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.


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.


  1. Jenny says:

    I just learned that you and my father were born the same day – in another place, in Croatia.
    Your work is much admired here, I know no one who has not read at least 2 of your books. You found a path to the forgotten places in the souls of those readers, these pure and innocent oases under the surface of our rationality. I for myself, who has never understood why we are here and what the purpose of all this is, experience a kind of tranquility while reading your books,even when the feeelings are running high due to the plot-the same sense of peace I had while reading Hesse, “Siddhatra” or Rilke s poems or “The messages of an emerite” or Rumi or Osho or the poetry of Tin Ujević, a croatian poet. I wonder if you have read “Transurfing” by Vadim Zeland? I am very much interested in your opinion on that. thx and God bless

  2. Kalyani says:

    I am at a loss of words, for when i read your books they make me realise the beauty of life and the amazing world of reading.
    You got me gripped on after i read your much beloved and talked about book, the alchemist.
    A real page turner and a passion filled landscape where life is guided by the heart and hope leads the mind.
    So, a few weeks back i made a promise to myself, i will be buying all of your books, including the ones that i have already read.
    A worthy expenditure of my money and an even more good use of my time.
    I thankyou with all my heart for being such an inspiration and a worthy human being.
    Haters have no say in the mind of a genius, and bad things are always going to remain bad, so whatever anyone says about you – you will always be one of the greatest writers in the world and times to come.
    Im hoping to be just like you someday, ofcourse not just like you, i cannot discover greatness like you have, but even a little hint in my writing that has even the most remote tinge of you would be the most honorable thing i would have ever done.

  3. Gerda Hovius says:

    The alchemist,
    It’s been a while since i read the book,
    I have just finished reading the search for the angel in the desert today.
    What amazes me in the alchemist and the other books i’ve read from you,
    Is that it gives me inside and hope in strenght and believe in the growth of the spirit.
    As well that a tough person like the man the sheppard starts to work for,
    who is very strict does love him very much at some point,
    so love is tough and rough but also warm.
    it is sometimes to for see from someone else his eyes or speak or read their words to realise your own personal truth.
    Thank you very much,
    best regards,

  4. mukhammed almakhan says:

    I’m 17 years old and now studying in Nazarbayev University in Kazkhstan. I’m not interested in reading books. but started with books about picking up girls, mmmm i wasn’t very self-sure, but last week i read your book alchemist in russian , undestood that in this book there are alll philosophial, pshological ideas that purson need. you write things, that we want to read, that gives us spirit, mmmm something like that! thank you.

    1. path says:

      thumbs up! im amazed at the level of consciousness this book and Paulo has brought to the surface. i am even more in awe that young readers such as you are catching on early. . . there is a lot of hope! thxx Paulo!

  5. bahare says:

    Hi. I read the alchemist about 8 years ago when I was 20 but I didn’t understand it so I red your others book and then read the alchemist again. I can’t express how I enjoyed reading it. It was the sign I asked god. I always thought why I’m not satisfied with my life and then after reading the book I found out because I didn’t fight for my dreams and personal calling so your book changed every thing in my life . Your books have changed the way I look trough the life .I wrote your sentences down and every time I’m disappointed I read them and it really helps me .
    Tank you for such an amazing book which gives everybody motivation and courage to fight for their dreams.

  6. Tanya says:

    Hello Mr Coelho,
    I have so much respect for your work. The Alchemist was the first book i red years ago and since then i have recommended this book to everybody i encounter, even my brother that hates to read was very thankful i introduced this book to him and is now one of your biggest fans too. Thank you for such wonderful work and may God keep giving you inspiration. {I read your books twice sometimes =)}

  7. MJ says:

    Wow this book is so amaizing and Paulo you show that anyone can do what he or she dreams..!! You will be my favorite author till the end..!!

