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Third Door

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

Alex Banayan

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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 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.

"Exhilarating and empowering . . . If you care about your success, you have to read The Third Door."
-TONY ROBBINS, entrepreneur, New York Times bestselling author, philanthropist, and the nation's #1 life and business strategist

"From redefining success with Steve Wozniak to staring death in the eyes with Jessica Alba, this book is packed with adventure, drama, and remarkable lessons the whole way through. Whether you're an executive or a recent college graduate, you'll find inspiration and wisdom in The Third Door."
-ARIANNA HUFFINGTON, founder of The Huffington Post and New York Times bestselling author of Thrive

"The Third Door is at once a spirited coming-of-age story and a hard-headed examination of what it takes to succeed at the highest levels. Alex Banayan has cracked the code of the world's most successful people and shown he will soon join their ranks."
-DANIEL H. PINK, New York Times bestselling author of When, Drive, and A Whole New Mind

"An emotional roller coaster . . . I laughed. I cried. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time . . . Once every few decades a book comes along that defines a generation. The Third Door is it."
-ELIANA MURILLO, head of multicultural marketing at Google

"A treasure chest of wisdom . . . knowledge that can be used by anyone, anywhere, who wants to take their journey further . . . Banayan has become one of the most equipped guides to help you climb higher mountains in your life."
-SHAWN ACHOR, New York Times bestselling author of The Happiness Advantage and Big Potential

"Unlike any business book I've read. The Third Door is a thrill ride of hope, joy, ambition, and self-discovery. I cheered out loud, and at different points, tears trickled down my face . . . The Third Door motivated me turn up the volume in my life . . . A triumph."
-MAYA WATSON BANKS, director of marketing at Netflix

"A cinematic story full of drama, betrayal, and heartbreak. The Third Door takes you on a narrative adventure packed with life-changing lessons. Once you start reading, you can't stop."
-JONAH BERGER, New York Times bestselling author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On

"Powerful . . . One of the best books of the year . . . After reading The Third Door, an uncontrollable shift happened in my life-I started to see the challenges in front of me as fun. This book not only gave me new tools to achieve my goals, but it also showed me how exciting it can be to tackle seemingly impossible obstacles. If you want to take your life to the next level, you have to read The Third Door."
-MIKE POSNER, Grammy Award-nominated and multiplatinum musician

"Banayan's heart is poured into every page of this book. The Third Door is not only a guide to how the world's most remarkable pioneers succeeded, but it's also a magnificent story of one boy's journey to achieve his dream. The Third Door drips with passion and emotion-and it's a must-read for anyone wanting to turn their vision into a reality."
-ADAM BRAUN, New York Times nestselling author of The Promise of a Pencil

"A wild ride . . . Inspiring, hilarious, and insightful. Whenever you start to believe there's no other way to solve your problem, let Alex Banayan inspire you to think bigger."
-DAVID EAGLEMAN, New York Times bestselling author of Incognito, host of PBS' The Brain, and adjunct professor at Stanford University

"As a Jewish mother, I don't want my teenage kids to read this book and get any ideas about dropping out of school. However, as someone who has served as a senior diplomat, tech executive, and social innovation entrepreneur, I want to put it at the top of their reading list! The Third Door is required reading for anyone in today's dynamic society who wants to learn success from the best."
-SUZI LEVINE, United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein (Ret.)

"In just a few hours of reading this book, Alex Banayan taught how to meet billionaires, leapfrog my associates, and achieve my dreams in re

The day before his freshman year final exams, ALEX BANAYAN hacked The Price Is Right, won a sailboat, sold it, and used the prize money to fund his quest to learn from the world's most successful people. Since then, Banayan has been named to Forbes' "30 Under 30" list and Business Insider's "Most Powerful People Under 30." He has contributed to FastCompany, The Washington Post, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch, and has been featured in major media including Fortune, Forbes, Businessweek, Bloomberg TV, Fox News, and CBS News. An acclaimed keynote speaker, Banayan has presented the Third Door framework to business conferences and corporate leadership teams around the world, garnering standing ovations from Apple, Nike, IBM, Dell, MTV, Harvard, and countless others.


