The Third Door4 min read

Published by Zach on


An 18-year old was told to be a doctor by his parents. He didn’t want to. He left college and went on to interview Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, and Larry King to learn why people are successful.

The Third Door, by Alex Banayan, reads more like an action story than a business book, but the business lessons taught throughout, that Alex learned from his experiences, are indispensable.

The book is just fun to read, it’s gripping, it’s a good story.

You find, however, that as you go you are learning things; how should you act in a business meeting? What makes a company successful? How do you decide what you want to do in life?

Alex finds, throughout his journey to interview the greats, that pretty much anything he wants can be accomplished, he just needs to find the right way to do. He needs to find the third door. I took this from his website:

Life, business, success… it’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 a hundred times, crack open the window, sneak through the kitchen—there’s always a way.

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.

And Alex does a lot of this third door stuff throughout the book. At one point he even gets onto “The Price is Right” game show, and wins.

Here are some things I learned from the book:

  • How to cold contact someone famous (e-mail structure in the quotes section)
  • Act like you can accomplish everything, promise that, and deliver that. You will find a way to deliver on the time crunch.
  • “You Can’t Out-Amazon Amazon,” so be yourself. Or add something new to the equation.
  • You can accomplish anything, it is just a matter of time and persistence.
  • Never use your phone in a business meeting
  • Act like you belong

Overall I give it such a high rating 70% from it being a good story, and 30% from it teaching me business insights from someone who failed and learned on the fly. At the end of the book, I was even crying. Not waterfall level tears but a few drops hit my Kindle.

I definitely suggest picking it up.


Quotes I Liked

  • [E-mail Template]
    • Dear So-and-So, I know you’re really busy and that you get a lot of emails, so this will only take sixty seconds to read. [Here is where you say who you are: add one or two lines that establish your credibility.] [Here is where you ask your very specific question.] I totally understand if you’re too busy to respond, but even a one-or two-line reply would really make my day. All the best [Your Name]
  • Bite off more than you can chew. You can figure out how to chew later.
  • “Ego isn’t particularly healthy,” Tony continued, “but what’s worse is having it and lying to yourself that you don’t. Before you start thinking about marketing tactics, become self-aware of what’s motivating you below the surface. Don’t judge the motivations as ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ Just ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. Choosing the right tactics becomes easy once you know your end goal. ”
  • It’s a choice to put in the hours, go the extra mile, and do the things others aren’t willing to do. Reading the damn footnotes isn’t just a task on Buffett’s to-do list—it’s his outlook on life. ”
  • “Nobody is in control of who they are when they’re born,” she [Jessica Alba] continued. “You’re born into the family you’re born into and you’re born into the circumstances you’re born into. So you just have to take what you can from where you’re at and not compare yourself to other people. You have to look at your path and know that whatever got you there, and where you’re going, is unique to you. You weren’t supposed to be any other way.”
  • “You can’t get an A if you’re afraid of getting an F,” Quincy added. “It’s amazing, the psychology of growing in your field, no matter what you do. Growth comes from mistakes. You have to cherish them, so you can learn from them. Your mistakes are your greatest gift.”
  • “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – Dumbledore (Harry Potter Books)
Categories: Book Notes


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