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. Jessica G says:

    Well … some books speak to you between the lines … some more then others ;-) Maybe it differs from person to person which book that is, it might depend where you are in life and what you have been thrue yourself. I often buy books and then let them mature .. when I feel it´s time to read them then its time *LOL*.
    Love Jessica

  2. will c wallace says:

    More inspiring work. Making God part of one’s practical as well as Personal Legendary Life.

  3. Ellen says:

    Paulo Coelho you have done it again! You have spoken to my soul when it was yearning to listen….May God bless you

  4. Tania says:

    It is not by mere coincidence, in my opinion, that you always publish a book at the same time when my life needs to experience a change or catharsis.
    Your words always inspire me to act out the changes I need to make in my life! Your books are like therapy and much cheaper, too!
    Thank you for existing, Paulo!

  5. Doris Nungaray Carrillo says:

    Cuanta razón hay en sus palabras!!!!!
    Hoy me doy cuenta que me conforme con lo que tení­a… y me explotó el volcan en la cara, y aun sigo en mi crisis existencial, ahora hay que hacer un cambio que en este momento es estrictamente necesario. Cada uno de sus libros han llegado a mi vida en el momento justo… Gracias!!!!

  6. beatrix says:

    thank You Mr. Paulo, my life has changed forever.

  7. BHASKAR ROY says:

    Yes…it certainly works as a catalyst. And i also think there are certain things in our lives that seem to “arrive” when we are ready for it. Like certain books for example.

    Warm regards and a happy DIWALI. . a festival of lights celebrated in India to highlight the victory of truth and righteousness.

    love n cheers

  8. adry says:


  9. Sepideh says:

    Dear Paulo
    Thank you for your wonderful book. Thank you for sharing your experince with us. your are my friend, my family , the person that can answer all my unspoken questions. your books always give me hope.
    God bless you.

  10. edmond says:

    Hello All,

    beside the other,Paulo also noted:They(books) 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.
    I can comment: this its so true.Story its long but that happen to me in 1998 when i read the Alchemist on the right moment.I was living in London coming from an millimeter city and state and after read the book volcano was free…Returned at my millimeter country married with the best women that exist, fort me and ,have two children.
    Many thanks to you Paulo and the signs of the faith that till then was not aware that exist and that i have followed them ,with or without doubts.

    All the best!

  11. Mokhlesur Rahman says:

    Your books r inspiration 4 a positive revolution of mind..some words works like a thunder..fuly practical and adjustable wordings..depthness of ur thinking reflected in ur books r realy uncomparable..U R D BEST WRITER IN MY VIEW…Wish u long life and more writing 4m u…

  12. Flory Crouch says:

    the first time I read your book( Alchemist) I was undergoing some changes in my life I found great to know that other people do face the same situation! My inner-self was finding its way out and after so many years(37) I was questioning my convictions and dreams! not only I changed on the outside but my way of looking and evaluating thing did. i feel so free and great in my new “me” as it allows me to go towards others ‘cose I no more have any prejudice and feel myself at ease with anyone and in any situation. Life is great and worth living and experiencing new horizons with other people as it may be my last day on earth!

    1. adry says:

      ojala ,tendria tu decision ,tu coraje !
      he perdido una maravilloso oportunidad de cambiar mi monotona vida y la deje pasar por cobarde.

  13. Sudeshna says:

    I read the book and i could relate so much to it. That is the beauty of your writing! And every writing encourages us to move forward and explore our world. Aleph is a book connects directly to your soul.

  14. saima naseer says:

    i loved alchemist and hv read it thousands of time it inteprets differently each time adding something new it happens becoz of diff frame of mind i may be in ur my favourite author ur words make a lot of difference to a whole lot of us thank you,still got to read aleph

  15. Yan says:

    I am still waiting for the german version. :) Mr. Coelho, you have written a lot of books! There is still a long way to go before I can finish all of them. But I will take my time, your books worths reading and rereading.

    And I think people sometimes stuck in troublesome situations, like family violence or self-abuse, sometimes not because they enjoy it, or they are afraid of change, but because the whole thing itself becomes a habit for the subconscious. Like smoking, people know it’s bad for health, but every time when the moment comes, they could think about nothing else but to get a cigaret. It could become a really long fight.