  8. Vasundhara says:

    Recently I read a whole lot of your book. These books ,especially brida and the valkyries,left me wondering if they are a lot work of fiction or is there some percentage of truth in them? If the stuff mentioned in them is true,then how can we communicate with our soul;how can we know our past life;how can we get to know the real purpose of our presence in this world? I really want the answer to these questions..Hoping to get some response.Thanku

  9. Jumana says:

    hi,i have just recently finished reading “The Alchemist”, it was recommended by a friend. I bought the book from a book store in the airport on my way to travel for treatment from breast cancer that I had just discovered few days before my travel. The book was with me all the time and wherever I go. I spent my waiting time in the hospital in reading this book. It was very emotional time to me as tests were taken place by the doctor to make sure if I have cancer or not. This book was my only way to fly over my emotional pain. It was the right book to read at that time. At that time I needed GOD so much and trying to be closely connected to him at any time i need to other than the prayer times (I am a muslim and praying 5 times a day). GOD told us that he is very close to us and even closer that our veins and if we really need him we can find him, he is there with us all the time. There is a part in the story when the boy had to talk to the sand and wind and he was afraind that he wont be able to do this communication but he had to and he succeeded. The similar thing happened to me but in different way. I remember that I was laying on my bed and praying that may GOD help me and then i remembered this part of the story. At that time, i said to myself “we can have courage and strenght through GOD if we really want to and that boy in the story was able to, so i can be able to as well”. Then I was able to communicate with GOD inside me and asked him for courage and I succeeded.
    I thank you for this very RISH and WISE story and I thank my friend who recommended your book to me.
    Your book is very much similar to what my relegion asks us to do and follow our distney with faith and whats written will happen no matter what. I was wondering while i read the book, Have you ever read the quran?! Becasue you are talking in the same direction as quran does. I dont mean to interfere religion in this story, but thats how i thought of it. I want to read this book again and again. I have so much to say but dont want this message to be very long and maybe boring :)
    Thank you so much
    Best of regards,

  10. Heart says:

    Thought I’d share what I just posted on Filmutopia’s Sunday Morning blog, because it’s in tribute to my all time favorite writer and novel;

    You are exceptionally correct in your evaluation of text books, in any area, really. Most of them are boring, and will not help a fig to create skilled experts, let alone, inspire great artists. What is this step from being competent to being exceptional? Lets look at one extremely successful writer, the Brazilian/French/International bestseller, Paulo Coelho, who at present has sold 134.000.000 books. He started out with a couple of flops, writing in a country where half the population is illiterate and most of the citizens wouldn’t buy a book. In Coelho’s blog, he once explained the overwhelming anxiety he had before he started out writing ‘The Alchemist’, the novel which turned Coelho into a phenomena.
    The Alchemist is exceptional. It is a story about a Shepard boy, the boy Santiago, who during a nap in some church ruins, has a dream of going to the land of the pyramids, where he will find a treasure. We follow the boy, how he talks to his sheep, how he fights the urge to break out of the familiar to set out on a journey, where of course he faces struggles and have to persist. He does meet a real alchemist, he himself becomes an alchemist, who can make the wind move a mountain, and he meets the ultimate goal of an alchemist, to find his true love, the girl with a golden heart, if you wish. In the end, the solution for the Shepard boy, is to return home, where in those church ruins, he finally finds the treasure he was searching for.
    The Weinstein company, to my knowledge, is producing the Alchemist movie these days. I know Paulo Coelho wants all us Coelhoists to turn down our expectations for this movie. Really? To me, it would be too bad, if a novel with such success, doesn’t meet the challenge of also turning into an exceptional screen play. The screen writer of the Alchemist movie, should himself/herself be an alchemist! No less. Yes, to continue the example of Paulo Coelho’s material. His novel; Veronica decides to die’ already has been produced, with a film script created. From the previews on YouTube, I cannot say I’m too impressed with it. His novel; ’11 Minutes’ also is in production, I don’t know by whom, but my understanding is Rourke and a Brazilian beauty is going to cast the main characters.
    So, again, what is it that makes the novel, that makes a screen writer create something exceptional? Paul Schrader answers; ‘The theme is the starting point’. The way Coelho started his Alchemist story, was inspired by Hemingway. It was Coelho’s own story; He wanted to do the impossible, break through as a writer where writers don’t break through. He had spent his youth reading books about Alchemy. Yes, a theme might be a starting point, but what does it for Coelho’s writing, in my opinion, is his use of deep, deep symbols: Shepard, Mountain, Journeying, Desert, Gold, Angels, Warriors, Witch, so on. His novels are filled with deep eternal, as you mention, a content that transcend our every-day life.
    Let me end this with one example of my own. Today, I told a twitter follower of mine, Patricia Coelho, I still cannot perceive I actually have seen the big orange knitted scarf, she is wearing on her thumb nail photo, I still cannot perceive I have seen this scarf in real life. I could write an entire story about this orange scarf. How Patricia was wearing it during our last time spent together in Vienna, on a train, before she was traveling on to Prague, dressed in this orange scarf. Did she also wear it returning to Brazil, I don’t know. But I do know, when she arrived back, she changed her twitter photo, into this one with the outfit she had on, leaving the party Paulo Coelho had hosted for us. With us, in Austria, was another young lady, who dreams about getting an orange piano, because she used to watch the orange Netherlands team play football, when she grew up in Athens….So on, so on…See, this doesn’t begin with a theme, but with an item, I find attractive, interesting, I believe I could spin a really great story from this scarf, and in addition I would have to have the plot, the story, the theme. Art is just so free, it’s so individual, it’s so inspirational, it’s so unique, it’s impossible to put words to it…Exceptional just happens, when you believe with all your heart you can do what you want to do, and you just let go of everything, and you take off, and you follow your path as it tells you deep, deep inside you, and you listen to the Universe and take up that piece of metal and abra, cadabra, it’s transformed into gold.

