Book review #2: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Title: The Alchemist – a fable about following your dream

Author: Paulo Coelho 

Nr. of pages: 177

Edition: Thorsons

Good sunday to you too, dear readers.

I bet you’ve heard about the well known “Alchemist” of Coelho, a piece of art when it comes to personal growth and understanding life as a journey. The author is focusing on the fact that the real meaning of your life truly able to satisfy you as a person consists of the personal legends. The personal legends serve as the only means by which an individual can live a fulfilling life.

Short summary of the book:

“Santiago, a shepherd boy from a small Andalusian town, is the protagonist of the story, curious and eager to learn all he can about the world. Santiago becomes a willing spiritual seeker and sets off to fulfill his personal legend (symbol of the dream).

As the story progresses and Santiago comes closer to the treasure (as a symbol of his dream) he becomes more focused on his growing understanding of the mystical force that imbues everything, called the Soul of the World. The time he spends crossing the desert (the symbolic of all the obstacles and hardships that stand between people and their dreams) on his way to the pyramids teaches him to pay attention to the world around him and to see all of creation in his surroundings, even in a single grain of sand. The knowledge he gains from the desert allows him to recognize nature as a single, unified whole. His greatest spiritual advancement, however, comes after he meets the alchemist, who helps him to understand himself and to read the omens (symbol of essential motivating factors) in his environment.”


Leaving a bit the book on the side, what personal legends do you have? Maybe different experiences related to discovering yourself, relationships, maybe your own business or different jobs. All of these make you grow if you are aware of what is real and what is not real.

Coming back to the book, I really enjoyed page 22 from Part I where the author describes that age when people are not afraid to dream, when one feels that everything is clear and possible. “But as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their destiny.” I guess you all have felt this more or less;), didn’t you? I know a couple of people that told me ” Ana, but do you still have hope that one day it will be good, how we’ve always imagined?” Probably meeting the right man, having children etc. Well, in this book the author is using the so called negative “mysterious force” for you to understand that this force actually shows you HOW TO REALIZE YOUR DESTINY. It prepares you for your mission on earth. (Did you ever think about what is your real mission on earth?).

When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

“The closer one gets to realizing his destiny, the more that destiny becomes his true reason for being.”

I also found in the book the authors wonderful perspective of seeing the world when it happens for all of us to have bad moments or when everything seems empty: you can choose between thinking of yourself as the poor victim or the adventurer in quest of your treasure. The choice is yours. I always choose to see it as a growing process in order to become the better version of myself.

Another interesting part is when the boy founds the love of his life but before realizing his destiny. Bingo! Lesson learned: finding the love of your life doesn’t mean that you stop growing and you will live happily ever after. He follows the advice of the alchemist and goes further in looking for his treasure. The love can wait if it’s true love, right? What if you settle for your love and afterwards you regret you didn’t realize your own destiny? Maybe with the time passing by you will start feeling emptiness in yourself and this will destroy also the love if you don’t keep your part happy.

I was reading this book during my weekly flights from Vienna to Frankfurt am Main or in the hotel after work. Sometimes the books is easy to follow, sometimes not because of the many symbols used. However, I really recommend the book since it makes you aware about the journey you are right now on and also helps you with perspectives in order to make out the best of every situation and always remember that we are a part of nature. Stop rushing, don’t skip phases of the process and connect …



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