    And a good book like yours can help people to stay alert. Like I, now read some of your texts from the warrior of the light repeatedly to build up a positive thinking habit in order to get rid of some of my stubborn negative thoughts. And it works. :)

  16. Haideh Mokhtari says:

    a right book (or even a sentence) in the right time (when I am ready to reveal my potentials) will make the most incredible challenges bring me closer to true sense of life!
    Paulo one of favorites.

  17. Shine says:

    Your books always bring a comfort and hope to me…love Avantika

  18. Annie says:

    At last
    volcano uncapped
    the herald angels sing
    Glory to the newborn King /Queen

    Love and Gratitude

  19. Laine says:

    I got Aleph as a gift for my 32nd bday and I was very very happy upon receiving it from a friend, who happens to know that I’m an avid reader of your books.

    I see your stories, the lines, everything that’s written as a message of hope. I would like to someday seek out and fulfill my dreams for myself and my family. There are times that I know that I am ready to search and go for it, for some reason the things that i need is not there. It just don’t rhyme at all. The timing is not right. I hope and pray someday I’ll be able to fulfill the dreams and find my own life path.

    Thank you Mr. Coelho! You have been a living inspiration! I hope to see you someday when you visit our country and have my books signed.

  20. sanaa says:

    i read the alchemist three years ago n it was my favourite book. i felt it touched my life and inspired me. i was readin n sayin ‘yes. this z true. then later oh yes!!!’. it was amazing to find somebody sharing the same thoughts. wish to read Aleph soon. thanx Paulo

  21. THELMA says:

    I am in a … comfort zone, since I was twenty!!! Chained with duties, responsibilities and … inner loneliness! It seems that I am not ‘made’ from the “comfort-zone- material”!!! :-))) I am a … volcano , but the surface is very peaceful and from .. granite made; too difficult to .. break! Usually people ‘accept’ their destiny and .. surrender! The older I become the more I desire to fulfill my dreams! The other day my mother asked me, do you still have any unfulfilled desires?:-))) I have read somewhere that “Desires are what keep us bound with the Earth”! They form our .. Karma! So regarding material things that can or cannot be acquired I have more or less, overcome them: I do not desire anything anymore. Then what makes me feel sad? I think that overcoming our own desires and EGO we expand ourselves and we being ONE we can feel and experience the .. misery, sadness, loneliness of everyone around us.. I wish that everyone would read your books, dearest Paulo Coelho and experience the vast Cosmos of the other Spheres around us! Then their small ‘egos’ will not keep them separate from Beauty, Light and Love and they will be able to ‘hear’ the Music of LOVE!
    Thelma xxx

    1. Athanasios Gkatzoulis says:

      Hello My name is Athanasios Gkatzoulis and I would like to comment on the entry that you have submitted.

      You say that you are a Volcano inside which if I understand correctly means that you have too many thoughts on your mind all the time. Thoughts of things that you may think you need to accomplish and when. You always have to remember time is on your side try not to become stressed out about it, the result is the opposite of what you want to do. Stress makes us make bad decisions. My opinion is to start with one thought at a time, make a plan.

      Ask yourself what is your goal?

      Then think of a way to accomplish it. One by one you will start organizing your thoughts and deal with them. You may want to start with simple things first.

      Regarding material things you may not desire them anymore but you have to realize the truth about things. We may not desire material things but the truth of the matter is that they can make our life easier if done for the right reasons and we can HELP more people this way. Lets say that you do not like automobiles. If you had a car though think of all the good things you could do to help people. Take your mother to the supermarket, give a friend a lift in a time of need. Arrange to help an elderly person by spending some time with them and taking them out for a change of scenery etc.

      We as people make the mistake of thinking the things we think we need to do are more important than the people in our lives. We should try and concentrate on the people that are in our lives because God chose for them to be there and also for us to be there for them.

      Love means not being afraid to say “I LOVE YOU”. We cannot say it enough, both with words and with our actions.

      God bless you. Amen.

