A book uncaps a volcano

Interview to Steven MacKenzie
“The Big Issue”(UK)

Aleph is currently a bestseller all over the world. Is the global success of your books proof that everyone shares the same fears and dreams, and people are not as different as we sometimes think?

Questions. I think people all over the world have the same questions. I would not say fears and dreams – probably also – but when I write a book I concentrate on my personal questions.
What I realise from reading tweets and comments from social communities is that although we don’t share the same answers – and we don’t – we share the same questions.
This is something that helps a lot. I don’t feel alone as a writer. Because you always ask yourself, ‘I’m writing this for myself, but does anyone else know what I’m talking about?’ And they do.

Having brought inspiration to so many, it might surprise some readers of Aleph to discover that you were undergoing your own crisis of faith.

Faith is not a straight line. It’s like if you climb a mountain. You have your ups and downs.
I need faith to believe in God. Atheists also need faith to not believe in God. Like everybody else I have my moments of doubt.

Like The Alchemist, Aleph recounts a physical journey, which is ultimately a spiritual one. Why did you have to travel across a continent to discover something inside yourself?

In 2006 I was in my comfort zone; bestselling author all over the world, looking like I had no more challenges in life. And this is not good because life is a constant challenge. People tend to stay in the comfort zone because it is safe but if you don’t accept challenges you are dead!

Everyone is stuck in a routine and reluctant to leave their comfort zone. Nobody is really living…

Let’s not generalise Steven! Many people, but not everyone, otherwise I would not have any readers! It’s a tendency we have and we have to fight against it.

Some people aren’t fighting hard enough.

Yah true. We fear to change.

Do people read your books to help them fight?

My books can act as catalysts. They can provoke a reaction in a person that is already ready for change. I don’t think my readers are reading the books trying to learn how to change. You read a book at the right moment and then you see that you have already this volcano inside of you ready to explode and the book uncaps this volcano.

HERE: Aleph comentários/comments (no censorship)

Online Bookstore HERE
Kindle (four languages) HERE



  1. Marie-Christine says:

    A volcano for me is
    vol c ano
    a flight in a ring of fire that frees you.
    with thanks and appreciation

  2. Ivonne Granillo says:

    Felicitaciones Paulo, me encanta como escribes y tus pensamientos me inspiran. Un fuerte abrazo y que siga el éxito.

  3. Eve says:

    I have just started reading Aleph – as with all of your books, I love it, it teaches me, it makes me tranquil, it makes me think. I feel like I am in the presence of my dearest friend when I read it. Thank you so much for all your teachings and sharing.

  4. hey can provoke a reaction in a person that is already ready for change.

  5. Vanessa says:

    Dear Paulo, your books are a true inspiration. They always make me look inward to change they speak of faith,fears, paths we travel always enlightening and giving life a whole new perspective. My girlfriend gave me Eleven Minutes as a birthday gift years ago and I’ve been hooked ever since. I’ve started a collection of all of your books because to me they’re not just worth reading once but owning them and reading them time and time again. It’s interesting as everytime I pick up a new book written by you it fits perfectly with what i’m going through in life at that present moment. I just purchased Aleph and can’t wait to get started. Thank you for being a true inspiration, for posing all the questions we hide dear to our hearts, for provoking that change within that is sometimes paralyzed by our deepest fears. You are my absolute favourite author of all time and that to me says a lot as I have been a book nerd since the moment I learned how to read! Thank you

  6. Nitza Ben Ami says:

    האם הספר “אלף” יצא בעברית?
    אודה, לתשובה

  7. Joan Lacson says:

    got my Aleph today, dear Paulo…you’re like my guru and my inspiration to gradually change for the better – spiritually and mentally..u saved me when I read your Veronika Decide To Die (my favorite) and my goal is that one day i could go to Brazil and personally meet you…congratulations and more power to you!

  8. Zafar Hussain Harral says:

    simply i am with you to make this world more beautiful.

  9. Maurizio Sorbello says:

    Etna. Energia del vulcano. Boschi. Il bastone siciliano, un arte marziale poco conosciuta e molto antica. Una antica tradizione. Ti aspetto Paulo.

