Workshop : The Alchemist

The Alchemist

As you know throughout the month of July we shall be discussing my book “The Alchemist”.

Throughout the week, I will be accessing this page 2-3 times a day in order to answer your questions until July 31st. I want also for you discuss among yourselves – since I’m very curious to see your reactions to the book.
I wrote a foreword for the 10th anniversary edition of the book and I would like to post it here as an introduction to the book:

Ten Years On

I remember receiving a letter from the American publisher, Harper Collins, which said that: “reading The Alchemist was like getting up at dawn and seeing the sun rise while the rest of the world still slept.” I went outside, looked up at the sky and thought to myself: “So, the book is going to be published in English!” At the time, I was struggling to establish myself as a writer and to follow my path despite all the voices telling me it was impossible.

And little by little, my dream was becoming reality. Ten, a hundred, a thousand, a million copies sold in America. One day, a Brazilian journalist phoned to say that President Clinton had been photographed reading the book. Some time later, when I was in Turkey, I opened the magazine Vanity Fair and there was Julia Roberts declaring that she adored the book. Walking alone down a street in Miami, I heard a girl telling her mother: “You must read The Alchemist!”

The book has been translated into 67 languages, has sold more than 65 million copies, and people are beginning to ask: What’s the secret behind such a huge success?

The only honest response is: I don’t know. All I know is that, like Santiago the shepherd boy, we all need to be aware of our personal calling. What is a personal calling? It is God’s blessing, it is the path that God chose for you here on Earth. Whenever we do something that fills us with enthusiasm, we are following our legend. However, we don’t all have the courage to confront our own dream.

Why?

There are four obstacles. First: we are told from childhood onwards that everything we want to do is impossible. We grow up with this idea, and as the years accumulate, so too do the layers of prejudice, fear and guilt. There comes a time when our personal calling is so deeply buried in our soul as to be invisible. But it’s still there.

If we have the courage to disinter dream, we are then faced by the second obstacle: love. We know what we want to do, but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue their dream. We do not realize that love is just a further impetus, not something that will prevent them going forwards. We do not realize that those who genuinely wish us well want us to be happy and are prepared to accompany us on that journey.

Once we have accepted that love is a stimulus, we come up against the third obstacle: fear of the defeats we will meet on the path. We who fight for our dream, suffer far more when it doesn’t work out, because we cannot fall back on the old excuse: “Oh, well, I didn’t really want it anyway.” We do want it and know that we have staked everything on it and that the path of the personal calling is no easier than any other path, except that our whole heart is in this journey. Then, we warriors of light must be prepared to have patience in difficult times and to know that the Universe is conspiring in our favor, even though we may not understand how.

I ask myself: are defeats necessary?

Well, necessary or not, they happen. When we first begin fighting for our dream, we have no experience and make many mistakes. The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.

So, why is it so important to live our personal calling if we are only going to suffer more than other people?

Because, once we have overcome the defeats – and we always do – we are filled by a greater sense of euphoria and confidence. In the silence of our hearts, we know that we are proving ourselves worthy of the miracle of life. Each day, each hour, is part of the good fight. We start to live with enthusiasm and pleasure. Intense, unexpected suffering passes more quickly than suffering that is apparently bearable; the latter goes on for years and, without our noticing, eats away at our soul, until, one day, we are no longer able to free ourselves from the bitterness and it stays with us for the rest of our lives.

Having disinterred our dream, having used the power of love to nurture it and spent many years living with the scars, we suddenly notice that what we always wanted is there, waiting for us, perhaps the very next day. Then comes the fourth obstacle: the fear of realizing the dream for which we fought all our lives.

Oscar Wilde said: ‘each man kills the thing he loves’. And it’s true. The mere possibility of getting what we want fills the soul of the ordinary person with guilt. We look around at all those who have failed to get what they want and feel that we do not deserve to get what we want either. We forget about all the obstacles we overcame, all the suffering we endured, all the things we had to give up in order to get this far. I have known a lot of people who, when their personal calling was within their grasp, went on to commit a series of stupid mistakes and never reached their goal – when it was only a step away.

This is the most dangerous of the obstacles because it has a kind of saintly aura about it: renouncing joy and conquest. But if you believe yourself worthy of the thing you fought so hard to get, then you become an instrument of God, you help the Soul of the World and you understand why you are here.

So, let’s embark in the discussion of my book for the up-coming month.
Love
Paulo

Comments

  1. Dariush Saberi says:

    Dear Mr Coelho,

    I have been working on the translations of “Alchemist” for almost one year in my MA thesis and I am desperately write to you as I am sure you will never reply. I encountered the problem after one year that you may have published different versions of “The Alchemist” in English and whatever is now available in your website is different from what translators have used for translation…. Is it the case? Are there different editions of this novel in English? Please reply me. The validity of my data after 1 whole year is ruined because of this.

    Kindly please advise.

    Regards,
    Dariush Saberi
    0060-17-3831917

    1. Paulo Coelho says:

      the only thing that is different is that the new editions have an interview at the end, and a foreword. Nothing else

    2. Rien says:

      de retour a la source
      tout va bien :)

  2. Debra Skousen says:

    I loved this book! Sometimes you can go through your life only excepting what is given, not believing there can be more, such as a personal legend. Before my mother died I promised her that I too would see my personal legend, which was writing. She claimed it was a gift from God, and that he would be disapointed if I ignored such a gift, I finally finished my book, thanks to help along the way. santiago, had also had to confront his furture, with the help of many to realize his personal legend, and his heart. Thank you Paulo for a most delightfully touching book.

