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

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

With 572 ratings

By: Alex Banayan and Random House Audio

Purchased At: $27.00

Forbes #1 Career Book to Read in 2018

The National Best Seller

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 listeners 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,’s just like a nightclub. There are always three ways in. There’s the First Door: the main entrance, where 99 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 100 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.

I got this book thinking that I would be learning about how each famous person found their 3rd door. I like the concept of the 3rd door and do believe it is a fantastic way to look at life. However, the book isn't about what the 3rd door was for these people. It was more about him trying to get interviews with famous people and getting rejected. I hate to give the author one star because you can see how important writing this book was to him. I found about Alex from the Cathy Heller podcast when she interviewed him about this book and it was a fantastic interview. Just listen to the podcast and skip the book.

- zackary_peterson

Reading The Third Door changed my life. I really don’t know how to say it otherwise, and frankly struggle with words to describe how deeply the book has affected me since. As a college student myself, we are often fed generic pieces of advice as to how to obtain success and achieve the life of our dreams. “Don’t give up!” “Keep the faith” “Do what you love.” At times, the noise can become overwhelming, and more importantly, outdated!!!!!! In the age of the internet, so many things have changed! The Third Door tells the philosophies of both young and new entrepreneurs, from Bill Gates and Elliot Bisnow, about how they achieved ravishing success and what skills we can learn from their journeys.

Case in point: How do you separate yourself from thousands of other candidates applying online for a job? How do you gain mentors and find allies in business? How do you develop a network when you are just starting off and do not know anyone? How does one approach someone (either in person or online) and appear ambitious as opposed to simply unprofessional? How do you write a proper email? Is there a such thing as being over-persistent? If so, what is the line? How do you bounce back from rejection? Or create momentum for a project you are passionate about? What is the difference between a linear life and an exponential life? How can you create the latter? How do you "find your passion" or "follow your bliss?" Infiltrate echelons of business where you may be able to make an impact?

If the internet has produced a new wave of teachers, authors, and influencers, then Alex is the guru for us all - not just millennials, but ALL people seeking to achieve their dreams. The reason? What the Third Door provides more than anything is INFORMATION & ACCESS. Access to the personal anecdotes of some of the greatest leaders and innovators of our time, and sheer information - details about their path, past failures, practical (seriously practical) pieces of advice that anyone may apply in their own journey respective. These skills are transferrable no matter what you seek to do and will help you work smarter, not harder- giving you tools to achieve your wildest dream in a shorter span of time. In fact, it is a book you will need to read many times over to fully absorb its wisdom and one which I am so grateful to have found as early as I did. Thank you Alex for undertaking this journey to help us all succeed in greater and more meaningful ways. Your persistent emailing, crouching in bathrooms, chasing after some of the most brilliant people of our time is to have been well worth it.

- ana_hernandez

Featuring computer magnate Bill Gates as the elusive white whale.

Showcasing The Price is Right as a vehicle to success.

Adding in amazing adventures across the globe.

In Alex Banahan’s first book, The Third Door, he attempts to find out how successful people got their start. He calls it the “third door,” through which these successful folks became successful. He says there is always a first door, where most people wait to get in. Then, there is the second door — the VIP door — where celebrities get in. Finally, there is the third door, be it through an alley, window, or some other unique way, where other people can gain access to an event.

The story reads almost like a novel and is hard to put down. Cameos are made by Tim Ferriss, Cal Fussman, and Larry King. They are all a part of his mission to discover the secrets to getting started. As you piece things together, you see his friend Kevin throughout the book. Kevin, of course, is Kevin The Manager on Cal Fussman’s podcast. Knowing some of the backstory helps with the real story that Banayan tells.

One thing he learned from the person who became his mentor, Elliott Bisnow, is that you should never take your phone out in a meeting. Bisnow became Banayan’s mentor and ends up featured prominently in the book. Bisnow is an entrepreneur who also started the Summit Leadership Conferences, which are held at various places at various times but feature prominent leaders and entrepreneurs. Banayan gets an offer from Bisnow that could change his life … and leads to a moment of choice.

Bill Gates, founder of Windows, is Banayan’s white whale for much of the story. During his conversation with Gates, Banayan figures out some things, but not necessarily from the context of what Gates shares. It’s a great interview and an eye-opening experience for Banayan on his mission.

As it goes on, you find that the pursuit is about much more than the pursuit of money. This is the passionate pursuit to find the meaning of why people become successful. This is the story of a seven-year process, one that was supposed to last a few months. If you like your nonfiction to read like fiction, Banayan’s story is worth your time. It’s a page turner and one that is tough to put down. You’ll learn about passion, pursuit, and personality as you read this book. You also gain some tidbits throughout that can help you with your passion project, as well.

And remember, there is always -- ALWAYS -- a Third Door.

- lochlan_flores

This is kind of a bizarre book. Supposedly, it is the tale of a 'wild quest' to find the secrets of how the world's most successful people got their lucky break. There are two problems with this. Firstly, the 'secrets' he does find out are completely unoriginal and uninspiring. Be persistent - Tim Ferriss. Find hidden reserves of mental strength - Sugar Ray Leonard. Have a business strategy - Bill Gates. How fascinating. Secondly, the 'wild quest' is, for the most part, the tale of an entitled, wealthy kid hassled a bunch of celebrities for their time until a few of them gave in and talked to him.Sure there are some funny moments along the way. But most of it is just a pretty standard tale of how, if you are an overly confident young man from a wealthy and educated background, you can pursue whatever you want in life.