  10. adry says:

    que increible ,leer todo esto ,justo en este momento ,hace muchos conoci a un hombre ,que senti era mi otra parte ,o que habiamos sido algo en algun momento pasado ,lo queria conocer desde que era niña ,ahora despues de muchos años he tenido contacto ,ya es una persona muy mayor ,me lleva 30 años ,pero a traves de nuestra comunicacion ,me confirmo que si! algo fuimos en algun lugar ,el problema que no puedo dejar todo lo que tengo ,mi monotonia,mi vida ,daño a mi familia ,por ir detras de un sueño , fue muy dificil para mi ,pero decidi quedarme con la monotonia ,por la presion de ser mujer ,de depender economicamente de alguien ,de tener demasiados principios .
    asi fue, se me presento lo que tanto esperaba y no pude ir a su encuentro.
    es dificil ,cuando uno tiene que elegir ,entre lo que sueña y lo que debe ser.
    una fiel esposa y una buena madre.

  11. vaishali says:

    i just love ur thoughts and writing …

  12. Cristina says:

    Boa tarde Guerreiro amado

    Oba, O Aleph em 5 na lista do LA!!! Parabéns. Em frente, avante e arriba, vc merece!! =)
    Deus te ilumine

  13. Jessica G says:

    I forgot to tell you …. I understand a lot of what you write in this book … because I have had the same expirience myself … but from another angle. It just that it doesnt answer my questions totally …. well I might never get a answer to all my questions ;-) Love Jessica

    1. LoveM says:

      With pure enquiry
      You’re both question and answer
      Bundled together..
      Stay in a question
      Introspection and Insight
      Brings revelation..
      Can the seer be seen
      Who is asking this question
      And what will answer..

  14. Marie Christine Grimard says:

    Ví´tre quíªte est si belle que l’on a envie de vous accompagner dans tous les trains du monde, pour trouver ” l’Autre Partie” de notre í¢me, mais pour ma part, je crains de ne jamais oser lui dire que je l’ai reconnu, si il ne le comprend pas seul. Comment pouvoir finir cette vie sans cette rencontre, míªme éphémère? M Ch G

  15. mansoor says:

    The physical journeys of your charaters are actually spiritual journeys. Am I right?

  16. jackienoriega says:

    tu me ayudaste a estallar el volcí n que llevaba dentro y estaba dormido y muy lleno con tus enseñanzas tus palabras correctas tu humildad al escribir, tu certeza de lo que has vivido , tu esperanza y tu busqueda me hicieron reaccionar y tomar la vida como lo que es un desafí¬o una lucha constante por alcanzar la felicidad y eso estoy haciendo y el cambio es enorme me siento contenta , feliz , conforme,y con mucha paz, capaz de escuchar a otros y entenderlos tambièn y eso para mí¬ es grandioso tu serí s siempre para mi un maestro

  17. Lyl says:

    Yesterday,when I came back home from a girl’s evening out,on the living-room table,was a gift from my boyfriend:The Aleph :-)hehe.

  18. Sara says:

    I have never thought that some one could think the way i think until i started reading you. I really empathize myself with the characters you have created. Although I m treading on my personal spiritual path but keep on finding allusion in your book. Thanks for being a master, a guide, a friend and even a soul mate………………. Sara Siddique

    1. Portia says:

      You’re not the only one… I wish I knew people like you where I live :)

  19. me gustan mucho los libros de Paulo Coelho ya que por medio de sus librro e encontrado muchas respuestas de las preguntas que me e hecho durante toda mi vida.Sus libros son magicos y extremadamente espectacular. Gracias por aserme encontrar las respuestas que dia a dia me hago yo misma

  20. arif choudhary says:

    i love books but your books deserve more, always showing unkown paths. when i had faith crises and also depressed to the point iwas thinking about sucide but ‘veronika decides to die’ gave me another life-a life with meanings. Aleph is masterpiece for your fans. thanks and God bless you with more energy for more books

  21. Shoaib says:

    Aleph, like Alchemist, answers so many questions we all have irrespective of our religion or social background. What is amazing about your work is that you make us realise we are all very similar. The questions we have and that we think are only ours to ponder upon are shared by everybody. I remember I frantically posted endless Facebook status updates about how much I liked Alchemist and how it was different from everything else I had read and seen. What agitated me, however, was that I wouldnt’ be able to explain that difference to people when they would ask. I would try, in vain, and would conclude by telling them to go read the book themselves!