    1. katie says:

      so good to read this.
      totally clear.
      thanks, heart <3

  11. Quinten says:

    Dear Mr. Coelho,
    I can not stress enough how much I have loved your work! I started off with The Alchemist and then went on to eleven minutes, veronika decides to die, The manual of The Warrior of The Light, By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, The Devil and Miss Prym, The pilgrimage and I am now half way through confessions of a Pilgrim. I am leaving home on Tuesday for my own mini-pilgrimage haha. When I read The Alchemist, The Manual of the Warrior of The Light and The Pilgrimage it made me think a lot abot the TOLTEC principales which I went through a few months ago. Also when i read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, I thought about your books many times. Well, I’ve been trying to find out more about RAM but its hard to come by on the internet, could you please explain a bit more about the Tradition and wether or not it has any involvement with TOLTEC?
    Thank you so much for your time and the great novels that you write,

  12. rebecca says:

    hello sir…
    im a huge admirer of urs..
    n i get 1 book after the other 2 keep reading.
    i love zahir the best
    now am half way through brida
    god bless u sir with good health n may u keep writing 4 a long long time…

  13. roxana says:

    Ideile expuse in carte sunt interesante uneori ne indragostim de propriile noastre creatii si nu dam importanta persoanelor ce trec ca o adiere prin viata noastra desi mai tarziu regretam.

  14. Vivek Parajuli(Nepal) says:

    Eleven Minutes is the best novel of urs.

  15. Vivek Parajuli(Nepal) says:

    Hi sir, I’m from Nepal and I hadn’t read The Alchemist but i have read Eleven Minutes and i swear that i didn’t have read this type of best novel before yet…………Thank you sir………today is my exam but also i’m reading urs novel

  16. Angila says:

    I just finished reading ‘The Alchemist’and I can’t express the joy and awakening that I got from it in words.

    The fears, doubts and excuses all are washed out and I step into a new dawn.

    ‘The Warrior of Light’ and ‘The Alchemist’ are the books that answers all my big questions about life and beyond.

    Thanks a lot Paulo for the exceptional work.

  17. SARAVAN says:

    Really your book inspired me a lot and changed my mind that a man can do anything if he thinks thank you

  18. Maneka says:

    Hello Sir,
    “THE ALCHEMIST” was the first book of yours that i read.It did change the way in which i look upon my life. but, truly all your works are one betterthan the other.

  19. nanditha srinivas says:

    hello sir,
    “the alchemist” is something which makes any reader to stop at a moment and to look into what he wants to do.Its very true Sir,what u have expressed that every successful person at the end of the journey experiences”unison” where in he finds no difference between any thing in this world.As far as I understand, that novel expresses the best of all philosophies.Being an Hindu..from the religious perspective alchemist becomes or attains the true state of BRAHMIN.. where in he feels..”Brahmin is the only reality while the world is an illusion”.You can call this culture,your belief,your dream or your faith..depending upon individual belief. Sir we follow BHAGAVAD GITA..which tells us one clear thing..”DHARMO RAKSHATI RAKSHITHA” which means what ever you your religion(it may be anything) the same will save you through out.I admire you lot Sir,.feel like hearing the story live.Love you Sir.

