All about The Alchemist

Who hasn’t heard about this bestseller book? The Alchemist, written by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, is a book originally published in 1988 and translated in English and published again in 1993. It’s a book that urges its readers to follow their dreams. A book which says to never give up on your dreams, to follow what the heart says and to trust your instincts.

Whenever I have asked somebody to suggest me a book to read, The Alchemist is one of the most common answers I have received. I have heard people say that the book is extremely motivational, is an eye-opener and a must read. And I agree to that to some extent, but not completely! Had I out of nowhere come across the book on my own and given it a read, I too would have said that I loved it. But the reviews that I always received were so good that my expectations from it were already very high. Is the book worth a read? Let me help you decide that.

Paulo Coelho convinces the readers to be aware of their personal calling, the path that God chose for you here on Earth. He goes on to say that even if you become aware of your dream, you face four obstacles. The first is that you are always told that what you want is impossible to achieve. The second is love. Coelho says that we consider love to stop us from achieving our personal calling or our dream. However, the truth is, that if the love is true and genuine, it pushes you towards achieving it instead of holding you back.

The third obstacle is the fear of defeats you will meet on the path. To overcome this obstacle, he tells that the secret of life is to fall seven times but still get up the eighth time. The final obstacle comes when you are just about to achieve your dream but miss the bullseye because you do not consider yourself worthy enough. However if you realize that it isn’t true, you successfully overcome it and thus achieve your dream.

Most of the book is written in an easy-breezy language (However it gets a little monotonous and complex to read in the end.) It’s the story of a boy Santiago, whose parents educated him to become a priest but he wanted to travel and see places and hence decided to become a shepherd. Santiago has his plans clear in his mind. On a round of the place with his sheep the previous year, he had met the merchant’s daughter and in his mind had decided to ask her to marry him this time when he visits the merchant’s shop.

However, a recurrent dream has some other plans for him. He had dreamt of a child playing with his sheep, then holding his hands and spinning him to an unknown place. Santiago became curious to know more about the recurrent dream. He gets his dream decoded by a palm reader who tells him that a treasure is waiting for him in the Pyramids of Egypt.

Does Santiago follow his dream or continue his journey to meet the merchant’s daughter is the next question which pops in the head.He gets convinced by a king to follow his dreams and begins his journey to find the treasure. What happens next is exactly what the book is all about. He undertakes the journey which is full of learnings and life lessons. And the book is full of these lessons and quotes to live by. (Sharing a few of my favourites but trust me there are so many!)

On his journey, he meets a person at the bar who convinces him to take him to the Pyramids but gets robbed instead, a crystal merchant shop owner who helps him make enough money for him to go back to his shepherd life, an Englishman who is in search of the Alchemist, the Caravan driver whom he meets in the desert and imparts him with many life lessons, the Alchemist who guides him to his treasure and the love of his life, Fatima. Does he finally find his treasure? Let’s leave that for the readers to find out.

Did I love the book? It’s a mix of both yes and no. Yes, because I think the book is way ahead of its time since now in the present can I see the concept of “follow your dreams” being normalized. I think this concept must have been a big thing when the book came out. No, because I think there could have been many more possibilities and also, when a strong concept is explained, one must try to explain it in an even more easier manner so that it’s easily understood by all.

The word “Maktub” is the charm of the book and the ending doesn’t disappoint you. The book conveys what it wants to and has been written beautifully. Have you read this bestseller book yet? Do let me know your views on it in the comments section. Keep reading and sharing my blogs, it keeps me going!

Link to buy the book on Amazon :