The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
book review

Buy The Alchemist 

Book Summary:

Paulo Coelho’s enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and inspiring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids.

Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way.

But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.



My Take, Why its worth a read:
I’ve mentioned The Alchemist several times since starting my blog.  It’s one of the first books I recommend to friends who aren’t huge fans of reading.   It’s a short read that isn’t super philosophical or in depth on the surface.  Just a book about a shepherd trying to find a treasure.  But one that will force you to examine what you’re doing with your life and why you’re doing it.

I find Coelho’s idea of each person having a “Personal Legend” to be so simple yet inspiring.  The inspiration lies in the belief that even if we can’t know why things happen to us there is a trust that all things are helping us to follow our personal legend if we only keep going forward.

He believes that in our hearts we all know the path we should be following and that if we only try and pursue it the universe will help us to achieve it.  There will be times where we fall on our faces or when we seem to be at a stand still but the things we learn during those times will help us to achieve our very own personal legends.


“At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.”

About the Author:
The Brazilian author PAULO COELHO was born in 1947 in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Before dedicating his life completely to literature, he worked as theatre director and actor, lyricist and journalist. In 1986, PAULO COELHO did the pilgrimage to Saint James of Compostella, an experience later to be documented in his book The Pilgrimage. In the following year, COELHO published The Alchemist.

Slow initial sales convinced his first publisher to drop the novel, but it went on to become one of the best selling Brazilian books of all time.

Other titles include Brida (1990), The Valkyries (1992), By the river Piedra I sat Down and Wept (1994), the collection of his best columns published in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo entitle Maktub (1994), the compilation of texts Phrases (1995), The Fifth Mountain (1996), Manual of a Warrior of Light (1997), Veronika decides to die (1998), The Devil and Miss Prym (2000), the compilation of traditional tales in Stories for parents, children and grandchildren (2001), Eleven Minutes (2003), The Zahir (2005), The Witch of Portobello (2006) and Winner Stands Alone (to be released in 2009)

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