  20. Neelufur says:

    Hello sir…………..Ur the ultimate n no one wil be an author as gud as u after.Im just lost wthout ur books n ur column in the news paper in India.I keep waitin for the column to arrive to read fresh stories from u……………Luv u sir…..jst luv u.Keep writing n god bless

  21. Pamuka says:

    Thank you for writing this wonderful book The Alchemist. I have been for a week. This is the coolest book I ever read in English. (I am Mongolian and never seen it in Mongolian)

  22. Eric says:

    We teach this book at our school and really enjoy it as a part of our curriculum. Just wondering if there was a specific book in mind when Sasntiago throws his book away (the big book that starts with a burial scene).

  23. Jack LaValley says:

    On Sept 1, 2010, while starting an early morning stroll in my local park located along the shores of the Hudson River 20 miles north of New York City (Irvington), I was startled to observe a red tail hawk (apparently not fully mature) perched on some rocks along the bank of the river, staring into the water. I watched it with wonder and amazement for about 5 minutes. I then circled around it to its right and got to about withing 50′ of it. It eventually flew from these rocks onto a park bench about 20′ from the river shore,and perched on the bench. It sat there for about 10 minutes. I got closer and closer until I was within about 15-20′ from it. I could not believe how close I was able to get to it. It started to clean itself; biting at its breast plate and pulling out small bits of feather every now and then. I made noises. It turned its head and looked straight at me, then went back to cleaning itself. Then it flew off this bench headed from the ground and flew directly in front of me about 5′ from where I was sitting, about 1′ off the ground. It flew across the large field of the park to a parking lot about 300 yards away, and rested on top of a lite pole. I ran over to where it was. As I got there some small birds started gathering around the hawk, pecking at its head. It flew off the pole, back into the center of the large park field, then turn right (west) back towards the water and into a line of trees planted about 100′ from the river’s edge. I thought for sure it had flown away for good, as I lost sight of it when it flew into the trees. Feeling disappointed I walked back over to where I had been sitting. I sat down and to my amazement, the hawk had landed back on the bench it had just flown off of 3 minutes before. I was able to move to about within 12′ of the hawk. Eventually 2 other people walked up to where I was sitting and also marveled at this bird, just sitting there doing its thing and appearing very disinterested in us humans. Those people left. I stayed, watching. I decided to drive home and get my camera to take some pictures of this incredible moment. When I returned, the bird had flown off, nowhere to be seen anymore. I talked to a friend of mine about this who does bird watching a lot. I told I thought this hawk was probably domesticated and that it had somehow escaped from its owner. My friend sat not necessarily so. This was an amazing experience and I’m still pondering it. Your thoughts, please …

  24. Giancarlo says:

    Hi Paulo,in tour beautifull section pirateria Coelho i’ve fin that italians book are very badly translate.
    A lot of vocabulary are different and wrong than in the original one..if you want a better translation By an English and Spanish student I would be happy to do it :)


    1. Giancarlo says:

      Sorry for grammar errors but this computer has auto-correct

    2. marie-christine says:

      Dear Paulo,
      If you want the French translation I am happy to do it .(I am a French student “in development” and I am part of this school 2).
      I am in my 3rd year of studies and I am waiting for my report to arrive.
      Hope that you will take this into con si de ration.
      With thanks and gratitude and beijos.

    3. Paulo Coelho says:

      Supi, my webmaster, just put the translation buttons today. Thank you

    4. marie-christine says:

      Merci Paulo. Les traductions, en appuyant sur les boutons sont pas trop mal mais – c;est mon opinion -, cela ne remplace pas la traduction humaine.
      Allez beijos.:)
      avec amour

  25. Nabeel Mehboob says:


    It was a master piece of literature which has surely given a second thought in defining what life means. I would agree that it is so hard to know what your dreams really are, buried deep in the soul live our dreams covered by the Dust and Stones of routine of life………..
    I read this book almost 2 years ago and although after reading other books from your collection i feel obsessed with The Alchemist.
    In these years i have’t given away my fight to know what exactly by dreams are and i will keep fighting this Holy War.

