THE #1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
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, Steven Spielberg, 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 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.
FOUNDER OF MICROSOFT
Chapter 26: “The Holy Grail: Part II”BUSINESS
GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING MUSICIAN
Chapter 35: “Getting in the Game “MUSIC
MOST SUCCESSFUL INVESTOR IN HISTORY
Chapter 22: “The Shareholders Meeting”FINANCE
RENOWNED POET AND AUTHOR
Chapter 31: “Turning Darkness Into Light”LITERATURE
ACADEMY AWARD-WINNING DIRECTOR
Chapter 4: “The Spielberg Game”ENTERTAINMENT
AWARD-WINNING ACTRESS AND FOUNDER OF THE HONEST COMPANY
Chapter 32: “Sitting Down With Death”ENTREPRENEURSHIP
GRAMMY-AWARD WINNING RAPPER
Chapter 29: “Staying an Intern”MUSIC
Chapter 30: “The Collision”SCIENCE
HOST OF CNN’S LARRY KING LIVE
Chapter 23: “MR. KINGGG!”BROADCASTING
BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE 4-HOUR WORKWEEK
Chapter 5: “Crouching in the Bathroom”ENTREPRENEURSHIP
LEGENDARY MUSIC, FILM AND TELEVISION PRODUCER
Chapter 34: “The Greatest Gift”ENTERTAINMENT
COFOUNDER OF APPLE
Chapter 28: “Redefining Success”TECHNOLOGY
We all face rejection. We’ve all felt the fear of starting something new.
Whether you’re a corporate executive, an ambitious startup founder, or a recent college graduate, this book is for anyone who wants the wisdom of the greats to supercharge their journey.
If you dream of learning under the wings of world-class mentors, achieving your biggest goals, or just transforming yourself into the person you’ve always imagined you could be, The Third Door gives you the tools you need so you can get what you want.
Founder of The Huffington Post and New York Times Bestselling Author of Thrive
“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.”
New York Times Bestselling Author of When, Drive, and A Whole New Mind
“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.”
HEAD OF MULTICULTURAL MARKETING AT GOOGLE
“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.”
GRAMMY-NOMINATED AND MULTIPLATINUM MUSICIAN
“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.”
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE HAPPINESS ADVANTAGE AND BIG POTENTIAL
“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.”
New York Times bestselling author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On
“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.”
Director of Marketing at Netflix
“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.”
New York Times bestselling author of The Promise of a Pencil
“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.”
Emmy-Nominated Host of National Geographic’s Origins and Brain Games
“My grandfather used to tell me: ‘If a problem has a solution, why worry?’ And it’s precisely that attitude of optimism and possibility that has so inspired me about Banayan’s The Third Door. He wasted little time worrying: ‘What if?’ He went for it. And that made all the difference.”
United States Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein (Ret.)
“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.”
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF INCOGNITO, HOST OF PBS’ THE BRAIN, AND ADJUNCT PROFESSOR AT STANFORD
“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.”
Former Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education
“Alex Banayan was intent on creating his ‘dream university’—Bill Gates would teach business; Lady Gaga, music; Steven Spielberg, film; Jane Goodall, science—and that vision became a reality. This book proves that education is one of the most powerful forces in the world, and it’s made even more powerful when you take charge of your own learning.“
LEAD GUITARIST OF THE GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING ROCK BAND
“Equal parts badass and wise, The Third Door ushers you inside an epic journey of invention and determination. Banayan’s quest to discover the keys to the world’s most impossible doors unlocks the hidden power in each of us.”
Star of MTV’S THE BURIED LIFE and New York Times Bestselling Author
“Wild adventures. Incredible stories. Immensely practical advice. The Third Door has it all—and it’s exactly what our generation has been waiting for.”
New York Times bestselling author of Love is the Killer App
“In just a few hours of reading this book, Alex Banayan taught how to meet billionaires, leapfrog my associates, and achieve my dreams in record time. I’ve never read anything quite like this! Whether you are an entrepreneur or trying to jumpstart your career, The Third Door will open up your world of possibilities.”
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING CO-AUTHOR OF THE START-UP OF YOU
“Gripping stories . . . The Third Door is that rare book where the author lives the advice he’s sharing. Banayan redefines the meaning of entrepreneurial hustle and hard work. Prepare to be humbled—and inspired.”