    Keep writing, please.

    1. nigel says:

      The worst thing about wisdom is that u cant explain it . The knowledge the enlightment u recieved alway’s stay’s with u . But people like paul have done thier best in expressin and teachin us thier wisdom . That is why the bible still lives on or the quran or any other holy books live long in the hearts of people and in the same way is hard to follow

  22. Momiza says:

    This interview is nothing than beautiful. I believe honesty is beautiful. No one can be sure about themselves or their beliefs, but they can be honest about them. I realized that by you. Thank you.

  23. Estrella says:

    Thank you for your books. I am learning a lot about myself more by reading your books. Just bought Aleph. It’s now here in the Philippines. :)

  24. Ishan kanodia says:

    Well i am reading aleph.Its great.. I feel like i m getting all answers that my ask god. Everything i m experiencing is so real. Although the doubt still exists but its boosting my faith. I m truely gratiful for this magical book.

  25. Miguel says:

    Los libros de Paulo, me han dado mucha compañia. En unos momentos de cambios bastante radicales en mi vida. En ocasiones me han servido para descubrir sentimientos que sencillamente creo que sabia, pero no podia expresar y he sentido un inmenso alivio al verlos reflejados en palabras. Gracias Paulo.

  26. Gabriela says:

    Thank you for words speaking with language of my soul.
    Every book reminds of something I knew but I forgot it.
    You helped me to find the lost knowledge.
    Good bless you, Paulo.

  27. Nicolas says:

    Merci pour votre écriture. Puis-je vous poser une question-Mr Coelho, quel est votre plus grand ríªve ? Cordialement.

  28. Dr Huma Tahir says:

    I started on my spiritual journey around 7 yrs back, approx 8 years after my marriage. I’ve always read your books but they’ve never had an impact as they’re having now. I think the time is ripe for me to have a spiritual guru, that’s you. Please help me…

  29. sonu yadav says:

    Sir , it’s my time i finished any book , i have started reading books many times but could not finish , i got ur book Alchemist week before and i was looking it and started reading and i felt so alive while reading and i read this book in two days ,it is wonferful experiance , i gonna get ur other books , thank God and my frnd who helped me getting my treasure itls ur literature sir :)

  30. CG says:

    german translation

    Ein Buch öffnet (entkorkt) einen Vulkan

    Interview mit Steven MacKenzie
    “The Big Issue” (UK)

    Aleph ist derzeit ein Bestseller auf der ganzen Welt. Ist der weltweite Erfolg Ihrer Bücher Beweis dafür, dass alle die gleichen í„ngste und Träume teilen, und die Menschen nicht so verschieden sind, wie wir manchmal denken?

    Fragen. Ich glaube, die Menschen auf der ganzen Welt haben die gleichen Fragen. Ich würde nicht sagen, í„ngste und Träume – wahrscheinlich auch – aber wenn ich ein Buch schreibe konzentriere ich mich auf meine persönlichen Fragen.
    Was ich bei der Lektüre von Tweets und Kommentaren in Social Communities wahrnehme, ist dass, obwohl wir nicht die gleichen Antworten teilen – und das tun wir nicht – teilen wir die gleichen Fragen.
    Dies ist etwas, das viel hilft. Ich fühle mich nicht allein als Schriftsteller. Weil man sich immer selbst fragt, “Ich schreibe dies für mich, aber weiß irgendjemand anderes, wovon ich rede?” Und sie tun es.

    Nachdem Sie für so viele Inspiration gebracht haben, könnte es einige Leser überraschen in Aleph zu entdecken, dass Sie selbst eine Krise des Glaubens durchliefen.

