Imagine meeting Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Larry King, Tim Ferriss, Pitbull, Steven Spielberg, Lady Gaga and Jessica Alba. New York Times best-selling author Alex Banayan shares with us his larger-than-life journey to meet the world’s most successful people to uncover the secrets to their success.
Biography – Thrive Nation on today’s show we are interviewing one of the most interesting guests that we’ve ever been fortunate enough to interview. He’s been named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list, Business Insider’s Most Powerful People Under 30, and been featured in Fortune, Forbes, Businessweek, Billboard, Bloomberg TV, CNBC, Fox News, MSNBC, and CBS News. Alex Banayan 100% committed himself to the wild quest to uncover how the world’s most successful people launched their careers and he’s the author of the Penguin Random House best-selling book, The Third Door which I first heard about through a Tweet from the hit songwriter, poet and artist, Mike Posner. Alex, welcome onto the show, how are you sir?
How New York Time Best-Selling Author Alex Banayan Discovered the “Third Door”
AMPLE EXAMPLE – Link to Clay’s Mother-in-law rubbing sunscreen on Tom Hanks – https://goo.gl/images/8mcRwn
Part 2 – Title – How Bill Gates Used the “Third Door” to Sell His First Piece of Software
NOTABLE QUOTABLE – If you ask someone canned questions, you will get canned answers.” – Alex Banayan
Part 3 – Title – How Steven Spielberg Was Able to Use the Third Door to Become the Youngest Director in Hollywood History
Part 4 – Title – Hacking His Way Into Warren Buffett’s Shareholders Meeting (with Alex Banayan)
Part 5 – Title – Chasing Larry King Through a Grocery Store with Larry King
Part 6 – Title – The Power of Possibility with Alex Banayan the New York Times Best-Selling Author of “The Third Door”
Imagine that you sat down to meet with a good friend of yours at a local coffee shop and you ask your friend, you say, hey, good friend, what have you been doing this year? And they said, oh, I was. I was on the prices, right?
I then sold the boat to travel around the world and interview Bill Gates. Steve was not impressed. Larry King Know Tim Ferriss. Never heard of a pit bull. Who are these people? Steven Spielberg. I don’t even know the names you’re saying right now. I don’t even lady Gaga. I don’t even know who she is, but died love home. Youth it Rah, Rah, Rah Barbarossa Alba and don’t know who others. Imagine that your friend then said, and by the way, I’ve, I’ve turned all of it into a New York Times best selling book. Would you want to hear the rest of the story? Of course you would.
Some shows. Don’t need a celebrity and a writer to introduce the show. This show does eight kids, Koch, created by two different women. 13 mode time million dollar businesses. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the thrive time.
All right. Thrive nation, welcome back to another exciting edition of the thrive time show on your radio and podcast. Just
download and on today’s show we are interviewing one of the most interesting guests, Dr Z, that we’ve ever been fortunate enough to interview. I love his story and I can hardly wait to get into it. I don’t want to jump the gun, but it’s you want to hang on folks, if you’re listening to this podcast radio show, wherever you are, buckle up. It’s going to be fun. He’s been named to Forbes to the 30 under 30 list business insider’s most powerful people under 30 and he’s been featured in fortune, Forbes, business week, billboard, Bloomberg TV, CNBC, Fox News, MSNBC, and CBS News. Alex Banayan is 100 percent committed himself to this, this wild quest of uncovering how the world’s most successful people launch their careers and he’s authored this incredible penguin random house release, a bestselling book called third door, which I first heard about through a tweet from the hit song writer and poet and artist, a man I’ve had the opportunity to talk to on the phone multiple times to in the past a man by the name of Mr.
Mike Posner. Mr Alex Banayan, welcome onto the thrive time show. How are you sir? Thank you so much. That was exceptionally kind. Okay, so here’s the deal. When I first saw Mike Posner, Mike, Mike Posner tweet that everybody needs to check out your book. I thought, okay, it’s probably a sincere recommendation because I believe Mike Posner, two point, oh, is nothing but sincere time and so your personal journey is incredible and I want to make sure I’m not exaggerating, but as an 18 year old college freshman, you sat down on this, you set out on a track to interview Bill Gates, Lady Gaga, Larry King, the world’s most successful people, to discover how they were able to launch their careers. Can you share with us when you first had this epiphany that it was time to go out there and to research some of the world’s most successful people on a one on one level?