  3. vaishali says:

    yes! a book can change your life..
    your whole perspective of looking towards everything… :)
    i love my life and now i know what i want to do with it..!

  4. Shamlee says:

    I remember when my sister told me that it’s a must to read this book, n finally i read it.. Going thru the pages one after the other, sometimes slowing down for a while to ponder on the deep meanings of the words and phrases that follow.. This book was indeed an enlightening in my dark path ahead. The alchemist made me hold stronger to what i believe in..And im thankful to you Paulo for providing us with such beautiful masterpieces that binds us to our beliefs and dreams in life.. thank you a lot.

  5. I THINK THIS BOOK IS FANTASTIC 1 OF MY FRIEND RECOMENDED IT 2 ME & I READ IT …..MY EXPERIENCE OF READING IT WAS AMAZING ….. THIS BOOK WAS SO AMAZING THAT I READ IT DAY & NIGHT 2 COMPLETE IT & I COMPLETED IT IN 1 WEEK

  6. Josh says:

    You asked yourself if defeats are necessary and I feel that Santiago showed us how defeat is always a good thing. Like you said, “fall down seven times and get back up eight times”. Each stumble is only a way to learn and grow stronger. Santiago made mistakes but he had to learn from them and in doing so he became stronger. A defeat is always necessary because it teaches us how to improve, how to truly achieve our personnal calling, it inturn gives us that greater feeling of gratitude. Nothing is worth achieving if it wasn’t a struggle to get.

    1. Gabriel Cortez says:

      This is an excellent observation! Santiago finds himself in many situations where he is tried and tested on his journey. One of the key moments is when he has his gold taken from on his first day in Africa. He is another country, with no money, no understanding of the language, and no idea what to do. Instead of giving up or panicking, he takes control of the situation. He finds a place to rest and wakes up in a optimistic mood. He helps a man set up his stand, and eventually discovers the crystal Merchant, who goes on to teach Santiago many invaluable skills and lessons that aid him throughout the rest of his journey. This perceived failure was actually a good omen for Santiago, it destined to be part of his journey. Each time he is tested he is able to push on, his determination and courage allow him to complete his adventure and meet the Alchemist and claim the treasure.

  7. eleonora says:

    Mi piace rileggere sempre un libro o il libro che mi ha aiutato ancora a credere quando tutto rema contro..Adoro L’alchimista.

  8. jitendra says:

    I have read it amny times and each time I got a new message after reading it..

  9. Karen says:

    If I could thank you for it I would.
    So I guess I will.
    Grasicas

    1. auston says:

      this story was very good i have never read a book like it.

  10. Spencer Jornod says:

    I think that the only way of achieving your goal is by following your Personal Legend and keep trying to succeed. I don’t get why Santiago would let somebody from a different country take his money? Why would he trust him? I think that the biggest challenge for Santiago was crossing the desert with the Englishman which would be the Abyss.

    1. Carlos B says:

      Yes, I agree that if one wants to succeed they need to follow their personal legend and not be afraid of failure. Like in the story Santiago failed many times in his journey, but he kept pushing toward his goal. However, I think Santiago gave his money to his new friend because he trusted him. To me it seems that he trusted him because this man defended him in the bar where the man was yelling at Santiago. Also Santiago was in a foreign country he didn’t know the language, and the thief was the first person to talk to him. Since this thief had defended him, he assumed they were friend’s cause that’s what friends do. Santiago was looking for a way of transportation to continue his journey, and he gave this man the money because he was from that country and Santiago assumed he would had led him through the foreign town.

  11. patrick says:

    I feel like people follow their dreams and they can only achieve them by discovering their personal legend.

    1. Britt K. says:

      How can you tell if something is to be your own personal legend or just something else that you would like to achieve in your life? For example, I want to learn to drive a motorcycle, but it’s not my Personal Legend. Add to that, at one point Santiago hits the pause on his Personal Legend and works in the crystal shop. So, if things are not moving as smoothly, when does a person place a pause on their own Personal Legend?

  12. nyma says:

    Some books tear the dark veil of sorrow, shedding sunlight unto untended gardens in our souls, full of wondrous thoughts and unknown strength, yet to be discovered.

  13. Is almost time for Graphic Novel Edition’s birthday, and so that is when I will read The Alchemist again.

    I wondered for a long time about the Crystal Merchant, trying to understand him. But finally understood better from a very different viewpoint tonight!!
    How sometimes people feel stress about dreams, not sure what will come after if a dream comes true. Now I feel more compassion about this and the generation before I was born.

    When little, I did not realize about tomorrow. So maybe Santiago is like that too, lives in the moment, because that is where everything is possible. (not only that, many dreams do come true!! )

    Now how to reconcile in a way, brings me to something my daughter said last visit: ‘Well, then I guess you dream a new dream!’

    Love and Gratitude,
    Jane xo
    Actually I had two great big dreams and will probably keep me busy for the rest of my life!!