    Der Glaube ist keine gerade Linie. Es ist so, wie wenn man einen Berg zu besteigt. Man hat seine Höhen und Tiefen. Der Glaube ist am Ende des Tages ein Akt des Glaubens.
    Ich brauche Glauben, um an Gott zu glauben. Atheisten brauchen auch Glauben, um nicht an Gott zu glauben. Wie jeder andere habe ich meine Momente des Zweifels.

    Wie The Alchemist, erzählt Aleph eine physische Reise, die letztlich eine spirituelle ist. Warum mussten Sie über einen Kontinent reisen, um etwas in sich selbst zu entdecken?

    In 2006 war ich in meiner Komfort-Zone; Bestseller-Autor auf der ganzen Welt; es sah so aus, als gäbe es für mich keine Herausforderungen mehr im Leben. Und das ist nicht gut, denn das Leben ist eine ständige Herausforderung. Menschen neigen dazu, in der Komfort-Zone zu bleiben, weil es sicher ist, aber wenn man keine Herausforderungen annimmt, ist man tot!

    Jeder steckt in einer Routine und zögert, seine Komfortzone zu verlassen. Niemand lebt wirklich …

    Lassen Sie uns nichts verallgemeinern, Steven! Viele Menschen, aber nicht jeder, sonst hätte ich keine Leser! Es ist eine Tendenz, die wir haben, und wir müssen gegen sie kämpfen.

    Manche Leute kämpfen nicht hart genug.

    Yah, wahr. Wir befürchten, etwas zu ändern.

    Lesen die Menschen Ihre Bücher, um Hilfe beim Kämpfen zu haben?

    Meine Bücher können als Katalysatoren wirken. Sie können eine Reaktion in einer Person hervorrufen, die bereits bereit für Veränderungen ist. Ich glaube nicht, dass meine Leser die Bücher lesen in dem Versuch zu lernen, wie man sich ändert. Man liest ein Buch im richtigen Moment und dann sieht man, dass man bereits diesen Vulkan in seinem Innern hat, bereit zu explodieren und das Buch öffnet (entkorkt) diesen Vulkan.

  31. Mo says:

    To add to the most asked question; will there be a USA tour soon ? :-)

    I don’t do this anymore, in any country. When travelling, I prefer to meet my readers by chance.

    1. calling on instant karma says:

      OM :)

  32. abhi says:

    I can’t exactly elaborate,what i gain reading ur books,but i feel connected with cosmic energy,ur work makes it palpable to me,thanks…

  33. Heart says:

    Volcano or a Landslide;

  34. Emma Cabrera says:

    At the first pages of Aleph, I thought it was not good as the Alchemist but you were right in saying that “You read a book at the right moment and then you see that you have already this volcano inside of you ready to explode and the book uncaps this volcano”. The timing of Aleph in my life was perfect. You are more than a writer but also a messenger from God. I hope someday you can visit Philippines too.

    1. Dave C says:

      Perhaps we can all be messengers from God, to be read, interpretted, and received in very specific and special ways by those around us; with or without our knowledge. At least the opportunity is there, we are all worthy.

  35. yan says:

    Dear Mr. Coehlo,

    I am not sure if you will read it or answer me, but I will still post my confusion about one of your texts in “Like the flowing river” here. Maybe some readers here will tell me their points of view.

    It is the No. 91 “the art of trying”, since my book is in German, i can not quote your original text. the paragraphs I have big problem with, are roughly like this:

    *only to be reasonable means, always wear a sock which suits the right tie. it means to keep the opinion from yesterday present. and the earth – does it not moving always?

    be comfortably inconsistent, change your mind, it is your right, you need not to be ashamed of it, as long as no one will be harmed.

    what others might think is irrelevant, they think anyway, what they want to.*

    I am from a traditional chinese family and i believe in Buddhism. Maybe I am old-fashioned, but our sages (like Confucius and Lao Tzi) all teach us, a person should be faithful to his words, keep his promises. They see it as a basic for being a righteous person, keeping good friendships and relationships, doing businesses, rule a country, etc.

