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The Alchemist

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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  2,109,946 ratings  ·  81,032 reviews
Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and soul-stirring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried near the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls h ...more
Paperback, 25th Anniversary Edition, 182 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by HarperOne (first published 1988)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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 ·  2,109,946 ratings  ·  81,032 reviews


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Jennifer (aka EM)
Dec 06, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NO ONE. Really, I did this so you don't have to.
Shelves: novellas
My heart and I chatted, and we agreed, this book was short. My heart thinks it was also stupid, and after spending some time talking to the wind, I came to agree with my heart.

Yet, after beginning the journey with this book and despite the words of my heart, something impelled me to continue. Surely it had something to teach me? The book had a lovely cover made of nicely textured stock that felt good in my hands. It offered the added efficiency of a fold-over flap--something that more publisher
...more
Sithara
Dec 22, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I need to start this review by stating 1) I can't stand self-help books and 2) I'm a feminist (no, I don't hate men- some men are quite awesome, but I am very conscious of women and our place in the world.)

Short summary (mild spoilers): A boy named Santiago follows his 'Personal Legend' in traveling from Spain to the Pyramids in Egypt searching for treasure. Along the way, he learns 'the Language of the World' the 'Soul of the World' and discovers that the 'Soul of God' is 'his own soul.'

If the
...more
Christopher
I really disliked this book. I dislike it in the way that I dislike a great deal of modern self help books. Their basic message is that if you want something to happen, you need to want it as hard as you can, without caring about anything else, not allowing yourself to doubt it, or let criticisms will get in the way then it will happen.
I disagree with this notion, not only because it is false, but because it is bad.
Just because we desire something, does not make it good. This idea of 'following
...more
Bill Kerwin
Jan 08, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

A good parable--like "The Prodigal Son"--should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. The problem with this little book is that it does precisely the opposite.

Coelho's message--and, boy, is this a book with a message--is that each of us has his own Personal Legend, and that if we recognize that legend and pursue it sincerely, everything in the Universe (which is after all made up--wind, stone, trees--of the same stuff we are) will conspire to help us achieve it. Corollaries: 1) peop
...more
Sarah
Aug 22, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people trying to find themselves
I feel like everyone LOVES this book, but I was kind of underwhelmed. I know that translation affects the quality of writing, but I could not get into this writing style. At all. I felt like it was totally affected and contrived. He was going for this "fable/parable" style, but it seemed to fail miserably. The parable-like quality was totally contrived, and I thought the "moral" was pretty stupid.

Moral: everything you want and need is close to home. Take chances. Follow your "personal legacy."

T
...more
Lamski Kikita
Aug 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Lamski Kikita by: a friend
"when you really want something, the whole universe conspires in helping you to achieve it"


This book has crossed the boundaries of books, and has taken a life of its own, creating a movement all around the globe.

Santiago's journey and spiritual quest, the people he meets, the dreams he has, the omens he encounters, and the nature he speaks to, are all things that we can relate to..things that we've either forgotten about or simply dismissed as childhood fantasies. It is all about finding your Pe
...more
Marte
Sep 22, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, self-help
Utter drivel. The book was badly written, righteous, condescending, preachy, and worst of all, the ending was morally questionable. All the fables and stories are stolen from elsewhere, religious ideas and spirituality are badly mixed, and everything is so obvious.

The book harps on about tapping into the Soul of the World, the Language of the World, about your one true path and other nonsense. The basic idea is that if you really want something and "listen to your heart", the whole universe will
...more
Warwick
Dec 20, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, morocco, spain, egypt
The problem with this book is not just that it's bad, which it certainly is, but that there are so many people out there who want to corner you at parties and tell you how it's totally changed their lives. In a way you might as well read it just so you can see how feeble-minded they must be to get any kind of philosophical nourishment out of this inexhaustible stream of clichés. The profound lessons you'll learn from this book amount to nothing more than several variations on the theme of "only ...more
Amanda
Jun 07, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
***spoilers and bitterness ahead--be forewarned**