  26. Luccas says:

    Hi Paulo, This book has opened ,my eyes even wider than they already are!! The way the story goes is fascinating and exciting. The best part is that this book is for everyone,and all us have dreams and objectives in life and unfortunatly not all of us decide to pursue them or give up. Muito Obrigado de coraí§í£o, eu vou colocar em pratica tudo que li, com Deus tudo é possivel. E Parabens por tudo que conquistou na vida, todas as superaí§íµes e desafios. Eu sou um brasileiro, e tenho muito orgulho de falar para as pesoas que o Paulo Coelho é um brasileiro, eu dou graí§as a Deus por ter lido seu livro.

    Fica com Deus (and fight the good fight!!)

  27. Tayeb Kazemi says:

    Since I read the book, I have wondered whether the storyline was based on the story from Rumi; the man from Baghdad who goes to Egypt? Not that I like to take the credit away fro Paulo and give it to Rumi, but to know how close human are as a big family and no one belongs to a specific culture or country. We all belong to one another and no boundaries!.


    1. Paulo Coelho says:

      neearly all cultures in the world have the myth of the eternal return, the guideline of the book

    2. damu says:

      You are right coelho. I’am proud of having read “Alchemist”.

    3. damu says:

      Once I belived that making decions were enough to achieve what I had wanted. I failed many times and got frustraed. But only after reading “Alchemist”, I came to know truth that making decision is only a beginning.

  28. Julisa says:

    Good evening, Mr. Paulo. Let me first say that it has been a blessing for me that I found this book, no matter how late, because I needed the Alchemist now more than ever. The writing is simple yet so captivating, and although some parts get a bit far-fetched, it is the messages of the book that counts, and I accept them wholeheartedly.

    The reason why I felt that I read this book at the right time rather than earlier or much later in my life is because in the midst of my college life, I always felt like I wanted to do something different than my generation. I want to follow my dream by becoming a graphic novelist, or an animator with stories that reach into one’s soul and addresses the spiritual yearn within all of us than what I find in mainstream media today. This I had in mind for a long time, even before reading your book, but it felt like my dream was being strained by various obstacles. Mostly it is due to the fact that whatever messages I have to offer, I don’t want them to seem too forced, too confusing, or too incoherent for the public. People’s minds today are not how they were decades ago, or decades before that, and although we have become highly skeptical, intelligent, yet morphed by modern media, I know there is still a primitive side to us that yearns for spirituality and wisdom. The popularity of your book gave me that hope, and because of that, I will continue to follow my personal legend. I am still struggling, and I don’t know how I will make ends meet, but surely if I desire to fulfill my dream more than anything, something good will come out in the end. So I thank you Mr. Paulo. Your support would surely be appreciated.

    1. damu says:

      I think, you will write your success story here in future.

    2. freespirit says:

      “it felt like my dream was being strained by various obstacles. Mostly it is due to the fact that whatever messages I have to offer, I don’t want them to seem too forced, too confusing, or too incoherent for the public. People’s minds today are not how they were decades ago, or decades before that, and although we have become highly skeptical, intelligent, yet morphed by modern media, I know there is still a primitive side to us that yearns for spirituality”

      I connect to this and I think this is the thing that I am having a difficult time trying to explain or for people to understand. How everyone thinks and communicates has changed from a decade ago, but a switch didn’t just turn on and everyone just suddenly changed how they read and wrote, it seemed to have happened slowly and at different times for everyone. I have been stuck in that past decade, I had no reason to change and still don’t but I see it and sometimes you just have to adapt for fear of misinterpretation. Even if you explain what you meant maybe not everybody is going to understand because they see things differently, they haven’t lived the life that you have lived. As the meaning of words have changed so have the meaning to the stories. I read the Alchemist years back when I was a student but if I read it again today would I think the same things? I hope stories like this continue to be written there is a loss of spirituality in books, they seem to centre around similar things. I hope you accomplish your story and it gets published and accepted, obstacles do get in the way, they either stop you or you take the challenge and achieve your dream, goodluck, inspired by your comment ;)

