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The alchemist by Paulo Coelho
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The alchemist (original 1988; edition 1998)

by Paulo Coelho

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
24,54169044 (3.58)1 / 463
Member:elsibrian
Title:The alchemist
Authors:Paulo Coelho
Info:[San Francisco] : HarperSanFrancisco, c1998.
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

Work details

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (1988)

  1. 193
    Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse (hippietrail)
    hippietrail: Another spiritual quest, also short and in a very simple style, but much better written
  2. 52
    Veronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho (aces)
  3. 21
    The Profit by Kehlog Albran (bertilak)
  4. 32
    The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (derelicious)
  5. 11
    Being There by Jerzy Kosiński (bertilak)
  6. 00
    Love of Seven Dolls by Paul Gallico (Fliss88)
  7. 00
    Why Your Life Matters by Cash Peters (Anonymous user)
  8. 11
    Journey to the East by Hermann Hesse (unlucky)
  9. 01
    Dios Vuelve En Una Harley (Spanish Edition) by Joan Brandy (ALDRINDSL)
  10. 01
    HereAfter, The Land of Intuit and the Quest for the Book of Destiny by Tai (go_taiwo)
  11. 23
    Paradigms by Chris McKenna (MarkHardy)
    MarkHardy: I think if you like things that are a bit spiritual then you'll like both of these.
  12. 12
    Jag sköt Paulo Coelho by Staffan Vahlquist (Jannes)
    Jannes: Om du verkigen INTE gillade Coelho så kan du ge Vahlquists anti-berättelse en chans. Oavsett vad man tycker om hans kvaliteter är det spännande att se hur Coelho väcker så starka reaktioner åt båda hållen.
  13. 13
    Music and moonlight; poems and songs by Arthur William Edgar O'Shaughnessy (ExVivre)
    ExVivre: "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams..."
  14. 02
    The Seed by A. Fol (nadoosha_373)
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English (624)  Dutch (15)  Spanish (13)  French (7)  Swedish (5)  German (3)  Finnish (3)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Portuguese (2)  Catalan (2)  Lithuanian (2)  Danish (1)  Greek (1)  Italian (1)  Arabic (1)  Piratical (1)  Czech (1)  All languages (684)
Showing 1-5 of 624 (next | show all)
The Alchemist (Plus Edition)
by Paulo Coelho
HarperSanFrancisco, 2006
ISBN 0-06-112241-6 (paperback), 198 pp.

Review date: April 2016

What is there to say about a book as popular as Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist (1988) that hasn't already been said? Probably not much. Maybe nothing at all. So I'll keep this brief.

For those who might not know, The Alchemist, a Portuguese novella first published in English in 1993, is the story of a young man named Santiago, who, prompted by a dream, sets off from his homeland of Spain to the desert of North Africa, on a quest to reach the pyramids of Egypt, where he is to find a great treasure. It's a retelling of an old tale—specifically, it's Aarne-Thompson-Uther Type 1645, similar to "The Pedlar of Swaffham", Rumi's "In Baghdad, Dreaming of Cairo: In Cairo, Dreaming of Baghdad", and "The Man Who Became Rich Through a Dream" from The Thousand and One Nights, the last of which is likely Coelho's source material. While it may not be all that original at its core, it is a fairly good retelling, and despite its allegorical simplicity, its plot holes (e.g., why did Santiago bother to traipse uncomfortably through the desert for months on end when a boat along the coast is quicker and easier), and its problematic sexism (men go off to seek their destinies; women stay at home and wait for them), it is enjoyable and has some good advice, maybe even wisdom, to impart.

In the end, though, is The Alchemistworth all the hype? I don't think so, but I still found it entertaining enough to give the above-average rating of three stars, and I'll definitely be reading it again in years to come.

[Addendum: Note that this edition is made for individual or book-club study and comes with a plot summary, discussion questions, a map of Santiago's journey, an interview with the author, and other such supplements. The questions might come in handy, but the interview doesn't really add much, the plot summary is rather pointless for anyone who just finished reading the book, and the map is unnecessary for anyone with any basic grasp of Earth's geography, as it's a pretty straight shot across the Sahara from Morocco to Egypt. All in all, the supplementary material doesn't add much, but it doesn't detract much either, and the heavy-duty matte cover with French flaps is attractive, so I think this edition makes a nice addition to one's shelf but I'm not counting anything but the story text when it comes to rating the book.]

——————————

Rating:

3 stars: It was good. Technical, conventional, and other errors are rare or nonexistent, and the work stands out among others of its kind. I would be likely to recommend the work to others. Equivalent to a 'B', or above average, grade. ( )
  tokidokizenzen | Apr 24, 2016 |
The Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho
HarperPerennial, 1998
ISBN 0-06-250218-2 (paperback), 168 pp.

Review date: April 2016

What is there to say about a book as popular as Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist (1988) that hasn't already been said? Probably not much. Maybe nothing at all. So I'll keep this brief.

