Paulo Coelho Discusses the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Alchemist

What originally inspired you to write The Alchemist?

Coelho: My dream was to be a writer. I wrote my first book in 1987, The Pilgrimage, after completing my own personal pilgrimage from France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. After that I thought, “Why did it take me so long to fulfill my dream?” So I decided to write a metaphor, and this metaphor is The Alchemist: a novel about someone who needs to fulfill his or her dream, but takes too long because he or she thinks it’s impossible.

The Alchemist has sold over 150 million copies worldwide, won 115 international prizes and awards, has been translated into 80 languages, and is still on the New York Times bestseller list today, 25 years after its initial publication. What impact has this success had on your life?

Coelho: Of course The Alchemist opened a lot of doors for me. At the moment I’m answering this question, the novel is still on The New York Times bestseller list. But success did not happen overnight, so I had time to get used to it. The book was not something that exploded all of a sudden. I believe success can be a blessing, and it can also be a curse. I was older when the recognition came, so I had another level of maturity to face that change. When it happened, I remember thinking, “My God, this is a blessing. ” So above all, I had to respect it. And the way to respect it is to really understand that a blessing has no explanation, but needs to be treasured and honored.

Do you closely relate to any of the characters in The Alchemist? If so, how?

Coelho: In The Alchemist, I relate myself to the Englishman – someone who is trying to understand life through books. It’s quite interesting how many times we use books to understand life. I think that a book is a catalyst: it provokes a reaction. I am a compulsive reader. I read a lot, but from time to time, there are books that changed my life. Well, it’s not that the book itself changed my life; it’s that I was already ready to change, and needed to not feel alone. The same thing happens with the Englishman in The Alchemist.

What have you discovered about your own personal destiny in the past 25 years since writing The Alchemist?

Coelho: What I learned after writing The Alchemist, after the worldwide success, is basically that I had a dream, a Personal Legend to fulfill. To be a writer is to write. To write means new books. New books mean new challenges. Of course, I could have stopped with The Alchemist a long time ago if I was only in it for money, but I really love what I do. I can’t see myself not writing. It’s not always an easy task, sometimes it’s very challenging, but this is what I do and this is what I like. So the journey itself is the miracle; it is the blessing. There is no point to reach. You have to travel your journey with joy, hope, and challenges in your heart.

Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Coelho: To my readers and my fans, basically my companions, I would say that spirituality is being brave, is taking risks, is daring to do something when people are always telling you not to. My parents, for example, did not want me to be a writer, and that’s why it took so long for me to fulfill my dream. But here I am, thanks to that moment after my pilgrimage from France to Spain, when I said to myself, “I can’t live with a dream that I did not even try to fulfill. ”
Do the same thing.

The pilgrim in Cascais


The 10 best Latin American books of all time



The Telegraph (UK) selected the 10 best Latin American books of all time
The best novels by Latin American authors or set in Latin America from One Hundred Years of Solitude to The Alchemist


The day I turned 60

At 23:15 on the 23rd of August I went to Lourdes so that at exactly 00:05 of the 24th, the moment I was born, I could be at the grotto of Our Lady to thank her for my life up to that moment and ask her to protect me from that moment on.

It was a very powerful experience, but while I was driving back to St. Martin (where I have a small mill to spend the summer) I felt extremely lonely. I said so to my wife.

“But you’re the one who chose it to be so!” she replied.

Yes, I had indeed made that choice, but now I began to feel bothered. We were both alone in this immense planet. I turned on my mobile phone.

It rang immediately – it was Monica, my agent and friend. When I arrived home there were other messages waiting for me. I went to bed happy, and the next day I saw that there was absolutely no reason for me to feel the oppression of the night before.

Flowers and presents began to arrive at the house. Communities of people over the Internet had done some extraordinary things using images and texts of mine.

In most cases, this had all been arranged by people I had never seen in my life – one exception being Márcia Nascimento, who did some magical work and it gives me pleasure to say that I am a writer with a fan-club – and she is world president!

At that moment I understood two very important things. The first is that no matter how famous you may be, you will always have the feeling that you are alone.

