The Alchemist

The Alchemist

Book - 2014
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An Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of 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 meditation on the treasures found within.
Publisher: San Francisco : HarperOne, [2014]
Edition: 25th anniversary edition
Copyright Date: ©1993.
ISBN: 9780062315007
Characteristics: 182 pages ; 21 cm


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The Alchemist follows the journey of Santiago, a shepherded from Spain who seeks out treasure foretold through his dreams. Throughout his journey, he strives towards attaining his Personal Legend through learning the Language of the Universe, reading omens and listening to his heart.

I was looking forward to an uplifting, and inspiring journey about a simple shepherded boy, taking the leap into unknown lands; meeting strange and wonderful people , travel to new places, discover diverse cultures and ultimately finding his place in the world.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed to discovered that this story had little substance and wisdom to share and here's why:

The Alchemist takes the most compelling aspects of the story and uses them instead as vague tools to preach the repetitive and common advise such as; follow your dreams, listen to your heart, take risks, be more observant, everything happens for a reason, or to trust in a higher power.

While I believe those are all wonderful things to write and share with the world, The Alchemist delivers those messages flatly through one dimensional characters in a world setting that felt incomplete.

All the characters in this book only serve one purpose - and that purpose is to push Santiago towards his Personal Legend. They are used as plot devices to move the story along and provide Santiago lessons and omens to add to his rather uninspiring journey.

The writing was repetitive and uninspiring. As a result, throughout the entirety of the story I was bored and underwhelmed.

Jan 14, 2021

Leo says 4 stars

Dec 26, 2020

The book is about a shepherd boy named Santiago who is going on a journey to search for his personal legend. His personal legend is important to him because it is his reason for life. On the way of his journey, Santiago meets someone who will change his future and many other people. I really like this novel, because all the characters are not just background characters, but rather they make a huge impact on Santiago's journey. Everything in the book is thematic and connected. Those little details matter and are relative to the story, and those little details that are beautifully written in the book will not make sense until you have read everything. Everything in the story ties in together! This book tells a message to the readers to never give up on your dream. Following one’s dreams and following one’s heart is very crucial to happiness. In this story, the main character, Santiago, learns a lesson from his journey and learns to listen to omens and his heart. I would give this book a 5 out of 5 stars, because again, everything connects in the story!

Dec 21, 2020

This book will make you rethink your life (in a good way, though). Coelho does a marvelous job at dropping one sentence lines of wisdom as the story follows Santiago, a Spanish shepherd, on his journey of fulfilling his dream. Along the way, Santiago learns from a variety of people, including a king, crystal merchant, caravan driver, and an alchemist. He discovers the meaning of love and the way to happiness. Originally published in Portuguese, this book references multiple religions and mentions spirituality. However, people not of the same, or any, religion can still take away significant meaning from the book. And for that reason, I believe you should pick the book up and give it a chance to change your life.

Oct 27, 2020

I fancied the location,
eyes bored dilation,
my soul void of elation,
a journey of flirtation.

like Bible, to preach,
lack of poetic overreach;
inflate a fable hollow to teach,
stretch a tale vain to beseech.

"personal legend" obvious,
appealing to strived fame glorious.
children's guide to dream laureate.
adults' self-help from godliness.

JCLCharlesH Sep 17, 2020

The Alchemist is a relatively straightforward story of Santiago, a shepherd from Andalusian who goes to Egypt in search of treasure. On a deeper level though, the people he meets along the way tell a more complex tale of what it means to live up to your life's mission. A quick read with real staying power.

Aug 26, 2020

In The Alchemist by written Paulo Coelho, the protagonist of the story, Santiago embarks on his journey to find his purpose in life. While he makes his way in places such as Egypt, moving past numerous pyramids in hopes to find his personal legend and the treasure hidden, he encounters different types of people symbolizing the journey of life. The obstacles and the long journey to our end goal, on our way we meet all kinds of people some help us some add on to your burden. There are different ways in which one can experience their journey, some have it peaceful and some face turbulent times, Santiago gets robbed, meets the king who informs him about the omens. The author does not fail to show his growth as a character. One thing I did not like in the book is the portrayal of women in the book, Fatima seemed to dislike the fact that she was a woman and showed no set goals for herself, i.e no personal legend for her. The book however is a must-read for it's symbolism and it's wise wise words on life.

Aug 14, 2020

The journey of a shepherd boy to his personal treasure lead to discover the truth about life, its happiness, motives and purposes. Highly recommend, as everything was beautifully written in simple language.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho follows a young man from Southern Spain named Santiago who travels into Egypt in search of his purpose after a dream-interpreter informed him that his destiny is at the Great Pyramids in Egypt. It is a short but beautifully written story about love, learning, and finding one’s true purpose in a world that doesn’t have to be so complicated. Paulo Coelho conveys the theme of finding one’s purpose through his powerful usage of characterization, imagery, and symbolism.
I would give The Alchemist 5 out of 5 stars for the authors choice to not waste any words or plot, and the novel’s ability to illustrate meaning out of very little text. I would also give the story bonus points for the author’s impressive usage of imagery. The short novel is good for readers that are 10 years and older as long as it is in their reading level, however, the content is suitable for all ages as it has something new to offer each time it is read.