    1. Brett Anderson says:

      I personally, like you, found the crystal merchant to be a very interesting character in comparison to the others within the book. For one he was a man who had “seen” the omens, yet ignored them instead of pursuing what is Personal Legend could have been (going to Mecca). Secondly, the alchemist himself mentions that if Santiago had taken a similar path of abandoning his Legend he would live a partly successful life but ultimately one that would cut him off from the “signs”. Theoretically, if this same idea is carried over, the merchant had either lost the connection to the signs or will at some point. Despite enjoying the idea that he can go to Mecca he will most likely never see it.

      Living in the moment was certainly a crucial part of the story, one that carried over as a message for most characters. This was most likely one of the biggest messages within the book, and one that throws a different perspective on things. Good luck in your dreaming Jane, and live in the moment if you can!

    2. AB says:

      I see your outlook on the crystal merchant; he dreams of someone elses dreams, not dreaming of his own. As stated from the crystal merchant,”But I’m afraid that is would all be a disappointment, so I prefer just to dream about it” (pg.34). Living in the moment takes you to memories that are unplanned, not desired. Having a dream and living in that moment of your understanding is realizing and bringing forth your dream or your personal legend. Possibly, living in the moment will help you realize your dream, but in my opinion it does not make all things possible. Like your daughter said you can dream of a new dream. The sky is your limit. But in my belief god made one dream/ one personal calling for everyone. We can all have dreams and wishes, but it the dreams and wishes that help us conquer our own legend. We have to make decisions we think are best; whether it be friom our own judgement or someone elses. It is your choice to follow or to lead. For me, I believe god is leading me onto the right pathway for me, but it is I who has to believe and no fear for the future.

  14. emmy says:

    Hi Paulo
    This book learn me how to see signs and follow it thanks alot

  15. The Alchemist is a beautifully rendered stunning graphic novel of the classic that continues to inspire readers worldwide. Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. The Alchemist has established itself as a modern classic, universally admired. Now for the first time, the phenomenal bestseller has been rendered as a graphic novel that will appeal to the millions of existing fans while also attracting a new generation of readers.

    1. auston says:

      i can totally agree this book was new way to show how people can have perspectives that change there lives. this book is also great at showing little elements of magic, love, romance, journey, action as well as respect included in the book.

  16. Лиза says:

    “Алхимик” очень интересный и познавательный роман!!!!!!
    это самая первая книга, которую я прочитала….!!!!!!
    пришла в “Дом Книги” и купила!! почему-то купила именно “Алхимик”…

    Герой- Сантьяго живет в каждом из нас… )) безумно понравилась книга…
    Желаю Успеха!!! Очень хочется прочитать новые Ваши книги!!!

  17. devika says:

    what are the 67(or has it changed)languages that The Alchemist has been translated into?

    1. Buckie says:

      I never thughot I would find such an everyday topic so enthralling!

  18. rusudan says:

    the best book i have ever read! i appreciate ,,alchemist” it gives immense hope…..

  19. Don Xu says:

    Hi, I’m a senior in high school. I read “The Alchemist” a week ago. There is no such a word can describe what I feel now. The book changed me fundamentally. I found anwsers to a lot of questions I can’t anwser. Our enviromental science teacher asked us why we need to solve enviromental problems? My anwser now is I want to contribute to the dynamic of the universe. I’m thankful to the universe for making it possible for me to be on the earth. I don’t want human to destroy this dynamic on the earth.

    By the way, I have two questions that I really hope you can anwser me:

    1. How do I know what is my personal legend? I have so many interests that I want to fulfill. I haven’t had any dream to tell me what is my personal legend(or I forgot the dream.) Through I try to listen to my heart and other people, I can’t find a specific direction.

    2. How you think one person’s personal legend related to others’? The personal legend of the Alchemist is to fulfill the wish of the cheap metals to achieve their personal legend. Why is his personal legend more complex than other person’s?

    Thank you for opening my mind to a new field in this special time. Marry X’mas & Happy New Year!!

    1. Don Xu says:

      Can you anwser my question No.2?
      Sorry for asking repetitive question No.1.
      And just for courious, how you think of war and conflict? I find the issue is some people just refuse to accept any new ideas. How to deal with crazy people, when you are a rational person?

    2. Юля says:

      This book completely changed the consciousness, and those who changed, can change others.

    3. Sylvia says:

      I believe it is hard to find what your personal legend is. As you mentioned you have many interests that you would like to fulfill, but I am sure there are ones that you could pick out that would be more important for you to fulfill. I honestly believe there are signs that you could follow that would help you find your personal legend, you just have to know how to really pay attention to them. My mother died when I was 18 years old, and there has been many times in my life where I just needed my mother, and she would appear in my dreams. I believe you can find your personal legend in your dreams.

    4. Kassidy says:

      I have mixed feelings about this book. I really like and appreciate the concept of finding one’s specific personal legend, though I do not think people should rely on that to be the only possible way to have a fulfilling life. It seems like you are struggling with finding your personal legend and that’s perfectly fine, I believe 100% of people do struggle. However, I do not think it will take a ‘dream’ for you to figure it out. Above all, it takes yourself to determine it and pursue that specific thing you want in life. Like it says in the book, “It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired” (62). Trust in yourself, man!

  20. I know this is an old post but I wish you would do more of these ‘Alchemist’ workshops…People belittle other people in the world today because they haven’t the courage to delve into themseves and discover what’s there. People need a road map.