Well, it started because I was going through a crisis. I was, you know, like you said, I was 18 years old. I was a freshman in college and I was spending every day lying on my dorm room bed staring up at the ceiling. Now, I don’t know if you guys have gone through the, what do I want to do with my life crisis, but you know, I was going through it and I was hitting me really hard and to understand why I was going through it. You have to understand that I’m the son of Jewish immigrants, which essentially means I came out of the womb. My mom cradled me in her arms and then she stamped md on Psi. Um, sent me on my way. Sounds fair, sounds fair. Right. You know, very, you know, typical set of Jewish immigrants and you know, if you think it’s funny, I, I literally wore a skirt.
I wore scrubs to school for Halloween and third grade thinking I was cool, you know, that was my childhood growing up. Right. And you know, in high school I checked the boxes, I study for the sats and took the biology classes. I even went to premed summer camps, so by the time they got to college, I’m the premed of premeds, but very quickly I remember lying on my dorm room bed looking over at this towering stack of biology books, feeling like they were sucking the life out of man. The Alex. hold on one second. I gotta I gotTa. I gotta ask. I’d been to summer camp. I’ve been a camp counselor before camp talk. Atoka a lovely camp here in Oklahoma on Fort Gibson Lake. When you said you went to summer camp.
Oh, summer camp. Premed. Premed. Summer camp. Thank you. I mean there’s no such thing as premed summer. There’s no archery and horseback ride? No, no, no, no. There’s no fun. No suturing bananas. I’m not kidding. I’m being 100 percent. You’re suturing banana. I actually loved it because when you’re a teenager, any anytime outside of your parent’s house example, your age is fun. Yeah, sure. So what other activities? So I know normal camp was like a cool sports camp to compare my experience to. So I’m like, wow. Premed is awesome. Yeah, you get to eat ice cream for dinner. I loved this. Yes. Okay. That’s, that’s awesome. Alright, so I’m sorry to interrupt you.
So when did I want to ask Alex’s question? Because a doctor Z is an optometrist, but I really believe you, you are an entrepreneur trap trapped. You’re trapped inside an optometrist body. Yes. I want to ask you this, Alex, when did you realize that that college or that being a a doctor would just wasn’t your thing? I mean, even though that was what was expected for you, that was what you was probably in your career path that was laid out for you by the family and you thought, wow, when did you first realize this is not for me?
Well, you know, I remember first even having the inkling because, you know, it comes in, I think there’s this big myth and movies have these big epiphany moments and I actually think, and even just from my research from the past seven years, I’ve seen that these moments that change your life actually come in these very small little whispers. And for me it was, you know, that Freshman Year of college I’m lying on this dorm room bed
feeling like these premed books are sucking the life out of me. And at first I began to wonder, you know, maybe I’m just being lazy. But very quickly I began to ask myself maybe I’m not on my path. Maybe I’m on a path. Somebody placed me on it. I’m just rolling down. So now not only do I not know what I want to do with my life, I have no idea how all the people who I looked up to, you know, how they did it and you know, how to Bill Gates cells, first piece of software when he was 19 years old in his dorm room. Or how did Spielberg become the youngest studio director in Hollywood history without a single hit under his belt and know this is what they don’t teach you in school. So I just assumed there had to be a book with the answer.
So I remember going to the library and just ripping through business books and biographies and self help books. Assuming there had to be a book on this topic, but eventually I was left empty handed, you know, there wasn’t a single guide that had people from all industries talking about when no one would take their calls when no one will take three meetings. How did they find a way to break through and it was less than age in life and more stage in life. You know, when you’re trying to start something new and you’re facing rejection, how do you find a way to break through? So I just thought, well if no one’s reading the book I’m dreaming of Reading, why not write in myself? You know, I thought it would be super simple. I thought I could just call it bill gates, interview him, interview everyone else in a few months and I thought I’d be done, you know, that I thought would be the easy part.