The other is that no matter how unknown you may be, you will always be surrounded by friends, even if you have never seen their faces.

Even when I was unknown, there was always a hand held out to me when I needed it. So I let Kahlil Gibran – with his unique mastery – describe this sentiment (which I have adapted because of the size of the column): “Your friend is the field where you sow with love and harvest with gratitude. He is your home, he is your table.

“Even when he is silent, two hearts continue to talk.

“When you have to leave him, don’t suffer, for you will see the importance of the friendship all the better because of this absence, just as a mountain climber sees the landscape around him better when he is far from the plains.

“May you be able to share with your friend all that is good.

“Let him know and share not only your moments of joy but also your moments of sorrow”.

“And know that a friend is not by your side to help you kill the time, but rather to help you enjoy life in all its fullness”.

Adultery publication dates



Oscar Wilde’s quotes

Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.
A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.
All that I desire to point out is the general principle that life imitates art far more than art imitates life.
Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known. Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.

Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.
An excellent man; he has no enemies; and none of his friends like him.
As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.
A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.

Children begin by loving their parents; after a time they judge them; rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.
Do you really think it is weakness that yields to temptation? I tell you that there are terrible temptations which it requires strength, strength and courage to yield to.

Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.

Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900) was an Irish writer, poet, and playwriter

Ignored by God


EM PORTUGUES AQUI: Senhor, eu não sei onde estou indo
EN ESPANOL AQUI: No tengo idea de adónde voy

Many people tell me: “I often feel that I am ignored by God.Why is it so hard to establish a dialogue with the Divine?”

On one hand we know that it is important to seek God.
On the other hand, life distances us from Him/Her – because we feel ignored by the Divine, or else because we are busy with our daily life.
This makes us feel very guilty: either we feel that we are renouncing life too much because of God, or else we feel that we are renouncing God too much because of life.
This apparent double law is a fantasy: God is in life, and life is in God.
If we manage to penetrate the sacred harmony of our daily existence, we shall always be on the right road, because our daily tasks are also our divine tasks.

When you feel this, just recite in the silence of your heart a beautiful prayer by Thomas Merton:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going,
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself,
and the fact that I think I am following your will
does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road,
though I may know nothing about it.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me,
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Every warrior of light has been afraid



Farsi: Manuscript found in Accra (free download)



While waiting for the permission of the Iranian Ministry of Culture to publish the physical copy of the book (I am almost sure they will approve) here you have the full text.

As soon as it is approved and it is in the bookstores, if you liked it please buy a copy – to tell other people that “piracy” is not a thread to the industry.



Why would flowers try so hard,
to attract the bees?
Why would raindrops transform themselves into a rainbow
when they encounter the sun?

Because nature is beauty
Outer beauty is inner beauty made visible
Inner beauty is the soul

The eyes are the mirror of the soul
And reflect all the hidden secrets

Beauty is simple and truthful
And cannot be tricked

Beauty exists not in sameness,
but in difference
It is the imperfect that astonishes,
that attracts
It is the real,
the soul that smiles and shines

The brightest light comes from within

Narcissus and the lake/ Narciso e o lago

narcissus, caravaggio, alchemist
(Narcissus by Caravaggio )

The Alchemist picked up a book that someone in the caravan had brought. Leafing through the pages, he found a story about Narcissus.
The Alchemist knew the legend of Narcissus, a youth who daily knelt beside a lake to contemplate his own beauty. He was so fascinated by himself that, one morning, he fell into the lake and drowned.
At the spot where he fell, a flower was born, which was called the narcissus.

But this was not how the author of the book ended the story. He said that when Narcissus died, the Goddesses of the Forest appeared and found the lake, which had been fresh water, transformed into a lake of salty tears.
“Why do you weep?” the Goddesses asked.
“I weep for Narcissus,” the lake replied.
“Ah, it is no surprise that you weep for Narcissus,” they said, “for though we always pursued him in the forest, you alone could contemplate his beauty close at hand.”
“But….. was Narcissus beautiful?” the lake asked.
“Who better than you to know that?” the Goddesses said in wonder, “After all, it was by your banks that he knelt each day to contemplate himself!”
The lake was silent for some time. Finally it said:
“I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected.”

