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.
I was told that this book would change my life, but I was sorely disappointed. It's a fable that reminds me of a children's story in its simplicity, but seems too fuzzy and predictable to be enjoyable. I also wanted something more concrete than its vague hints at spirituality. A disappointing read, but as it comes in at under 200 pages at least it didn't waste much of my time.
I tend to stay away from the "it" books. You know what I mean--those books that every bookclub is reading, the ones that non-readers rave about (possibly because it's the only book they read all year), the ones on the bestseller lists for years and years. Yeah, those books. Several have proved me wrong (Water for Elephants, the Harry Potter series, The Kite Runner), but overall, those books that appeal to the masses typically do not appeal to me. This is no exception to that rule. If you are one of those non-readers I mentioned above, this book is perfect for you. It's easy to follow, has a cute little moral, and talks about God a lot. None of those aforementioned characteristics are bad on its own; but together they tend to be a nightmare. While this wasn't exactly a nightmare, it just simply wasn't for me and definitely does not live up to the hype. I did like the message, but it's not exactly realistic for me...or pretty much anyone. Discover your Personal Legend at all costs or your life will never mean anything. Listen to your heart. Blah blah blah. This is the kind of book that makes people feel intellectual. It made me feel dumber.
A magical mysterious story of a travel loving shepard seeking his true destiny and meeting many people who will shape the rest of his life along the way.
We all complicate life and after reading the Alchemist it is easy to see how it does not need to be that way. Each one of us have to realize that we are on our own personal journey and have we approach it is up to us. We can complicated it and make it difficult only if we are not ready to pursuit it or we can accept the truth for what it is and enjoy the journey.
A well written easy read. Reminisent of the Little Prince. Interesting flow of events showing that life is always teaching through trial and tribulations and that maintaining your faith in your dreams should always be a priority. Happiness comes to those who look for it.
I agree with Lauren B. that this story is "too fuzzy and predictable to be enjoyable," and I found "its vague hints at spirituality" rather annoying. I realize that I might have liked it when I was 13. In my sixties, I just found it boring.
"The Little Prince" it is not. At least, I have read that book more than once and still gotten something out of it. I felt that The Alchemist was written using a formula or something and couldn't bear to finish it.
I received this book as a gift and just could not get into it. For me, it seemed like a story that was better told in Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. You have to really appreciate a slow, thoughtful, spiritual journey to enjoy this book, and I apparently do not.
Beautiful, inspiring story of a boy seeking treasure and following dreams and how we all have the potential inside of us to realize our dreams even when the situation looks impossible and to look for the best in whatever we are faced with.
I liked this book quite a lot and it was a quick read. An inspiring story about searching for what is truly important and getting all you can out of life...Taking risks, and focusing on your goals. Not a self-help book; told in more of a fable format. The story dragged for me a little bit at times, but sometimes less action and more reflection is a good thing. I kept thinking as I read this book that it would be one that I would need to reread in order to understand and appreciate it more fully. Maybe I will someday.
I would describe this as a light, inspirational read. I can see why so many people enjoyed it. I think most people can see themselves in the boy or in some of the people he meets. The storyline is simple and easy to follow.
My biggest qualm with this book is that for such a short book, certain phrases are used in such repetition that they get annoying. Although I was expecting it, I was still disappointed by the fact that in the end, the boy's treasure was still only a physical thing. It ruined it for me.
From the very first chapter I had trouble laying the book aside to accomplish other things. It is a well written tale with many lessons and surprises. One lesson is to follow your hearts dream another is to be open to new ideas. I read it a second time and may read again. Excellent
I read this book years ago, and actually listened to it on itunes this year. I wanted to have a copy for my collection as well as my book club is considering reading it in early 2012. Great story, that gives so much meaning and wisdom if you allow the words to settle into your soul! Namaste! =)
A short fable and a very quick read, The Alchemist follows Santiago on his pursuit of his Personal Legend. As we all know, life experiences are changed and shaped based on who we meet, what we experience, how we learn, and how we apply the new information to our lives and our realities. Each person Santiago meets shares new wisdom with him that change and add value to his Personal Legend. As he learns to listen to his heart, his quest becomes more endearing as he fights struggles within himself.
