The Third Door

This book is about Alex Banayan’s journey to track down some of the world's most successful and influential people and learn how they achieved their success.

The book's premise is that there are three doors to success: the first door is the main entrance, where 99% of people wait in line hoping to get in; the second door is the VIP entrance, where the wealthy and connected people slip through; and the third door is the unconventional entrance, where the "outliers" find their way in by any means necessary.

Alex sets out to find the "third door" to success by interviewing a wide range of successful people, including Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Lady Gaga, Steven Spielberg, and many others. He shares his own personal struggles and setbacks, as well as the insights and advice he gained from his interviews, in order to inspire and empower others to pursue their dreams and find their own "third door" to success.

Opting into an Exponential Life

But successful people don’t buy into that model. They opt into an exponential life. Rather than going step by step, they skip steps. People say that you first need to ‘pay your dues’ and get years of experience before you can go out on your own and get what you truly want. Society feeds us this lie that you need to do x, y, and z before you can achieve your dream. It’s bullshit. The only person whose permission you need to live an exponential life is your own.

“Genius,” he said, “is the opposite of expectation.

Bite off more than you can chew. You can figure out how to chew later.

The power of persistence

Don’t let anyone tell you your dream isn’t possible. When you have a vision, you’ve got to hang in there. You’ve got to stay in the fight. It’s going to get tough. You’re going to hear no. But you’ve got to keep pushing. You’ve got to keep fighting. You’ve got to use your Hidden Reservoir. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s possible.

On life’s finitude and sense of urgency

I had one minute left. I asked if she had just a single piece of advice for young people as they launch their careers.

“Try to get out of the box,” she said. “Try to see that Taoism, the Chinese religion, works very well for the Chinese, so it may also work for you. Find all the wisdom that you can find.

Find Confucius; find Aristotle; look at Martin Luther King; read Cesar Chávez; read. Read and say, ‘Oh, these are human beings just like me. Okay, this may not work for me, but I think I can use one portion of this.’ You see?

“Don’t narrow your life down. I’m eighty-five and I’m just getting started! Life is going to be short, no matter how long it is. You don’t have much time. Go to work.

The power of belief and choice

When you change what you believe is possible, you change what becomes possible.It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.