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The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist (1988)

by Paulo Coelho

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
28,91080357 (3.58)1 / 537
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    Petroglyph: The Alchemist reads like a fairy tale version of Teilhard de Chardin's much more grandiloquent work. Coelho’s “Soul of the World” is very similar to de Chardin’s noosphere, a collective consciousness that all humans are immersed in and that ultimately resolves into God Omega. All is one, all is Love (even valence bonds at an atomic level).… (more)
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English (734)  Spanish (15)  Dutch (15)  French (8)  Swedish (5)  German (4)  Finnish (3)  Portuguese (Portugal) (2)  Lithuanian (2)  Portuguese (2)  Catalan (2)  Danish (1)  Greek (1)  Italian (1)  Piratical (1)  Arabic (1)  Czech (1)  All languages (798)
Showing 1-5 of 734 (next | show all)
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a masterpiece. It is a breathtaking work of lush beauty and evocative power. I don’t remember how I heard of this book, but I have had my copy of it for several years now. Why didn’t I read it sooner? I haven’t got a clue.

The story centers around a boy named Santiago. As a Shepherd he wanders the fields and plains of Andalusia, the southern portion of Spain, to find food and water for his sheep. He has been having strange dreams as of late, however, and decides to consult a Gypsy Woman that interprets dreams. She tells him of a fabulous treasure buried somewhere in the Egyptian Desert near the Pyramids and that his mission must be to find it. Santiago meets many interesting characters along the way to this treasure. He meets a man who calls himself a King, an Englishman who wants to learn how to transmute base metals into gold, the eponymous Alchemist, and the love of his life. The story is simple but charming. Through attempting his Personal Legend and meeting many others that failed, Santiago grows as a person and as a man to hear the Soul of the World and his own heart.

The book itself is a quick read. There are no complicated ideas or theories, but the whole book does remind me of an allegory or a fable. I really enjoyed it despite the fact that it went by so quickly. If you haven’t read it, I feel this book is worth your time. ( )
  Floyd3345 | Jun 15, 2019 |
Book club read. Very simple and fast read, a little dry but thought provoking. ( )
  TheBookNookNC | Jun 12, 2019 |
This is described on the cover as a fable, and it's a good description. The book has a beautiful, mystical, magical soul, something you don't often see outside of classic works. It is a genuine story, one of fiction, but it has a soul of solid truth. Read it, let it inspire you to chase your dreams and give you added courage to actually go out and do it. ( )
  AngelaJMaher | Jun 6, 2019 |
I had to read this for book club. It was chosen by someone who consistently picks awful books. This book actually made my head hurt. I’m writing this review only because it makes me feel better. ( )
  tara35 | May 16, 2019 |
TL;DR: Pseudo-deep nonsense, full of magical thinking, pretending to profundity that isn't there. New Age gobbledygook. Feelgood nonsense. As insightful as a horoscope. Filed under "hate-reads" and "shiterature".

This book is an exasperating mess of magic thinking and pretentious deepities. Coelho immerses his readers in feel-good poeticality: if something can be made to sound deep and wise, hinting at vast reaches of self-actualisation that the boogeyman of daily drudgery makes inaccessible to us. It will probably introduce a wise and mystical character -- though only one at a time -- to put it in a one-liner.

The Alchemist is the kind of book in which the New Age versions of Christianity, Islam, Dream Interpretation, Alchemy and Generic Spirituality are all true, and, properly considered, they're all the same thing. People who truly, madly, deeply "follow their heart" and are really really serious about seeking out their spiritual purpose in life (their "Personal Legend") understand this; they become so attuned to the Universe that they see that "all is one". And because at that point everything is so much in harmony, the Universe itself cannot but conspire to fulfil their dreams. Everyone else is probably too inhibited or scared to make that leap. (There is a great deal of patronising head-shaking at such folk.)