“What a lovely story,” the Alchemist thought.

( Prologue of “The Alchemist”, celebrating this week 309 WEEKS in the New York Times Bestselling list



O Alquimista pegou num livro que alguém na caravana tinha trazido. O volume estava sem capa, mas conseguiu identificar o seu autor: Oscar Wilde . Enquanto folheava as suas páginas, encontrou uma história sobre Narciso.
O Alquimista conhecia a lenda de Narciso, um belo rapaz que todos os dias ia contemplar a sua própria beleza num lago. Estava tão fascinado por si mesmo que certo dia caiu dentro do lago e morreu afogado.
No lugar onde caiu, nasceu uma flor, a que chamaram narciso.
Mas não era assim que Oscar Wilde acabava a história.

Ele dizia que quando Narciso morreu, vieram as Oréiades – deusas do bosque – e viram o lago transformado, de um lago de água doce, num cântaro de águas salgadas.
– Por que choras? – perguntaram as Oréiades .
– Choro por Narciso – disse o lago.
– Ah, não nos espanta que chores por Narciso – continuaram elas. – Afinal de contas, apesar de todas nós corrermos atrás dele pelo bosque, tu eras o único que tinha a oportunidade de contemplar de perto a sua beleza.
– Mas Narciso era belo? – perguntou o lago.
– Quem mais do que tu poderia saber disso? – responderam, surpresas, as Oréiades . – Afinal de contas, era nas tuas margens que ele se debruçava todos os dias.
O lago ficou algum tempo quieto. Por fim, disse:
– Eu choro por Narciso, mas nunca tinha percebido que Narciso era belo.
»Choro por Narciso porque, todas as vezes que ele se debruçava sobre as minhas margens eu podia ver, no fundo dos seus olhos, a minha própria beleza reflectida.

– Que bela história – disse o Alquimista.

(prólogo de “O Alquimista”, celebrando 309 SEMANAS na lista dos mais vendidos do New York Times

10 SEC READ: Kings

The kingdom of this world

An old hermit was once invited to visit the court of the most powerful king of the day.
“I envy a holy man, who is content with so little,” commented the sovereign.
“I envy Your Majesty, who is content with less than I. I have the music of the celestial spheres, I have the rivers and mountains of the whole wide world, I have the moon and the sun, because I have God in my soul. Your Majesty, however, has only this kingdom.”

O reino deste mundo

Um velho ermitão foi certa vez convidado para ir até a corte do rei mais poderoso daquela época.
– Eu invejo um homem santo, que se contenta com tão pouco – comentou o soberano.
– Eu invejo Vossa Majestade, que se contenta com menos que eu. Eu tenho a música das esferas celestes, tenho os rios e as montanhas do mundo inteiro, tenho a lua e o sol, porque tenho Deus na minha alma. Vossa Majestade, porém, tem apenas este reino.


El reino de este mundo

Un viejo ermitaño fue invitado en cierta ocasión a ir a la corte del rey más poderoso de su tiempo.
-Yo envidio a los hombres santos, que se conforman con tan poco –comentó en soberano.
-Yo le envidió a Su Majestad, que se contenta con menos aún que yo. Yo tengo la música de las esferas celestes, tengo los ríos y las montañas del mundo entero, y tengo la luna y el sol, porque llevo a Dios en mi alma. Su Majestad, sin embargo, apenas tiene este reino.

15 SEC READING: covering the sun

Illustration by Ken Crane

A disciple went to Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav:
– I shall not continue with my studies of sacred texts – he said. – I live in a small house with my brothers and parents, and never have the ideal conditions for concentrating on that which is important.

Nachman pointed to the sun and asked his disciple to place his hand over his face, in order to hide it.
The disciple obeyed.

– Your hand is small, yet it can completely cover the power, light and majesty of the great sun.
“In the same way, the small problems manage to give you the excuse you need in order to hinder your progress along your spiritual journey.