One element of the book I found particularly annoying. When Banayan does eventually manage to meet some interesting people, he is completely incapable of interviewing them in a way which elicits anything of interest. He proves this repeatedly. Talking to Tim Ferriss, he completely missed the point that Ferriss was trying to save him from himself by telling him not to be so annoying. Talking to Bill Gates, he asks terrible questions which don't really elicit the interesting insights he was hoping for. Asking Warren Buffett questions at a shareholder meeting, he gets them completely wrong to the point that people are actually laughing at him.

This, in reality, is the story of some bro who has no idea what he is doing, and is being carried along on a wave of self-confidence, nothing more. He's an idiot. Indeed about 75% of this book is tales of someone who doesn't know how to secure an interview, trying to secure an interview. The other 25% is someone who doesn't know how to conduct an interview, conducting an interview.

- eve_scott

I heard an interview Alex gave to Cal Fusman about his forthcoming book. I was so taken with the story and learnings that Alex gained on his journey I contacted him directly.

I preordered the book and offered to capture the book as a one page summary to which Alex agreed. The book is simply sensational. For such an honest and courage account of going search of the secrets to being successful, Alex’s journey is inspirational, moving and full of lessons. I’ve bought the book for many people since I read it. I call Alex my friend now and I couldn’t be prouder and a bigger supporter.

You won’t be able to put it down once you start reading!

- sonny_kim

The Third Door is a masterpiece which I have recommended countless to friends, family and even mentors. It is truly all-encompassing and touches each person's inner child. I'll explain what I mean by this statement because it's not the first reaction you might have to the title or subtitle. Alex Banayan goes on an adventure to get all the tidbits from all the world leaders in their respective spaces. He becomes part of the club. Something we all dream of during our childhood and adolescent is to be famous and to have an impact. In the process of writing this book, he became part of that club. One of the most important thing that this book teaches is the manipulation of an old parable. That being: 'money buys happiness'. I think Alex does a great job of breaking down this cliche statement and replacing it with what I like to call a 'modernised adjustment'. This book is an accumulation of knowledge that Alex gains from these people. He also appreciates the necessity of failure and relinquishes expectations from his mindset. He was able to achieve his goal through knowledge and experience accumulation. So it is more like 'knowledge buys happiness' because once you have the knowledge you are free from confusion. His confusion and lack of direction came from the unknown, but he is happy and grateful and it shows in this book. Overall a great addition to the mantlepiece. I highly recommend this book to anyone!

- legacy_hall

I have to admit, I was drawn to this book as it turns out me & Alex have a lot of similar interests / people we look up to, so when I got a free ‘Audible’ credit I decided I had nothing to lose by checking it out. Not gonna lie, REALLY glad I did! It made me think in ways I hadn’t done before, I realised I was naturally on the right path with certain things he did while other things were a great pointer in the right direction.

I loved this so much I genuinely went out & bought a hardcover version the very next day (I’m one of those weirdo’s who prefers physical books to digital/audio!) For anyone who has an interest in getting ahead or making something of themselves in life I’d say this is a great book to start with, or even like me if you’re already on the right path or want extra pointers. It was genuinely a great book & although I'm a little envious ;) i’m already making up for lost time! Love the ingenuity & I can’t wait to see what Alex does next...

- angelique_ross

This book is a pure adventure from start to finish, a lesson for everyone to remember that your mind sets boundaries for whats possible. Its naive at its finest, with a by a young man with pure mission and incredible determination who gain wisdom making this project into reality over the course of 7 years. Get to know some amazing people he meets on this quest including but not limited to Maya Angelou, Bill Gates and sort of Warren Buffett. I recommended it from the heart and read it in a (heart)beat! Alex is a true source of inspiration indeed!!! This book is great for any demographic, in particular to inspire people but also on the quite fantastic journey we can follow Alex!

- sylvia_mendoza

If you are seeking guidance and or motivation read this book. This insightful and inspiring book will unveil characteristics we all face; whether it be the fear to approach a new person or go against the status quo. Alex excellently writes about his journey interviewing the people he did, learning along the way and providing lessons for life. Definitely a book once you’ve started you’d want to finish. Great read.

- mabel_gomez

Bought this book on a recommendation not really know what to expect from it and it had blown me away.
Some really valuable and insightful life lessons along the way, I teared up at the end.

Would recommend this book to anyone, from any walk of life and in any career.

- helen_moore

Purchased after hearing the author on The ground up podcast - fantastic stories and insights from some of the most influential humans in history. Motivational

- houston_johnson

When every door gets closed in your face...the third door analogy is about finding a way in. That entrepreneurial spirit. That fight. That drive. That chutzpah. That passion. That purpose. I just love the theme of this book and highly recommend!

- alena_king

I found myself lying awake at night full of adrenaline about the possibilities I have in my hands. I have highlighted a lot of bits in the book, but this one from @deankamen stuck out for me at this point in my career and life ‘reframe the question in a new way that is amenable to a different kind of solution’

- ulises_thompson

A great book on how a 19 year old managed to hack the system - both funny and deep! Would recommend

- fabian_mendoza

Great product bought for a present

- mariam_evans

Great inspirational read - very well written and highly engaging.

- ophelia_thomas

Extremely inspirational. Alex gives us incredible insight from leading pioneers of technology, business and life. This book is full of wonderful stories and I would highly recommend you reading it.

- peyton_flores

This is a good read, great book Alex.

- dawson_myers

Customers Also Bought