Book Reviews of The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream

The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream
The Alchemist A Fable About Following Your Dream
Author: Paulo Coelho, Alan R. Clarke (Translator)
ISBN-13: 9780062502186
ISBN-10: 0062502182
Publication Date: 5/10/1995
Pages: 176
Rating:
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 669

3.6 stars, based on 669 ratings
Publisher: Harper San Francisco
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

93 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream on + 377 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 20
I found this book overly philosophical. Coelho sacrificed what could have been a good story by pushing an agenda of his own philosophy. Although yes, it was cute, and I was genuinely curious about whether or not Santiago would find his treasure, this is not good fiction. If you want to feel good and need inspiration, then this IS a good book for you -- and you'll read through it pretty quickly, too.
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Helpful Score: 6
This book was pretty good. It seemed to be told in parable style and was a little slow for me.
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Helpful Score: 6
This fairy tale-philosophical essay shimmers throughout its 167 pages---as one reads he accompanies the boy on the strange and marvelous journey in quest of his dream. I'm very glad to have become acquainted with this gifted Brazilian author.
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Helpful Score: 3
I found this book to be a little hard to read/follow. It was okay but did not make it to my favorite list.
reviewed The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
"The Alchemist" is the story of Santiago, who leaves his home in search of his "dream". We only learn Santiago's name at the very beginning of the book. After that, the author always refers to him as "the boy" even though it's clear that Santiago is at least 18, which is young but certainly not a boy.

The author fills the book with sayings that I suppose he thinks are profound. I find such books to be a bit of a bore, but in a book aimed at children, things like that are OK. However, what's really disturbing about "The Alchemist" was the sexism. Santiago meets and immediately falls in love with Fatima, a girl who lives at a huge oasis in the desert. He then has this conversation with the wise old Alchemist:

"'Fatima is a woman of the desert,' said the alchemist. 'She knows that men have to go away in order to return. And she already has her treasure: it's you. Now she expects that you will find what it is you're looking for.'

Uh huh. Apparently all the desert women are the same...their "treasure" or "dream" is just to get a man, and then they stay home and wait while the man goes off in search of his own dream. Yikes.

All of the wise ones who Santiago meets on his journey are men, except for the brief appearance of an old Gypsy women at the beginning, although Santiago does believe that she is deceitful and full of trickery.

