. I could completely resonate with the author throughout the book and was left baffled at times not being able to comprehend some I happened to stumble upon the book title in a LinkedIn post, out of curiosity I read through the cover page and was so hooked by its caption that I immediately got myself a copy of the book and started reading. The book narrates the exhilarating story of the author in his quest to uncover the 'Holy Grail' of advice to teenagers from the world’s most successful people. I could completely resonate with the author throughout the book and was left baffled at times not being able to comprehend some of the unconventional techniques explored by the author. The real life experiences narrated in a no nonsense style speaks directly to the heart of the readers. I definitely gained a lot of insights into many new aspects of life, and after reading the book I feel I am well equipped to jump the queue and take 'The Third Door'. I convey my sincere gratitude and thanks to the author Alex Banayan for writing this masterpiece.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Zach Wadzinski

    His initial story from Let’s make a deal is incredible. Learning to play the system is a valuable asset, however skipping the line doesn’t exactly work when it comes to meeting people. I really really did not like his approach to reaching out to people by consistent pestering. If anything this book is full of ways on how to NOT sell yourself rather than the opposite. His worship of Elliott is mind numbing at times because he can’t see through Elliott’s narcissistic traits. In the end this is the His initial story from Let’s make a deal is incredible. Learning to play the system is a valuable asset, however skipping the line doesn’t exactly work when it comes to meeting people. I really really did not like his approach to reaching out to people by consistent pestering. If anything this book is full of ways on how to NOT sell yourself rather than the opposite. His worship of Elliott is mind numbing at times because he can’t see through Elliott’s narcissistic traits. In the end this is the story of a child who hasn’t done their homework on life before jumping into the deep end. I did enjoy the advice he got from Bill Gates and Lady Gaga. His story is interesting but none of this would’ve been possible in the first place had the author not been privileged enough to afford taking off 3 years without pay. Again, I actually do recommend this book. Simply because learning what not to do can occasionally prove to be more important than the contrary.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Mullins

    This book doesn’t deliver on its “wild quest” to uncover secrets of the highly successful. It hits on the fact that there’s no real tipping point and that some successful people just picked up the phone and made things happen. It mainly reads like the author’s diary entries recapping his numerous failed attempts at landing interviews or, when he does get an interview, not making the most of his time by asking less than thought-provoking questions. The reader is reminded throughout the book of th This book doesn’t deliver on its “wild quest” to uncover secrets of the highly successful. It hits on the fact that there’s no real tipping point and that some successful people just picked up the phone and made things happen. It mainly reads like the author’s diary entries recapping his numerous failed attempts at landing interviews or, when he does get an interview, not making the most of his time by asking less than thought-provoking questions. The reader is reminded throughout the book of the cool, dudebro pipeline the author has made and how those connections lead to interactions with famous people. If anything, this book seeks to reinforce the old adage, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” if you want to enter through that Third Door. That’s such a tired motto that no one should aspire to live by if considering how one might successfully contribute to challenges in this world.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kai Lode

    One of the few books that sucked me in from start to finish, reading the whole thing in less than 48hours. I remember hearing about Alex on Cal Fussman’s podcast while at the gym a few months before the book came out. I vividly remember having to stop mid set during my chest workout and preorder the book. After having read the book it is safe to say it was totally worth it. 100% a great book for any person in their highschool/college years trying to understand how to choose what they want to do One of the few books that sucked me in from start to finish, reading the whole thing in less than 48hours. I remember hearing about Alex on Cal Fussman’s podcast while at the gym a few months before the book came out. I vividly remember having to stop mid set during my chest workout and preorder the book. After having read the book it is safe to say it was totally worth it. 100% a great book for any person in their highschool/college years trying to understand how to choose what they want to do in life. With social media it is hard to understand how long time it takes to work your way up to a successful stature in pretty much any industry, and this book shedded light on just this. The book had we excited, smiling, curious and finally crying. 12/10 would recommend, so go ahead and buy it already.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Shimoga

    A week ago I saw a post on LinkedIn that had a screenshot of the first page of this book. Reading about the Third Door analogy got me hooked, and I immediately picked up the book. I expected it to be a series of excerpts from Banayan’s interviews with summaries of advice from the successful people he’d met. But instead it was a flashback into Banayan’s journey - filled with dreams, mistakes, small-wins followed by more mistakes, hope, determination, and so much more. Some of his choices led him A week ago I saw a post on LinkedIn that had a screenshot of the first page of this book. Reading about the Third Door analogy got me hooked, and I immediately picked up the book. I expected it to be a series of excerpts from Banayan’s interviews with summaries of advice from the successful people he’d met. But instead it was a flashback into Banayan’s journey - filled with dreams, mistakes, small-wins followed by more mistakes, hope, determination, and so much more. Some of his choices led him towards his goals, while some led to complete dead ends - but that’s what makes the book, and more importantly the author, so relatable.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kara of BookishBytes

    The author's thesis is that if you are persistent and creative, you can accomplish anything. He sets out do to that by trying to meet and interview a list of very famous people. But the tone of his writing got under my skin in a serious way. He is very self-aggrandizing and copies the writing style of Timothy Ferriss (a style I have very little patience for). I couldn't read more than 1/4 of this book and I'm happy I quit it. The author's thesis is that if you are persistent and creative, you can accomplish anything. He sets out do to that by trying to meet and interview a list of very famous people. But the tone of his writing got under my skin in a serious way. He is very self-aggrandizing and copies the writing style of Timothy Ferriss (a style I have very little patience for). I couldn't read more than 1/4 of this book and I'm happy I quit it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marco

    I reached the chapter of Elliott Bisnow and I can't believe that part is supposed to be aspirational. The Powder Mountain screams self-absorption and elitism. Reading about it more online makes you vomit. There are a few good points but I think need to read better books to filter out the ego points of some people interviewed in this book and their actions during the whole "mission" ordeal. I reached the chapter of Elliott Bisnow and I can't believe that part is supposed to be aspirational. The Powder Mountain screams self-absorption and elitism. Reading about it more online makes you vomit. There are a few good points but I think need to read better books to filter out the ego points of some people interviewed in this book and their actions during the whole "mission" ordeal.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Abhishek Anand

    Its a book that drives the point of not giving up and chasing anything, however ridiculous it might seem. Hopeful that the author will do bigger things and write stories about them too! This one summarizes his pursuit to interview the most influential people that he and his friends think are right out of his college dorm room. Its a pretty daunting task for college kid to go ahead and interview the mammoths of the world. Its a fun, light read that leaves you inspired.

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