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The Alchemist

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,401,598 ratings  ·  92,108 reviews
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, 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. ...more
Paperback, 197 pages
Published May 1st 1993 by HarperCollins (first published 1988)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  2,401,598 ratings  ·  92,108 reviews

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Jennifer (aka EM)
Dec 06, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Dec 22, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Aug 13, 2007 rated it it was ok
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
Bill Kerwin
Jan 08, 2015 rated it did not like it

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
Aug 22, 2007 rated it it was ok
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."

Lamski Kikita
Aug 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 22, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Dec 20, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spain, egypt, fiction, morocco
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
(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.
Jun 07, 2008 rated it did not like it
***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.
It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.
The Alchemist ~~ Paulo Coelho

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
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.

Aug 29, 2016 rated it liked it
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
Jun 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 21, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: hispanic, brouhaha
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. ...more
Aug 26, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Nilufer Ozmekik
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Whenever I felt lost, depressed, sad, numb, conflicted, frustrated, exhausted, I get this book into my hands and follow the journey of young shepherd Santiago who is looking for a worldly treasure. As like T.S. Eliot says: “ The journey not the arrival matters.”

This journey is about self discovery, fighting with your own demons, letting your heart being your own eyes and leading you throughout the dark and threatening roads of life. It’s epic, uplifting, motivational, inspirational,heartfelt, p
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
Jun 12, 2012 rated it liked it
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
May 30, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 23, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Dec 26, 2007 rated it did not like it
I simply could not finish this book. I got halfway through it only to wind up on 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
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
Jun 23, 2013 rated it did not like it
"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
Oct 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Joyzi by: My friends

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
Dr. Appu Sasidharan
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
(Throwback Review)"And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."

Many people simply love this book, while many others think that it is overrated. I truly, madly, and deeply love this book. I still remember a younger version of me reading this book while sitting perplexed at the crossroads of my life. The above lines from it had given me immense energy to face the setbacks and move forward in my life with the required enthusiasm. This book will always rema
My father recently sent me an email offering to buy me a book as a birthday present, and asking me if there was something in particular that I wanted. He does this pretty much every year, and every year, I’ll send him suggestions and he’ll reply “I saw your list, but what about these other books that *I* loved and that I think you should read?”. OK, I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea. It was after one such conversations that I ended up with a copy of “The Alchemist” – when I had rather clear ...more
Dec 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 20, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
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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

Articles featuring this book

Ever wonder what bestselling authors like Sarah J. Maas, Neil Gaiman, Paulo Coelho, or Tayari Jones were thinking as they were writing?...
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“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” 18939 likes
“It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” 15206 likes
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