    And for me, to keep a promise, no matter big or small, is not only do something, when one can, or when it is convenient or enjoyable for him. It also means, a person should do what he says, even when the situation is bad, the obstacles are high, he may lose some benefits, or is suffering somehow.

    Of course, nobody could 100% keep his promises, but at least, I believe, we should try our best.

    But what you wrote above, somehow gives me an impression that you actually believe, we are eligible to change our minds, whenever we will, whenever we like. We don’t need to consider what other people (to whom we expressed our views or made our promises to) will think. We are free from any bonds with those people who around us.

    it is like, somebody tells you and others: “you are important to me, you are a good friend of me, I wish to do this or that with you together” on one day, and then changes his minds very often, finds this and that excuses, so he doesn’t need to do what he earlier said. And for him, it is nothing bad, because he believes that he doesn’t need to stay with the same friends, and because nobody can always keep promises, or because he felt he couldn’t keep it anyway, he doesn’t need to do that as well. And of course, he doesn’t care what others think.

    I don’t know if you could be happy with that. I can’t. I suffered a lot from this kind of personal ideology (in Germany, not in China) , when somebody, even as a very good-hearted person, treats me like this. Is that really so, that western people are more interested in personal freedom and happiness than responsibility to the others?

    I’d like to hear your opinion, or the readers’ here.

    Best regards.


    1. Heimo Kruschinski says:

      Dear Yan,

      I am German. What you are describing is a social problem and a personal problem. There are people who put no value on friendship or family. Maybe they fear to go in an apparent dependence. Afraid of the pain inflicted to them. They want to enjoy freedom and independence, and not realize that they are not, without love. I think this is a difficult subject. But this problem exists.

      I guess what Paulo means is to be flexible. This is not opportunism. There are certain values “‹”‹that are not affected. I do not think he means we should fall into arbitrariness. But to question yourself, can certainly never hurts.

      I wish you a wonderful evening

    2. ashwani says:

      its not important what others feel, what is important is that if ur heart is happy doing something you should give it a try,you are alive if ur heart is normal,not when others make ur heart work abnormally…………………….

    3. Maria says:

      Dear Yan,
      I live in Barcelona, Spain, and I can assure you I understand what you mean, so well.
      Nevertheless, I think Paulo Coelho means differently. What I understand from the paragraph you quoted is: listen to your heart, do as you wish, don’t be afraid of changes, be flexible, believe in evolution, providing nobody is harmed.
      So, listening to one’s heart and following one’s intuition and consequently being able to change, doesn’t mean one should harm other people by not taking them into consideration.
      That’s, I believe, something else, perhaps the lack of compassion and empathy or even the fear of commitment. Perhaps the lack of love for oneself and therefore the inability of loving others. Who knows?

    4. Sara says:

      I would like to comment here. I will quote a line from the paragraph you mentioned ” As long as it doesn’t harm anyone, change your opinion now and then…..” Coelho talks about personal Change and inconsistency in behavior not in dealings.
      Here in this article the art of trying is to keep going, Coelho doesn’t want you to be inconsistent. He wants us to be innovative. Monotony and the comfort zone which we call consistency brings boredom and depression. Its human nature God made us this way. God doesn’t want us to be angels He want us to err and then learn.

  36. LoveM says:

    Without you..this moment..would not..
    You came before time
    Because without you present
    Time has no witness..
    Be this awake
    Still Silent Statue
    Watching the eternal play
    Unfolding Unmoved Untouched..
    You are the untouchable
    In whose presence all appears
    Even the greatest and highest achievement
    Comes and blows away into infinity in front of you..

  37. THELMA says:

    I have just found the Aleph in Greek and I bought it, although I have bought it already in English! :-)))
    Thelma xxx

  38. margherita says:

