Book traces Paulo Coelho’s rise from rebel to bestseller

SAO PAULO (Reuters) – During the course of his life, Paulo Coelho spent time in a mental institution, wrote several popular songs and became one of world’s best-selling authors with novels like “The Alchemist”.

But according to biographer Fernando Morais, that doesn’t begin to tell the story of the author’s life.

“O Mago” (“The Wizard”), a new biography of Coelho, reveals the wild, sometimes dark, past of the Brazilian writer, Morais said.

“It has everything. Violence, sex, religion, rock and roll, Satanism. And it ends with redemption, because his dream of being a famous writer comes true,” Morais said at a news conference in Sao Paulo.

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“Paulo had so many crazy experiences you almost can’t believe it,” Morais said. “I felt like Indiana Jones when I opened that chest.”

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Reflections of the Warrior of the Light

By Paulo Coelho

A warrior of the light often becomes discouraged.

He thinks that nothing contains the emotions he hoped to awaken. Many afternoons and nights he is forced to remain sustaining a position he has conquered, without any new event to bring him back his enthusiasm.

His friends comment: “perhaps the fight is over.”

The warrior feels pain and confusion upon hearing these comments, for he knows he has not yet come as far as he wished. But he is stubborn, and does not abandon that which he set out to do.

Then, when he least expects it, a new door opens.

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Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

Which puzzle were you not able to solve while writing 11 minutes?

Why for a prostitute a kiss is more intimate as sex and is more sacred than everything else. Just try kissing a prostitute. She will say to you: “Stop! You can fuck me but do not try again to kiss me! “

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The Warrior of Light knows that no man is an island.
(Manual of the Warrior of Light)

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Reflections of the Warrior of the Light – Fighting the one you love

By Paulo Coelho

The warrior of the light sometimes fights the one he loves.

He has learned that silence means the absolute balance of the body, spirit and soul. The man who preserves his unity will never be dominated by the storms of existence; he has the strength to overcome the difficulties and move forwards.

However, he often feels challenged by those whom he teaches the sword. His disciples call him to combat.

And the warrior shows his capability: with a few blows, he throws down the students’ weapons, and the harmony returns to the place where they are gathered.

“Why do that, if you are so superior?”, asks a traveler.

“Because, in this way, I keep open a dialogue,” answers the warrior.

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Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The Warrior of Light does not always have faith.
(Manual of the Warrior of Light)

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Reflections of the Warrior of the Light – The right renouncement

By Paulo Coelho

“In any activity, it is important to know what to expect, the means of obtaining the objective, and our capability for the proposed task.

“Only he who, thus equipped, feels no desire for the results of the conquest, and remains absorbed in the combat, can truly say he has renounced the fruit.

“One can renounce the fruit, but that renouncement does not mean indifference to the result.”

The warrior of the light listens respectfully to Ghandi’s strategy. And is not distracted by people who, incapable of achieving any result, are forever preaching renouncement.

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Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

What impelled you to write 11 Minutes apart from the events described in the epilogue to your book?

To try to understand my own sexuality – and by consequence, why does the world turns around these eleven minutes of sex.

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The Warrior of Light pays attention to small things because they can severely hamper him.
(Manual of the Warrior of Light)

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Reflections of the Warrior of the Light – The right choice

By Paulo Coelho

“Yes,” the warrior hears someone say, “I must understand everything, before taking a decision. I want the freedom to change my mind.”

The warrior considers this sentence and questions it. He may have the same freedom, but this does not prevent him from fulfilling some duty, even if he does not understand exactly why he does so.

A warrior of the light takes decisions. His soul is as free as the clouds in the sky, but he has a duty to his dream. On his freely chosen path, he must awake at times he dislikes, speak to people who bring him nothing, and make some sacrifices.

Friends comment: “you are forever sacrificing. You are not free.”

The warrior is free. But he knows that an open oven does not bake bread.

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Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

With the exception of a few last sentences in the epilogue your novel 11 minutes is a record of disappointment and despair that no human being escapes. Yet it seems that you only dwell on them in order to show – in passing and almost inadvertently – that disappointment is but a stage of personal development, at the end of which comes a new passion for life. Is this what you are trying to say?