For those who might not know, The Alchemist, a Brazilian Portuguese novella first published in English in 1993, is the story of a young man named Santiago, who, prompted by a dream, sets off from his homeland of Spain to the desert of North Africa, on a quest to reach the pyramids of Egypt, where he is to find a great treasure. It's a retelling of an old tale—specifically, it's Aarne-Thompson-Uther Type 1645, similar to "The Pedlar of Swaffham", Rumi's "In Baghdad, Dreaming of Cairo: In Cairo, Dreaming of Baghdad", and "The Man Who Became Rich Through a Dream" from The Thousand and One Nights, the last of which is likely Coelho's source material. While it may not be all that original at its core, it is a fairly good retelling, and despite its allegorical simplicity, its plot holes (e.g., why did Santiago bother to traipse uncomfortably through the desert for months on end when a boat along the coast is quicker and easier), and its problematic sexism (men go off to seek their destinies; women stay at home and wait for them), it is enjoyable and has some good advice, maybe even wisdom, to impart.

In the end, though, is The Alchemistworth all the hype? I don't think so, but I still found it entertaining enough to give the above-average rating of three stars, and I'll definitely be reading it again in years to come.

——————————

Rating:

3 stars: It was good. Technical, conventional, and other errors are rare or nonexistent, and the work stands out among others of its kind. I would be likely to recommend the work to others. Equivalent to a 'B', or above average, grade. ( )
  tokidokizenzen | Apr 24, 2016 |
Okay. On the one hand, this book was a bunch of superstitious and religious nonsense. Sometimes I cringed at the idiocy. However, the message came from a good heart and the intention was to motivate and to encourage, so even though sometimes I thought it was silly and foolish it was also short and enjoyable.
  bartt95 | Apr 10, 2016 |
Thought provoking. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
An allegory/parable about a boy who journeys through Egypt and the Sahara in search of his "Personal Legend." A fictionalized self-help book full of airy-fairy clap-trap, like this: "This is what we call love...When you are loved, you can do anything in creation. When you are loved, there's no need at all to understand what's happening, because everything happens within you, and even men can turn themselves into the wind. As long as the wind helps, of course." As a socialist-realist, I dispute that love is the factor making it possible to "do anything in creation." And as a librarian, I take strong issue with the contention that "there's no need at all to understand what's happening." I was hoping for a story about a medieval alchemist, which it isn't. Mercifully, it's short, which is one of the few positive things I can say about it. ( )
  deckla | Apr 5, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 624 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (162 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Paulo Coelhoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
קואלו, פאולוmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Alan R. ClarkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jansen, PietTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lemmens, HarrieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maître, PascalPhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MoebiusIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ohlbaum, IsoldePhotographersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sheahen, LauraContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Swoboda Herzog, CordulaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Op hun tocht kwam hij in een dorp, waar een vrouw die Martha heette, hem in haar woning ontving. Ze had een zuster, Maria, die gezeten aan de voeten van de Heer luisterde naar zijn woorden. Martha werd in beslag genomen door de drukte van het bedienen, maar ze kwam er een ogenblik bij staan en zei: "Heer, laat het U onverschillig, dat mijn zuster mij alleen laat bedienen? Zeg haar dan dat ze mij moet helpen." De Heer gaf haar ten antwoord: "Martha, Martha, wat maak je je bezorgd en druk over veel dingen. Slechts één ding is nodig. Maria heeft het beste deel gekozen, en het zal haar niet ontnomen worden."

Lucas, 10:38-42
Dedication
Til J.
Alkymisten, som kender, og som anvender Det store Værks hemmeligheder.
PAULO COELHO
First words
The boy's name was Santiago.
Introduction by Coelho:  I remember receiving a letter from the American Publisher Harper Collins that said that: "reading The Alchemist was like getting up at dawn and seeing the sun rise while the test of the world still slept."
Quotations
We are told from childhood onward that everything we want to do is impossible. We grow up with this idea, and as the years accumulate, so too do the layers of prejudice, fear and guilt. There comes a time when our personal calling is so deeply buried in our soul as to be invisible. But it's still there.
He still had some doubts about the decision he had made. But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will take him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.
'Always heed the omens', the old king had said.
Maktub (it is written)
'To realise one's destiny is a person's only real obligation. All things are one. And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it', the old king said.
Last words
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
A young man named Santiago is on a quest to the Pyramids in Egypt following his "Personal Legend" to find a treasure. His adventures and experiences with the people he meets eventually help him discover where the true treasure is in his life.
Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.

Paulo Coelho's masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago's journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.
Haiku summary
Santiago, shepherd,
gets told by King of Salem:
Follow your heart, boy!
(passion4reading)
Pseudo-profound dross
lures millions into parting
with their hard-earned cash.
(passion4reading)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0061122416, Paperback)

Like the one-time bestseller Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Alchemist presents a simple fable, based on simple truths and places it in a highly unique situation. And though we may sniff a bestselling formula, it is certainly not a new one: even the ancient tribal storytellers knew that this is the most successful method of entertaining an audience while slipping in a lesson or two. Brazilian storyteller Paulo Coehlo introduces Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who one night dreams of a distant treasure in the Egyptian pyramids. And so he's off: leaving Spain to literally follow his dream.

Along the way he meets many spiritual messengers, who come in unassuming forms such as a camel driver and a well-read Englishman. In one of the Englishman's books, Santiago first learns about the alchemists--men who believed that if a metal were heated for many years, it would free itself of all its individual properties, and what was left would be the "Soul of the World." Of course he does eventually meet an alchemist, and the ensuing student-teacher relationship clarifies much of the boy's misguided agenda, while also emboldening him to stay true to his dreams. "My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer," the boy confides to the alchemist one night as they look up at a moonless night.

"Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself," the alchemist replies. "And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity." --Gail Hudson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:01 -0400)

(see all 11 descriptions)

An Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago 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 treasures found within.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

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