The hard part. I figured it was getting the money to fund the journey. I was buried in student loan debt. I was a lot of Bar Mitzvah cash. So you know, there had be a way to make some quick money. So tonight’s before final exams, I’m in the library doing what everyone’s doing in the library right before finals. I’m on facebook. Well of course I’m on facebook and I see someone offering free tickets to the price is right. And I know you guys have seen the show, I’m sure growing up. Oh sure. Plinko is the best. Oh yeah. Bob Barker. So I knew my neighbors, dogs and cats because Bob told me to spayed and neutered. Oh yeah. So I see someone offered free tickets to the price is right and it’s filming the next morning and the first thought I have is what if I go on the show and win some money to fund this dream, you know, not my brightest moment. Plus, you know, only that’s only an 18 year old has that kind of logic. But I had a problem. I’d never seen a full episode of the show before. Plus at finals in two days. You know, I told myself was a dumb idea and to stop thinking about it.
Um, I don’t know if you guys have ever had one of these moments where an idea just keeps climbing itself back into your mind
so you, you, you thought to yourself that you could, you could go on the price is right and only appear, but actually when, I mean, you, you, you, you just don’t, you couldn’t, you couldn’t put the idea that your mind, you’re thinking, I’m going to win, I’m going to do this, price is right, I’m going to do it. I mean
really given me a lot of credit of thinking it through. He’s a team. He’s a freshman. Come on. No, it was more just like a, um, it was like a flash in my mind and I told myself the second I gave it some thought, I told him, you know, it’s very clearly a stupid idea. I had never seen a full episode plus that to study for finals. So I told myself not to do it, but for some reason the idea wouldn’t let me go so. And I couldn’t focus on studying. So to prove by myself with a bad idea, I remember opening up my spiral notebook and writing the best and worst case scenarios so I could visually see how bad of an idea was. And I’ll always remember, you know, writing, you know, worst case scenarios, fail, finals, get kicked out of premed, lose financial aid, mom stops talking to me, you know, mom kills me, you know, there’s 20 cons and the only pro was maybe maybe when enough money to fund this stream.
Your, your idea doesn’t sound super crazy to me simply because chuck, I’ll put a link to in the show notes. Alex Banayan, my mother in law has actually been on the, the prices, right? Oh Wow. Numerous times in Z. I’m going to pull it up on the big screen here. My mother in law, there she has, she actually was on the love boat with Tom Hanks. We’ll put a link to it. So she was actually rubbing massage oil on Tom Hanks on the love boat. So this was a viable plan for her. But there’s kind of a, a process to being selected on the price is right. And although it seems crazy, you observed, there was sort of a pattern, can you talk to us about some of the moves that you implemented or some of the ideas you had to be it maybe be selected as one of the contestants on
the price is right. So you know, that night I decided to do the logical thing and pull an all nighter to study, but I didn’t study for finals. They said how to hack the prices. Right. There you go. And there we go. During that all night or you know, like you mentioned, I figured out that the prices, right, isn’t what it seems. Oh, come on, come on. You took the joy. Priceless memories are getting. Look, they make it look like, you know, Alex Banayan come on down as if they’re pulling your name.
I, you, I’m sure as your mother locked could agree with. There’s a producer who actually interviews every single person in the audience before the show begins. Right? So like all things in life, in business, there’s a system to it. It’s not just luck. There’s a third door. Exactly. So at that time I, you know, I’m doing all this research, I figured out how the contestants get called down and I realized, you know, I ran the numbers, there’s 300 people in the audience ate, get called down as contestants one of those contestants winds. So statistically the hard part, once you’re a contestant, you know, it’s one in eight. The real hard part though is being one of the contestants that gets called down from the audience. True. So that’s what I pulled my own night or studying and you know, my idea of hacking the prices, right was a lot less Einstein and much more forrest gump. But I ended up working and I ended up doing this ridiculous strategy, winning the whole showcase showdown, winning a sailboat, selling the sailboat. And that’s how I funded the book. What would you say? What, what, what was the key to be chosen just over the top a you,
you’ve got to pick me. I mean, what, what are you are a beautiful man. Was it just beauty? I mean, what did it come down to? What was your hack?