And what happens when Santiago finally fulfills his dream? It is not the journey itself, the things he learned, or the people he met along the way...it's a...Ha! Bet you can't guess! (Or can you?) And guess where he finds it? Apparently if we all follow our hearts and pay attention to our dreams, we too will find a treasure. As long as we're men.
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Helpful Score: 3
It's truely as wonderful as everyone says...a magical tale.
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Helpful Score: 3
A quick read, keeps you interested and can bring a sense of comfort in listening to your heart and pursuing its path. Nothing new or earth shattering, but good.
reviewed The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream on + 70 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
A wonderful, enlightening story (fable) that inspires the reader to follow their dream. The main character experiences all of the highs and lows we all experience, yet he was on the path to follow his dream. I will remember the lessons this story revealed for a long time.
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Helpful Score: 2
I read this for my book club, and was excited about the pick since I've heard good things about it. Although the book started out with great promise, by the end I had grown bored of it, which is surprising since it is a short book! The ending felt flat to me, and I felt the book did not live up to all I had hoped it would be.
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Helpful Score: 2
Interesting read, however at times it felt that it was symbolic for symbolisms sake. Like it was trying to hard to be "deep and insightful".
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Helpful Score: 2
I found this kind of lightweight, a simple parable that hardly makes for a whole book. Not life-changing, but not unpleasant to read.
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Helpful Score: 2
A short, yet deep, little book about following your dreams, a very good choice for book club discussions.
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Helpful Score: 2
I have it because it was a bookclub selection in not one, but two clubs I have belonged to over the years. I didn't like it either time I read it but others find it inspiring. Good luck!
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Helpful Score: 2
This is definitely one of the more quotable books I've read, and it does encourage one to ponder. However, while I did enjoy the book, I didn't find it as good as popular praise had led me to believe it would be. I never became particularly attached to any of the characters, and while I was intrigued by their situations and liked learning the various things that the book demonstrated about different cultures, I didn't have a problem putting the book down if I felt like doing something else. All-in-all, it's a cute book, but I doubt it would have sold as well if it had been any longer.
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Helpful Score: 2
This philosophical book was easy to read. I found it comforting and insightful, yet simple in its presentation. The fable is inspiring and reminds us all of what is really important in life. The main message is one we hear repeatedly any many realms, but few listen to: "Follow your heart."
I'm hanging on to this one for awhile.
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Helpful Score: 2
Really the title says it all. An easy to follow tale about a young man who leaves his homeland in search of treasure revealed n a dream. He meets many and learns much in his trek, develops and exercises his courage, his discretion, his fortitude and his trust in his heart. A lovely tale.
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Helpful Score: 1
The story was very interesting, the neat take on his subject, his obvious love for what he was writing, and the spiritual reflections make it beautiful. Searching for your personal legend.......... Amazing book. Great read.
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Helpful Score: 1
A beautiful gentle alegory about listening to your heart. I enjoy Coelhos writing. It puts me in a right mind and reminds me to continue walking the path set by my heart
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Helpful Score: 1
This is a must have. Read it over and over when you feel like you are at the crossroads in life. This short book always brings a tiny light of insight and brings hope that no matter what choices we make, the universe will conspire to ensure we meet our destiny.
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Helpful Score: 1
Paulo Coelho tells a great story of following your dreams. If you have a dream and are looking for the motivation to believe in it, read this book. If your goal is simply to be entertained, this is not for you. Although this book is a nice read, the story has more impact if it addresses the right audience. I enjoyed this story and like many of the author's other books.
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Helpful Score: 1
A very inspirational fable. This book makes a great gift for a graduate.
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Helpful Score: 1
EXCELLENT book. Not many like it around, in style, content and thought.
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Helpful Score: 1
As cliche as it sounds, this book made me remember some things I care a great deal about but have pushed to the side to deal with everyday life. It reminded me that I can only get as far in life as I allow myself to go. The Alchemist is worth the read, especially if you're looking for something to put you back on course.
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Helpful Score: 1
I found this book to be very thought provoking. It is the story of a journey that comes full circle. It really is true that sometimes you aren't satisfied until you come completely around and see things from the end of the journey. I enjoy Paulo Coehlhos writing.
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Helpful Score: 1
An interesting Fable. I am very glad I read it.
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Helpful Score: 1
Beautiful story with pointed message for every on seeking to fulfill their destiny.
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Helpful Score: 1
This was a great read about following your Personal Legend or dreams.
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Helpful Score: 1
I loved this book. I just could not put it down. It is a fiction book, but it has principles you can use on a daily basis.
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Helpful Score: 1
Most people love this book but I am not sure that I did. On the positive side- it is a quick read, and there is no denying that Coelho is a good writer. why I didn't like it- too much like a self-help book disguised as a cute story mixed with philosophical ramblings about following your dreams.
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Helpful Score: 1
This is a beautiful, spiritual story reminiscient of "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" or "Illusions",A very fast read {2 Hrs} I loved it so much I really debated about reposting it, but you read it now pass it on and I'll get a copy later
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Helpful Score: 1
Waaaaay over-rated! This book is pure hype and I'm embarrassed I fell for it. The philosophical text used by this author is pure stupidity. I caught myself rolling my eyes more times than none. On a better note, there are like 2 quotes that I liked in all 167 pages...
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Helpful Score: 1
An enchanting story, a modern fable. This was a quick read, but very meaningful to those searching the path of following one's dreams.
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This is in my top 3 Coelho books. I've read all his books, and a lot of them are a bit too ... weird for me. However, this one was a good story/parable about following one's path. The book is comforting for those of us who fling ourselves into adventure, and trust everything will work out.
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My book club read this book but it made for a pretty boring discussion. We all felt that this book could have been a short story of 5 to 10 pages. It was all just a little too simple for as many words as Coelho squeezed out.
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What is all the hype about? This book is nothing but fluff! It's definitely an easy read. I don't see how anyone could find reading this book to be life changing or inspiring. I think it should be considered a children's book at best. Very disappointed with this read.
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The Alchemist is a very interesting book with a very though inspiring message. The philosophy is told through an adventurous story about a young man attempting to follow his dream. Several members of my family also read the book and quite enjoyed it. I, personally, found the writing style a bit annoying, but others didn't mind it. My son who speaks Portuguese says that it is common for them to think in a simple straightforward manner. Although I appreciate that background, it was still not a pleasant read for me. Notwithstanding my personal opinion on the writing style, the book is well worth reading.
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Different. While it was interesting, it wasn't really as good as I expected it to be, based on the premise of the book.
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This is my first Coelho book. It was amazing, the story and characters were delicate. I found that my Personal Journey was starting as I read this book. The question of what would I sacrifice to realize my personal legend came up many times. I could read this book several times and get something out of it each time.
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This is a great Book. It borrows a lot from the bible and is a great parable about following your inner dreams.
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What a great story! This is one of those books that you can go for years in-between readings and come back to, feeling like you're meeting with an old friend. At the same time, every time I read it, I discover something new. Really an excellent novel for gifts--especially at graduation time instead of, "Oh the Places You'll Go!"
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A fable that that shows you how life should be lived...simple and without obstacles to get in your way.
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Wow. I was like a hungry wolf with this book! I thought the underlying messages were though provoking and powerful... in a way it became a 'bible' to me & my lifestyle of following my heart. I will definitely read this book over & over the inspiration and motivation is refreshing.
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This is an amazing read, that really should be read by people of all ages. It's inspiring and eye opening. READ IT!!
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I was disappointed in this fable about following your dreams. I have read others like the Dreamgiver and The Traveler's Gift that were great! I didn't really enjoy this one.
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I like the message this book is trying to get across but I guess I'm just not spiritual enough to appreciate it as much as others. I read it because m...moreI like the message this book is trying to get across but I guess I'm just not spiritual enough to appreciate it as much as others. I read it because my mother-in-law is crazy about Paulo Coelho but I just dont think his books are for me.
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This was a wonderful, inspiring book. It makes one think of thier own journey through life. I would recommend it.
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It's a wonderful read. I have put more of this author's work on my TBR as he writes so very well. This is a tale of a shepherd boy named Santiago who wants to travel in spite of his father's wish that he become a priest. The father stakes the boy who buys himself some sheep. He travels throughout Andulasia with his herd, getting to know the land and the people. However, he has a dream that he asks an old woman to interpret and with this interpretation sets off to see the pyramids in Egypt where he is to find treasure and become rich. The key message of the tale is to follow our dreams. Never give up say the people the boy meets and so says the author as well in an interview in the back of the book. It's simple, inspiring and a delight to read so friends read this one and get a new look on your own life in spite of whatever obstacles you encounter and like Santiago you may find your dreams can come true. Above all, don't give up.
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This book came to me from my "spiritual soulmate" Peter, whom I was madly in love with all through the summer of '04. I sat in the coffee shop where he worked one lazy Sunday afternoon, in an overstuffed chair with sunlight filtering in through those awesome gothic windows and drank each word of this book into my soul.