To make that muddled lack of thinking even more wishful, everything that can be learned is a "language", too: the way sheep behave is a "language": wordless, but comprehensible nonetheless, if only you find the right perspective. Reading between the lines of what people say and understanding unspoken assumptions and desires is another such wordless language. So is the way a caravan travels across the desert, and even the way the desert just keeps existing. Even the ecological pyramid of a balanced ecosystem (a small number of top-level predators supported by increasingly large numbers of prey) can be properly appreciated as mutual affinity and love, a finely calibrated "language" to be understood. You do have to have reached the proper profundity of thought, though (more pitiful head-shaking at the inhibited masses). Fortunately, in fine, all such languages really boil down to Love, as of course they do: Love, a.k.a. The Soul of the World. Even more fortunately, all this wordless meaning you can be attuned to is substantially the same thing as that christian/islamic/spiritual muddle I mentioned earlier, but you've got to be alchemist-level profound to understand that. And while anyone could arrive at that position -- we all already know this, deep down; it’s just been repressed and buried and whatnot -- most people won’t. Sad.

The vehicle that Coelho has chosen to deliver this murky mess is an almost allegorical fable. An Andalusian shepherd boy has a recurring dream of finding a Treasure in the pyramids at Giza and sets out to find it. Along his "quest" he first learns the “language" of his flock of sheep; then a mythical thousands-of-years-old biblical king appears to him and promptly cons him out of his sheep (but it’s for his own good, to teach him a zen lesson or something). He also meets a crystal shop owner, an English alchemist-in-training, the love of his life, and the famed Alchemist himself, all of who lead the boy, knowingly or not, towards deeper and deeper insights through an accumulation of "languages", and an incremental attunement to "omens". He keeps having visions that show him futures that can be changed and that warn him of danger. Towards the end, the boy has become so enlightened that he is able to have conversations -- in words! -- with his heart, the desert, the wind, the sun and god himself . The whole thing is too silly for words and collapses under its own pretension.

Look, this was never going to appeal to me: other works by Coelho’s that I’ve read, an extensive list of quotes from this book over at GoodReads and a thorough browse through the reviews here at LT told me exactly what kind of drivel this was going to be. I simply have no patience with pseudo-deep nonsense. At least now I can say that I’ve actually read the book, all the way through, and I am justified in never reading anything by Coelho again. ( )
2 vote Petroglyph | May 6, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 734 (next | show all)
I really liked the story’s plot where the main character Santiago out on his journey to find treasure and so he met a Gypsy,King,English man,his love,and alchemist. The characters helped Santiago to accomplish his journey like how the king gave Santiago omens, the gypsy told him he should go to the pyramids,and the alchemist accompanied Santiago on his journey while the alchemist was on a quest to transform gold. There was a point in the story were the alchemist and Santiago got into trouble with a chief because the chief thought they were spy’s so the chief demanded that Santiago had to turn into wind in the next 3 days. My favorite character was the alchemist because I really liked how he handled thing in the story and that he can perform alchemy.I can relate to a part we’re Santiago was going to give up on his journey but a king encouraged him to move on like how I almost gave up on writing this review until my friend encouraged me to do so since he has seen that I really enjoyed this book. The favorite part I liked in the story is in the epilogue were Santiago finally found the treasure. If I could change the ending in the book then I would have liked Santiago to go on with the alchemist and study how to perform alchemy like the alchemist.I would recommend this book to my friends,family members,and colleagues. A type of person that would like this book is someone who likes adventures and climax.
added by mo987654321 | editme, me (Mar 19, 2027)

» Add other authors (93 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Coelho, Pauloprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
İnce, ÖzdemirTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
亜希子, 山川翻訳secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Buchholz, AnneBearbeitungsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Calleja, SeveEstsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cisneros, JesusIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Clarke, Alan R.Translatorsecondary 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
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."
The alchemist picked up a book that someone in the caravan had brought. (Prologue, trans Clifford E. Landers)
The boy's name was Santiago.
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)

» see all 19 descriptions

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