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The Alchemist

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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.

197 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1988

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About the author

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 initial sales convinced his first publisher to drop the novel, but it went on to become one of the best selling Brazilian books of all time. Other titles include Brida (1990), The Valkyries (1992), By the river Piedra I sat Down and Wept (1994), the collection of his best columns published in the Brazilian newspaper Folha de São Paulo entitle Maktub (1994), the compilation of texts Phrases (1995), The Fifth Mountain (1996), Manual of a Warrior of Light (1997), Veronika decides to die (1998), The Devil and Miss Prym (2000), the compilation of traditional tales in Stories for parents, children and grandchildren (2001), Eleven Minutes (2003), The Zahir (2005), The Witch of Portobello (2006) and Winner Stands Alone (to be released in 2009). During the months of March, April, May and June 2006, Paulo Coelho traveled to celebrate the 20th anniversary of his pilgrimage to Saint James of Compostella in 1986. He also held surprise book signings - announced one day in advance - in some cities along the way, to have a chance to meet his readers. In ninety days of pilgrimage the author traveled around the globe and took the famous Transiberrian train that took him to Vladivostok. During this experience Paulo Coelho launched his blog Walking the Path - The Pilgrimage in order to share with his readers his impressions. Since this first blog Paulo Coelho has expanded his presence in the internet with his daily blogs in Wordpress, Myspace & Facebook. He is equally present in media sharing sites such as Youtube and Flickr, offering on a regular basis not only texts but also videos and pictures to his readers. From this intensive interest and use of the Internet sprang his bold new project: The Experimental Witch where he invites his readers to adapt to the screen his book The Witch of Portobello. Indeed Paulo Coelho is a firm believer of Internet as a new media and is the first Best-selling author to actively support online free distribution of his work.

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Profile Image for Jennifer (formerly Eccentric Muse).
468 reviews996 followers
June 16, 2010
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 publishers should make an effort to do, as it makes the use of a bookmark superfluous. But I suppose you need the collateral of winning the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author, and selling more than 65 million copies in more than 150 countries as one of the best-selling books in history,* to get that treatment.

* my heart cries

In my country, we have an expression: one should not judge a book by its cover. In this case, this is especially true. The prose turned out to be not nearly as nicely textured. That is irony. This book knows not of irony.

Still, though, I needed to complete my journey. My heart tugged on my sleeve.

As I continued my journey, I found that the text inside was set in a pleasing font. I could find no typos, which are always a portent of doom. So I kept going. I found the words that the font expressed were simple and easy to read. As I read them before falling to sleep each night, they neither challenged me nor troubled my dreams. Many people, I believe, enjoy this in a book, in the same way that they enjoy Hostess Twinkies. They are filled up with calories, which causes their bodies to believe that they have been fed a nutritious meal, when in fact their brains are lulled into sheep-like somnambulism. They grow fat and stupid(er) under the illusion that they have received nutrition without ever experiencing the pain of having to cook, and possibly work up a sweat or burn one's fingers.

I wondered if this book was possibly dangerous. I wondered what kind of people would be deluded into thinking, within the guise of a poorly written but deviously well-conceived parable, that this book's philosophy was, in fact, Deep and Meaningful Truth.

This book, I felt, was perhaps insidiously evil, a force with which I needed to do battle. I did not know which weapon to use, as irony appears to be rendered completely ineffective within a 3-metre radius of this book. Still, irony and a love of absurdity hovered around me as I searched for the true meaning in this book, and why it appears to offer a powerful message to so many.

I consulted the Oracle, known across all the lands by many names. She appeared to me in the form of Wikipedia, Queen of All The People's Knowledge. Now, there's an alchemist for you: Queen Wiki can turn knowledge into nonsense and then back again before your very eyes. The perfect Oracle for this book.

Queen Wiki turned out to be very entertaining and illuminating in this case. I learned that Joe Jonas and Russell Crowe loved this book. I glommed on to this as an omen that absurdity was lurking close. I interpreted it as a sign that I must continue. Again, I was struck by the irony of that, but turning back to the book, this fleeting insight that might have had a grain of real value was immediately squelched.