    1. krista says:

      i agree with you! people are so mean to eachother nowadays because they are too afraid to look inside themselves and take the time to discover who they really are. they get this delusional idea that it is your place in life to rag on other people, but if they felt more self worth and had the courage to find their true place in life, they wouldnt spend so much time hurting others! great post!

  21. Gül says:

    I like the Alchemist. I like very much that your book shows how interesting other cultures and other thinkings are (signs, mektoub, fatima,…). There is a lot to learn. Each time I read the Alchemist I learn something new. I just another aspect that i haven’t seen by the previous readings.
    The Alchemist is like a tairy tale that is just reality…

    1. Gül says:

      This time I learned: Just to trust and go …

  22. Lilia Lazcano says:

    I’m glad I was assigned this book in my World Literature class. This was a great book which had a very thoughtful perspective. I’ve only read a couple of books in my life and this is my favorite so far. The story line was awesome. Santiago’s dream on finding the buried treasure can relate to me in many ways. I’ve also had dreams I can achieve if I put my mind on it for example my higher education. Sometimes I think it will be hard to because that would mean I would have to move closer to the University of my Choice to be closer. Even with obstacles I strive to be the best and continue my education even if it means to move to another city. I have a question that I’ll love to discuss. The Alchemist is clearly a novel about spiritual growth. Do you think that its message is at odds with organized religion?

    1. Jeff Kirk says:

      Ahh! The Personal Legend that we read about in “The Alchemist” is quite thought provoking. I, having advanced in my years, can look back on a time when I see that I actually had knowledge of it and then I let it happen; “a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible” (21). I had allowed the events of life going on around me keep me from pushing toward my own Personal Legend. This had to take an effort because “when you want something, all the world conspires to help you achieve it” (67). I had to be working against the universe and now I sit with a bit of regret at my discovery. However, I am able to look back and see where I erred and I still know my Personal Legend. I am much older and less interested in fighting against the world and may just allow myself the next push forward in my own life to achieve my Personal Legend.

    2. Roman Pineda says:

      Hello Lilia,
      I am taking literature, and one of my assignments is to reply to one comment on this blog. I agree with you about The Alchemist in that it is a novel that teaches spiritual growth. However, if you do a deeper analysis, you’ll find out that it is about how your dreams help to build your faith, your faith helps you believe in you, and for you to trust in God. At the end of the novel Santiago makes mention of his dreams that brought him all the way to Egypt, “And, although his mouth was bleeding and swollen, he told his attackers that he had twice dreamed of a treasure hidden near the Pyramids of Egypt.”(162). Yes he dreamed, but a dream does not become true unless we have faith in God. Faith requires action and believing in the unseen, which is what Santiago did. He believed in a treasure he had never seen before. Your main question is a good one, and it is the main reason why I decided to reply to your post. I do not think the message is at odds with any organized religion because the writer uses many scriptures from The Bible without changing the meaning, and he goes beyond by giving credit to God; “God created the world so that through its visible objects, men could understand his spiritual teachings and marvel of his wisdom.”(127). I believe it is an excellent book to read because it has so many lessons to learn from such as: faith, perseverance, wisdom, etc.

    3. Joycelynn Creel says:

      In a way organized religion and personal growth go hand in hand yet are at odds. Its like cat and mouse or peanut butter and jelly, two different substances that grow and become different yet when combined can create something extraordinary. The moral of the story was about finding ones self, whether it is goal orientated (the treasure) or finding who you are. The boy and the gods are at war because Santiago feels that the gods do not have the same needs that human’s do. On page 33 “The gods should not have desires, because they don’t have personal legends.” However sometimes you just have to make a jump. For instance Santiago gave up his beloved flock for a dream whether it came true or not was up to him. This story is not just about the intermingling with god, religion, and treasure, but finding the true potential in ones self even though the cost is great.

    4. Cody says:

      I couldnt agree more with this post! I too have not read very many books in my life but this one by far is the best one yet. I love that the whole book focuses on people’s dreams and “It describes people’s inability to choose their own Personal Legends” (18). I have lived my whole life so far chasing one dream and after reading this book it has encouraged me even more to try harder and harder to reach it. I can relate to Santiago in a way that I dont think many other people can. I picture my whole life as meeting new people and them sharing a little piece of their knowlege with me and in return I can give back to them. Once I reach my major goal in life, I want to be able to go back and give everyone that helped me along the way a little piece of my knowledge.

  23. AndreaChase says:

    I think the book tells about how anyone could be this way. The story shows how even a shepherd boy has dreams and aspirations. We are all one. As a part of that I think the book tells us all about ourselves. Who doesn’t think the way the shepherd boy does? We all long for our own personal legend. Whether we said it aloud or not this wanting to know what’s our purpose lingers in our minds. Maybe one doesn’t think about it as much as another but we all have that thought. Some, like the crystal merchant, are contempt with life, but at one point he saught his own legend. To me the book is somewhat of a calling to everyone, to fine thier personal legend. Anyone can do this, because we all have our own personal legend. It’s those who seek it with a full heart that succeed.

    1. Sparkle Stallings says:

      The fact that he is a shepherd boy seems irrelevant to me since everyone regardless of culture, region or occupation all have a personal legend that they are destined to live up to. You could also call it fate but that all can be altered if we choose to not follow our hearts. Some of us do follow our hearts but only so far because then we settle because we feel we will never reach them. But as you said it is those who seek their personal legends with their full heart, and never give up, are the ones that succeed. It’s like the merchant said “it’s the thought of Mecca that keeps me alive. It helps me face these days that are all the same… I’m afraid that if my dream is realized, I will have no reason to go on living” (pg 55) That is so true, many of us know what we want but the persistence and know how to obtain it is where we fall short. Even if we know what we want and how we are going to go about to get there, what will we do once we have obtained it? What is there left to look forward to?

