Book reviews by
Shalini

The Magic & Wisdom of Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist – Review

Paulo Coelho’s magical story, The Alchemist, has inspired readers for generations. Follow the journey of a young shepherd boy as he embarks on a quest around the world in search of a treasure that will grant him his heart’s desires. In this classic work, learn valuable lessons about life and its choices as you deepen your understanding of yourself and the power of destiny.

Introduction to The Alchemist – Plot Summary.

The Alchemist is a classic fable about an optimistic young shepherd who goes on an international quest for self-discovery. Detailing the story of Santiago, a Spanish shepherd boy, the novel follows him on his journey to fulfill his destiny, as he discovers profound truths about life and himself along the way.

The story centers on Santiago’s dreams of seeing the world and pursuing his deepest desires. Along his journey, he meets a series of characters who help him understand the importance of following one’s destiny and purpose in life—including an old king, a gypsy woman, and an alchemist.

In the end, Santiago learns that each person has their own personal legend or quest to follow in life, and it is up to them and them alone to find out what it is.

Following the Omens: Finding What You Need in Unexpected Places.

Following the Omens: Finding What You Need in Unexpected Places.

Throughout his epic journey, Santiago discovers the power of omens or messages from the Universe. He learns that by paying attention to these signs and how they fit into our plans, we can discover the paths needed to reach our goals. By being open-minded, following signs that appear in unexpected ways and places, as well as embracing change and uncertainty as they come along, success will eventually follow.

The Power of Listening to Your Heart – Messages for Your Life.

At the end of his journey, Santiago learns the real power lies in following your heart and enjoying life’s journey.

He also comes to understand how essential it is not to be afraid of uncertainty and change, but instead, embrace them as paths that lead us to our destiny.

He takes away a valuable lesson – if we are open to embracing life’s uncertainties, trusting in our destiny, and respecting all the messages that come from within our hearts, we will find success in following our dreams.

Understand the Power of Your Dreams.

The Alchemist illustrates the importance of understanding and trusting your dreams.

In the story, Santiago embarks on an epic journey in search of his Personal Legend, which is something he can only find by listening to his heart and following his own path – not that of someone else.

Of course, this is only a figure of speech because the heart only pumps around blood. Feelings and dreams, just as rational thoughts come from the mind.

By exploring the Alchemist’s powerful story, readers will gain insight into personal growth and development, allowing them to better understand the importance of having faith in their dreams.

In medieval times an alchemist was someone who was concerned with trying to turn ordinary metals into gold. According to Coelho, his alchemist does not create gold from ordinary metals, gold itself to him is not even a metal. To find happiness by being brave enough to pursue one’s dreams is what creates gold in his view.

Realize the Divinity in All Things.

In The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho furthermore teaches us to recognize the divine in all things and treat everything and every one as special. The main character Santiago is shown how to tap into this divinity throughout his journey, learning to respect nature and its relationships such as with animals and wind.

By accepting the natural world as a reflection of our inner selves, we can make more spiritual connections within ourselves and create positive change for the greater good of all.

Discover the Influence of Nature and Her Forces.

The Alchemist celebrates the greatness of nature and its forces. Be it wind, sun, or stars – they are all integral to Santiago’s journey in learning its lessons.

From the power of air which serves as a metaphor for change and embracing new beginnings to the bird that follows him – nature’s presence is tangible everywhere.

Learning to appreciate its influence allows us to see things from different perspectives and live in harmony with life’s greater forces.

Uncover Themes of Hope, Courage, and Trust.

The Alchemist highlights themes of hope, courage, and trust. Throughout his journey, Santiago faces several obstacles and fears and must learn to persevere to eventually reach his Personal Legend.

He is reminded by the omens that even though there are signs that something isn’t right or could turn out wrong, he must take a leap of faith and believe that if he follows his desires, things will work out as they should.

This encourages readers to be brave when taking risks instead of succumbing to fear and doubt, building a foundation for success through courage and trust.

Conclusive Message from Coelho

In medieval times an alchemist was someone who was concerned with trying to turn ordinary metals into gold. In ancient Greece Khemeia (Chemist) was the old word for the art of transmuting metals.

According to Coelho, his alchemist does not create gold from ordinary metals, gold itself to him is not even a metal. To find happiness by being brave enough to pursue one’s dreams is what creates gold in his view.

Top Quotes From The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Dive deeper into the captivating world of Paulo Coelho’s classic novel “The Alchemist” with these inspiring and thought-provoking quotes.

From understanding our goals in life to taking charge of our destinies, each quote offers something unique for readers to take away.