Ive been wanting to read this book for a while because of so many others telling me how amazing it was and that I should definitely read it. I suppose its just that kind of build up that can set you up for disappointment. Though I wouldnt say I was disappointed in the book, I dont feel it changed my life in any dramatic way. Most of the wisdom Santiagos new friends shared with him based on ancient history or a man who lived long ago came from familiar Bible stories. And in that regard, I believe there is much to learn from stories of those in the Bible. Which is probably why the end of the book was meaningful to me. Santiago used that wisdom and learned to follow his heart and use prayer to achieve his dreams. And isnt that what its all about anyway?
The Alchemist is a story about following your own life path. It reminds you about the importance to listen to your own voice and notice signs that fate puts on the road for you. The novel is a typical reflection forcing you to stop for a moment, to look from a distance into your own life- identifying what really you would like to achieve and what is important to you. Enriches internally and reminds you of your own dreams.
This book was a nice quick read, but it was too cheesy and new-agey for my liking. There were moments where I wanted to like the book, but I never quite got there. It's all about trying to make your dreams come true no matter what you have to sacrifice (and the protagonist makes some pretty ridiculous sacrifices along the way).
Everyone I've talked to either loved it or didn't. I didn't hate it, but I also wouldn't recommend this book to anyone.
This is a gentle and surprisingly modern parable about a young man who seeks his personal destiny. He learns about life with each day he gets closer to his goal. With every experience he is taught some truth about life. An easy read, but also one that provokes thought. D.
I had never heard of this book until one day I read about it on a blog. The poster didn't even talk about it explicitly- it was in pictures of some things he had packed for a trip. Since then, it haunted me. In the library, it was on the display shelf. In a bookstore I had never been in- it was in a very prominent place. In my local bookstore, it was on sale. Every time I saw it I would read the first sentence, and put it back, and know that if I ever got down to actually reading it, it would disappoint, because by then I had put it on a pedestal. It didn't. This book changed the entire way I live my life. I highly recommend it to anyone who has ever felt restless, fidgety, or simply curious.
This book was amazing. It was chosen for our book club and I believe that everyone enjoyed it. It was light hearted yet thought provoking. Serious yet funny. It had something for everyone and always kept you on your toes. It also had a nice twist ending.
This book was very symbolical. I felt like I was reading a book that is on a required reading list. This is a tale that should have a required written essay to go with it. The symbolism is intense. Although I enjoyed reading the book I felt that the overall message of the book was a bit simplistic for the detailed symbolism of the plot.
I expected this book to be enlightening and deeply moving from what I had heard about it. I found it to be a huge let down. I didn't find the story edifying or even entertaining. I guess I just didn't get it, but I learned nothing from this story. I did not identify with the character or his journey at all, and I didn't find him to be worthy of admiration. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone I know.
This book came highly recommended so I started into it with high expectations. I had been led to believe that there were some real pearls of wisdom to be had here. I went through several chapters without anything that looked like a pearl and was tempted to abandon my search. Nevertheless, I got caught up in the story and continued on as the protagonist makes his vain search for the truth he has been promised and so desperately seeks. This book bears some similarities to Og Mandino's Rishest Man in Babylon, but is not a chapter by chapter list of aphorisms. Rather, the author is trying to make just one point, and he makes it with great skill; to the point that I wanted to go out and challenge the world when I had finished reading it. Think of it like an onion, with layer after layer that has to be peeled back until at last the truth is laid bare and you find the exercise well worth the effort. Fun read, and I highly recommend it.
After reading several reviewers who complained about the simplistic writing style of Paulo Coelho, I was cautious about ordering this book.