I sipped some sweet tea from a crystal goblet, and plodded on through the desert of thought that is this book.

This, I felt, was the lesson to be learned: in the Middle of the Centre of the Soul of the World, where blank-eyed acolytes are led (like sheep? hmmm) to unquestioningly accept and proclaim as truth the vacuous platitudes spouted by crystal-wearing, self-appointed mystics, psychics, tarot card readers, numerologists, motivational speakers and this author, irony is dead. Absurdity goes unrecognized. Skepticism is turned back at the gates by ill-formed philosophies based on the unwavering power of evangelical groupthink and our species' rather fascinating susceptibility to cognitive bias, or errors in thinking, that cause us to believe as truth that which can actually be scientifically validated as false.

This book makes a mockery of spirituality and the search for truth and meaning, under the guise of the easy, anxiety-quelling New Age philosophies that spoon-feed the stupid with Twitter-sized bites of nonsense. Beliefs like, "good things happen to good people." "All is right in the end. If it's not right, it's not the end." "God doesn't give you anything you can't handle."

To be shelved between this and this to gather dust and never to be read again. Do not trade or give away--you'll just be spreading the bullshit.

My heart will go on.

Profile Image for Sithara.
15 reviews147 followers
December 22, 2007
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 statements in quotes above ('personal legend', etc) fascinate you, then you'll enjoy this book. If you think they are hokey and silly, then you'll think this is a terrible book. If you think statements such as "When you want something, all the universe conspires you to achieve it" and "All things are one" are moving and life-changing, you'll love this book. If such statements have you rolling your eyes, then this isn't your cup of tea.

Its not that I find anything wrong with these messages. They are important, but must be balanced with responsibility. In my experience, 'following your dreams' (or personal legend) is not the only way toward wisdom and strength. Is the person who struggles to put food on the table every day for his or her family, consciously realizing that he or she may not be following his or her 'personal legend' any less heroic than some traveler who leaves everything and everyone he or she is responsible for to go on a spiritual quest? Coelho comes close to labeling such people, as losers in life, which I find completely off the mark as some of these people have the most to offer in terms of wisdom.

The issue of responsibility is also part of this book's sexism. The main male characters in the novel have 'Personal Legends' - they are either seeking them, or have achieved them, or have failed to achieve them. But Coelho never mentions 'Personal Legend' with regard to women, other than to say that Fatima, Santiago's fiance, is 'a part of Santiago's Personal Legend." Thats fine, but what about her own Personal Legend? Instead of traveling to find her dreams, she is content to sit around, do chores, and stare everyday at the desert to wait for his return. This is her 'fate' as a desert women. The fact that women don't have Personal Legends is even more galling considering the fact that according to Coelho, even minerals such as lead and copper have Personal Legends, allowing them to 'evolve' to something better (ie, gold).

In the ideal world presented in THE ALCHEMIST, it seems that the job of men is to seek out their personal legends, leaving aside thoughts of family and responsibility, and its the job of women to let them, and pine for their return. Of course, someone has to do the unheroic, inconvenient work of taking care of the children, the animals, the elderly, the ill...If everyone simply goes off on spiritual quests, deciding they have no responsibility other than to seek their Personal Legends, no one would be taking responsibility for the unglamorous work that simply has to take place for the world to run.

On the other hand, what if both men and women are allowed to struggle towards their 'Personal Legends,' and help each other as best as they can towards them, but recognize that their responsibilities may force them to defer, compromise, or even 'sacrifice' their dreams? This may seem depressing, but it isn't necessarily. Coelho seems to think that Personal Legends are fixed at childhood (or at birth, or even before) and are not changeable: they have to be followed through to the end, no matter how silly. But in my experience, many people have chosen to adjust, compromise, and even 'give up' on their dreams, only to find that life grants them something better, or they have a new, better dream to follow, a path providing greater wisdom. For me, these people have a more realistic, more humble, more fair, and less cliched vision of the world than Paulo Coelho's vision in THE ALCHEMIST.