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

One of the most memorable quotes from The Alchemist, this line speaks to the connection between our desires and the power of manifestation.

When we clearly define our goals, have faith in ourselves, and act towards achieving what we want, the universe will conspire to help us on our journey. It is a beautiful reminder that with focus and courage, anything is possible. Or at least much more than most of us think is possible.

“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

This poignant quote from The Alchemist speaks to the tendency for people to judge and dictate how others should live their lives yet be unsure as to their own path. It highlights the importance of knowing yourself, following your heart, and developing your own journey with courage.

Focus on yourself, focus on what you can influence and control and let go of what you can’t influence. This timeless proverb encourages us to look inwards instead of outwards for our answers and be comfortable honoring our truth despite what anyone says.

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

This quote captures the essence of why dreams are so important as they drive us and create a life worth living. Being able to imagine what is possible and turn those possibilities into realities is a gift we must foster and never doubt.

Even if we don’t reach the dream, it still unlocks potential sources of happiness. Realizing that life can almost be anything you want it to be. We have more control than we think, we just tend to focus a lot on the things we cannot control and therefore also not control those things we can control, such as our own mind.

“No heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams,”

“The alchemist had successfully taught the boy that, wherever his heart was, there also would be his treasure. 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.”

“If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man.”

Coelho encourages readers to focus on the present moment and appreciate what they have. Through the story of Santiago’s quest, we learn that life is full of both struggles and triumphs, and that to be happy and successful, one must become conscious of the beauty in everyday life and live with an appreciation for each new day.

The Magic & Wisdom of Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist - Review

This quote serves as a reminder to focus on what you can do in the present, rather than worry and stress about your future. By living in the present and recognizing this moment as your only reality, you’ll attain inner peace and greater satisfaction.

Inspired by Paulo Coelho and the Alchemist?

If you were really inspired and could follow and feel the thought of Coelho in The Alchemist, you should consider following one of India’s most influential speakers Sadhguru on Youtube. It will help you take control of your body, your mind, and your life. Sadhguru shares many thoughts with Coelho. Perhaps Paulo Coelho himself has been heavily influenced by the oldest life philosophy in the world, Yoga

4 Things I like less about Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist

There are many things I really like about the Alchemist. Especially all the wonderful and valuable lessons to, I believe, many of us about finding and following your passion or personal legend. There are, however, a few critiques I have. Some as a preference and others perhaps more for an anthropological point of view. To many of you, these points might seem small and perhaps even irrelevant, but I like to point them out anyway.

My personal preference in writing style

To me, Coelho’s writing style in this book is a little oversimplified. Perhaps this is a deliberate choice by Coelho and necessary to bring across his message to as many people as possible.

To me, however, the tone of voice could sometimes feel like it was aimed at 12-year-old children. This made it sometimes difficult for me to get through the book without getting annoyed by this.

The message Coelho wants to bring across seems to be the focus of the book. It feels to me as if the story was only created to convey a message. Kind of like reading a self-development book hidden in a novel. The story itself and the characters to me were never deepened enough.

Even though the book is only 180 pages or so, I found it hard to get through it. The story and characters were not intriguing enough to me and I found myself putting the book away every 10 pages or so.

Overly Christian Story

Reading the story sometimes made me feel like it was an evangelical for the lord. I would have enjoyed the book more if the messages in the book such as following one’s passion and finding one’s legend were not so biblical.

Confirming Stereotypes

At the beginning of the story Santiago meets a Gypsy woman and shortly after the King of Salem himself helps Santiago start his journey. The Gypsy woman is not only portrayed as cunning and conceiving, but even the King of Salem himself also sighs and says: “This is what Gypsies are very good at”.

Orientalism

When Santiago makes the journey across the sea from Spain, the locations he travels to are not Morocco and Egypt, but Africa. “Africa is so strange” Santiago would say.

This might seem minor, but it confirms a thought many of us still have. It implies that there are not many differences between African countries and cultures but that they are all the same. Who speaks about Europe or Asia in such a way?

This thought in Coelho is confirmed once more by a Moroccan guide who Santiago meets in a bar. “ Tangier is not like the rest of Africa. It’s a port city and every port has its thieves”. So apparently Tangier is different but the rest of the continent we call Africa is all the same.

If you like to learn more about Orientalism and why these kinds of thoughts are harmful to reality, mostly to the reality of people who live in non-western nations, I recommend reading Edward Said’s Orientalism.

Shalini (1)
My name is Shalini and I love reading a lot. On this blog I review most of the books I have read. Hope you enjoy.
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