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The Alchemist – Book Review

But if you believe yourself worthy of the the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God, you help the Soul of the World, and you understand why you are here. – by Paulo Coelho in the introduction to The Alchemist, November 2002-

Until today, I had not read anything by Paulo Coelho – in fact, I knew next to nothing about him or his writing. After devouring The Alchemist in about 2 hours, I am certain I will be reading more of his work.

The Alchemist is a simple and wise little story about Santiago the shepherd boy who travels from the fields of Spain to the Egyptian Pyramids seeking a treasure he has dreamed about. Santiago meets a gypsy woman, a King, an Englishman and an alchemist who all impart their wisdom to him and help him on his journey. Along the way, Santiago learns about God and life and love – and the reader begins to realize that in simplicity there lies a broader truth.

It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary; only wise men are able to understand them. -From The Alchemist, page 15-


Coelho has written a novel which is pure and unembellished in its prose; one that will resonate with people of all faiths; a story which testifies to the power of following one’s dreams and listening to one’s heart.

Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure. – From The Alchemist-


The Alchemist is a must read and one I highly recommend.

Lessons from The Alchemist (possible spoilers below!):

…and when each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises. -page 27-

There must be a language that doesn’t depend on words… -page 43-

When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision. -page 68-

“Everyone has his or her own way of learning things,” he said to himself. “His way is isn’t the same as mine, nor mine as his. But we’re both in search of our Personal Legends, and I respect him for that.” -page 84-

It is said that all people who are happy have God within them. -page 131-

“When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.” -page 134-

There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure. -page 141-

…when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too. -page 150-

And that’s where the power of love comes in.  Because when we love, we always strive to become better than we are. -page 151-

10 Comments

  1. Anonymous Anonymous
    June 15, 2007    

    I’ve got this on my TBR. And on the strenghth of other peoples opinions, before reading it, I bought another of his books: Veronika Decides to Die. They both look like very gook books.

  2. Anonymous Anonymous
    June 16, 2007    

    I loved this book! It’s one that I wish I had read sooner. I’m glad you liked it too!

  3. Anonymous Anonymous
    June 16, 2007    

    Interestingly, there are two reviews of this book on today’s Semicolon Saturday Review of Books. You like it, the other review didn’t. I agree with you, I found it an enchanting fable. I reviewed the book a several months ago.

  4. Anonymous Anonymous
    June 16, 2007    

    I loved this book. It was one of my favorites from last year. I plan on reading Veronika Decides to Die later this year.

  5. Anonymous Anonymous
    June 16, 2007    

    Anonymous AND 3M – I’ve seen Veronika Decides to Die, but haven’t read it. I’ll be interested to see your reviews!
    Stephanie – Glad you share my love of this book 🙂
    Sage – I read the other review you refer to – isn’t it funny how what one person loves, another person hates!??! I guess that’s what makes the world such an interesting place 🙂

  6. Anonymous Anonymous
    June 17, 2007    

    Amazing book! I also love the work of Paulo Coelho!!!! Do you know that he is launching his new book, The Witch of Portobello, through his blog
    http://www.paulocoelhoblog.com?
    I found it out because i’m inscibed to his newsletter http://www.warriorofthelight.com/engl/index.html
    it’s simply wonderful!
    have a nice day!

  7. Anonymous Anonymous
    June 17, 2007    

    I haven’t yet read anything about his new novel. Thanks for the links! I’ll check them out 🙂

  8. Anonymous Anonymous
    June 19, 2007    

    Dear Wendy,
    I found your article while surfing and showed to Paulo. He really liked it. We gonna publish it in Coelho’s official blog. I hope you like this idea.
    Love,
    Mustafa Suphi Yilmaz
    p.s. you can visit the blog if you like : www dot paulocoelhoblog dot com

  9. Anonymous Anonymous
    June 19, 2007    

    hello, Wendy! welcome!!!! 🙂
    it is amazing book!
    i also found your entry
    on Paulo’s blog! come and check it!
    Thanks!
    aart

  10. Anonymous Anonymous
    June 22, 2007    

    Mustafa: Thanks for visiting my blog and putting it on Paulo’s official blog! Glad you liked the review. I went over and checked out the site – very nice 🙂

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