Profile Image for Kenny.
507 reviews937 followers
August 16, 2022
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 in those who are so passionate in their dislike of this book.


The Alchemist is a novel that combines an atmosphere of medieval mysticism with the voice of the desert -- dreams, symbols, signs, and adventure follow Santiago and the reader like echoes of ancient wise voices. With this symbolic novel Coelho states that we should not avoid our destinies, and urges people to follow their dreams, because to find our "Personal Myth" and our mission on Earth is the way to find God, meaning happiness, fulfillment, and the ultimate purpose of creation.


The novel tells the tale of Santiago, a boy who has a dream and the courage to follow it. After listening to "the signs" the boy ventures in his personal, journey of exploration and self-discovery, searching for a hidden treasure located near the pyramids in Egypt. In his journey, Santiago sees the greatness of the world, and meets all kinds of exciting people like kings and alchemists. However, by the end of the novel, he discovers that "treasure lies where your heart belongs", and that the treasure was the journey itself, the discoveries he made, and the wisdom he acquired.


As the alchemist himself says when he appears to Santiago in the form of an old king "when you really want something to happen, the whole universe conspires so that your wish comes true". This is the core of the novel's theme. Isn't it true that all of us want to believe the old king when he says that the greatest lie in the world is that at some point we lose the ability to control our lives, and become the pawns of fate.


Coelho also suggests that those who do not have the courage to follow their “Personal Myth", are doomed to a life of emptiness, misery, and unfulfillment. Fear, fear of failure seems to be the greatest obstacle to happiness. The old crystal-seller tragically confesses: “I am afraid that great disappointment awaits me, and so I prefer to dream". This is where Coelho really captures the drama of man, who sacrifices fulfillment to conformity, who knows he can achieve greatness but denies doing so, and ends up living an empty shell of a life.


The Alchemist is a novel that will not appeal to everybody. Not everyone will identify with Santiago. We all have dreams, and are praying for somebody to tell us they can come true. The novel skillfully combines words of wisdom, philosophy, and simplicity of meaning and language, and this is what makes it so enchanting.

Profile Image for Christopher.
61 reviews302 followers
June 12, 2008
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 your heart' is often wrong. Who are we to be the arbiters of truth? Why should our hearts be sources of information that go beyond logic, doubt and reasoning? Haven't we all desired things that have turned out to not be in our best interest, or to be harmful to others? Andrew Jackson was a man known to have a lot of integrity. He was always 'true' to himself and followed his heart. Andrew Jackson is the man who initiated the 'Trail of Tears'. Moving Native Americans from their homes and into reservations.
Next, this idea of not letting ourselves doubt or consider doubts. This is a terrible and dishonest way to live. If we don't consider doubts, and entertain them often, then we are deliberately blinding ourselves. Deliberately making ourselves ignorant. If someone doesn't give serious consideration to the idea that they may be wrong. Give serious thought to why they believe what they do, and that perhaps those who doubt them may be correct, then they are behaving in a dangerous and dishonest way.
Not giving heed to the concerns doubts and criticisms of others is something I believe is a major fault in modern society. Often, people fail to recognize the needs of the group and the community. We place so much emphasis on the needs and rights of the individual. This causes people to focus so much on themselves to the detriment of others around them. At times, it can be beneficial to go against the group, but one should first give serious consideration to the groups concerns.

According to Ideas like the Alchemist, groups like, the Westboro Baptist Church,(godhatesfags.com) should be seen as American heroes. These are people who take a totally irrational stance, and stick to it as hard as they can in complete defiance to the views of everyone around them.
Profile Image for Bill Kerwin.
Author 1 book81.9k followers
June 29, 2019

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) people who don't recognize their legends are never happy, 2) people who fail to realize their legends are afraid, and 3) people who refuse to pursue their legends, even when they know what they are, are both unhappy and afraid. (I admit I've left out a nuance or two here and there, but not many. There aren't more than three or four nuances in the book.)