The Greek poet Kavafis, referring to Ulysses, says: “keep Ithaca in mind, but I hope that your journey will last many years, and you will learn everything you need to learn.” Although he was forced to face difficult circumstances, he knew that Penelope was waiting for him at the end of his ordeals. This happens to all of us – we must have confidence that, in the end, we will find what we have been struggling for.

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The Warrior of Light also knows the importance of intuition.
(Manual of the Warrior of Light)

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Paulo Coelho answers / celebration in Aviles

Dear readers,

I’ve experienced some technical problems and therefore I decided to leave here, by writing, by answers to some of you.

1. Sheila Rahman asks:
Have you achieved your dream?
If so, what was the alchemy?
If no, what is your dream still unfulfilled?


Dear Sheila,
I can say that I have fulfilled my dream of becoming a writer. The Alchemy started when I understood that I simply had to materialize my dream, meaning when I sat down and wrote.

2. Cathy Brooks asks :
What was your biggest surprise in relation to The Alchemist (given that it’s read all over the world and it transcend different cultures )?


Dear Cathy, I would say exactly that : having my book being read all over the world was to me my greatest surprise. I could have never thought that the tale of a shepherd boy could cross boundaries the way it did.

3.Vinvin (VIDEO)
Have you found your personal legend ?

Dear Vivin,
you not only find your personal legend, but you have also to fulfill it.
Indeed, my personal legend, what brings me joy in life, is writing. So I would say that I have found and fought for my personal legend.

4.Joan Lockwood (VIDEO) and Yajna ask :
Where were you when you decided to write The Alchemist?

Dear Joan and Yajna,
I decided to write The Alchemist one year after I did my pilgrimage to Saintiago of Compostela. I was in Brazil, after the carnival, and I needed to explain to myself why I took so long to actually write. I found the way to express that through a metaphor – the story of a shepherd boy that goes after his treasure.

5.John asks:
When Santiago found his treasure and returned to Fatima in the desert this was not the end of his dream, I assume he would go on dreaming and working for the rest of his life and his life is found in the challenge of doing so? for all our lives achieving one dream is also not the end? we must always dream and always follow them?

Dear John,
Indeed, when Santiago finds his treasure, his journey just begins. He finds the physical treasure but the spiritual one he acquires through the journey. Challenges are what a person needs in order to keep in fulfilling one’s personal legend.

6.Ravin asks:
Twenty years on from that famous line, do you still believe that “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”


Dear Ravin,
yes I still believe in this sentence. What people don’t realize though is that the universes conspires, hears, all wishes may they be positive or negative ones.
This doesn’t mean though that a conscious wish will be heard – there are undercurrents in our souls that are stronger – that despite ourselves communicate with the Anima Mundi.

7.Monika
what do you understand by “world-soul” (anima mundi)?


Dear Monika,
Anima Mundi is an expression taken from old alchemist’s texts. It’s the soul of the world, the beating heart of our emotions, dreams, desires. It is very similar to what Carl Young refers to as the “collective unconscious”. It is meaningful – even if sometimes forgotten – and it surrounds us.

8.Zuleyka Sanchez (VIDEO) asks:
I believe God is Supreme Being – without a determines sex. Why do you refer then to the Goddess?

Dear Zuleyka,
I agree with you that God is a Supreme Being. The reason why I decide to speak about the Goddess in my books is related to the fact that I’m fascinated by it’s feminine face, by its compassion. This doesn’t mean though that the masculine side – made up of determination and rules – is absent. Both faces are present in our lives.

9.Jorge Hirata pergunta:
Lí­ na internet que finalmente vocíª e Hollywood entraram em um acordo e finalmente O Alquimista vai virar filme, vai ser uma super produí§í£o avaliada em 60 milhíµes de dolares.
Vocíª confirma a notí­cia? Poderia nos adiantar mais dados do filme? (tais como nomes de atores, diretor, data de laní§amento, etc.)