Yes, it is simplistic. Might be called a parable or allegorical writing. But it is still engaging and can be powerful, or at least meaningful, to those looking for that.
The story, simple or not, has plot and has things happening.
Other reviewers claim that they could have just read the Introduction and obtained the four obstacles to one pursuing their Personal Legend. We all know it--that one thing we wanted to do as a child or young adult, but life and "practicality" talked us out of it--but it is still there, feeling unfulfilled.
And I do believe, as Coelho writes, that you can tell those who haven't followed their Personal Legends. They are unhappy in their work, especially.
So, it's an inspirational book. I don't know if it really will motivate me to "go for it"--but it does illuminate the problem.
Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. The Alchemist is such a book. With over a million and a half copies sold around the world, The Alchemist has already established itself as a modern classic, universally admired. Paulo Coelho's charming fable, now available in English for the first time, will enchant and inspire an even wider audience of readers for generations to come. The Alchemist is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist. The story of the treasures Santiago finds along the way teaches us, as only a few stories have done, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, above all, following our dreams.
I loved this book! My husband liked it also which is a rare thing (for us both to really enjoy a book). It was an easy read but also contained thought provoking messages interspersed throughout the book. I will NOT be reposting this as I will keeping it in my book collection.
I thought this was a great book. "Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.
Almost as soon as I began reading, the famous Haruki Marukami quote came to mind: âWhatever it is you're seeking won't come in the form you're expecting.â That's true for both the characters in the novel, but it's also true for the novel itself.
Many state here that this much-praised novel is simplistic, and poorly written (which can sometimes be a difficulty with translations), but that's simply not so: it's brilliantly written in that regard. The beauty is in its seeming simplicity, but it is replete with powerful yet subtle messages which have almost universal application. In the same way as the character, the book demands that the reader do a fair bit of the work, in deriving meaning from some quite abstract text. In other words, you have to read between the lines, as it doesn't spell it out for you, but that allows each individual to interject their own personal journey into the story.
On the surface, The Alchemist tells the story of an Andalusian shepherd boy, who experiences a dream, or vision, which prompts him to contemplate selling his flock and leaving his relatively secure life, the only existence he has ever known, to travel across the sea and the vast, unknown desert, to see the Pyramids of Giza. Santiago encounters many people on his journey, which The Divine intends for him to meet, while in search of his own Personal Legend. As in our own lives, those we encounter, seemingly by chance, but perhaps not, affect us, and direct us down a particular path.
The message here is, each person is traveling their own path - curiously, however, most don't know, or acknowledge, that they're on a journey, and that their decisions affect the outcome, as well as the personal journeys of those whom they encounter. Perhaps that's a message to those on that particular life course, a journey of discovery: as the text states, most people have given up, and settle for a life of relative safety, comfort, and ultimately, complacency, until death takes them, and their energies again return to the Universal whole, the Voice of the World.
The Alchemist refers to both the character, the person who has learned the secret of turning physical elements into gold, but it also refers to Santiago, who, through his travels and experiences, learns the secret of transformation, not of lead into gold, but the mundane, into the extraordinary. We can all be an alchemist in that regard: learning the secret of transformation, through study and personal experiences spent in the world, in encountering others, and by learning from our mistakes as well as our triumphs. Santiago, as well as the readers, also learn, at the end of this particular phase of his journey, that things often come full circle, but that we don't or can't appreciate them until we have traveled beyond the confines of the comfortable and familiar. Not until we have traveled the path and learned to listen to the Voice of the World, as well as our inner voice, do we become aware that the treasure that we week often lies right beneath our feet. As with so many other stories: the true value and goal is the journey itself, not the destination.
I won't go so far as to say that it's a life-changing book (maybe life-affirming!), but this beautifully composed, esoteric, cathartic and inspiring work is a definite must-read. What is alchemy, after all: this modern fable tells us that it is simply the process of transforming one element into another. It also assures us that although the path may be difficult, anyone can do that with their life, too, as an act of sheer will and faith. The book is valuable for that reason alone: introspection is its own reward.
