Author: Paulo Coelho
Type: Stand Alone
Publishing Date: April 25, 2006
“My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,” the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky.” Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.”
The Alchemist is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist.
The story of the treasures Santiago finds along the way teaches us, as only a few stories have done, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, above all, following our dreams.
Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. The Alchemist is such a book. With over a million and a half copies sold around the world, The Alchemist has already established itself as a modern classic, universally admired. (Source)
This is my second reading of The Alchemist, but I must say that this is the only one that should probably count. The previous time that I read it, I was quite young and had no real understanding of what this book meant.
People sometimes tell you that things and people come into your life when they’re meant to and I truly believe that. I was reintroduced to this book about a week ago when I was at work and this particular version of the cover called out to me.
It’s a very easy read at less than 200 pages, so I finished it in less than a day. It also doesn’t use complex language to get its point across. The story is fairly simple and pretty linear. When the main character does mention something from the past, it is only in passing to move the story forward.
As the synopsis states, this is a story about a young man named Santiago. He’s a shepherd at the beginning of the story. Due to his love of travel, he leaves the path his parents had set up for him and spent 2 years out taking care of his sheep. He happens to have a reoccurring dream to which he requests the help of a gypsy to interpret. He dismisses her interpretation until he is approached by a strange man who says he’s a king. The king convinces Santiago to heed the gypsy’s words and points him in the direction of his own Personal Legend.
From that moment forward, Santiago focuses his eyes on what lays ahead of him and begins his journey. But just as any journey, there are ups and downs, lessons and love.
Through this book Coelho tells us not to lose sight of our own personal legends. He tells us to read the signs, ignore those who wish for us not to fulfill our destiny because they have given up on their own, and to travel.
I found that each character in this story has a specific purpose and the way the setting was described makes it very easy to visualize. Often times I have a favorite character or one that I connect with more than the others, but I really couldn’t choose. Each person represented a different stage of my life for me.
I think that the one thing that I like most about this book is the fact that it doesn’t force a particular religion in your face. It’s a spiritual book with many of its characters in monotheistic religions, but it doesn’t just force that upon the reader. I hope to one day attain what Santiago has and I’m determined to never give up and to always follow the signs.
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”
“The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”
“Before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.”
As you can see, there’s no shortage of good quotes throughout this book. I would definitely recommend it to anyone. It’s an amazing story that was placed in my way right when I needed it.
Thanks for reading,