I fear that the result of taking such a message seriously will be to make the successful even more self-satisfied, the narcissistic more self-absorbed, and the affluent more self-congratulatory. At the same time, those who are unfortunate will blame themselves for their bad fortune, those who lack self-esteem will lose what little they have, and the poor will see--no, not God, as the beatitude says, but--the poor will see they have only themselves to blame.

Perhaps I am being too harsh. I can see how a few individual young persons, hemmed in by parental expectations and seeking their own paths, may find enough hope and courage here to help them venture forth. But I am convinced the damage done by books like this--like The Secret, The Celestine Prophecy, and anything ever written by the late Dr. Wayne Dyer (or, for that matter, anything he may ever choose to channel from beyond the grave)--is far greater than the little good they may achieve.

If you like parables, don't read this book. Go read a book of Hasidic tales collected by Martin Buber, a book of Sufi stories collected by Idries Shah, or a book of parables and sayings by Anthony de Mello instead.

Or then again, you could just try Jesus. Jesus is always good.
5 reviews125 followers
December 4, 2013
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."

Then....there was a supernatural element which was just plain dumb. Granted, I am not religious. I think god-fearing people get more out of this bc they can take that leap of faith, excuse the phrase. If this was supposed to be a story of magic, I may have been into it. But it was supposed to be a simple story of knowing yourself. And I think, philosophically speaking, when you truly know yourself that is when you truly realize your destiny. Why do you need supernatural forces to convey that message? This was about realizing your destiny, or "personal legacy." It could have been done without the hocus pocus, and, yes, the cheese.

In short, the book attempted to be deep and failed. "Speaking with the wind and the sun" and "being a shepherd" and getting over "personal hardship" all as part of a transparent "higher plan" (read: personal legacy) doesn't make a plot deep. A character simply called "boy" and short sentences doesn't make a story a fable. Learning from your flocks and from nature doesn't make a character inexplicably wise. I really got nothing out of this book.

It is short though. The book came very highly recommended. Read it to judge the hype for yourself. After all, a whole nation, including Bill Clinton (who I'm into), thought it was a touching account that personally changed them. Then again, this is the same country who thought The Celestine Prophesy was worthwhile. Gag.
Profile Image for Lujayn Alyamani.
14 reviews141 followers
April 9, 2011
كلّ شيء مكتوب !

ما إن انتهيت من قراءة هذه الرواية حتى أحسستُ أن الدنيا سكتت ، و العالم سكت

و أنني أريدُ أن أسكتُ باقي عمري ..

أتأمل الحياة .. لعل روح العالم تغمرني فأفلسف الحياة كما شاء لي قلبي

مليئة هذه الرواية بالرموز و الحكم و التراث و الأخلاق بل وحتى الآيات الإسلامية

تحسّ و أنت تقرؤها برياح أندلسية تلفح فكرك ، تجعلكَ تبتسم بين حكمة و أخرى

ببساطة القدر ، و تعقيد البشر .. بعمق المعاني ، و سطحية الفهم

هذه الرواية تجسّد القدر و الحكمة في أسمى معانيها ، كما نؤمن بها تمامًا

أحببتُ حكمها جدًا " كيف يتحدّث الكون لغة واحدة هي الحب ، العمل ، متعة الهدف

و كيف نتعلّم تقديس الحياة من حولنا على بساطتها، والتفكّر في كلّ أحداثها على أنّها منحٌ و إشارات يلقيها الله في طريقنا لتقودنا نحو ذواتناو مجدنا

و كيف أن الكنز قريب جدًا جدًا من أحدنا كما كان قريبًا عند شجرة الجميز التي نام تحتها سانتياغو أو الفتى - كما يسميه الكاتب - إلا أن العمل من أجل الحصول و الجهد المبذول و التعب المضني في سبيل الوصول.. كان هو الغاية .. و هو سرّ الوجود و " الإنجاز العظيم " فما معنى الكنز إن لم تستحقّ الحصول عليه !!