"The famous alchemists... were men who had dedicated their entire lives to the purification of metals in their laboratories; they 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. This Soul of the World allowed them to understand anything on the face of the earth, because it was the language with which all things communicated."
"They spent so much time close to the fire that gradually they gave up the vanities of the world. They discovered that the purification of the metals had led to a purification of themselves."
The most mundane tasks, when undertaken with positivity and the expectation of goodness, can lead to one's purification and becoming one with the Soul of the World, an understanding of all things, by mastering the one. "The boy thought about the crystal merchant. He had said that it was a good thing for the boy to clean the crystal pieces, so that he could free himself from negative thoughts. The boy was becoming more and more convinced that alchemy could be learned in one's daily life." Even a small piece of this refined material can transform the most common and mundane elements into the rare - pure gold. That's true of the elements of life, as well. That's the point of the book, really: transform one's mundane existence into the expectation of treasure, by refining mundane things, with the proper mentality. Very zen.
"Everyone has his or her own way of learning things... His way isn't the same as mine, nor mine as his. But we're both in search of our Personal Legends, and I respect him for that."
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. However, "The Alchemist" must be read with an open mind. Despite the simple diction, this book presents a synthesis of ideas leading towards a reflection on personal beliefs. At first, the content seems too far-fetched from reality, but (with patience) Coelho's style gradually draws the reader to the characters and into the plot.
This book was interesting. It read like a fable to me and was very short so I did not feel like I really got to know the boy. In some ways, I felt that he understood his treasure all along but he was misled by others, telling him that he would regret not searching for the treasure. It took his search though, for him to see what his treasure was. I felt that as the reader, I knew all along.
This is a excellent book to read. It is so good that I'm reading it a second time. It's a book about life and having a goal and the people, places, and things around us that help us get to our goals. This book really makes you think. It is a keeper and you can always go back to reflect on it
This book is essentially a fable of a shepherd who has a dream that if he goes to the pyramids he will find his treasure. So he sets out to do that and meets a king, a merchant, an alchemist and others who guide him along the way. He learns many life lessons that can be boiled down to follow your dream, listen to your heart, trust in God, and love is the force that improves and transforms the soul and it must be nourished. This book had so much hype for being life changing, inspirational and magical. It think it was too much hype for me. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't heard all the hype. I am glad I read it since I see it referenced so many places.
I've heard a few times that is book was so great, life-changing, motivational, etc. but I was not impressed. The story is about a boy's journey through the desert and while there are several messages related to following your heart's desire, I found the story to be a little dull and odd with references "Master Work", "Soul of God", "Soul of the World" and universal language. At least it's a quick read.
The Alchemists main protagonist is a young man who starts out as a shepherd. The young man is only known to the reader as The Boy, he is never given a name. The boy wonders about a dream he has had twice in a row. He sees a gypsy to read his future and then meets a strangely dressed person claiming to be a King. He is encouraged by both to search for the treasure that is in his dreams.
There were many things in The Alchemist that come up that I am able to relate with in life. The Alchemist, although fiction, is written with much wisdom, and mysticism. The Alchemist is such a good book that the whole time I was reading it I kept thinking After I am done I will read it again because there is just so much in the book to grasp and understand. I have not read it a second time but it is a book I plan to keep and read again maybe once a year.
I truly find nothing wrong with the book. There is maybe things I disliked about the story like the surprising ending. Still does not ruin the greatness this book shows.
The Alchemist is a tale for those still looking for themselves and their lifes treasure.
This book is about a journey of a shepherd who seeks to find his "Personal Legend". I found myself looking at my own life's "Personal Legend" and found it not to be what I thought it was.. An inspiring book and I look forward to reading more of Paulo Coelho's works.