    Caro Paulo,
    mi permetto di rivolgermi cosí¬ a te perchè i tuoi libri li ho letti proprio tutti. Te li potrei elencare, potrei discuterli come in una tesi di laurea.
    Li ho studiati e con essi ho cercato di studiare pure te come scrittore, cosí¬ mi sei diventato familiare perchè tu hai l’enorme pregio di parlare di te nei tuoi scritti.
    E come succede quando qualcuno ti diventa familiare, alla fine ti comporti come se fosse tuo fratello, tuo padre, tuo figlio.
    E si sa che chi ti è molto vicino o chi tu senti che lo sia, ti contagia.
    Tu hai detto che il contenuto di un libro puí² fungere da catalizzatore per chi è pronto ad un cambiamento: VERO!
    Un cambiamento io l’ho fatto. E ne sto subendo le conseguenze, ma non le temo. La vita va vissuta, va sperimentata ogni giorno, con tutto quanto è possibile.
    Cosí¬ ho cominciato a scrivere pure io. Non per emulare te, Paulo, che sei un grande scrittore. No. Solo perchè tu mi hai aiutata, mi hai fatto vedere una nuova strada per me: ho sentito dentro questo impulso fortissimo, questo amore per la scrittura e per la voglia di creare che mi esplodeva dentro. Ora è’ una gioia immensa scrivere per me. Ma prima che leggessi i tuoi libri non lo sapevo. Io credo che questo sia un miracolo e vorrei condividerlo col mondo intero. Come quando un essere umano diventa madre o padre ed è cosí¬ felice che alza il figlio in alto per farlo vedere a tutti, perchè tutti possano condividere la sua felicití .
    Ho alzato anch’io le braccia al cielo, almeno ho cercato in tutti i modi di farlo ma nessuno vuole guardare alla mia creatura, per il momento.
    Io non so se tu, Paulo leggi sempre e tutto questo blog, ma se lo fai, potresti gentilmente provare a darmi qualche consiglio?
    Te lo chiedo in nome della “banca dei favori”, se è lecito farlo e se funziona sempre.
    P.S. Non ho ancora letto L’Aleph, non voglio ancora leggerlo. E’ come una sorpresa che voglio ancora tenere un poco in sospeso, per aumentare la mia curiosití .
    Buona giornata!

  39. Irina Black says:

    ..И на костёр всходила Жанна.
    В другом столетье,и в другой стране-она звалась уж Анна.
    Венчанье и развенчанье королей-
    Под силу были только ей.

  40. Jessica G says:

    Seems like my last comment dissapeared …. well …. it was about that I feel a piece is missing in your book Aleph ….. just a feeling I had. Well you are a good writer …. but I just have that feeling that I want to add something more … maybe the next piece is yet to come.
    Have a blessed day all <3

  41. Zara says:

    I like your books, Paulo. They helped me find answers to questions I have in life. ALEPH book is among all others to grab a copy of mine and read. Thanks for this blog post. =)

  42. nishant says:

    Across the seven seas , you have an universal appeal.
    What impresses me the most is your own intimacy with the protagonist. It feels that you have captured their soul, and thence your words breath.
    The shades of the characters shows us the unity in universality.
    Please count me in ,atleast one copy in the sub continent will find a permanent subscriber.
    God Bless and God Speed

  43. coolguy1609 says:

    Faith and beliefs take you into a comfort zone… Demolish them to be out in the open… That’s where life is buzzing… That’s where the adventure is!


  44. Stoyan Radulovic says:

    Awesome interview Paulo, what issue of Big Issue is it?…will check with boys on the London streets next few days or some contacts , as hard copy is a must now…bet there some great photo shoots too…

  45. Jessie says:

    Dear Mr. Paulo,

    I’m so happy today ‘coz I recieved a package from my friend in Canada sending me Aleph and Paulo Coelho Life books. She just read your The Alchemist and started to read your books now. I did not force her to read ‘coz it was since year 1990 that I told her about your books. Anyway, I have posted in my FB the photos of the books.
    Thank you for always inspiring us.
    God bless u always sir.

  46. Sarah says:

    You started by talking about bamboo. Bamboo is a symbol for Buddhism with the interconnectedness of the underlying roots and the strength that comes with that… I love that bit where you say a life without cause is a life without effect..so true. And being a homeopath in this day and age is almost comparable to being tried as a witch… love the book it speaks volumes to me! Thank you.. bless and long may your journey continue.

  47. Dawn Powell says:

    There is something about your writing that is so uplifting and real – your books are simply magical – Thanx