  22. Arreem says:

    I’m so excited!
    I can’t wait to get my own copy of the new book..

    I used to read Coehlo in my native language..
    but re-reading them in English is a more inspiring experience..

  23. vrinda says:

    hey..well ..2dayy z an imp hindu festival..”diwali” ,….so i wanna wish u awll a veryy happi diwali..may da goddesses of wisdom n prosperity shine upon ur stars wid deir blessings :) …luv n peace to u awll!

  24. Ami says:

    HOPE is the little voice you hear whisper “may be” when it seems the entire world is shouting “no!”….
    You bring that HOPE in this world Paulo….
    “Pilgrimage”..your best work…followed by the classic “The Alchemist”….. now awaiting “Aleph” real badly

    Keep igniting Hope and faith in everyone as ever

    God Bless..:)

  25. Kristin says:

    I like how you mentioned reading a book at the right moment, and how if you do, it can become a catalyst for the change that is already inside of you. I have dreamed of being a Mom since I was 23, and planned to be a foster parent since I was 19, but I kept thinking I would wait and do it in the future. But reading the Life quotations book of yours and the beginning of Aleph motivated me to start the process now, and receive my first foster child in June, because I want to act on my dream. My favorite book of yours is the Alchemist, and I especially love the introduction, and the obstacles you have to overcome if you dare to pursue your dream. I re-read this every time I am facing professional or personal obstacles and it always motivates me to stay on the right path. I am looking for the signs like the shepard boy did in the Alchemist, and I know I will become a foster parent this summer and help the soul of the world. Thank you for your inspiration!

  26. Ram Malla says:

    We all are travellers in one way or the other – in search for the answers, the truth

  27. Ram Malla says:

    writer is ambassador of God.

  28. Patricia says:

    What great last response you gave, you know us, your readers well. Congratulations Paulo, I, as a devoted follower of your thoughts admit… Aleph I read once but before I question many things I will read again. I wish your faith becomes settled, unquestionable. With great respect and admiration for your mind.

  29. gmtan says:

    Nice interview and great book. You have changed many people’s lives with your books, God bless!

  30. Haiku says:

    Somehow reading Paulo Coelho’s books have given me courage and encouragement over the years! Not sure how he does it, but my soul breathe’s a sigh of relief everytime I read one of his books!

  31. nina ramirez says:

    Lo que mas admiro en sus libros es que en ellos plasma los tipos de personalidad del individuo.,la busqueda de lo espiritual a travez de las experiencias vividas.Ciertamente usamos la lectura como un catalizador para poner en practica todo lo que tenemos dentro y no somos capaces de exteriorizar.

  32. marie-christine says:

    En francais
    Un livre decapsule un volcan

    Aleph est actuellement un best-seller dans le monde entier. Le succes mondial de vos livres est-il une preuve que chacun partage les memes peurs et reves et les gens ne sont pas aussi differents que ce que l’on pense parfois?

    Je pense que les gens dans le monde entier se posent les memes questions. Je ne dirais pas les peurs et les reves – c’est probable egalement – mais quand j’ecris un livre je me concentre sur mes questions personnelles. Je me suis apercu en lisant les Tweets et les commentaires des communites sociales que bien que nous ne partageons pas les memes reponses – et nous ne les partageons pas – nous avons les memes questions en commun.
    C’est quelque chose qui aide beaucoup. Je ne me sens pas seul en tant qu’ecrivain. Parce que vous vous demandez toujours. ‘J’ecris ceci pour moi Mais est-ce que quelqu’un d’autre sait de quoi je parle?’ Et ils le savent.

    Ayant inspire tant d’entre eux, cela peut surprendre les lecteurs d”Aleph’ de decouvrir que vous traversiez votre propre crise de foi?

    La foi n’est pas une ligne droite. C’est comme si vous grimpez une montagne.Vous avez vos hauts et vos bas. La foi est a la fin de la journee un acte de foi,.
    J’ai besoin de la foi pour croire en Dieu, Les athees egalement ont besoin de la foi pour ne pas croire en Dieu., Comme tout le monde j’ai mes moments de doute.