  24. sharell council-brown says:

    I was assigned the book “The Alchemist” for my college World Literature class. From the begining I expected great things from the book because of my professors past book assignments. I absolutely did not expect a complete change of perspective. It makes me feel grateful and it really opened my eyes. There was a quote specifically that stood out to me and one I will never forget and that is “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” It is so relevant to my life and my situation. I feel unbelievably blessed to have this book fall into my lap. I am interested in continuing ready books by him. I have always been a strong person spiritually or at least I though I was. This book is amazing and I would recommend it to anyone who knows how to read.

    1. Rhonda Mayo says:

      I was deeply moved by “The Alchemist”. The story of the shephard boy touched my heart and made me realize that I am seeking “my personal legend” as well. I decided to start college after my children were grown and have worried that I am being selfish for pursuing my dreams, but after reading Paulo Coelho’s book and his webpage, I know that those who truly love you will be happy about your quest and gladly send you on your way. I feel blessed to have had this assignment, the book was thought-provoking and made you examine the writing on your heart and soul, begging you to determine the path that you will pursue in your personal quest for happiness and fulfillment. In the book the Alchemist tells Santiago “People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to acheive them.” I will carry this passage with me as I continue to pursue my personal dreams. Like Sharell, this book is relevant to my life and I will keep it for reference when the road ahead becomes rough, never forgetting that dreams are not impossible.

    2. Brandon Stone says:

      I was also assigned “The Alchemist” for my world literature class. When I first started reading the book I had no idea that it had so much meaning and knowledge about life. It also helped me open my eyes to look out for good omens and not to take them for granted. Your quote was one of my favorites also but I would have to say that the quote that really hit home with me was when the alchemist said, “Don’t give into your fears”, “If you do, you wont be able to listen to your heart”(141). I too would also recommend it to anyone who is at a wierd place in there life.

    3. Cat says:

      I’ve wanted to read this book for a long time and am extremely glad that it was assigned to be read in my college World Literature class. I feel like the timing itself couldn’t have been more perfect- an omen, perhaps? Today was definitely the right day for me to read this book; while I myself was feeling out of it this morning, it’s as if my mind was clearing itself so that I could be completely open to everything this amazing book had to offer. During my reading, I had to take a break to attend a math class, and found myself thinking about the future the entire way there. For many reasons, I have things I’m unsure about concerning my future, such as who I’ll be with, where I’ll live, etc. At first, this sent me into a confusing downward spiral of “what if this? what if that? I don’t want this…” on and on. But once I got home and got back into the book, my cares flew away for a while, and I felt a sense of relief as I came upon this particular line, “Because I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present.” It was like the king himself had come up to me and given me the message, right when I needed it. In this day and age, having a future requires careful planning and saving money, as the boy showed us many times. Sitting and fretting about what the future may hold, however, is where we cross over into the realm of insanity. Instead of worrying about what’s to come, I need to use the time I have to enjoy the now! Because that’s where I am, and where I’ll always be- someday, “the future” will become my now. But until then, I’ll be reading this book. (:

  25. Alberto Tellez says:

    I think that “The Alchamist” was a great book. I never thought that a book would help me get through some of my life problems. In this case like in the life of Santiago the sheapord boy. This “Calling” we need to find has made me think that dreams are attainable. Like Santiago I also feel that I have a dream in life. I’ve always wanted to help my family out and support them in any shape or form. This book has inpired me to reach for my goals in one day hoping to achieve them. I too have struggled in my early life as an Imigrant. But that didn’t stop me of striving to be the best. “The Alchamist” is a book that I was assigned in my College World Literature Class. I am glad because this is a great book and I recommend. This book is great to discus and I was wondering when he talked about the pilgrimage to Mecca, the crystal merchant argued that having a dream is more important than fulfilling it, which is what Santiago was trying to do. Do you agree with Santiago’s rationale or crystal merchant’s?

    1. Incarnacion14 says:

      …Just a mo !Looking into my crystal ball.
      TUne in .Back shortly!
      ;) XX

    2. Yolanda T. says:

      Alberto,

      Hi, I am an older college student and I like you were required to read this book for my World Literature Class. Our assignment is to respond to someone on this blog website. When I read your blog, it was exactly what I felt and was thinking. I would like to respond to your question on Santiago’s rationale or the crystal merchants. I too am an immigrant, because of that and my age I understand and sympathize with the crystal merchants rationale. My upbringing instilled me with fear of succeeding so I never went beyond my boundaries till late in life and like the author, Paulo Coelho, wrote in his blog “There comes a time when our personal calling is so deeply buried in our soul as to be invisible. But it’s still there.” And he was right, it still was there.. for here I am at age 52, now in college seeking my personal legend. So there is hope for all those crystal merchants out there that one day their personal legends will be visible again.

