Book Reviews of The Alchemist

The Alchemist
ISBN-13: 9780061122415
ISBN-10: 0061122416
Publication Date: 5/1/2006
Pages: 208
Edition: Reissue
Rating:
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.
 754

3.6 stars, based on 754 ratings
Publisher: HarperSanFrancisco
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

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

reviewed The Alchemist on + 902 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 27
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.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 16
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.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 26 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 15
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.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 82 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
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.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 193 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 8
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.
reviewed The Alchemist on
Helpful Score: 6
I heard so many good things about this book. I read some of it and just couldn't finish.....just wasn't for me.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
This book is inspirational and full of life lessons. I read this book in one sitting. But it will be read many more times. I highly recommend this book.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 143 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
I loved this book. It's about a young man's search for his dream and following his heart.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Interesting book. Unexpected story line.
reviewed The Alchemist on
Helpful Score: 3
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.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
This is a wonderful book, one that I will read over and over. The story and morals are timeless and whenever I need something to remind of what is important in life, I pick this book up.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 136 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Wonderful. Like an adult fairy tale. Very thoughtful and interesting.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 22 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
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! =)
reviewed The Alchemist on + 200 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
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.
reviewed The Alchemist on
Helpful Score: 2
Glad I finally read this book. It was a nice story that's easy to read and the author does an excellent job with symbolism.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 60 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
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
reviewed The Alchemist on
Helpful Score: 2
This is my first novel in 3 decades. I absolutely loved it.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
One needs to be in a contemplative mood to enjoy a book written in a somewhat allegorical style. The lessons learned are profound if the reader has ears to hear.
Best,
Rob
reviewed The Alchemist on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
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.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
My son read this for a college class and then convinced me to read it. Deep thinking!!
reviewed The Alchemist on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
such a unique story! my western brain kept waiting for the climax, and there is one, but it's such a gentle ride to it... sit back and enjoy and breathe it!
reviewed The Alchemist on
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
this is another book encouraging selfishness and ideas contrary to my Judaeo-Christian belief system. The author is simplistic in his thinking, regarding all religions as the same.
reviewed The Alchemist on
Helpful Score: 1
This book was not exactly what I was expecting but was very thought-provoking none the less. Definitely a book that makes you think!
reviewed The Alchemist on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 155 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.

Worth the short read it is.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 3 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed The Alchemist on
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed The Alchemist on
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 7 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Literally, the worst book I have ever read. It tries to be all spiritual and metaphysical but it is nothing but nonsense. I read this with a book club and every single member of our group hated it.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 62 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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?
reviewed The Alchemist on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 8 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Great book. Has a lot of meaning even though it is a very easy read.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 210 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed The Alchemist on
Helpful Score: 1
This was a great book about love and survival.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 31 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed The Alchemist on + 59 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Another great one by Paulo Coelho.
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A great story, full of whit and omens. Delightful following the thoughts of law of attraction and other positive "mystic" books.
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Fairly decent book but the ending was abrupt
reviewed The Alchemist on + 20 more book reviews
Absolutely loved this book. It will have you thinking and looking at things in a different way. Truly a gem.
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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.

I recommend this book to young readers.
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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.
reviewed The Alchemist on
very thought provoking
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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.
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A good read; short, thought-provoking. A different kind of book.
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The story was different. It reminded me of a fable with some religious overtones. I enjoyed it more than some members of my book club. I think it is worth reading.
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Santiago chases his dream to the Egypt pyramids in search of treasure, and meets an alchemist along the way. Interesting analogy of what life is like when lived in search of your dreams.
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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.
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I thought this book was okay. I enjoyed parts of it, but I thought it was a little out there. I am glad I read it to find out what all the fuss it about.
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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.
reviewed The Alchemist on
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.
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Many people have raved about this book. I liked it, but I can't even remember the ending.
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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.
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deep..I thought it dragged on and on
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Not as interesting as I thought - meanders a lot.
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This book follows a boy's journey from Spain to Egypt. It is written in the style of a timeless fable. Thought-provoking and a good beginning for discussion.
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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.
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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.
reviewed The Alchemist on
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
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Inspiring!
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A charming book about chasing your dreams in life. Reminds me abit of "The Monk who sold his Ferrari."
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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.
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I was told that the book would change my life -- maybe I just didn't read it right! It is a nice story, tho'. Quick read, too.
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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.
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Everyone should read this book. It is beautifully yet simply written, and it speaks to people of all walks of life. Definitely a book I can pick up any time and reread just for the pleasure of it.
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Interesting read.
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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.
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Book was very uplifting and spiritual. About life and it's true meaning and the things you THINK you want.
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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.
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great book!