Einband gebundene Ausgabe
Seitenzahl 320
Erscheinungsdatum 05.06.2018
Sprache Englisch
ISBN 978-0-8041-3666-2
Verlag Penguin Random House
Maße (L/B/H) 21.6/14.4/3 cm
Gewicht 444 g
Abbildungen 1 illustrations
Verkaufsrang 10651


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  • Chapter One

    Staring at the Ceiling

    Right this way . . ."

    I stepped across the marble floor and turned a corner, entering a room with glistening floor-to-ceiling windows. Sailboats drifted down below, gentle waves lapped onto the shore, and the afternoon sun bounced off a marina and filled the lobby with a bright, heavenly glow. I followed an assistant down a hallway. The office had couches with the most plush cushions I'd ever seen. The coffee spoons sparkled in a way I'd never seen spoons sparkle before. The conference room table looked like it had been carved by Michelangelo himself. We entered a long corridor lined with hundreds of books.

    "He's read every one," she said.

    Macroeconomics. Computer science. Artificial intelligence. Polio eradication. The assistant pulled out a book on feces recycling and placed it in my hands. I flipped through it with sweaty palms. Nearly every page was underlined and highlighted with scribbles in the margins. I couldn't help but smile--the scribbles had the penmanship of a fifth grader.

    We continued down the hallway until the assistant asked me to stay where I was. I stood there, motionless, looking at a towering frosted glass door. I had to stop myself from touching it to feel how thick it was. As I waited, I thought of all the things that led me here--the red scarf, the toilet in San Francisco, the shoe in Omaha, the cockroach in the Motel 6, the--

    And then, the door opened.

    "Alex, Bill is ready for you."

    He was standing right in front of me, hair uncombed, shirt loosely tucked in, sipping a can of Diet Coke. I waited for something to come out of my mouth, but nothing did.

    "Hey, there," Bill Gates said, his smile lifting his eyebrows. "Come on in . . ."

    Three Years Earlier, My Freshman Dorm Room

    I flipped over in bed. A stack of biology books sat on my desk, staring back at me. I knew I should study, but the more I looked at the books, the more I wanted to pull the covers over my head.

    I tossed to my right. A University of Southern California football poster hung above me. When I'd first taped it on my wall, the colors were so vibrant. Now the poster seemed to blend in with the wall.

    I turned onto my back and stared at the silent white ceiling.

    What the hell is wrong with me?

    Ever since I could remember, the plan was for me to be a doctor. That's what happens when you're the son of Persian Jewish immigrants. I practically came out of the womb with "MD" stamped on my behind. In third grade, I wore scrubs to school for Halloween. I was "that kid."

    I was never the smartest kid in school, but I was consistent. Like, I consistently got B minuses and consistently read CliffsNotes. To make up for my lack of straight As, I always had a sense of direction. In high school I "checked the boxes"--volunteer at a hospital, take extra science classes, obsess over the SATs. But I was too busy trying to survive to stop and wonder whose boxes I was checking. When I'd started college, I couldn't have imagined that a month later I would be hitting the snooze button four or five times each morning, not because I was tired, but because I was bored. Yet I continued dragging myself to class anyway, checking the premed boxes, feeling like a sheep following the herd.

    That's how I found myself here: lying on my bed, staring up at the ceiling. I'd come to college looking for answers, but all I got were more questions. What am I actually interested in? What do I want to major in? What do I want to do with my life?

    I flipped over again. The biology books were like dementors, sucking the life out of me. The more I dreaded opening them, the more I thought about my parents--running through the Tehran airport, fleeing to America as refugees, sacrificing everything to give me an education.

    When I received my admissions letter from USC, my mom told me I couldn't attend because we couldn't afford it. Although my family wasn't poor and I grew u