So I’ll tell you the story of what happened when I met the casting producer.
So first of all, the second you get to the prices, right? I knew that in addition to a casting producer interviewing everyone in the audience, I knew there was also an undercover producer planted amongst the audience who then confirm or denies the original producers selection. So the second I got to the studio, you know, I have no idea who the undercover producer is. So I’m just assuming everyone is some dancing with old ladies. I’m flirting with custodians and breakdancing and I don’t know how to break dance and you know, eventually I’m waiting in line outside of the studio and it’s my turn to be interviewed by the casting producer. And the second I see him, you know, I know that’s my guy. I know his name is Stan. I know. You know, I did all this research on him the night before so I knew where he grew up in you, where he went to school and I know he has a clipboard, but it’s never in his hands.
It’s in his assistants hands who sits about 20 feet away from him. If Stan really likes you, he’ll talk to you a bit more and if he loves you, he’ll turn around and wink and his assistant will put your name on a clipboard. So if the price is right is a nightclub standards the bouncer. And if you’re not on his list, you’re out. Forget about it. Yeah, you’re, you’re 100 percent out. There was no option. So finally standards in front of me and he’s like, you know, what’s her name? Where are you from? What you do? And I’m like, Hey, I’m Alex Banayan. I’m 18, I’m a freshman in college. I’m studying premed. And he goes, oh, premed. You must spend a lot of time studying. How do you have time to watch the prices? Right? And I’m like, Oh, is that where I am? You know, no laughter that joke. Just like, oh,
tough crowd. Tough crowd. That’s exactly right.
So I, you know, see that stands eyes are wandering and I realized he’s about to leave and I had read in one of these business books that I read during my life crisis and it said human contact speeds up a relationship.
So I had an idea, she’s jumped on his back, you know, I had to touch stand for, but you know, he’s like 20 feet away from me. So I’m like, Stan, come over here, I want to make a handshake with you. And very reluctantly he comes over and you know, I teach them how to, you know, pound it and blow it up. And he laughs a little and he wishes me luck. But then he walks away. Oh No, come on, Stan doesn’t turn around to his assistant. No weeds, right? Anything on a clipboard. I don’t hear a wink. No nothing. And just like that. It’s over. So disappointed. And this was one of those moments where you can see, you know, your dream, walking away from you, sort of like sand slipping through your fingers. And the worst part is, you know, you didn’t even have a chance to really prove yourself, so I don’t know what got into me, but I just felt this rumbling in the pit of my stomach and I started yelling at the top of my lungs there. We good
and suits their head around, you know, they think I’m having a seizure or something that runs over and stands like, are you okay? Are you okay? What’s going on? And I have no idea what I’m going to say, but I’m just looking at stands. Stands at me, you know, you can feel the tension and you know, you have to understand standards, you know, very typical Hollywood, you know, turtle neck, red scarf, even though it’s 70 degrees outside. And I just look at them and I’m like, your scar.
And now I really don’t know what I’m going to say next. And I can hardly wait. Yeah. You know, I looked at him with all the cirrus. I can. And I’m just like Stan, I’m an avid scarf collector. I have 362 pairs of my dorm room and I’m missing that one. Where did you get it? And he starts cracking up because I think he finally realized what I was trying to do and he was laughing more while I was doing it. So he takes off his scarf, gives it to me. He’s like, look, you need this more than I do. He turns around winks. Oh, there we go. It makes a mark on the clipboard.
Bam. There it is because you found the third door, and I’ve heard so many people, uh, Mike Posner, all the awards, Grammy Award winning music artists of her Daniel Pink. I’ve heard Tony Robbins, Arianna Huffington, many people have said that your book is a game changing concept. Your idea of the third door is absolutely game changing when somebody gets it. Can you share with listeners about this concept of the third door and why you decided to title your bestselling book? The third door?