I'm not sure that I can capture my utter disdain for this book in words, but I'll give it a shot. I read this book about three years ago and just had to re-read it for book club. It was a steaming pile of crap then and, guess what?, it's a steaming pile of crap now. The main reason I hate this book: it's trite inspirational literature dressed up as an adventure quest. You go into it thinking that it's going to be about a boy's quest for treasure.
...more
Jayson
(B+) 78% | Good
Notes: Composed simply and scripture-like, it reads at times too much like a children's fable, but picks up steam by the end.
Kenny
It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.
The Alchemist ~~ Paulo Coelho


1

I preface my review by saying I am amazed how wildly passionate people are in their feelings toward this novel ~~ regardless of whether they love or hate The Alchemist. I’m one of those people who love it. But, I understand why people are so passionate in their dislike of this work. Paul Coelho looks to inspire passion in people with The Alchemist. And he succeeds in doing so ~~ especially i
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
O Alquimista = The Alchemist‬, Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho's masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure.

His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago's journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

تار
...more
Lyn
Aug 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is either a beautifully written and fable-like illustration of simple and universal truths or a load of crap.

I have a bad feeling it’s the later, but then I consider that there could also be a third option.

I read once that Sting, when he wrote the classic Police song Every Breath You Take, mixed up a series of banal clichés about love and loss and just put them all together, and so this cool tune has some satire about it. Similarly, the Credence Clearwater Revival song Looking Out My Backdo
...more
Amit
Jun 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amit by: i dont even know her name
There are too many things one can learn from “The Alchemist”. Its all about following your dream and about taking the risk of following your dreams, which is actually so difficult to do and there are very few people in this world who actually do, I mean risk it all, just to follow your heart and your dream. Beauty is, the author is so right in saying that when u decide to follow your dreams the entire universe conspires in your favour which he called as the “beginners luck” and we all have been ...more
Cristina Monica
Preachy, pretentious, and awful portrayal of women.
Jibran
Mar 21, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
If books were pills, Alchemist would be a sugarcoated placebo with no real effect. Let's call it a feel-good homily. I have never read a book as meretricious as this one. Many reviewers have pointed out the problems with this 'celebrated' novel so I'd rather not expend any more words. Suffice it so say that this is a good example of portentous writing that is best avoided if your benchmark is quality literature.
Patrick
Aug 26, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Patrick by: Sarah Otto
Timing is everything. If I'd read 'The Alchemist' four years ago, I'm sure I would have loved it. It deals in big, bold pronouncements of 'follow your dreams' et cetera et cetera, and it certainly makes you think about your own life and the pursuit of your own "Personal Legend" if you will. But maybe I'm older and more cynical now, or maybe it's not cynicism so much as just seeing a reality that isn't so mystical and black and white as Paulo Coelho's, but in any event, I just wasn't buying what ...more
Lisa
Homework for "Introductory Course For Irony Disposal And Sarcasm Removal (ICFIDASR)", lesson one, re-submission number 47.

I once read a book that inspired me to change my whole attitude towards reading. It was a medicine of universal, cosmic impact. Before, I had thought that books existed to enrich me, giving me knowledge, pleasure and understanding.

After reading the introductory pages of this "enchanting novel" however, I learned that more wisdom can be gained from the companionship of sheep
...more
jessica
tl;dr - important message, disappointing execution.

for this to have been described as a story that changes lives, im a little let down. whilst this certainly had the potential to be ‘life changing,’ i felt there were many aspects which kept the story from delivering what could have been a meaningful experience.

firstly, this is told like a parable. i would consider this story to fall more along the lines of religious allegory than philosophical text. that, in itself, is neither here nor there. h
...more
Cecily
May 30, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Superficially deep (ie deep on the surface and shallow underneath), but actually rather pretentious new age waffle - yet somehow manages to be beautiful despite that. I would have enjoyed it in my late teens/early 20s (when I enjoyed Jonathan Livingston Seagull), but reading this as an adult, I found it annoyingly unsubtle.