أحسستُ بالقرب الشديد من جوّها ، صورة الراعي ، و الخيميائي .. إكسير الحياة والإنجاز العظيم ..روح العالم و الأسطورة الشخصية

حقًا ، لقد خلق كلّ منا لـ يحقق أسطورة

و الحياة لا تمنحُ الفرص إلا للراغبين

363 reviews253 followers
February 15, 2015
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 help you achieve it if you only look for omens. A questionable idea in a world where people no longer want to work hard and achieve independently.

It reads like a really bad self-help book written for 8 year old children and disguised as a symbolic parable. I read a lot of books and I can safely say this is the worst book I have ever read. It's only saving grace was that it was mercifully short.
Profile Image for Warwick.
842 reviews14.6k followers
August 13, 2015
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 the very ugly is truly beautiful, only the very stupid are really intelligent, only black is white, only up is down" etc etc.

The writing is too simple to be really bad, but it's the content that gets you. By the end of the book you'll want to track down the philosopher's stone yourself and carefully beat Coelho to death with it.
Profile Image for Amanda.
282 reviews313 followers
April 21, 2013
***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. If you read the back, there are words like "Pyramids," "Gypsy," "alchemist." Turns out, this is just The Purpose Driven Life dressed up with a little fable. It's Hallmark Hall of Fame territory set in an exotic locale. Which pisses me off to no end as I normally try to dodge that sort of thing, but here it is masquerading as the type of book I normally like. It's cliche, didactic, and poorly written.

Just as with Aesop's Fables, there's a moral to the story. And Coelho keeps backing up and running over it just to make sure that we get it (and he capitalizes important key words necessary to understanding it, lest we overlook their significance). If there's one thing Paulo Coelho can do, it's flog a dead horse.

Essentially, boy thinks he's happy in life. He's a shepherd who gets to travel the world, has all of his needs met, and owns a book which he can always trade for another book when he goes to market. What more can a boy need? Boy is then told by a mysterious stranger that he's not happy at all. Why not? He has failed to recognize his Personal Legend. Everyone has a Personal Legend, which is life's plan for you. However, most of us give up on our Personal Legend in childhood. If you are fortunate enough to hang onto and pursue your Personal Legend, then The Soul of the World will help you obtain it. All of nature conspires to bring you luck and good fortune so that you can fulfill your destiny, whether it's to be a shepherd on a quest for treasure at the pyramids, a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker, or, one would assume, a prostitute, drug dealer, or porn star. Hey, we're all fate's bitch in The Alchemist. But I digress. Boy seeks out his Personal Legend and finds it's a long, hard road to obtaining what you want in life. But with faith, perseverance, and just a little goshdarnit good luck, the boy learns to speak the Language of the World and tap into The Soul of the World and fulfills his Personal Legend. And what does he learn? That what he sought was back home, the place he started from. Oh, silly boy.

So, in summation, here is what you should learn from The Alchemist:

1) Dream. And, while you're at it, dream BIG
2) Follow your bliss
3) Don't be surprised if you find obstacles in your way, but you will overcome
4) It's good to travel and encounter people from other cultures
5) What we most often seek is right in front of us, but sometimes we have to leave home to realize it

To all of these important life lessons, I can only say, "Well, no shit, Sherlock." If Coelho knew anything about alchemy, he would have been able to transform this crap into gold. Alas, it's still crap.

Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder
Profile Image for Federico DN.
395 reviews787 followers
September 10, 2023
Coelho’s finest?

Andalusia, Spain. Young poor shepherd Santiago has a very vivid dream in which he finds some lost treasure in a remote unknown location. After consulting a fortune teller, he learns that in order to find it he may need to travel as far as the Egyptian pyramids. A practically impossible task, since he doesn’t have a map, any rational reason, or even the means to fulfil it. This is the story of his fantastic journey, and how he attempts to fulfill a wild quest, that could potentially change his life.