When I had started this journey, I had zero intention to find that one key to success. We’ve all seen those business books are those Ted talks and you know, normally I just roll my eyes.
What ended up happening though, you know, once I wanted the prices, right, I went on this seven year journey interviewing all these people and about 70 percent through the journey I started feeling this common, you know, I almost want to, if you’re a music fan, it almost felt like a common melody in every conversation I was having every interview and I realized that every single one of these people, it doesn’t matter if it’s Maya Angelou who grew up in stamps, Arkansas or Bill Gates who grew up in Seattle. Every single one of these people treats the life in business and success the exact same way. And the analogy that came to me is that it’s sort of like getting into a nightclub. There’s always three ways. There’s the first door, the main entrance, where the line curves around the block where 99 percent of people wait around hoping to get in.
Got It. And then there’s the second door, the VIP entrance, where the billionaires and celebrities go through and school and society have this way of making us feel like those are the only two ways in. You’re either born into it or you wait your turn like everybody else. Got It. But what I’ve learned is that there’s always always the third door and it’s the entrance where you have to jump out of line, running down the alley, Bang on the door, hundred times, crack over the window, go through the kitchen. There was always a way in. And it doesn’t matter if that’s how, you know Bill Gates, this first piece of software or how lady Gaga got her first record deal. They all took the third door.
You know in your book you write, you say you may have the heart, you keep fighting, you keep fighting, you keep fighting, but your mind is saying, man, forget this. I don’t need this. The head and the heart aren’t going together, but they have to go together. It, it all has to connect. Everything has to connect to reach that level, that pinnacle, you may have a desire or a wish, a dream, but it’s got to be more than that. You’ve got to want it to the point that it hurts. Most people never reached that point. They never tap into what I call the hidden reservoir. You’re hidden reservoir of strength. We all have it, but they say a mother lifted up a car off a trap child. That’s the power I love for you to share with us about that power you’re talking about.
You know, that’s one of my favorite quotes in it. It’s in the chapter with my interview with six time world champion boxer, sugar ray Leonard, and I was in that interview was sugar Ray Leonard. You know, you have to understand, I’m 18 years old. I’m sitting in his private gym and when he had told me that, I think he had sensed that that’s what I needed most because, you know, this is about an hour into the interview and sugary was asking me, you know, how the progress is going on my mission. And I felt he made me feel comfortable enough that I started telling him just how hard it was. You know, how much I was getting rejected. And he started explaining to me that what makes a world champion boxer is the same thing that helps entrepreneurs succeed. It’s that when you’re getting just no after, no after, no, you’re just getting punched in the face over and over and over again. You know, what makes the difference between a world champion boxer or a great founder or CEO or a great musician, you know, it’s not who has the best, you know, metrics or who has the best data or you know, it’s really who has that hidden reservoir. Well, when things are bleak and dark and everyone is telling you to call it quits, it’s the people who can hang on. It’s the people who can keep fighting that end, the end prevail.
Thrive nation. That is so true. I’ve met, I’ve worked with so many business owners over the years that have really no grasp of technology. They don’t have a ton of money available to spend on branding. They don’t have the most education, but what they do have is this, an relenting maniacal burning desire to succeed. Everything that’s not related to helping them get to their goal becomes a distraction, and it is those people that when those are the people that when the people that win are the people that have an unbelievable magnificent obsession about one thing. So I asked you today, what is that thing that you are obsessed about as it relates to your company? What does that one goal that you just absolutely have to achieve or your brain is going to explode and then I want to build your faith and encourage you by playing for you an audio testimonial from a real client that we’ve really worked with to really help them grow their business to the next level. You can do this. It’s not impossible, but you have to lock on and commit to the process. You have to commit to the process, and so now that any further ado, here’s an audio testimonial from a young couple a based in New Orleans. There are companies called direct clinical research. They do clinical research trials and they’ve absolutely been able to take their business to the next level and they’ve been able to now produce over a hundred thousand dollars a month, $100,000 per month of profit.