Reading, and disliking this, was something of a watershed: a few years earlier and I'd probably have loved it, but as it was, I realised I'd turned into a cynical adult (and I
...more
Kali
Mar 23, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone (save one guy) said I would love this book. Three of my four roommates have their own copies. That one guy was right. Now this may be because he planted that seed of discontent, or it may be because this was the least creative and most redundant book I've read in a while. It answered the question, what happens when you put The Hero With a Thousand Faces, The Bible and 1001 Arabian Nights in a blender? That said, I didn't hate it. Two of the central themes (which were hammered in over an ...more
Don
Dec 26, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I simply could not finish this book. I got halfway through it only to wind up on goodreads.com to see what others thought. I simply felt guilty panning a book that has received such global acclaim; more than that, I felt lame and inadequate.

Well, it turns out that my sentiments were echoed. I basically felt I was reading an overblown parable and that the same lessons were being spelled out again and again. It was like the 16th verse of a hymn.

Throughout my life I have periodically reflected to
...more
Matthew
3.5 Stars

The Alchemist is an interesting little spiritual fable. A little bit of several religions have an influence on the journey to enlightenment. Not a whole lot of exposition as the author gets right to the point throughout. It should be a quick read (unless you don't care for it - and I have seen many less than satisfied reviews).

When I read this I was reminded a lot of Siddhartha. I read that one earlier this year so I have it fresh in my brain. Both of them are short novels (novellas, re
...more
Florencia
"When you want something, the whole universe conspires in helping you to achieve it". Well, I want that week of my life back (yes, a week; I ended up avoiding that thing).
The Aesop's fables that came with my chocolates brought me more inspiration than this book. I knew it wasn't my kind of thing. But, it was a recommendation, and everybody was talking about it, so I tried. He describes a couple of clichés using an annoying writing style. Dream big. Make that dream come true, no matter what. Fin
...more
Joyzi
Oct 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Joyzi by: My friends
SPOILER ALERT!

This book is very inspiring and what I really need right now to motivate myself with my everyday endeavors. In the end the boy in the story who was searching for his treasure, despite the long travels and experiences, find his treasure not in the place where he suspected it to be, but in the place where he came from. It's just pretty ironic that what have you looking for is in the end is just beside you right from the beginning. It's just that what he learned and discovered from hi
...more
Paul
Dec 10, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-classics
I've been meaning to read this for years; I probably should have left it a mystery because it irritated me no end. At one level it is a pleasant enough little tale of a spanish shepherd who seeks to fulfil his destiny/follow his dreams/seek his fortune. He meets a bloke from the Old Testament (Genesis to be precise) called Melchizedek (lots of symbolism surrounds this guy) who says he needs to go to the pyramids to find his dream/fortune. He sets off, spends some time in Tangier and then sets of ...more
Sanjay Gautam
The book is full of messages and symbolizes our life actions interwoven in a very complex yet in elementary patterns which can be deciphered if one persists and have longing in his heart. It is not just following the heart blindly; but never ignoring what it says. Its important message is to keep accord with your heart no matter where it takes you. Because the treasure is where there is heart.

Now, that was the gist of the book. But my reading experience with this book was horrible and most impo
...more
Andrew
Mar 20, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the desperate
The Alchemist has been translated into like a million languages, and it feels like it. Bland sentences, simple story telling and zero nuance. It's a quaint parable about a shepherd who bucks the current course of his life - shepherding - to go in search of his Personal Legend (Coehlo's caps, and phrase). Coehlo's got a point, and he's going to drive it through your eyeball until he's absolutely sure you've got it.

If you ignore much of the language of the book, this is a paper-thin rehashing of R
...more
Zaki
Nov 07, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A spanish shepherd boy santiago has these recurring dreams about a treasure hidden at the foot of the egyptian pyramids. He leaves Spain to find it and journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert, guided along the way by a camel driver, an alchemist and other spiritual guides. and he discovers a far greater treasure (greater than any earthly gold): wisdom, self knowledge and enlightenment.

Though the Alchemist is not about Santiago at all. It's an inspirational fable; it's
...more
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The Brazilian author PAULO COELHO was born in 1947 in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Before dedicating his life completely to literature, he worked as theatre director and actor, lyricist and journalist. In 1986, PAULO COELHO did the pilgrimage to Saint James of Compostella, an experience later to be documented in his book The Pilgrimage. In the following year, COELHO published The Alchemist. Slow in ...more

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