    Comme ‘L’Alchimiste’, ‘Aleph’ raconte un voyage physique qui est en fin de compte un voyage spirituel. Pourquoi aviez-vous besoin de traverser un continent pour decouvrir quelque chose a l’interieur de vous-meme?

    En 2006, je me trouvais dans ma zone de confort – un best-seller auteur dans le monde entier,- donnant l’impression comme si je n’avais plus de defis dans la vie et ceci n’est pas bon parce que la vie est une continuelle remise en question. Les gens ont tendance a rester dans la zone de confort parce qu’il n’y a pas de risques. Mais si vous n’acceptez pas les defis, vous etes mort!

    Tout le monde est coince dans une routine et reticent de quitter leur zone de confort… Personne ne vit vraiment…

    Ne generalisons pas Steven. Beaucoup de gens mais pas tout le monde sinon je n’aurais pas de lecteurs. C’est une tendance que nous avons et nous devons nous battre contre cela.

    Quelques personnes ne font pas suffisamment d’efforts?

    Oui c’est exact. On a peur de changer.

    Les gens lisent-ils vos livres pour les aider a se battre?

    Mes livres peuvent servir de catalyseurs. Ils peuvent provoquer une reaction chez une personne qui est deja prete a changer. Je ne pense pas que mes lecteurs lisent les livres pour essayer d’apprendre a changer. Vous lisez un livre au bon moment et puis vous vous rendez compte que vous possedez ce volcan a l’interieur de vous pret a exploser et le livre decapsule ce volcan.

  33. betsisanders says:

    I have read Aleph and have a collection of ALL your books. The Warrior of the Light (manual) is like a daily guide, an instruction manual on how to live and love. Ordinary people, like me, enjoy your books because they are easy to read. When you write, you go sraight to the point. Thank you ;)

  34. This is a miracle unfolding. Very beautiful.
    Seeing how life loves the liver.
    ‘Just keep swimming’ – quote from ‘Finding Nemo’ (grand daughter’s favorite movie for months)

    Congratulations Paulo!! We are very blessed.

  35. Andrés Torrejón Páfila says:

    …cuando quieras, pon otro cachito de Aleph…gracias!

  36. Rita says:


    All I can say from my own experience is that you manage to find me when I need to be found the most. Being a prisoner in my own mind there have been times in my life where you came along and simply handed me the key that I needed to unlock myself away from the tortures that plague me in my head.
    And again with Aleph you have done the same. All I can do is say thank you for sharing your mind with us and for allowing us to feel that we are not alone. It takes great strength and courage to put your deepest thoughts and tears out for the world to see. And then I thank God for giving me signs and placing me in difficult situations so that I may challenge myself to also reclaim my kingdom.

    God Bless


    1. paulocoelho says:

      God bless you too.

  37. nurgül says:

    if a book gets into you and creates a difference in your heart,it’ really succesfull.because it changes something in you.and the writer is ambassador of God.and dear paulo,have you ever thougth that?are you agree with me??

  38. Alina says:

    I am Romanian, currently in Italy. I bought the book here so it is translated in Italian. I was surprised of how easy it is to read it even dough i don’t know Italian very well. It’s like a universal language, something that does not stop at the language barrier. It is always an inspiring experience to read one of your books.

    1. Vijay Sharma says:

      Hi Alina,

      I am from India and I also have the same opinion about this book and most of the books written by Sir Paulo.
      You are right. Paulo’s books are universal without any barriers like country, language & religion.
      Most of the content of his books applies to everyone’s life.


  39. Amanda says:

    I read the alquemist 8 years ago and It gave me a new point of view about dreams and challenges in life…now I am reading the Aleph and It is giving me such a good sensation about my spiritual search…life is a continus travel…I think that is a pretty close idea about what really is..You have a talent Paulo,, thanks for bringing some ideas and inspiration to all of us…allowing to give new approaches.

  40. kathy ahearn says:

    I totally agree that we need to do something in life that expands our comfort zone…I work with terminally ill people through Hospice and I have evovled so much because of the challenge this presents. I also have meet many brave people. Terminal illness and dying forces us into a zone unlike any other. I am not saying that everyone should go out and face death…but go face one of your fears. Fear, habit and laziness keep us in our comfort zone…but the magic happens out side of it.

