Archives for February 2014

20 SEC READING: How poor we are

EN ESPANOL AQUI: Que pobres somos

Illustration by Ken Crane

One day a father of a very wealthy family took his son on a trip to the country with the firm purpose of showing his son how poor people live.

They spent a couple of days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family.
On their return from the trip, the father asked his son, “How was the trip?”
“It was great, Dad”.

“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.

“Oh yes”, said the son.
“So, tell me, what did you learn from the trip?” asked the father.

The son answered:
“I saw that we have one dog and they had four.
“We have a pool that reaches to the middle of the garden and they have a creek that has no end.
“We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night.

“Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon.
“We have a small piece of land to live on and they have fields that go beyond our sight.

“We buy our food, but they grow theirs.
“We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them.”

The boy’s father was speechless. Then his son added:
“Thanks, Dad for showing me how poor we are.”

story sent by Sangeeta

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Dreams and obsessions

Your theory about every person could reach everything in life is really optimistic. But if the person tried once and was despaired and disappointed what is he going to do?
(Antoine Rigal, Lyon, France)

There is sometimes a bit of confusion in regards to a passage in my book The Alchemist: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Some people sometimes want things that in the end won’t truly help them. Life is strange: the happier people can be, the unhappier they are. I have some friends that think they exist because they have “problems” to solve. Without “problems” they are nobody.

The Universe is merely an echo of our desires, regardless of whether they are constructive or destructive ones.

One has to also keep in mind the difference between a dream and an obsession. I mention personal legend in The Alchemist, and I wrote a book about obsession, The Zahir.

When you follow your personal legend, you walk your path and learn from it. The objective doesn’t blind you to the road that takes you there.

On the other hand obsession is what prevents you from admiring the teachings of life.

It’s like trying to get to your objective without passing through the challenges.

I realized that despite the fear and the bruises of life, one has to keep on fighting for one’s dream.
As Borges said in his writings “there is no other virtue than being brave”.

And one has to understand that being brave is not the absence of fear but rather the strength to keep on going forward despite the fear.

Paulo Coelho moves to Penguin Random House in the UK, Australia and India

Susan Sandon, Managing Director of Cornerstone, has acquired rights to Paulo Coelho’s new novel, ADULTERY, acting on behalf of Hutchinson at Cornerstone, Hamish Hamilton in Australia and New Zealand, and Penguin Random House India.
The six figure acquisition, with separate deals for each territory, was struck with Mí´nica R. Antunes at Sant Jordi Asociados.

ADULTERY will be published this August simultaneously with Knopf in the US.

ADULTERY is a thought-provoking novel about the blurred lines between love and infatuation, adventure and self-sabotage. Linda is happily married to a wealthy man, has two children and works as a journalist – she knows she is lucky which only makes her unhappiness more confusing. While being afraid of change, she is also terrified of life continuing as it is. A meeting with a politician, and ex-boyfriend, ignites a side of her she thought had been shut-down with far-reaching consequences for everyone. The inspirational message for the reader is that you need to discover the passion in the life you have, not the life you imagine.

Jocasta Hamilton, Publishing Director, Hutchinson says: ‘Paulo Coelho is one of a handful of authors who can claim to have touched the lives of millions and this book will speak to everyone and anyone who has ever wondered ‘is this it?’ The opportunity to work closely with our international colleagues to deliver a stand-out global publication with a truly international bestselling author is thrilling and we’re all incredibly excited to be part of the Paulo Coelho phenomenon.’

Paulo Coelho has sold more than 150 million books worldwide. His work is published in 80 languages and he is the most translated living author in the world. Paulo has an enormous digital media presence. He is the writer with the highest number of social media followers reaching over 17 million fans through his Facebook page and 9 million followers on Twitter.

For further information, please contact Emma Mitchell, Hutchinson Publicity Director

“To God: How did you get invented?”