I started reading this book and it was definitely different. It irritated me at first because it was so childlike. I put it aside for a little bit. Then I picked it up again and read for a while. Then I picked it up again and did finish the book, less than 200 pages long. As I read more, it got interesting. The message is so simple that it can be appreciated, if you have the wisdom to know what the author is trying to say. Sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to understand. I can appreciate it because I have experienced a lot of things being older, just 59. I was quite content after I finished this. You have to be ready to read this book and understand it.
This is a wonderful book. A story for those who are willing to seek and find the beauty in everyday life and the changes that go with that life. You will appreciate the trials and successes of the characters and even relate to the process they go through to find beauty and peace in life. A excellent read.
This classic is one of my all time favorites for insights on love and life. I have heard selections read at weddings and memorials and given copies to friends and young adults who are searching for truth and meaning. Yes, it is written in a different style than most fiction, but its parable framework offers you the chance to join in, weaving your own life's patterns as awareness awakens.
I did not love this book, but I'm not sorry I read it. It was a selection for our Book Club and many times I go to the gathering, not really caring for the book and after the discussion, I think, "actually, that was a pretty good book." I didn't care for the style of writing, but that could be due to the translation. But there are countless 'pearls of wisdom' in these mystical pages, that are worth unearthing. Definitely would appeal to people in their twenties and early thirties. I am recommending it to my 29 year-old.
I loved the Alchemist. Then again I love to be transported to unfamiliar places and times. I was charmed by the descriptions and felt like I was on a journey to "find my treasure" just like the main character. Several times I found myself smiling at the way the author describes things. Finally I loved the Christian themes and undertones. It is rare in today's world.
Although this is Will Smith's favorite book (a person I admire a lot) I found this book to be vapid, dreary, and offering nothing in the way of insights. It shares a lot in sentiment with "The Secret" so I feel readers who enjoyed that may enjoy this book as well, as it appeals to the human conceit that life magically always gives you what you want (unless you live in Africa- for some reason it only works in materially abundant western democracies with plentiful opportunities.) A rather prosaic story wrapped in the pretense of spiritual profundity, The Alchemist offered no value except one good quote, "A man's eyes reflect the strength of his soul." The rest was quasi-spiritual blather about 'The language of the world' and 'omens' which kept rubbing up sharply against its borrowed biblical references to Jesus. Altogether an un-insightful mess. Readers would be far better off to dig into something offering real value for personal transformation, such as "The Self Talk Solution."
I honestly could barely put this book down. I would have read it in one sitting if my sons did not need my attention, but in the first sitting I read 75% of the story. It was very unique.
A shepherd boy loves his flock and his parents wanted him to be a priest. He travels about and comes across Melchizedek who tells him that he should take a personal journey in search of a treasure at the pyramids in Egypt, in which the boy had dreamed about twice. Along the way the boy has mishaps and meets some people who either guide him or cause problems for him.
The entire story is basically about finding yourself and trusting in God. The scene with the wind was tremendous and amazing. I enjoyed this story and smiled at the end because in a way I figured something like what happened was bound to be. I am glad I read it after having it on my to-read list for a few years.
Sweet tale of growing up, exploring and finding your dreams and learning from those around you. Similar to The Celestine Prophecy in recognizing why certain people come into your life or you think of them at certain times in your life.
Reminds you to remember to enjoy where you are and what you are experiencing because these things become part of you.
I was expecting much more than I found... This is a simplistic story about a boy who doesn't give up, who perseveres through his challenges, and in the end finds his reward. Good story for youth level reading.
Santiago, a young shepherd, finally activates his dream to travel, and to find the alchemist and hidden treasure. From his native Andalusia he travels to Tangier, is robbed of his savings, finds wealth again, and finally continues to pursue his dream. This takes him across the northern Sahara on the trade route to Egypt and the pyramids. Finally he will meet his alchemist only to return home where his dream is finally realized; back where he started. Along the way he learns to read omens, to listen to his heart, and to pursue his dream.