Jul 28, 2020

The Alchemist is a mystic story about a shepherd boy named Santiago who followed his dream to find a buried treasure at the foot of the pyramids in Egypt. Along the journey, he encountered people and omens that helped him reach the treasure, but he also encountered unexpected distractions that could have led him off course. Eventually he met an alchemist; a man who could turn led into gold and had the elixir that could cure all illnesses. The alchemist taught Santiago about his inner strength that he could overcome great difficulties which led him to the buried treasure.
Although some parts of the book seemed a bit slow to get to the point, overall, it is an excellent, well written, well thought-out book that encourages readers to conquer their fears and reach for their dreams. Like Santiago, everyone has dreams. Through life, we too encounter people that can help us reach our goals. When faced with great difficulties, we must gather our inner strength to overcome. Santiago fell in love with a girl and almost gave up his dream to stay with her, but the alchemist convinced him that staying with her would eventually lead to a lifetime of unhappiness wondering “what if”. This is a wonderful story of adventure and inspiration.

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Oct 22, 2019

THE ALCHEMIST, by Paulo Coelho is about that certain click one gets when pursuing his/her true path.

May 26, 2019

"But you don't know about love. If there hadn't been a sixth day, man would not exist; copper would always be just copper, and lead just lead. It's true that everything has its destiny, but one day that destiny will be realized. So each thing has to transform itself into something better, and to acquire a new destiny, until, someday, the Soul of the World becomes one thing only."

Aug 25, 2018

“It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

ArapahoeMaryA Jun 28, 2018

...wherever your heart is, that is where you will find your treasure.

We are travelers on a cosmic journey,stardust,swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.

ellensix Oct 09, 2015

"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."
—Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Jun 17, 2015

"Everyone has his or her own way of learning things," he said to himself. "His way isn't the same as mine, nor mine as his. But we are both in search of our Personal Legends, and I respect him for that."

Jun 08, 2013

"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."

Jun 08, 2013

"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."

Jul 10, 2012

What is the world's greatest lie?

"At some point in our lives we loose control of what's happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate."

nataliepetagaythomas Jul 02, 2012

"The thought of a pilgrimmage to mecca is what keeps me going."

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Add a Summary
Oct 22, 2019

THE ALCHEMIST, by Paulo Coelho (HarperSanFrancisco, $18.00) is about that certain click one gets when pursuing his/her true path. Set in Saharan Africa sometime between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries, it involves recognizing omens along life's journey that can be used to achieve dreams. It is about the interconnectedness of all things; the "Soul of the World" from which all things spring. It is that common bond which makes alchemy - the changing of lead to gold; adversity to opportunity - possible. Through the story's protagonist, a Spanish boy named Santiago, Coelho guides the reader through the process of recognizing opportunities that will ultimately lead one to know and trust their heart. In so doing, the author puts us in the shoes of Santiago, and himself in the role of the alchemist, although in the interconnected world of Coelho they're one and the same.

Coelho writes in Portuguese, so it's hard to judge his writing from a work that's been translated to English. But suffice to say, THE ALCHEMIST is original and thoroughly enjoyable. The author comes off a bit heavy-handed in his presentation of some concepts in the story, but bear in mind he hasn't written a novel; THE ALCHEMIST is a fable, and as such is intent on delivering the writer's truth via a platform of fiction. It's this truth - philosophy, if you will - that gives the fable weight; its characters that give it soul; a combination of both that fill it with magic. All the magic of an Arabian night.

Nonimouse Oct 03, 2010

Dreams, symbols, signs, and adventure follow the reader like echoes of ancient wise voices in "The Alchemist", a novel that combines an atmosphere of Medieval mysticism with the song of the desert. With this symbolic masterpiece Coelho states that we should not avoid our destinies, and urges people to follow their dreams, because to find our "Personal Myth" and our mission on Earth is the way to find "God", meaning happiness, fulfillment, and the ultimate purpose of creation.

The novel tells the tale of Santiago, a boy who has a dream and the courage to follow it. After listening to "the signs" the boy ventures in his personal, Ulysses-like journey of exploration and self-discovery, symbolically searching for a hidden treasure located near the pyramids in Egypt.
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EPLPicks_Teen Apr 06, 2010

A young Spanish shepherd boy seeks a hidden treasure, dreaming of travelling the world in search of the most extravagant riches.


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