I found in Keithpp’s Blog this very interesting entry:

A non-believer who sends his six-year-old daughter Lulu to a Scottish church primary school.
Her teachers asked her to write the following letter: “To God, How did you get invented?”
The Rentons were taken aback: “We had no idea that a state primary affiliated with a church would do quite so much God,” says her father.
He chose emailing her letter to the Scottish Episcopal Church (no reply), the Presbyterians (ditto) and the Scottish Catholics (a nice but theologically complex answer).
For good measure, he also sent it to “the head of theology of the Anglican Communion, based at Lambeth Palace” (Archbishop Rowan ) “and this was the response:

“Dear Lulu:

Nobody invented me – but lots of people discovered me and were quite surprised.

They discovered me when they looked round at the world and thought it was really beautiful or really mysterious and wondered where it came from.

They discovered me when they were very very quiet on their own and felt a sort of peace and love they hadn’t expected.

Then they invented ideas about me – some of them sensible and some of them not very sensible.

From time to time I sent them some hints “specially in the life of Jesus” to help them get closer to what I’m really like.

But there was nothing and nobody around before me to invent me.

Rather like somebody who writes a story in a book, I started making up the story of the world

and eventually invented human beings like you who could ask me awkward questions!”


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20 SEC READ: Writing (ENG, ESPA, PORT)

ESPANOL AQUI–> El acto de escribir

PORTUGUES AQUI –> O ato de escrever

“There are two types of writers: those who make you think and those who make you dream” says Brian Aldiss, who made me dream for such a long time with his science-fiction books. In principle I believe that every human being on this planet has at least one good story to tell his neighbor. What follows are my reflections on some important items in the process of creating a text:

Above all else, the writer has to be a good reader. The kind that sticks to academic texts and does not read what others write (and here I’m not just talking about books but also blogs, newspaper columns and so on) will never know his own qualities and defects.

So, before starting anything, look for people who are interested in sharing their experience through words. I’m not saying: “look for other writers”. What I say is: find people with different skills, because writing is no different from any other activity that is done with enthusiasm.

Your allies will not necessarily be those that everyone looks on with admiration and says: “there’s nobody better”. It’s very much the opposite: it’s people who are not afraid of making mistakes, and yet they do make mistakes. That is why their work is not always recognized. But that’s the type of people who change the world, and after many mistakes they manage to get something right that will make all the difference in their community.

These are people who cannot sit around waiting for things to happen before they decide on the best way to narrate them: they decide as they act, even knowing that this can be very risky.

Living close to these people is important for writers, because they need to understand that before putting anything down on paper, they should be free enough to change direction as their imagination wanders. When a sentence comes to an end, the writer should tell himself: “while I was writing I traveled a long road. Now I can finish this paragraph in the full awareness that I have risked enough and given the best of myself.”

The best allies are those who don’t think like the others. That’s why, while you are looking for your companions, trust your intuition and don’t pay any attention to others’ remarks. People always judge others using the model of their own limitations – and at times the opinion of the community is full of prejudices and fears.

Join those who have never said: “it’s finished, I have to stop here”. Because just as winter is followed by spring, nothing comes to an end: after reaching your objective, you have to start again, always using all that you have learnt on the way.

Join those who sing, tell stories, enjoy life and have happiness in their eyes. Because happiness is contagious and always manages to keep people from being paralyzed by depression, loneliness and troubles.

And tell your story, even if it’s only for your family to read.

3 historias cortas: Fe, tiempo y sospecha

Sin parpadear

Durante una guerra civil en Corea, cierto general avanzaba implacablemente con sus tropas, tomando provincia tras provincia, y destruyendo todo lo que encontraba a su paso. El pueblo de una ciudad, al saber que el general se aproximaba -y habiendo oí­do historias de su crueldad- huyó a una montaña cercana.

Las tropas encontraron las casas vací­as. Después de mucho buscar, descubrieron a un monje zen que habí­a permanecido en el lugar. El general ordenó que viniese ante su presencia, pero el monje no obedeció.