My name is tyler hastings and this is my wife Rachel and our company is still ranked research out of New Orleans. During our time working with thrive and we’ve had numerous successes. When we first started we were working with one physician. We had one research site and we were seeing on average between 10 and 15 patients a week since working with thrive in the last 18 months and we know for research sites we work with over five physicians in on average, we’re announcing over 60 patients per week. Recently we’ve been the top roller worldwide in seven studies, which is just incredible good stay where we were two years ago, 18 months ago.
I’ve really differs from the other conferences that we’ve been to and the other kinds of programs that we’ve been through because they actually really practice what they preach and they implement the same systems and the processes that they teach you about and they give you real life examples that have really worked for them and show you what the training, how to implement that yourself. For example, tyler and I actually got the opportunity to come out to Tulsa and we’re fortunate enough at the thrive team, took us out to some of the businesses that they own and we really got to see in real life, real time some of the systems and processes. And it was just incredible. I’m a real life example of some of the businesses and the things that they’re implementing. Having
a coach is important to us. Um, they act as not only an accountability factor, but there’s someone we can talk to on a daily basis as we go through the problems of running a business that inevitably come up. Um, they, they always understand what we’re going through and they’re always there to, you know, help us or guide us through the problems that we experienced. The best part of our experience working with thrive has just been seeing our relationship grow. So at each step, as our business grows, we know they have something else to provide us with. Um, they, they’ve got the resources, a weather feed, marketing, graphic design, website development, or even into accounting practices. Maybe we need a new insurance policy. If they have someone they can connect us with or you know, they have the direct resource we need to speak with for any of the problems we face. Someone’s thinking about signing up for the coaching program, I would highly recommend that they call in for a free 30 minute coaching coaching session and see exactly what the team can do for you to speak with someone. I’ll let them know what you’re going through. And I think you’ll find that, you know, regardless of what you need there somewhere there that can help you thrive. Nation should
we want to help you get to the next level and to help you do that, we want to break down any barriers of disbelief. So if you go to thrive time show, we have, uh, hundreds over 800 video testimonials that cannot be faked from real people out there. Just like you watch the testimonials, go to thrive time show.com today. Click on testimonials, watch those testimonials, and then just take one step. All you gotta do is buy your ticket to our next in person, thrive time show workshop. Our next workshop is coming up here in December and it is going to be awesome. It’s a two day workshop. If there’s 15 hours of training, broken up over two days. What we do is we do a 45 minute sprint and then a 15 minute break. We start off by teaching you the millionaire mindset to time management.
Then we get into branding, we get into sales, we get into marketing, we get into accounting, we get into, we get into financial planning, we get into to team building, we get an online marketing mastery. We get into how to become an effective executive, hiring and firing the whole, the whole deal, social media, marketing on steroids. It’s all taught there how to bounce faith, family, finance, fitness, friendships and fun. It’s all there. Had to build a business model that can work without you. It’s all there and you can get free tickets simply by subscribing to the thrive time show podcast. Subscribe to this podcast on itunes. Leave us an objective review and we’re going to give you two free tickets to the next in person workshop to the next in person workshop. And the next one is December seventh and eighth. Mark your calendar December seventh and eight, eight.
And, uh, we’re having Michael Levine, the PR consultant of choice for Nike. Michael Jackson, a Pizza Hut, a Cameron Diaz, again, Prince Michael Jackson, President Bush President Michael Levine is going to be here in person for our December seventh and eighth workshop. We have about 50 tickets left, so if you’ve yet to buy them, you want to buy them now, get them today at thrive time. Show.com. Again, you can buy them for $250 a ticket or you can get them free by simply leaving us an objective review. Either way, we’d love to meet you. We’d love to see you. If you do get the free tickets, just reminder, it is $37 for the workbook and the lunches for both days for the workbook and the lunches. It’s $37. Can’t wait to see you there without any further ado, three, two, one. Boom.