Should you read The Third Door by Alex Banayan?

I just finished The Third Door by Alex Banayan. I found it very polarizing. 

It was both entertaining, but there were parts of the book I didn’t like. Regardless, The Third Door is a book worth reading. It has many insights and is well written.

In this article, I will talk about what The Third Door is about, describe what the “third door” is, and share why I thought the book was polarizing.

What is the Third Door about?

The author Alex Banayan was a highly ambitious college student who was looking for life advice from successful people. He made it his life mission to get interviews with the rich and famous. 

He created a list of people he wanted to meet. His list included names such as; Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Lady Gaga, Tim Ferris, Steven Spielberg, and many others.

The Third Door is about Banayan’s journey to obtain these interviews. He writes about his life and motivations and shares what he learned along the way.

What is The Third Door?

The third door is a metaphor Alex Banayan uses to explain how people build success and wealth.

He says life is like a nightclub which has two known ways to get in.

The first way is through the main entrance. To enter you have to wait in line until you are let in.  Banayan says 99% of people are in this line. 

The second door is the VIP entrance. The people using this entrance were born wealthy or have celebrity status. They get preferential treatment and easy access to the club. 

But Banayan says there is always a lesser-known “third door” we can enter. In fact, he says people who’ve built their own success have all entered in by this third door.

He describes the third door as: “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.”

The third door is a mindset. It’s a realization that you can make your own rules in life. You don’t have to follow a structure that 99% of people are using.

Why the Third Door is polarizing

In the intro, I said I found The Third Door polarizing. Let me explain why.

First, this book is very engaging. Banayan’s story is interesting and I was hooked. It was refreshing to read a memoir like this. I can honestly say I didn’t want to put it down, and I read the book in only two days.

But, there are things I didn’t love about the story. First, Banayan’s motivations seem a little misguided and his personality came across as annoying. He wants to be successful and would do anything to achieve it.

A lot of times his personality comes across as very rough. For example, he was desperate to meet Tim Ferris. So what did he do? He sent Ferris over 30 emails. Even after being rejected, he kept sending cold unwanted emails. Now, this is an example of going through the “third door.” But I can’t imagine Tim Ferris loved being bombarded by Alex Banayan.

This was not just one example. Nearly everyone he tried to interview was pestered like this. He shares emails begging him to stop sending email requests.

Another problem I had with the book is Banayan’s portrayal of success. In one chapter, he is sitting in a hot tub in a ritzy club in London. He is with a successful businessman named Elliot Bisnow. It’s been hot in England, so they are looking on their phones to see what major European city isn’t experiencing hot weather, so they can buy a ticket and go immediately. 

Banayan portrays this moment as “making it.” Success is money, girls, parties, and the ability to travel anywhere at any time. 

I think success is very different from those shallow things, and while I like the metaphor of the “third door”, I felt like the book was more about Banayan’s desperations to obtain those worldly things.


Do I recommend this book? Yes! Even though I had issues with it, you can learn a lot from this book. 

If you are interested in purchasing The Third Door by Alex Banayan you can click the link to Amazon below. This is an affiliate link, and I may be compensated for anything you purchase.

Leave a Comment