Furioso, el general fue donde se encontraba el monje.

-¡Tú no debes de saber quién soy yo! -rugió-. ¡Yo soy quien puede atravesar tu pecho con mi espada, sin parpadear siquiera!

El maestro zen se volvió hacia él y le respondió serenamente:

-Usted tampoco debe de saber quién soy yo. Yo soy aquel que puede ser atravesado por una espada, sin parpadear siquiera.

Al escuchar esto, el general se inclinó, hizo una reverencia, y se retiró.

Todo es cuestión de tiempo

Un judí­o ortodoxo se acercó al rabino Wolf:

-¡Los bares están llenos, y las personas se pasan la madrugada entera divirtiéndose!

El rabino nada respondió.

-Los bares están llenos, las personas pasan la noche en claro jugando a las cartas, ¿y usted no dice nada?

Es bueno que los bares estén llenos -fue el comentario de Wolf-. Todo el mundo, desde el principio de la creación, siempre ha deseado servir a Dios. El problema es que no todos saben la mejor manera de hacerlo. Intenta ver lo que te parece pecado como si se tratara de una virtud. Estas personas que pasan la noche en claro están aprendiendo a permanecer despiertas y a persistir en algo. Cuando se perfeccionen en eso, todo lo que tendrán que hacer es volverse hacia Dios. ¡Y qué magní­ficos siervos serán ellos entonces!

-Es usted muy optimista -dijo el hombre.

-No se trata de eso -respondió Wolf-. Se trata de entender que cualquier cosa que hacemos, por más absurda que nos parezca, puede conducirnos al camino. Todo es cuestión de tiempo.

La sospecha que transforma al ser humano

El folclore alemán cuenta la historia de un hombre que, al despertar, se dio cuenta de que su hacha habí­a desaparecido. Furioso, pensando que su vecino se la habí­a robado, se pasó el resto del dí­a observándolo.

Vio que tení­a maneras de ladrón, andaba furtivamente como un ladrón y susurraba como un ladrón que pretende esconder su robo. Estaba tan convencido de su sospecha, que decidió entrar en casa, cambiarse de ropa, e ir a la comisarí­a a poner una denuncia.

Nada más entrar, sin embargo, encontró el hacha -que su mujer habí­a colocado en otro lugar. El hombre volvió a salir, examinó nuevamente a su vecino, y comprobó que andaba, hablaba y se comportaba como cualquier persona honesta.

The Way of the Bow (ebook)

“The story might be brief, it will only take you about an hour and a half to go through it cover to cover, but the teachings it instills can be kept for a lifetime.”( F. Click)

“Well written piece that i have used to apply to my martial arts game. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that needs to apply a form of philosophy to their martial arts game” ( joesorandom review in amazon)

“The Way of the Bow” is one I will continue to re-read annually (at the very least!)”( Don Snyder)

Price: USD 2,99 or EURO 2,68

The Way of The Bow
Kindle Edition
iTunes Edition

O Caminho do Arco
Kindle Edition
iTunes Edition

El Camino del Arco
Kindle Edition
iTunes Edition

1 MIN READING: The Favor Bank

‘What is this Favor Bank?’
‘It was an American writer who first mentioned it. It’s the most powerful bank in the world, and you’ll find it in every sphere of life.’

‘What favors could I do for anyone?’

‘That doesn’t matter in the least. Let me give you an example: I know that one day, you’ll be very influential. I know this because, like you, I too was once ambitious, independent, honest. I no longer have the energy I once had, but I want to help you because I can’t or don’t want to grind to a halt just yet.
I start making deposits in your account – not cash deposits, you understand, but contacts. I introduce you to such and such a person, I arrange certain deals, as long as they’re legal. You know that you owe me something, but I never ask you for anything.’