If you are looking for a nice meaty book filled with twists, turns and life-like characters - this is NOT your book. Wait until you are more in a more introspective mood. Coelho's prose is simplistic and at times childish. And the read is easy - I finished in around an hour and a half I suppose. But the meanings left scattered throughout the chapters are intense and authentic. Omens and signs - all around us, the universe directing us and helping us, wanting us to succeed. All we have to do is be aware - to listen.

I have a leather bound journal filled with nothing but quotes, sayings, important sentences scrapped from here or there. In it, there are a couple wise words from my friend Peter because he was a deep, old soul. But overwhelmingly some of my favorite gems in that little book come from Coelho's Alchemist. He is a master at speaking to the soul. Here are two of my favorites:

"One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving."

"People become facinated with pictures and words, and wind up forgetting the Language of the World."

A deep, deep novel if you read it with your spiritual mind. Too simplistic if you are reading it for entertainment
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Inspirational, like a story from the bible
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Well written. It reminded me of The Prophet by Gibram.
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This book was very light reading and just a feel-gooder. For one who is unsure where they are headed in life, The Alchemist will show you the way. Both inspiring and motivating.
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This is a book that should be picked up and re-read every year. What an inspiring book!
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I heard so many good things about this book and I was somewhat disappointed. I know there was a moral and everything to it, but I guess I was just expecting more.
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This book was wonderful. It was a quick read and really hit a place in my heart. I would recommend this book to everyone.
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A wonderful book!
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Very interesting fable. Gives one food for thought.
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This little book teaches more than many positive thinking courses.
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Wonderful story! I highly recommend reading it!
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I found this to be a good book on various levels. The surface story is an interesting tale with deeper layers of insight.
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I had such high expectations for this book. In the end, I was very disappointed. The story was very simple, very predictable, and came across like a children's story attempting to play dress-up as a deep, spiritual, inspirational epic.

