The American dream still exists. And people are still willing to drop everything to make it happen. At a time when we only talk about walls and barriers, some people dream of the frontier: and above all some people still want to and can conquer it.
Alex Banayan (The Third Door: the wild quest to uncover how the world’s most successful people launched their careers, Currency – La terza porta. Viaggio alla scoperta del successo, Luiss University Press) is the gripping novel written by someone who did, in fact, conquer it, and now tells us, in detail, how he did it. Alex is a like a ferret: two lively eyes looking for a new prey to involve in his story, the story of his life. His is not, as it apparently claims to be, a book of interviews with famous people (whose list is also long and full of exciting names: from Bill Gates to Warren Buffet, from Steven Spielberg to Lady Gaga) to explain to young people all over the world what is the secret of success. It is the intriguing tale of a stubborn young boy who never managed to get what he wanted, and who made a dream come true, his dream. To understand Alex's character, all you need to do is follow him in the crowded and hot room where his book world tour stops.This 30 year old young Iranian American moves among the chairs and people staring at straight into people’s eyes, looking for a way to capture the attention of each and every one. So, when he talks about how he came to the attention of Larry King, the guru of American television journalists, and how, once he got a date for the interview, he forgot to ask the time of the meeting, it feels like he’s smashing the palms of his hands on each member of the audience, rather than on the hood of King's car, as he says, to grab everyone’s attention and get the place and time of the appointment. To tell the story of his life.
And maybe it is no coincidence that he’s talking about his meeting with Larry King, the magician of the interviews. Alex doesn’t just talk about the interviews, he explains how these appointments became his life, how he learned to make each of those meetings part of his life: «Everyone in life has had experiences. Some choose to turn them into stories», Elliott Bisnow, a very young VIP meeting organizer, told him. And the first experience to make into a story and to surprise with is how Alex left for his own frontier, a very young college student of 18 years of age: stubbornly winning a prize at a television program (The Price is Right), then taking his savings and financing his adventure hunting for interviews. The heart of the book – which can be found on page 213 – should be worked for and earned: «All the people I interviewed managed life, business and success in the same way. In my eyes, it was like entering a nightclub. There are always three ways to enter. "There is the first door,” I told Matt, "the main entrance, with a line that goes all the way around the block. The entrance where 99% of people hope to get in.
Then there is the second door, the VIP entrance. The one from which billionaires, famous people and a few other privileged people slip in”. Matt nodded. School and society make us believe that they are the only two doors. But in recent years I have realized that there is always, always … the third door. It is the entrance you have to jump out of line, run down the alley, bang on the door a hundred times, climb over the dumpster, crack open the window, sneak through the kitchen – there is always a way in. Whether it's how Bill Gates sold his first software or how Steven Spielberg became the youngest Hollywood director, they all went through third door».
But who is willing to explain to Alex that there are countries, like ours, where the line at the third door is the longest, made up of a long series of ne’er do wells? But even then, there is always a third free door: that for the most stubborn, capable, hard workers.