    3. Sarah says:

      I wouldn’t quite say that parts of the story were “far fetched”, because this is obviously a fictional story and the creative plot is what makes it so unique. However, I did really enjoy the fact that out of the many, many entries I read, you were the only one to bring to light that the plot structure was very different from your typical fictional story. Everyone else surpassed that and went straight to the overall message of the story, without looking at all aspects of the narratives makeup. I also very much agree that the word choice is rather simple. I don’t think this was done on accident, though. I personally believe Paulo did this so he could reach readers of all ages. By doing this, he can help persuade a very young audience, and thus our future, to keep fighting for their dreams and to never give up. Just like Santiago in the story, Paulo is trying to get people to abandon their comfort zone is search of their dreams. As the narrator says, “here I am between my flock and my treasure, the boy thought. He had to choose between something he had become accustomed to and something he wanted to have” ( 27)

  29. Manu says:

    Hi Paulo,

    Alchemist is a book that literally changed my perspective towards life! I recommend it to everyone I know and have read it quite a few times myself. Each time I read it, I can’t stop thinking what a creative mind it would have taken to imagine a story that has such clear and powerful messages.

  30. Marie says:

    Speaking of dreams… When a friend gave me a copy of the alchemist in 2002 (I was 22 then), I was surprised that the scenes in the story seem very familiar, it’s like deja vu. I knew what would happen next. Like Santiago being beaten up, the wind and the sand, etc.. But i don’t remember reading The Alchemist anytime in the past. Anyway, whatever it is, i knew i have read it and heard its message at the right time, and i’m thankful. I’ve been a paulo coelho fan since. :)

  31. Matthew says:

    I have bought many copies of this book, read them all at least once, and given them all to friends. I am trying to remember a quote, can someone help me? I believe the quote is from the part of the book where Santiago is about to leave the oasis. The quote is something about love not being a reason not to do something, but rather an impetus to follow your dreams. Thank you in advance.

    1. Shine says:

      “You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his destiny. If he abandons that pursuit, its because it wasn’t true love….. the love that speaks the Language of the World”.
      I hope this is the one….. Ciao

  32. Maiara says:

    First and foremost, I love your books. I had a dream and in my dream I was told to read the Alchemist. I have never heard of the book So that day I went to Barnes and Noble and asked for the book. (first I googled it) Once I bought it I placed it in my room and never read it. (a few weeks later I had a link from my friend. The link was a motivational piece by will smith, in this he mentions the alchemist. (once again I dont read it) Then I found myself in a very bad situation became stress and finally picked up the book. Thats when I realized that this book was waiting to be opened I needed to read it and gain wisdom from it. Amazing how it has changed my life.

  33. vishweta says:

    Well, all i can say after having read this book is i bow down for giving us The Alchemist.
    Once i started reading this book i was so hooked that i cldnt leave it and once i completed reading i dnt know y but i was feeling so light n happy.


  34. Lana says:

    I could write about impression which Alchemist opened inside of me for hours. That is one of really greatest books I have ever had in my hands. I read it a few years ago and I didn’t realized poent. Maybe it’s because I was about 13…
    but when I took it now, again, many things became clear, Most important is that I have learned to follow my dream, my Legend, and never give up, doesn’t matter how many things are stopping me to do what I dream to do!
    I acn only tell that I am glad because today there are people who see, feel and create world by following their souls and dreams. It’s good to know that your books are there, Mr. Coelho…

  35. Christiane says:

    The Alchemist was the first of your books I read a few years ago. The prose in which you told this beautiful story reflects the simplicity of Santiago’s journey across the desert as well as his search for the treasure.
    I recommend the book to everybody I know.
    Truly a timeless masterpiece.
    Thank you for writing books that are a beacon of hope, inspiration and empowerment for mankind.
    God’s Blessing to you and your wife.

  36. Anu says:

    One of my friend suggested me this book ‘ Alchemist’. When I read it. I just felt like this shepherd boy is inside me. I have dreams and I always complained myself why there are hardships for me. But after reading it there is a kind of enlightenment within and I do not blame myself for the hardship I encountered. :) .. thank you and hope to read other books too.

  37. Passport says:

    Righto…embarking for the adventure then.