‘And then one day…’
‘ One day, I’ll ask you for a favor. You do what I ask, I continue to help you, and other people see that you’re a decent, loyal sort of person and so they too make deposits in your account – always in the form of contacts, because this world is made up of contacts and nothing else. They too will one day ask you for a favor, and you will respect and help the people who have helped you. You’ll know everyone you need to know and your influence will keep on growing.’

‘I could refuse to do what you ask me to do.’

‘You could. The Favor Bank is a risky investment, just like any other bank. You refuse to grant the favor I asked you, in the belief that I helped you because you deserved to be helped, because everyone should recognize your talent. Fine, I say thank you very much and ask someone else into whose account I’ve also made various deposits, but from then on, everyone knows, without me having to say a word, that you are not to be trusted.

‘You’ll grow only half as much as you could have grown, and certainly not as much as you would have liked to. At a certain point, your life will begin to decline, you got halfway, but not all the way. Neither frustrated nor fulfilled. You’re neither cold nor hot, you’re lukewarm, and as an evangelist in some holy book says: “Lukewarm things are not pleasing to the palate.”‘


as told to the main character, the writer, in THE ZAHIR

20 SEC READING: the best temptation

Illustration by Ken Crane

A group of devils were trying to enter the soul of a holy man who lived near Cairo; they had already tempted him with Nubian women, Egyptian food, Libyan treasure, but nothing had worked.

One day, Satan passed and saw his servants’ efforts.

– You’re hopeless – said Satan. – You haven’t used the only technique no one can resist; I’ll teach you.

He went over to the holy man and whispered in his ear:

– Remember the priest who studied under you? He’s just been made Bishop of Alexandria.

Immediately, the holy man was filled with rage, and blasphemed against God’s injustice.

– The next time, use this temptation – said Satan to his subjects.

“Men can resist almost everything, but they are always jealous of the victory of a fellow man.”

Online Bookstore HERE
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I can’t change the world

As a Messenger of Peace for the UN, and UNESCO special counselor for “Intercultural Dialogues and Spiritual Convergences”, how do envision your role in today’s world? (Katya Yulianka, Russia)

I’ve always been very skeptical about people that say: “I want to save the world, help others…”

This is because to save the “world” is too abstract. What is possible – and the most difficult task – is to first look at oneself and try to identify what’s wrong.

Before searching for the other, one has to find oneself.

I can’t change the world, I can’t change my country, I can’t change my city, I can’t even change my neighborhood… what I can change is my street.
In 1996, when I started receiving significant royalties from my books, I went to a favela close to my home – in Rio favelas are in the center of the city – and met a group of people that were taking care of children.

I created The Paulo Coelho Institute. Since then we have been cooperating, and now we take care of 430 children (besides other projects, like supporting patients in mental hospitals, families that live below the poverty line, etc.)

I still believe that most of the real changes are made in a small scale.

Being one of the twelve Messengers of Peace is a reminder that peace, as well as justice, has a natural authority that imposes itself. The tribune of the UN gives me the opportunity to speak out about injustices and use my influence in the political arena.

The challenge lies in the fact that UN can’t do this work alone.
We are all Messengers of Peace. Let’s start working.

Online Bookstore HERE
Kindle (four languages) HERE

10 sec reading Never be ashamed to feign weakness

A wise Chinese master has this to say about the strategies of the warriors of light:

‘Convince your enemy that he will gain very little by attacking you; this will diminish his enthusiasm.’

‘Do not be ashamed to make a temporary withdrawal from the field if you see that your enemy is stronger than you; it is not winning or losing a single battle that matters.’

‘Even if you are very strong, never be ashamed to feign weakness; this will make your enemy act imprudently and attack too soon.’

‘Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.

‘To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

Opportunities multiply as they are seized.