Grammy-Award Winning Rapper and Music Producer
“Banayan’s hustle is insane. He crouched in bathrooms, chased people through grocery stores—he did whatever it took to make his dream happen. The extents he went through will inspire you to keep grinding on your path. If you are hungry to succeed, trust me: read The Third Door.”
Global Program Director for Growth and Strategic Partnerships at IBM
“The Third Door draws upon lessons from some of today’s most inspiring figures in business and popular culture, and by doing so provides a masterclass in innovation, entrepreneurship, and creative problem-solving across generations. It is a must-read for aspiring entrepreneurs and corporate leaders alike.”
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF DISCIPLINED DREAMING
“Banayan personifies creativity, hustle, and passion. He’s the embodiment of the next generation of entrepreneurial leader and The Third Door beautifully brings this mindset to life.”
Chief Innovation Officer of the Obama 2012 Presidential Campaign and Executive Director of Chicago Ideas
“A surprising combination of bildungsroman, spiritual journey, and caper comedy, The Third Door creates an opportunity for all of us to inspect what success means, what’s inspires us, and how we think about our paths through the world. The more we look beneath the audacity (and occasional absurdity) of Banayan’s journey, the more apparent the central truth of success is revealed in the profound commitment to cause and the capacity to outwork any obstacle.”
Director of West Coast Brand Experience at Nike
“Alex Banayan’s The Third Door was absolutely worth the wait! He perfectly captures amazing insights, while being funny and approachable. Banayan’s journey leaves you not only inspired, but also excited to pursue your dreams and define success in your own way.”
CEO OF CONSERVATION INTERNATIONAL AND HOST OF PBS’ EARTH: A NEW WILD
“Engrossing . . . Brilliantly insightful. Applicable and useful. I found myself nodding in places and re-reading passages . . . Banayan demystifies the hardest and scariest thing many of us have to do to succeed.”
Founder of uBeam
“Whether Banayan knew it or not, the beautifully ironic thing about this book is that some of the most valuable insights into how to succeed came just as much from his own quest to write this book as it came from the wildly accomplished people he interviewed. From hacking The Price Is Right to commandeering Warren Buffett’s shareholders meeting, Banayan’s approach to solving problems is as hilarious as it is brilliant. Whether you’re an accomplished entrepreneur, an aspiring one, or an executive trying to get your employees to think outside the box, The Third Door is the way forward.”
AUTHOR OF THE GO-GIVER
“In this magnificent book we the reader have the honor of following and witnessing an ambitious, resourceful, and very clever young man turn into a wise, astute, and very successful young adult. The twists and turns, the joys and disappointments, the letdowns and, ultimately, the victories and final realizations read like a movie that grips you with both hands and won’t let go. The best part of all is the author’s growth, self-reflection, and self-discovery. What does it really take to be happy? You really will find the answer in these pages as Banayan and his cast of friends gladly show us the way. Buy copies of this book, both for yourself and your entire family. You’ll be glad you did. And so will they!”
Author of Philanthrocapitalism and former Business Editor of The Economist
“Whether you are just beginning your first act, or setting off on your twentieth, this may be the best and most thoroughly enjoyable career advice book you will ever read: fast moving, funny, big-hearted, and constantly insightful.”
FORMER CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICER OF SALESFORCE AND FOUNDER OF BUDDY MEDIA
“I wish I had The Third Door when I was starting my first business. Thankfully, Banayan has delivered the book we’ve all been waiting for.”
Author of Mother Teresa, CEO: Unexpected Principles for Practical Leadership
“Banayan’s incredible journey, told with wit, warmth, and wisdom, explores his own search for meaning through the personal stories of his heroes. An inspiring read for anyone looking to find their purpose.”
Columnist for The Washington Post and Distinguished Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University
“A brilliant writer . . . I couldn’t stop reading once I started. The Third Door is a must-read for entrepreneurs.”
ALEX BANAYAN is the youngest bestselling business author in American history. The Third Door chronicles Banayan’s seven-year quest to uncover the definitive mindset of exponential growth and success. The book is a #1 international bestseller, has been translated into more than a dozen languages, and has been acclaimed by The New York Post as “a joy to read.”
Over the course of his unprecedented journey, Banayan’s research led him to interview the most innovative leaders of the past half-century, including Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, Larry King, Maya Angelou, Steve Wozniak, Jane Goodall, Jessica Alba, Quincy Jones, and more.