    3. Micehlle says:

      Yolanda and Alberto,
      I also am a non-traditional college student. I can relate to the obstacle of overcoming the fear instilled in us from childhood. I have always felt great enthusiasm and energy for life and have tried to pursue my dreams. Sometimes the pursuit of these dreams was met with many warnings from family and friends. Perhaps they wanted to warn me about the possibility of failure. Often I believe it was the case that fears were instilled in me by individuals who did not believe in themselves so they never had the courage to go after their dreams, how tragic! I love the passage on p.134 (in the English translation) which reads “When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.” This then becomes another one of the obstacles one must overcome in order to pursue their dreams.
      Also, I love the insight of Coelho on p.75 where the narrator is telling us that everything happens for a reason and that we may have detours on our journey but as long as we are always working towards reaching our “compass point” we will make our destination. In short, life may take unexpected turns, we may not find ourselves fulfilling our destiny in the same order or manner as what is conventionally accepted but as long as we are always heading towards our goal, our treasure, we will get there. In the real world perhaps for us this means that we did not attend college until we were older, perhaps our career will come after our families have come? In the end as long as we follow that drive to be and become, we get where we always were meant to be.
      I enjoyed reading and internalizing this work. I believe it to be so insightful and powerful. I am thankful for the insight it has given me.
      Michelle

    4. JoAnne M. says:

      Alberto,
      I found this book to be quite enlightening as well. I believe that the affect it has on people is in its application to nearly everyone at some point in their life. As an adult student, I have realized potential that I previously had no confidence in. For a long time, the thought of returning to school terrified me, and I convinced myself that I was content with who I was; to change my life after all those years would just be too hard. Like the crystal merchant said to Santiago, “I don’t want to change anything, because I don’t know how to deal with change. I’m used to the way I am”(58). From the moment I’ve been back in school, I’ve been happier. Not because it’s easy, but because I’m accomplishing something; working toward a dream.
      For this reason, I disagree with the crystal merchant. A lot of people spend their lives working and saving for the day they have the time and money they ‘need’ to realize their dreams. For many, that day never comes. Those people are left to finish off their lives with the regret of all they never did.
      Continue on your journey. You’ll be glad you did!

    5. Mariana says:

      You ask a great question there at the end. Which is more important having the dream or fulfillling it? This book really made me think about myself and what dreams I have had for myself. And which of these dreams are my “personal legend” in any. I really enjoyed reading this book and I can see why it has become so popular. I believe you if you have a dream as big as the merchant did. That was essential to his religion then it would be more important to realize that dream than to just dream about it, but is that the crystal merchants “personal legend?”

  26. ERICA NAGROM says:

    Hi Mr. Coelho~ I want to tell you that this book you wrote was a good read. I was assigned to read this book in my World Literature class in college. Although I am not done reading the book I think what I have read so far is pretty interesting. From reading what you have wrote you strike me as the philosophical type and may have what it takes to become a famous writer of philosophy or perhaps a learned about philosopher. I also find it to be very intriguing how this book has been translated into so many different languages. Which tells me you have won hearts and minds in many different parts of the world from many different walks of life. It seems to me you have found your calling and have figured out the universal language. I also love the setting you have chosen for this book from Spain down to somewhere around Morocco I would assume and across the deserts. I live in the desert and I love the desert and the beauties that the desert brings. Lightning storms and such and the desert winds. Although the blowing sand and dust can be a rather nuisance. ~ Erica

  27. Tod T.bare says:

    Hope you will keep updating your post . Thank for sharing.

  28. Gül says:

    I loved and I love reading the Alchemist… I am very optimistic while reading the Alchemist. I believe to find my calling…

    But several time later I still have this question: How do I find my calling? How do I know and recognise my calling?

    1. Ronelle says:

      You ask how to find your Personal Legend. I am asking you, are sheep dumb animals? To answer this question, you will have to slow sown, stop what you are doing and think hard about the answer. Many people think sheep are dumb. They are not dumb. I have been a sheep farmer in the African desert. It was not the sheep’s mistake that I did not learn from them. I now know that I was too young to listen to the sheep. Fortunately the desert has always spoken to me and I am fortunate to still live in the desert. Santiago discovered that all the sheep ever did was to look for food and water. The sheep taught him that there is a language in the world that everyone understood. It was the language of enthusiasm (62). Today I live a busy life in the U. S. Although circumstances on the farm were very different from the days of The Alchemist, the book brought back wonderful memories of a time when life was much simpler. I am not saying it was easier; it had many challenges, but I had time to listen to the desert.

      Paulo Choelo reminded me to slow down and listen to my heart. Why is it so hard to slow down and listen? The desert can teach us and sheep can do it. Unfortunately, I had to become older before I learned the value of silence. That is when we find our Personal Legend. And then there is the camel driver who did not live in the past or the future. I am always thinking about the future. He concentrated on the present and he is happy because he is alive. That is an important message for me too.

  29. immanuel a. jackson says:

    to the author…
    i am sure you must, by now tired of reading replies like mine..as i say the same as others that you have a way of talking personally to the reader… but still cant stop myself from thanking you for changing my world!!.. as i see it after reading a couple of your books.. thanx again for making me live life as LIFE… and thanx to my friend IVY who bought me ur book ALCHEMIST and forced me read it… as i never had the habit of reading…??
    thankyou again… cos i felt like saying it again??