Fortunately, this book was short (less than 200 pages) so I didn't feel like I wasted too much of my time. If you are looking for a simple little tale and aren't looking to get much out of it (or you're 12 years old) then perhaps this would be worth a look. But if you want more out of this book than that, perhaps you should skip it and look for something else.
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Fabulous book!! Really touching and moving. A great book to read when you feel "stuck" in life. An amzing Paulo coelho classic!!
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I read this book when my son was required to read it as a freshman in high school. I enjoyed it, it made me want to follow my personal journey. He also enjoy the book.
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I loved it! Its now one of my favorite books!
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"A wise and inspiring fable about the pilgrimage that life should be."
-M. Scott Peck

"Just listen to your heart... That's what I do."
-Napoleon Dynamite
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I wasn't quite sure what this book was about when I picked it up and started reading it. It's a nice story, but it also makes you think about life. I'm happy where I am in my life right now, but this story makes me think of choices I've made and how I became the way I am. I've always believed everything happens for a reason, and this story fits into that kind of thinking. I will definitely recommend this one!
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A touching, inspring fable.
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This was a sweet little story, about a boy who is pure of heart who finds his way through life in order to reach his destiny. Very enjoyable reading.
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I had such high expectations for this book. In the end, I was very disappointed. The story was very simple, very predictable, and came across like a children's story attempting to play dress-up as a deep, spiritual, inspirational epic.

Fortunately, this book was short (less than 200 pages) so I didn't feel like I wasted too much of my time. If you are looking for a simple little tale and aren't looking to get much out of it (or you're 12 years old) then perhaps this would be worth a look. But if you want more out of this book than that, perhaps you should skip it and look for something else.
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I know this is a popular book, I didn't get it.
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A classic, simple book about living your best life. Inspirational and an easy read.
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I LOVED this book. It is definitely a keeper, a book to read a second time.
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I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. One friend that read it really loved it. Another friend couldn't stand it and couldn't even finish it. I went into it not sure if I even wanted to try. It turns out to be a very simple read. Nothing profound, no big flattering words, no elegant prose but I found myself enjoying it all the same. It had a lot of ideas and philosophy that I liked to sit back and ponder on. I love a book that makes you think. It is about a simple shepherd boy who seeks out his own personal legend. The book is about the journey he makes, the people he meets and the things he learns. Don't open this book thinking it is a literary masterpiece... just ease into it a look at it for the simple meaning and beautiful story it gives.
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One of my favorite books. I have read it 4 times and get something different out of it each time.
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an inspiring life changing story. a must read
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I loved this book.
Everyone should read this inspiring book. Beautifully written.
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An easy read for a quiet rainy day, this book offers the reader the opportunity to reflect on important life truths we know, but may need reminding. The color of the Andalusian and North African locales is fun.
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Quick read, greatly inspirational.
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LOVED IT
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Boring!!!!
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This book is to be read more than once, loved it
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try as i might...i could not finish this book which came highly recommended...someday i will try it again
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A young Andalusian shepherd boy sets off on a quest for his Personal Legend. On his journey he meets a fortune teller, a king, an odd Englishman, and an alchemist as well as a young woman. Each will influence his journey and path. I enjoyed the book which is heavily based on symbolism and life philosophy. However, it wasn't quite what i expected.
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"To realize one's destiny is a person's only obligation." This story, dazzling in its simplicity and wisom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treausre 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 srmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a meditation on the teasures found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transorming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.
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I found The Alchemist to be an entertaining read, in the vein of Herman Hesse's Siddharta. The author, Paulo Coelho, weaves a web of a young teenage boy's coming-of-age journey amid a strange culture and a strange land. The boy is assisted in his journey by mystic forces who guide the boy to find his Personal Legend. The simple, adventurous shepherd boy learns to speak the language of the Soul of the World, and the language of love for a desert princess.
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I suggest this book to people all the time. Its one of my favorite books of all time. Its a fable about following your dreams and finding love. I think that the people who dont get it or who say they didnt like it must have a pretty sour outlook on life.
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Everyone should read this book.
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A fantastic book, superbly written. It was required reading when I started my new job as a college counselor and now I recommend it to students who are bright, inquisitive, insightful and searching. now that I hace my own paperbackswap copy, I love to share my copy with them.
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why is this system so stupid that i have to submit a word review? i already gave it four stars. that means it's good.
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magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who travels in search of a worldly treasure from Spain to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist.
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great philosophical book
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book - so much that I picked up several other Coelhos. However, I can't seem to remember what the book was about. My favorites always stick with me.
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Quick read.
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FABULOUS BOOK!!!!!!!!