Named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list and Business Insider’s “Most Powerful People Under 30,” Banayan is his generation’s leading expert in high-performance and personal development, having been featured in Fortune, CNBC, Businessweek, The Washington Post, MSNBC, Fox News, and NBC News.
A renowned keynote speaker, Banayan has presented the Third Door™ framework to corporate leadership teams around the world, including Apple, Google, Nike, IBM, Snapchat, Salesforce, Delta Airlines, Kaiser Permanente, Mastercard, and Disney.
Alex has been featured in...
“When you change what you believe
is possible, you change
what becomes possible.” ALEX BANAYAN
Focusing on perseverance, persistence, and business growth during times of uncertainty, Banayan delivers virtual keynotes from a state-of-the-art studio, making him uniquely positioned to get teams inspired, thinking strategically, and ready to thrive in our changing world. To book Banayan to keynote your virtual event, please email: firstname.lastname@example.orgHIRE ALEX
“The feedback about Alex Banayan’s keynote has been off the charts. It was an outstanding event! Alex knocked it out of the park!”Andy Sieg, President, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
“The speech was absolutely a home run. And it changed my life.”Brad Smith, CEO, Intuit
“After Banayan’s keynote at Disney, we sent out a survey to all the attendees. I must say, it was the best feedback we’ve ever received from any speaker. Hands down.”Laurie H. Allred, Head of Y@DCPI, Disney
“When Alex Banayan spoke at my department’s off-site, his energy was contagious, his stories were inspiring, and his ideas pushed my team’s leadership. If you’re looking for someone with insight and passion, then Banayan is your man.”Jesse Stollak, Vice President of Football Marketing, Nike
“Banayan is one of the most professional and polished speakers I’ve worked with. And his talk couldn’t have gone better. His stories were enthralling, his insights were incredibly tangible, and his message was spot on.”Megan Green, Head of Google Play Business Development, Google
“Alex Banayan is an unbelievable storyteller. He is thoughtful, engaging, and dynamic. Banayan represents the voice of entrepreneurship, the power of hustle, and the energy of unlimited potential.”Arturo Nunez, Head of ALAC Marketing, Apple
“As the host and keynote speaker of our annual IBM Amplify conference, Alex Banayan’s passion was exactly what we needed to energize our corporation at such a pivotal time in our transformation.”Samantha Klein, Marketing Manager, IBM
“Alex Banayan’s keynote truly cracks the code and provides the transformational edge needed to succeed in today’s business environment. Any healthcare organization that wants to achieve exponential growth and reach their biggest goals needs to implement the principles contained in The Third Door today.”Doran Duffin, Organizational Development Leader, Kaiser Permanente
“For business leaders who want to inject entrepreneurial grit into their culture—Alex Banayan is whom you’re looking for. His keynote was packed with hard-research, enthralling stories, and insights that created a real buzz and gave actionable steps to both employees and startup community members.”Daniele Cohn, Head of Entrepreneurial Engagement, Comcast NBCUniversal
“Banayan followed Valerie Jaret and Arianna Huffington to keynote the Snapchat Women’s Group, and there was standing room only for his speech. He captivated the crowd with his incredible and unique story and journey. He answered questions from the audience with candor and insight. Everyone left the session feeling inspired, empowered, and even more equipped to succeed. Ten out of ten!”Rachel Richardson, Head of Curated Stories, Snapchat
“Banayan’s keynote kicked-off our event perfectly! His charismatic personality draws you in, and then his insights and stories prove to be both immensely entertaining and deeply emotional. Whether you work in sales or marketing, every department will find tremendous value in Banayan’s keynote. On top of that, we then decided to gift copies of The Third Door to our top clients, and they all loved it. Once you start reading the book, you can’t stop. The keynote coupled with the book is magic.”Sevan Leipziger, Senior Head of SAE Entertainment Sales, Delta Airlines
“Banayan’s keynote was remarkable–his underlying message of bridging your dreams to reality through grit and a ‘yes, and’ attitude really resonated with our employees around the world. He has a masterful way of bringing the audience along for a journey that encourages them to think about how to work and play differently moving forward. Out of all the speaking events I’ve planned at Ford, Banayan’s was one of the best.”Christiana Lumaj, Head of Executive Communications, Ford