Nicholas's Reviews > The Alchemist

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
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's review
Jun 21, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: lifestyle
Read in July, 2007

** spoiler alert ** This is another one of those books. The ones that just lay it all out for you.

It's pretty simple. The story is just a series of characters portraying all of the things that will keep you from living the life you want.


"The problem is that they don't even realize that they're walking a new road every day. They don't see that the fields are new and the seasons change. All they think about is food and water."

"It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting."

"When someone sees the same people every day, they wind up becoming a part of that person's life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn't what others want them to be, the others become angry everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own."

"'What is the world's greatest lie?'
'It's this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what's happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That's the world's greatest lie.'"

"To realize one's destiny is a person's only real obligation. And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."

"He never realized that people are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of."

"In the long run, what people think about shepherds and bakers becomes more important for them than their own Personal Legends."

"He had to choose between something he had become accustomed to and something he wanted to have."

"When each day is the same as the next, it's because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises."

"There was nothing to hold him back but himself."

"As he mused about these things, he realized that he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief and as an adventurer in a quest of his treasure."

"[He could:] sense whether a person was near to or far from his Personal Legend. Just by looking at them. It's easy."

"I'm afraid that if my dream is realized, I'll have no reason to go on living."

"You must always know what it is that you want."

"It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired."

"The closer one gets to realizing his Personal Legend, the more that Personal Legend becomes his true reason for being."

"No matter how many detours and adjustments it made, the caravan moved toward the same compass point."

"We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it's our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporate when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand."

"Sometimes, their caravan met with another. One always had something that the other needed. As they sat around the fire, the camel drivers exchanged information about windstorms, and told stories about the desert."

"Once you get into the desert, there's no going back. And, when you can't go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward."

"Why do they make things so complicated?
It's only those who are persistent, and willing to study things deeply, who achieve the Master Work. That's why I'm here in the middle of the desert."

"Everyone has his or her own way of learning things. His way isn't the same as mine, nor mind as his. But we;re both in search of our Personal Legend, and I respect him for that."

"Maybe God created the desert so that man could appreciate the date trees."

"The closer he got to the realization of his dream, the more difficult things because. It seemed as if what the old king had called 'beginner's luck' were no longer functioning. In his pursuit of the dream, he was being constantly subjected to tests of his persistence and courage. So he could not be hasty, nor impatient. If he pushed forward impulsively, he would fail to see the signs and omens left by God along his path."

"Eat when it's time to eat. And move when it's time to move along."

"I must have no fear of failure. It was my fear of failure that first kept me from attempting the Master Work. Now, I'm beginning what I could have started ten years ago. But I'm happy at least that I didn't wait twenty years."

"You must not let up, even after having come so far. You must love the desert, but never trust it completely. Because the desert tests all men: it challenges every step, and kills those who become distracted."

"Then, sometime during the fourth year, the omens will abandon you, because you've stopped listening to them...You'll spend the rest of your days knowing that you didn't pursue your Personal Legend, and that now it's too late."

"There is only one way to learn. It's through action."

"When I have been truly searching for my treasure, every day has been luminous, because I've known that every hour was a part of the dream that I would find it. hen I have been truly searching for my treasure, I've discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for a shepherd to achieve."

"We, people's hearts, seldom say much about those treasures, because people no longer want to go in search of them. We speak of them only to children. Later, we simply let life proceed, in its own direction, towards it's own fate. But, unfortunately, very few follow the path laid out for them-the path to their Personal Legends, and to happiness. Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place. So, we, their hearts, speak more and more softly. We never stop speaking out, but we begin to hope that our words won't be heard: we don't want people to suffer because they don't follow their hearts."

"Every search begins with beginner's luck. And every search ends with the victor's being severely tested."

"Trust in your heart, but never forget that you're in the desert."

"Others stumbled upon the stone by accident. They already had the gift, and their souls were readier for such things than the souls of others. But they don't count. They're quite rare."

"The world we live in will be either better or worse, depending on whether we become better or worse."
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