St.Valentine’s Cards

1] Click in the thumbnail / clicar no ecard
2] Right click on the image and select “Save Image As” / clicar com botí£o direito “salvar como”





Fundaí§í£o Paulo Coelho (beta)


Se meu trabalho resistir ao tempo, sempre haverá curiosidade em saber como vivi meus dias.
Meus manuscritos. Meus diários. Os recortes de imprensa. As crí­ticas. As cartas dos leitores. E por aí­ vai.
Resolvi criar uma Fundaí§í£o Virtual onde todo este material poderá ser acessado – em qualquer lugar do mundo.

Um local fí­sico ní£o basta – a pesquisa seria limitada í queles que podem vir até Genebra, onde estamos instalando a Fundaí§í£o Paulo Coelho (abertura no final de 2014).
Assim, decidimos colocar todo o material na nuvem.
O portal que estí£o vendo é uma versí£o beta. Podem ocorrer muitos erros durante a navegaí§í£o.

Quem puder colaborar conosco, apontando melhoras, por favor enviar um email para Ertz Porfirio
Muito obrigado.



Character of the week: Yoda

“Do or do not… there is no try.”

“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

“War does not make one great.”

“Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealously. The shadow of greed, that is.”

“That is why you fail. (in response to Luke saying, “I don’t believe it.”).”

“Powerful you have become, the dark side I sense in you.”

“If so powerful you are, why leave?”

“Clear, your mind must be if you are to discover the real villains behind the plot.”

“Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”

“You must feel the Force around you. Here, between you, me, the tree, the rock… everywhere! Even between the land and the ship.”
“To the Force, look for guidance. Accept what fate has placed before us.”

“May the Force be with you.”

Yoda is a master in the Star Wars universe


Online Bookstore HERE
Kindle (four languages) HERE

20 sec reading: tirelessly seeking love

To the warriors of light, there is no such thing as impossible love.

They don’t allow themselves to be intimidated by silence, or by rejection.

They know that – behind the icy mask people wear – there is a heart of fire.

That is why the warriors risk more than others.

They tirelessly seek love – even if this means hearing, many times over, the word ‘no’, returning home defeated, feeling rejected in body and soul.

Warriors don’t allow themselves to be discouraged. Without love, living has no meaning.

We must challenge our certainties

In my book The Alchemist, the young shepherd Santiago meets an old man in the town square. He is searching for a treasure, but does not know how to reach it.
The old man starts up a conversation with him: “How many sheep have you got?” “Enough,” answers Santiago.
“Then we have a problem. I can’t help if you think you have enough sheep.”

Based on this extract, the Peruvian priest Clemente Sobrado wrote an interesting piece, which I transcribe below:

One of the biggest problems that we drag around with us all our life is to want to believe we have “enough sheep”.

We are surrounded by certainties, and nobody wants someone showing up to propose something new.
If we could only suspect that we don’t have everything, and that we aren’t all that we could be!

Maybe we are all faced with a very serious problem, namely that although we have the opportunity to help one another, the truth is that few people let themselves be helped.

Why is that? Because they think they have “enough sheep”.

They already know everything, they are always right, they feel comfortable in their lives.

Almost all of us are like that: We have many things but few aspirations.
We have many ideas already sorted out, and we don’t want to give them up.

Our life scheme is already organised and we don’t need someone trying to make changes.
We’ve done enough praying, practiced charity, read the lives of the saints, gone to Mass, taken communion.

A friend of mine once said: “I don’t know why I come to visit you, father. I am already a good Christian.”

On that day I could not help answering: “Then don’t come to visit me, because there are a lot of people waiting to see me and they are all full of doubts. But one thing you ought to know: You aren’t bad enough to be bad, nor good enough to be good, nor holy enough to work miracles.

“You are just a Christian satisfied with what you have achieved.
“And all those who are satisfied have in fact renounced the ideal of always improving. Let’s talk about this some other time, all right?”

Ever since then, whenever we speak on the telephone he starts by saying: “This person who is calling hasn’t yet grown up as much as he could”.