  30. Rommel Canton says:

    I want to know more of your books… it look interesting ^^,

  31. Anna says:

    I was walking one day talking to my sister about life and my dreams and how I know what I want to do and I felt like omens were guiding me and helping me (at the time the word ‘omen’ was not a part of my vocabulary so I tried to describe to her that I felt as though the world was conspiring to guide me along the path of my dreams). She then informed me of your book, The Alchemist. I am far from an advid reader, and as a recent college graduate surprisngly have never read one whole book on my own out of leaisure. I read your book in 2 days, and felt as though everything I had been feeling and describing to my sister was real. The book reinforced my optimistic feelings and beliefs about destiny, when I needed an extra sign – the book aided as yet another omen. It was also published the year I was born. Thank you for such an amazing book.

    1. David Rowlands says:

      Anna,
      I feel the same way after reading the book. I’ve always felt guided throughout my life by signs and intuition. One thing I feel “The Alchemist” taught me was to listen to my own instincts, as my heart is usually right. After reading it I have decided to pursue my dreams. I realized that I was afraid as Santiago was when he was pursuing his Personal Legend, “”That makes sense,” the alchemist answered. “Naturally it’s afraid that , in pursuing your dream, you might lose everything you’ve won” (129). I wonder how many people in reality are like those in the book, stopping just short of reaching their “Personal Legends”?

  32. I am lucky enough to find my destiny after reading “Alchemist”,its an excellent example of reflections of God upon his humanity,Paulo is lucky for being mirror to millions,I am his disciple as I was since my creation in heavens.I love you,I found you :)

    1. Sarah Barnhouse says:

      How is it that one finds their destiny after reading a book? I can see how it would influence our actions and help reshape our philosophy; but, can one really have a true life changing experience through just one book? I find that a book can change your life through the lessons it teaches. For example, the shepherd looses all the money he has, correct? He trusts someone and they scam him, I feel it’s a practical way showing how life works. It throws you on the ground and it is our responsibility to find our way back. Him finding his way back is through one example, with the crystal merchant. The shepherd didn’t know Arabic, he had no money, no sheep, just the clothes on his back and his intention of finding his path. I’m not trying to slander your you in anyway Aftab, but I’m the sort of person that takes the lessons, then changes my life. I think that’s what you were trying to say all along. I just had to type it out :]

    2. Katelyn Abbott says:

      A person cannot find out his or her destiny after reading a book. Books have been able to help us become who we are as people, can have a major influence on our way of thinking, and do teach us important life lessons, but books cannot show a person his or her destiny. I do believe that the only way a person can out his or her destiny is through experience in life and following their heart no matter how scared they are to. An important life lesson in The Alchemist is that Santiago must fulfill his destiny by going to Egypt to find the treasure buried in the Pryamids from his dream. He goes to Egypt and gains much experience and knowledge about the ways of life on his journey but his courage deserts him as the alchemist guides him through the desert. He tells the alchemist that his heart does not want him to go on and the alchemist responds, “Naturally it’s afraid that, in pursuing your dream, you might lose everything you’ve won” (131). Santiago realizes that it is important for him to always to listen to whatever his heart is telling him even if it is about his fears but he must not let his fears stop him from fulfilling his goals. If he does then he will never get to fulfill his dream or be happy because he will always live with the guilt of wondering what life would have been like for him if he had completed his goal. This strengthens his resolve to complete his goal on the path to his Personal Legend.

      I have wanted to become an author because I love to read books, write stories, and draw. Brainstorming new ideas for stories and creativity were fun. I did a good job at writing stories and I even got published in a newspaper and won an essay writing conest when I was in elementary and middle school. I wanted to be famous like J.K. Rowling was and get to make as much money as she did from her Harry Potter book series when I was a grownup but my father gave me an ice cold dose of reality when I was about fourteen years old. He would invade my privacy by reading parts of my stories when I did not want people to do so and he would make snide remarks about it. He said that I had no real skill as a writer and that I would never have a successful career as an author because nobody would want to read anything that I wrote unless they were looking to be put to sleep by it. Like Santiago I had fears that I would never succeed in my goal and I gave up my dream of being an author for four years while I thought about being a history high school teacher or a lawyer instead. However when I was nineteen years old and in my first year of college my mom encouraged me to take up up my dream of becoming an author again and I did. Life experience and multiple failures made me realize I never should have listened to my father and given up on my dream because he had no right to put me down the way he did all of those years before and it was not impossible for me to become an author. I will become an author in the near future and I will be a good author even if I will never be as successful as J.K. Rowling is but then again who knows about that?

  33. young jin says:

    Paulo coelho, thank you. I am korean.^^

  34. Emyn Casipe says:

    This book is soooo amazing.. I persuaded my friends to red it and they say the same. They like you too. I’m dying to read your other books. Thanks Paulo for helping us to pursue our own paths.. You rock!!!

  35. Arjun says:

    My cousin told me about this book.i was strugling with hard times during then.But after reading this book..i dt knw..it feels like i got some answers for something id ben looking for..the story compels me to follow my dreams..it realy insipred me alot..thanks Paulo,for such a great book!!

  36. RAHUL OZA says:

    Ihave read eleven minutes & brida and i found them touching every single string of my soul and in one way making me reflect on my dreams and what i actually wanted.Your books play a huge role in spiritual awakeneing and perhaps will continue for many people who have lost their path and after readind ur books they too will ultimately discover the light in their souls.

  37. jchoe says:

    paulo, i lov your book!
    “The Alchemist” put a lot of things in a new light for me and helped me through tough times. ur opinion on finding one’s calling is amazing.
    thank you!