  41. Anon says:

    Your books are helping me regain my trust in the world. Simply knowing that you are out there living in a similar mindset to me is very supportive. The fact that you have so many readers is also a huge source of solidarity and support to my life. I have bonded with strangers on my travels due to a shared love of your books and therefore a shared understanding and perception of the world. Thank you. And I also respect you for doing an interview for the Big Issue which is a UK magazine that helps homeless people earn an honest living.

  42. silvia says:

    I really love your books, i couln’t read the alquimist until was my time I tried so many times but always put it away; until one day I saw it en the book store and I bought it again and then I started to read without stopping, then a friend was suffering because her father was going to die and she had so many questions about where happiness was and also all the pain that she has because she wasn’t home, she was away looking for happiness all that was killing her; then I gave her the book and she found a lot of peace and many answers to her doubts.
    For me the book that help me understand many things was “By the River Piedra I sat down and wept” that book make me open my eyes and realized that I was able to change everything that was making me unhappy.

    Thank you very much for all your book they are so inspiring I can’t wait to buy your new book and find some extra peace again.

  43. Darren Poke says:

    Thanks again Paulo.

    I’m looking forward to reading Aleph.

    I lent my copy of the Alchemist to my niece yesterday and am hoping that it will have the same impact on her that it did on me.

  44. Sagrario torres says:

    I’m looking forward to read that book. Yes, faith is not a straight line, I agree. Every single day is a great challenge, but God is always there for us, through your books, friends, family. It’s great to have somebody who inspires us like you do.

  45. Maria says:

    I am there today…without challenges and looking forward or dreams and so feel empty and dead because dreams keep us alive I believe so am about to read Aleph as I loved all the books of yours I’ve read and they always gave me Strenght and courage to go on. What I always say is: to be truly happy you have to ne happy with what you have but never stop dreaming cos dreamd, challenges and looking forward are what keeps us alive and wanting to move on but many times fear of the unknown keeps us back when you find out that the grass is not always greener on the other side do it’d tough and hard to decide whether to leave your comfort zone even if it is not s happy one and discover what’s out there…I hope I am strong enough to do that cos I fear lonliness too much

  46. Kelly says:

    Es muy cierto lo del volcán, ahora mas que nunca me siento así­, solo era cuestión de tiempo leer Aleph y luego ver el cambio que va generando en mi.
    Dios te bendiga Paulo

  47. CG says:

    Thank you for being a source of inspiration to me, a catalyst to my thoughts!

    “We don’t share the same answers – and we don’t – we share the same questions.”
    We all are travellers in one way or the other – in search for the answers, the truth.

    With gratitude,

  48. torumoy says:

    Your books are always my sources of inspiration. Currently my Dad is reading Aleph. When he is done, I will read it.

  49. kimhwanmok says:

    I reading your aleph!
    thank you. write for aleph!
    (oh, i sorry have not a command of Foreign language. only receive from internet.)
    your book is my teacher and your book is decide to start writer.
    boast of translated into Korean your all read book!

    i dream writer. but… i`m not sure. i have Talent or i have not talent.
    Of course. i`m not care a louse. this moment, i write. i love that. it is only my affair. i hate comfort and i having fight for good-natured.

    just apprehension.

    but… i already know the solution.

    oh sorry, i act like a baby.
    It’s all because of meeting. i palpitate the first meeting!!! (even though, meet in the internet.) well, your watch this comment. i hope your watch.

    your my true teacher.
    the teaching of the sages, in respect of gratitude your teach.
    anyway, thank you. write for your all book! I wanted to this Sentence.
    i bless you.

  50. Heimo Kruschinski says:

    A great interview! Thank you, and you’re a catalyst. Still well in excess if the joke is allowed. :-) I’m very glad that people like you exist! There are a lot of challenges for you, for me, for everyone. Where else would be the fun in life? May God bless you!

    I wish you all a wonderful evening

    1. Thankyou Heimo, cheers for your evening also!
      I love your question: ‘Where else would be the fun in life?’