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The alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The alchemist (original 1988; edition 1998)

by Paulo Coelho

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
24,70569444 (3.59)1 / 467
Title:The alchemist
Authors:Paulo Coelho
Info:[San Francisco] : HarperSanFrancisco, c1998.
Collections:Your library

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 (631)  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 (691)
Showing 1-5 of 631 (next | show all)
I am at a point in where I am seeking something due to the recent death of my husband. This book called out to me. As the shepherd boy went in search of his Personal Legend, so am I. Without realizing it, the boy found that love was the source of all, The Soul of the World. The young shepherd, sells his flock after meeting an old man who gives him 2 stones for reading omens. He travels from Spain to Africa to see the pyramids and follow his dream of finding a hidden treasure. The boy experiences much in his travels and eventually meets an unusual Alchemist who helps with the boy's quest. This book seemed to reach into my soul, my lost love and my personal journey to live my life to the fullest, despite my husband's death. Everything has a purpose in life. It's in the lessons learned along the way. This book isn't for everyone, but it came to me at a time when its message resonated with me. A book of hope and joy that life is what one makes of it as long as one is ready to learn from what life offers! ( )
2 vote Raspberrymocha | Jun 23, 2016 |
This is a book I have meant to read for a long time. A lovely sweet journey. Fantastic illustration. A bit heavy handed with the message. I found it to be a quick read. Glad I finally got around to it. ( )
  njcur | Jun 14, 2016 |
A simplistic fable filled with hokum about listening to your heart and following your dreams. I don't have any problem with that moral, even if we have heard it a thousand times in vapid self-help books, but this story fails as a parable. Everything in it seems so literal, rather than allegorical, meaning you would have to leave your brain at the door in order to absorb any lessons. I'm sure we could all literally achieve our dreams if celestial kings actually appeared before us, and the sun/wind/desert could actually talk to us. Even the boy's treasure is a literal treasure chest filled with jewels. How can one take any lessons from that for our own lives? Do we wait for an angel to appear before us, and expect material riches at the end? This is a fantasy story, of sorcery and magic, in which one can converse with the elements and literally turn lead to gold (I thought the title would be allegorical, but unfortunately it is not). Yeah, it probably is easy to achieve your dreams if you're an actual, functioning magician who is visited by angels. You would go forward on your journey with conviction if a messenger of God comes and tells you that it is your destiny. Being an ordinary human, living in the real world and lacking a direct line to a god, we'd have a much harder time of it than the shepherd boy.

What grated me the most was that it is all too easy; there aren't really any trials that the boy must overcome. He doesn't really do anything to earn his shot at the treasure; he's just a simple shepherd who happens to have a dream one night. Then a king comes to him and sets him on his way, which was nice of him. It's all very deus ex machina. In trouble? Talk to your heart, which will literally tell you what to do next! Everyone the boy meets seems to accept omens at face value. Oh, you had a dream, that's a good omen! I had a dream that blah, blah, blah. What can I do to help?" In fact, it's probably the ultimate deus ex machina story, when one remembers that the phrase means 'god from the machine'. Every step of the journey is not because the boy has struggled to overcome problems, but because God has given him signs, little nudges and hints. "When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it," as we are told throughout the book. The boy's journey is a stroll rather than a quest; even towards the end, when we are told that 'the night is darkest just before the day dawns', the most that the shepherd boy has to endure is getting knocked around a bit by an Arab refugee. We're told in the book that life is generous to those who pursue their destiny, but why can't all our destinies be this easy to claim?

I don't think I'm being too narrow-minded here; I'm open to spiritual questions and, even though I'm an atheist, I don't mind that people depict God's hand in everything, shaping our destinies. I just found this story to be simplistic and infantile. There's a lot of tosh about divining meaning from one's dreams, from the position of broken twigs and the flight of birds in the sky. I half-expected someone in the book to read the future in the entrails of a goat, or in some tea leaves - it operates on that level of spiritual maturity. If they made this book into a film, it would be an after-school special at best, aimed at nine-year-olds and funded by some woolly-minded New Age self-help gurus. The narrative was pleasant enough, and the book was agreeably short. Actually, it was mercifully short, as if it was longer I would have been really annoyed at myself for wasting my time on it. As it is, I only wasted a few hours, and so I was disappointed rather than angry (hence, a rating of two stars rather than an angry one star). If you want a short, yet genuinely inspirational and spiritual book full of life lessons, try reading Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha instead." ( )
2 vote MikeFutcher | Jun 3, 2016 |

I've heard people say this book was so special and changed their lives. But really, I couldn't like it at all.

After I finished listening to this book, I was left with a lot of questions, the most important one: What did I just read? I know there is probably a lot of subtext in this one, but for me it wasn't working. It felt as a boring tale that was too long, even though it's not a big book. I felt no connection with the characters or the story. I wanted to like it, I wanted to see something special in it, but I couldn't. I was disappointed, and have not yet tried to read another book by Paulo Coelho. ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
Another book that everyone should read, as soon as they can. ( )
  LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 631 (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
Til J.
Alkymisten, som kender, og som anvender Det store Værks hemmeligheder.
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."
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.
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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!
Pseudo-profound dross
lures millions into parting
with their hard-earned cash.

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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