    1. john griff says:

      “The Alchemist” is a truly awesome and and awe inspiring novel.
      one of the unique things is how the author equates all religions as the same.
      be it muslim, Christian, or Catholic. all and everything are part of one being. one being is all and everything. when the alchemist was talking to the boy about the language of hearts and how a heart knows everything and nothing all at once.
      this book is a carousel of life, meaning, death, and rebirth that i never want to get off of.

  38. sajal shukla says:

    hey paulo i read your book eleven minutes,i appreciate your work and your views.it’s inspires a lot of things..specially regarding sex and sex workers…will continue reading your books.

  39. magdalena slabon says:

    hi this is comment on BRIDA. I’ve been reading Paolo’s books for around 10years now. the first extremely important one was Veronique decides to die. Read it 7years ago, tried to jump from the balcony at the time fortunately was rescued thanks be to God and Heavens. It was a big help, helped me to understand that life IS worth living…
    now my life is totally different i found myself finally but constantly going through various storms…wasn’t easy at all but i got there:) And few weeks ago i came across BRIDA and it opened my eyes to Signs and Magic in general. never ever believed in nothing spiritual (except had strong catholic roots in my childhood &youth – but never magic…), always very practical & realistic, now started to think maybe there IS something in there? BRIDA speaks to me in big letters, have to stop myself from reading to make sure it will last longer… (2 pages a day only, strictly.. each page new disoveries about myself fantastic and magical…) But there’re moments now that i’m becoming afraid of the truth in this book. where will it lead me? i’m only at page 50 whats next? i AM afraid cause everything there seems so true.
    let me finish my comment wit a big THANK YOU Paolo… and your quote from The With of Portobello: If we slow down everything lasts much longer… Till this time in life (i’m 35 now) my motto has always been Carpe diem, now it’s rather the quote above… i’ve fallen in love with Time… Thanks, m.

  40. kate says:

    I’m a traveller who looking for dreams.

    your book is my guide book on my road.
    I have read it many times.

    I have to say thank you.

    I’ve got many dreams. One day, I’d love to meet and talk you. That is also one of my dreams.

    Thank you for living same age with me.

  41. marina says:

    I HAVE READ “The Alchemist” 3 TIMES AND EACH TIME I READ IT AS IF I AM READING IT FOR THE FIRST TIME..
    i have this research about post-colonialism and because i really love your book i want to build my research on it.
    i have this feeling that Santiago have this passion to knowing new people and he has this powerful will to get influenced by them. i sense that “otherness” and “Identity” are so obvious in ‘THE ALCHEMIST” WHICH ARE 2 MAJOR ASPECTS IN POST-COLONIALISM..
    AM I RIGHT??
    Thanks for reading and for your time…

  42. anthony damien says:

    i loved this book it was amazing.
    i am also an amateure writer and i want to be able to talk to you sometime about publishing a book or something

  43. Maggie says:

    I read this book ” The Alchemist” 3 times and still interesting . a friend of mine gave it to me to find some messages between the lines and each time i read it i find a new message than the previous one.

  44. Jeane says:

    By accident I found “The Alchemist”. I bought the book and started reading it, and I cannot wait to finish this lovely and passionate history.Santiago could be my omen. With love

    1. Yarilys says:

      It is so amazing how we discocer life changing things by accident. The very first Coelho’s book I read was “A Orillas del Rios Piedras me Sente y Llore.” I also found it by accident;I was only 14 years old. There it was just like an omen, staring at me, asking me to read it. That book change my life forever, it pages made me smile, cry, think, reflect and much more. Two years later I found “The Alchemist.” The very first time I read it I was not able to go beyond its written words. After a few years I decided to read it again and that is when I started to understand the message encoded whithin the lines of this book. Just like Santiago, I have learned to follow and interpret omens, which I also believe are found everywhere as the Universe evokes a desperate call to all his sons to follow their Pesonal legends. Exactly a week before I enrolled for a World Literature class,I had gone to a store and while looking at books I saw the English version of “The Alchemist,” and I said to myself that I wanted to read it again to see what it had to say to me and so I did. A week later I enroled for this Literature clas I mentioned and I realized that this book was required! “MAKTUB”, “It was written,” “estaba Escrito.” Just like many in this blog have stated, this books tells me new things everytime I read it. It is truly a master piece of literature.Since the very first time I read Paulo Coelho’s work, I have loved and admire him profoundly as the great writter he is.I must mention, that I really enjoyed taking the quiz of the “The Alchemist,” very detailed and fun. For those who have not had the opportunity to read “Veronica Decides to Die,” I strongly encourage you to do so. Another master piece of Literature by Coelho, that will give you a new perspective about life. It will teach you how to apprettiatte life as a present we are given everyday. I consider myself a Veronica…

  45. Liz Ecker says:

    Just finished Brida and enjoyed it immensely. I was struck by a quote about love in it and meant to earmark it. For some reason as I thumb through the book again, the quote is alluding me.

    Just know that your books are touching me and that of course now, I am hooked and must read each and everyone of them. Plan on sharing with several people as well. Thank you!

  46. Zumrtad says:

    when i read your book “The Alchemist” i was under such an impression that i’s at a loss of words. And i swore to myself that i wouid read all your book.
    “The Alchemist” is one if the most interesting book i have read. Thank You!!!