The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This book falls into a rare category for me.  It’s a book I’m actually going to keep, reread and lend to friends.  I read this fantastic story in one sitting.  When I picked it up, I thought I would just read a few pages to get a feel for it and then I read, “I couldn’t have found God in the seminary, he thought, as he looked at the sunrise.” I was completely sucked in; the book never left my hands from that point.   Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration, I did stop to get some tea. (It was lapsang souchong for those wondering… fitting, given the tea’s history, right?)

The whole while as I read I underlined passages that made my heart cry out “Yes!!”.  Here are few examples that resonated with me:

  • “It’s the possibility of having dreams come true that makes life interesting.”
  • “The world’s greatest lie?…that at a certain point in our lives we loose control of what is happening to us.”
  • “…people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day the sun rises.”
  • “Don’t forget that everything you deal with is only one thing and nothing else.”
  • “The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.”
  • “…he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief and as an adventurer in quest of his treasure.”
  • “Every blessing ignored becomes a curse.”
  • “There was a language in the world that everyone understood… It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose…”
  • “I don’t know if the desert can be a friend, and it’s in the desert that I have to search…”
  • “When you can’t go back, you only have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.  The rest is up to Allah, including the danger.”
  • “The dunes are changed by the wind, but the desert never changes.”
  • “Courage is the quality most essential…”
  • “It’s not what enters men’s mouths that is evil.  It’s what comes out of their mouths that is.”
  • “Tell your heart that fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.  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.”
  • “Your eyes show the strength of you soul.”
  • “I have inside me the winds, the desert, the oceans, the stars and everything created in the universe.  We are all made by the same hand, and we have the same soul.”

I know there are people that will read this book and belly ache about how “the author didn’t develop the characters enough” or “this is a lot of feel good positive thinking drivel”. As for the character development, Aesop didn’t develop his characters very deeply either; yet his fables are timeless.  And regarding positive thinking, if I’m forced to choose between soaking my mind in depressing realism or adding more joy to my life with some slight over-optimism and positive thought, I’ll choose the latter.  If you feel differently, that’s OK.  We don’t have to see eye-to-eye, I love you anyway.

Ultimately, I feel there is a lot of wisdom in the pages of this little book.  It contains good lessons and reminders that I bought dearly going through life. This is a story I happily imagine reading my children at bedtime (once that day comes).  (I also have an unopened Hogwarts Steamer Trunk with all of the Harry Potter books sitting in a closet.  You can probably tell I’m really looking forward to reading to my children.  #HopefulRomantic)


One thought on “The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

  1. Hi!
    I felt exactly the same way. Yes there are flaws to the story, but what do you expect from a short read aimed at children which has also been translated from its original language. But I would definately recommend everyone to read this book, and then read it to their children.


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