Coelho’s most acclaimed masterpiece and famed work hands down; a very short allegorical tale about listening to your heart, and following your dreams, no matter what. I particularly enjoyed the exchanges with the mysterious old king, the time spent with the crystal merchant, and meeting Fatima, the desert girl. The oasis and the encounter with the Alchemist was good, but felt a bit farfetched, and his teachings somewhat repetitive. Still, a considerable amount of quotes and moments to remember by; with some very nice plot twists, a sublimely satisfying ending, and a spiritually uplifting message. I remember enormously enjoying this novella back in the day, the wowing feeling sadly gradually diminishing over the years. Still, I don’t regret reading it; this was overall a worthy read, and memorable, despite de glaring self-help vibes. I liked learning about the “Personal Legend”, among other curious esoteric concepts. Recommendable, for the right audience.

Personally I must admit I enjoyed Veronika Decides to Die a lot more; but if you ever had in mind picking up Coelho someday, this is a good choice too. A highly uplifting story with a very memorable message, for those willing to listen to it.

PERSONAL NOTE : The introduction also mentions this story is plagued with symbolisms. I wouldn’t be able to point out a single one, but that’s because I simply don’t register them. Yes, I’m that stupid; for certain things.
[1988] [182p] [Classics] [3.5] [Recommendable] ["When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.”]

★★★★★ Veronika Decides to Die
★★★★☆ The Alchemist [3.5]
★★★☆☆ The Fifth Mountain [2.5]
★★★☆☆ The Pilgrimage [2.5]


¿Lo mejor de Coelho?

Andalucía, España. El joven y pobre pastor Santiago tiene un sueño muy vívido en el que encuentra un tesoro perdido en un remoto y desconocido lugar. Después de consultar una adivinadora, descubre que para hallarlo necesitaría viajar tan lejos como hasta las pirámides egipcias. Una tarea prácticamente imposible, ya que no posee un mapa, ni una razón racional, o los medio para completarla. Esta es la historia de su fantástico viaje, y cómo intenta lograr una alocada misión, que potencialmente podría cambiar su vida.

La obra maestra más aclamada y famosa de Coelho por lejos; un muy corto relato alegórico sobre escuchar tu corazón, y seguir tus sueños, sin importar qué. Particularmente disfruté los intercambios con el misterioso viejo rey, el tiempo que transcurrió con el mercader de cristales, y el encuentro con Fátima, la chica del desierto. El oasis y el encuentro con el Alquimista fue bueno, pero se sintió un poco demasiado increíble, y sus enseñanzas un tanto repetitivas. Aun así, una considerable cantidad de citas y momentos para el recuerdo; con unas muy interesantes vueltas de trama, un sublimemente satisfactorio final, y un mensaje espiritualmente elevador. Recuerdo disfrutar esta novela corta enormemente en su día, la maravillosa sensación de asombro lamentablemente gradualmente disminuyendo con el correr de los años. Sin embargo, no me arrepiento de haberla leído; esta fue por sobre todo una valiosa lectura, y memorable, a pesar del llamativo tinte de autoayuda. Me gustó conocer la “Leyenda Personal”, entre otros curiosos conceptos esotéricos. Recomendable, para la audiencia correcta.

Personalmente debo admitir que disfruté “Veronika Decide Morir” mucho más; pero si alguna vez tuviste en mente leer Coelho algún día, “El Alquimista” es también una buena elección. Una historia altamente elevadora con un mensaje muy memorable, para aquellos dispuestos a escucharla.

NOTA PERSONAL : La introducción también menciona que la historia está plagada de simbolismos. Yo no podría señalar ni uno sólo, pero eso es porque simplemente no los registro. Sí, soy así de idiota; para ciertas cosas.
[1988] [182p] [Clásicos] [3.5] [Recomendable] [“Cuando realmente quieres una cosa, todo el universo conspira para ayudarte a conseguirla.”]
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews46 followers
July 28, 2021
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.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: در ماه ژوئن سال 1996میلادی

عنوان: کیمیاگر؛ نویسنده: پائولو کوئیلو؛ مترجم: حسین نعیمی؛ تهران، نشر روایت، 1374؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، ثالث، 1377؛ در 283ص؛ شابک 9646404465؛ چاپ ششم 1379؛ هفتم 1380؛ هشتم 1381؛ نهم 1386؛ شابک 9789646404465؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان برزیل - سده ی 20م