Ola Jorge,
sim confirmo esta informaí§í£o porque aliás estava em Cannes quando o produtor Harvey Weinstein disse anunciou que faria o filme com o Laurence Fishbourne estreando e dirigindo.

10.Rose (Video) asks:
How can people that are very sick or with severe disabilities fulfill their personal legend?


Dear Rose, I think that the best example of a person with a disability that managed to fulfill his personal legend is the scientist Stephen Hawking. Of course, having a disability makes this more difficult but you would be surprise by people’s capacity to overcome adversities.

11.Wablinska asks:
The world’s soul…
Do you consider it alive, as another unseen world?


Dear Wablinska,
The world’s soul is alive since it’s composed of ourselves and our beliefs.

12.Gabriela asks:
Why is a desert the setting for The Alchemist?
Why not a big city?

Dear Gabriela,
I have always been fascinated by the desert. When I discovered thorughout my wanderings in the world that the desert, this empty place, was actually full with life I could have never thought that it would end up in one of my books.

13.Agnieszka asks:
Dear Paulo,
If you would like to turn the clock back to a certain moment in your life, to live it through again, which moment would that be? from your childhood maybe?


Dear Agnieska,
my clock moves forward and the only moments when I think about the past with regret is when I have hurt a friend. But to be able to apologize is something that i can only do in the present, not in the past.

14. Paul from Austria
What point in time did you decide to be a writer?

Dear Paul,
my biography “The Magus”, written by the Brazilian journalist Fernando Morais, was just released in Brazil and I received today a copy of it. Throughout the process, the only thing that I did was to hand over my diaries to Fernando and 5 years later the biography came out. Fernando sent me a letter with the book talking about precisely that : that the idea of becoming a writer goes back to my adolescence, when I was 14.

15. Rosa de los vientos asks:
Hola Paulo, felicitaciones por los 20 años de “El Alquimista”.
El rey Salem habla de fuerzas misteriosas que tratan de convencerte de que no serás capaz de lograr tu “Leyenda Personal”.
Mi pregunta es:
¿Qué son estas fuerzas misteriosas?


Querida Rosa,
las fuerzas misteriosas que tratan de convencernos son un teste. En el largo de nuestro camino hacia Santiago tenemos que ser testados en nuestra determinación. Sin estas tentaciones del camino, no existe caminar.

16. Jennifer Mannion asks:
Is it possible to have more than one personal legend ?


Dear Jennifer,
I believe it’s possible, but to be honest I think people may disperse themselves if they don’t focus in one particular goal.

17. Alexandra asks:
I want to ask you if you think that Love is the most important thing in life.

Dear Alexandra,
to quote the Beatles : ” all you need is love”.

Thank you for these excellent questions and I hope that soon I shall be using more the seesmic plugin here in my blog.

All my love
Paulo

Reflections of the Warrior of the Light – The right understanding

The warrior of the light knows the importance of his intuition.

In the middle of the battle, he has no time to think about the enemy’s blows – so he uses his instinct and obeys his angel.

In times of peace, he deciphers the signs which God sends him.

People say: “he is mad”.

Or: “he lives in a fantasy world.”

Or even: “how can anyone rely on things which have no logic?”

But the warrior knows that intuition is God’s alphabet, and continues to listen to the wind and talk to the stars.

Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

You mention that none of your characters in 11 Minutes know what sex is about. But the writer is like God in that he always knows what goes on between the lines and outside the brackets. So what is sex about?

The writer is not God, but a human being in search of his own identity. And sex was the way that God choose to manifest the mystery of creation. In eleven minutes you can be the instrument of creating a new soul.

Quote of the Day

By Paulo Coelho

The warrior of light
knows that intuition is God’s alphabet
and so he continues listening to the wind
and talking to the stars.
(Manual of the Warrior of Light)

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Today’s Question by Aart Hilal

You say in your book 11 Minutes that abandoning oneself to passion can be as damaging as withdrawing from it. What’s your choice then? Do you choose to remain an observer?

Love may lead us to heaven or hell, we all know. But I choose to take the risks, and fall in love. To remain an observer of life is not to live at all.