“Just as your hand has the power to hide the sun, mediocrity has the power to hide your inner light.
“Do not blame others for your own incompetence.”

Online Bookstore HERE
Kindle (four languages) HERE

Paulo’s everyday life

What kind of person Paulo Coelho is in everyday life?
( Richard, in Twitter)

I’m first and foremost an “Internet addict”. I spend 3 hours every day talking to my readers through social communities: this blog, Facebook and Twitter.

For the past two years, I decided to stop giving interviews – I am tired to repeat the same questions over and over again. Of course this is not a final decision, and I can eventually accept an invitation – but my mailbox is full of requests that my office answers with a single word: “busy”.

I also have small rituals that I need to accomplish (at home or travelling): walking in the morning, reading the news in the internet, talking to my friends and my wife.

Of course, I also live my life in a way that every day will present new challenges and unexpected things. I don’t like to have everything planned beforehand.

This is mainly because:
a] It’s pointless : life is impossible to predict
b] It’s the very salt of life – I don’t want to know what’s going to happen.

Online Bookstore HERE
Kindle (four languages) HERE

1 MIN READING: how the path was forged

VERSÃO EM PORTUGUES AQUI > Como a trilha foi aberta

One day, a calf needed to cross a virgin forest in order to return to its pasture. Being an irrational animal, it forged out a tortuous path full of bends, up and down hills.

The next day, a dog came by and used the same path to cross the forest. Next it was a sheep’s turn, the head of a flock which, upon finding the opening, led its companions through it.

Later, men began using the path: they bent down, deviating obstacles, complaining and cursing – and quite rightly so. But they did nothing to create a different route.

After so much use, in the end, the path became a trail along which poor animals toiled under heavy loads, being forced to go three hours to cover a distance which would normally take thirty minutes.

Many years passed and the trail became the main road of a village, and later the main avenue of a town. Everyone complained about the traffic, because the route it took was the worst possible one.

Meanwhile, the old and wise forest laughed, at seeing how men tend to blindly follow the way already open, without ever asking whether it really is the best choice.

.(based in traditional Malayalam story)

Online Bookstore HERE
Kindle (four languages) HERE

Pablo Neruda’s quotes

“Someday, somewhere – anywhere, unfailingly, you’ll find yourself, and that, and only that, can be the happiest or bitterest hour of your life”

“Let us forget with generosity those who cannot love us”

“Love! Love until the night collapses!”

“I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way than this:

where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep. ”

Pablo Neruda (July 12, 1904 – September 23, 1973) was the pen name and, later, legal name of the Chilean poet and politician Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto.

The future becoming present


From now on – and for some centuries to come – the Universe will help the warriors of the light, and boycott all those who are full of prejudices about people who dare to follow their dreams.

The energy of the Earth needs renovating.

New ideas need space.

The body and the soul need new challenges.

The future becomes present and all the dreams – except those that involve prejudices – will enjoy the chance to manifest themselves.

Whatever is important will remain; whatever is useless will disappear.

For that reason, when lots of people gather to give their opinion on how we should act or behave, we must ignore them, as our life on Earth leaves us no time for explaining everything we do.

And we must also avoid commenting on the behavior of others: in order to have faith in our own path, we have no need to prove that the path of the other is wrong.

Those who act like this have no trust in their own steps.



Faith, coincidence


Online Bookstore HERE
Kindle (four languages) HERE

15 SEC READING: Insult the dead

A novice went to Abbot Macarius seeking advice about the best way to please the Lord.

– Go to the cemetery and insult the dead – said Macarius.

The brother did as he was told. The following day, he returned to Macarius.

– Did they respond? – asked the abbot.

The novice said no, they didn’t.

– Then go to them and praise them.

The novice obeyed. That same afternoon, he returned to the abbot, who again wished to know whether the dead had responded.

– No – said the novice.

– In order to please the Lord, behave as they do – said Macarius.

“Pay no heed to the insults of men, nor to their praise; in this way, you shall forge your own path.”

Online Bookstore HERE
Kindle (four languages) HERE

Video: Sahara Wonderland (click on the photo