  38. samar says:

    iam samar from palestine and i reed almost all your books in arabic language and i just love it and cant accept reading any books but yours i just finished reading vironica decides to die and its super

  39. ASHLEY says:

    The alchemist is the ur first book that i’ve read . i actually feel happy 2 say a book changed my attitude towards life and i am always thankful to you for writing such an awesome book.
    Abu Dhabi,UAE

  40. Susan Streiff says:

    “The Alchemist” is the most wonderful book I have ever had the pleasure of reading. What an inspiration for us all ! I plan to read all of your books.

  41. TIGIST says:

    After i read your book my way of thinking changed toward life, it taught me how to commit towards your dream and destiny. I love the way you experessed the important point in the book and every words touched me. the shepherd boy i went along with him through out his journey and i learned so many things. I just wane say thank you for lovely book you wrote!

  42. lili says:

    caro Paulo,
    Lí­ meu primeiro livro aos 8 anos e esse foi o Alquimista ele mudou meu modo de pensar,de agir,de ver,achava que tudo podia acontecer de ruim e ní£o ter um final feliz,que nada podia ser superado,que a minha cruz era mais pesada que a do outro,mas ví­ que o universo conspira para que vc consiga seu ideal de acordo com sua fé e boa vontade.
    obrigada por me fazer ver que além do deserto pode um mar de realizaí§íµes.

  43. Stephanie R. says:

    Well as I have seen Mr.Coelho it was your birthday on august 24th, Happy belated birthday I hope you had a wonderful day and many more to come may God bless you.

    whats interesting that my birthday is also in august so is very nice to have all time favorite author to have his birthday in the same month as hers (meaning me).

    “The Alchemist” the first book that I ever read that was written by you. When I was finished that book I was changed even though I’m young that book changed the way I saw everything it’s amazing what one person well in this book can do to one. I write hopefully that you will eventually read my comments and maybe even reply but that’s just hope. Well that’s all for now.
    Your Youngest Reader

  44. Laine Kelley says:

    I just finished “The Alchemist.” It is 3AM. This book meant a lot to me. I made a career change, in part due to my reaction to 9/11 and in part due to life marching on. I am now 54. (the field I entered is something I have wanted to do since my 20’s) I quit my work (job really) of 23 years and returned to grad school. The path since then has been full of obstancles, including financial, serious health issues, people unfulfilling obligations. Buddhist philosophy and mindfulness have kept me stable(r). I have wondered, often, why the path has been so difficult because I made this change to help others. Your book showed up (used book resale from my library) at the perfect time. It renews my hope and energized my efforts to keep going. Thank you.

  45. Daniela says:

    Just finished reading “The Winner Stands Alone”. I have read all your books and this one left me wanting more! I needed to know what happened next. It was a feeling of urgency of despair to know what would Gabriela feel to find out her dream had been created and destroyed withing 1 day. We are all fighting some sort of battle inside. This book was amazing. The Zahir was very special to me as well. Thank you for following and commiting to your purpose as by doing this you fulfill the hearts of readers like myself around the world. I am in Toronto, Canada and waiting for you to come so that I may have the honour of getting my books signed by you. Thank you and God Bless you

  46. ARVINphilippines says:

    belated happy birthday to you, Mr. Paulo,,,,,you’ll be my favorite author until i die……..waiting for your Aleph here in the Philippines

  47. ariana says:


  48. ariana says:


    1. Алёнка says:

      мне безумно нравятся ваши книги!!!особенно 11 мин. и Вероника решает умереть!!!я чувствую эти книги…..когда я читаю ваши книги, мне кажется, что вы досказываете мою мысль….Ñ‚.к. чтобы писать такие книги, нужно быть очень глубоким человеком и подходить философски к жизни……я под огромным впечатлением!эти книги близки мне по духу….спасибо за ваши книги,Паоло….

    2. Алёнка says:

      и ещё….с прошедшим вас Днём Рождения!!!!

  49. Abeer says:

    One of my best books I have ever read…I t changed my mind and put me on the first step towards building myself…It’s an inspiritual journey within one’s self to achieve self legendry ,,,,,,I hope to find it like the herao does

  50. kaustubh says:

    yeee Alchemist fascinates me a lot it is something which i really need….Thanks sir.. Thanx a lot