ترجمه های دیگر از خانمها و آقایان «آرش حجازی»؛ «دل آرا قهرمان»؛ «میترا میرشکار»؛ «سوسن اردکانی»؛ «مرتضی سعیدی»؛ «ایلیا حریری»؛ «ندا نویدنیا»؛ «هرمینه شبانی»؛ «بهرام جعفری»؛ «مریم امیری»؛ «فرزانه فرزاد»؛ «مینا حیدری» و «عاطفه زینلی»؛ «اسماعیل غفوری ثانی» و «رضا ابوعطا»؛ «فریبا ریاضی مظلومی»؛ «گیسو پارسای»؛ «شهرزاد فتوحی»؛ «علی نادری»؛ «ماکان کیان»؛ و «ناهید ایران نژاد»؛ و ...؛

در هزار و یکشب داستانی هست، که مردی در «بغداد»، همان خوابی را میبیند، که در داستان «کوئیلو»، چوپان «اسپانیایی» دیده است؛ در «مثنوی معنوی مولانا» نیز، همین داستان با واژه های شعر آمده است؛

هشدار اگر داستان را نخوانده اید و میخواهید خود این کتاب را نیز بخوانید، تنها پارگراف پایانی نگاره ام را بخوانید، که به موضوع این داستان ربطی ندارد؛

اما داستان این کتاب: چوپانی «اسپانیایی»، به نام «سانتیاگو»، در رؤیای خود، محل گنجی مدفون در حوالی «اهرام مصر» را، به خواب می‌بیند؛ و به قصد آن رؤیا، که آنرا افسانه ی شخصی خود می‌خواند، موطنش را در «آندلس»، رها، و رهسپار «شمال آفریقا» می‌شود؛ در آن سفر پرخطر، با مردی که خود را «ملک صدق»، پادشاه «سالم» می‌داند، و با یک «کیمیاگر» آشنا، و به «فاطمه» دختر «صحرا»، دل می‌بندد؛ همگان «سانتیاگو» را، در مسیر جستجویش یاری، و او را به ادامه ی راه، تشویق می‌کنند؛ در پایان، «سانتیاگو» پس از سالها سفر طاقت فرسا، گنج را نه در فرسنگها دورتر، بلکه در همان آغل گوسفندان خویش، در سرزمین خویش می‌یابد؛ گنجی بزرگتر که آنرا تنها می‌توان در درون خویش جست

نقل از «اسکار وایلد»: (جویبار یا دریاچه پرسید: مگر «نرگس» زیبا بود؟ گلها یا پریها شگفت زده پرسیدند: چه کسی بهتر از تو این را میداند؟ او هر روز در ساحل تو مینشست، و به روی تو خم میشد؛ جویبار یا دریاچه لحظه ای ساکت ماند، و سپس گفت من برای «نرگس» گریه میکنم، اما هرگز متوجه زیبائی او نشده بودم، من برای «نرگس» گریه میکنم، زیرا هر بار که به روی من خم میشد، میتوانستم در ژرفای چشمانش، بازتاب زیبایی خویش را، ببینم)؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 22/05/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 05/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Nayra.Hassan.
1,259 reviews5,623 followers
October 4, 2022
افق !!استيقظ ..انتبه
..يفوتك الكثير
رواية قصيرة وفاتنة ..تحثك على عيش حياتك هنا والان
تذكرك مرارا : ان الرحلة هي الهدف و ليست مجرد وسيلة
Commercial Photography
..هناك من يفضلون قضاء الرحلة نائمين
و هناك من يفهمون مبكرا..دائما ينبهنا باولو برفق..ان سر الحياة في القطار و ليس المحطات
على عكس ما هو شائع. .
.قراتها بالانجليزية و كنت اود لو تعلمت البرتغالية من اجل فهمها تماما . .هناك شيء من المباشرة و البساطة..و لكنها صارت من الكلاسيكيات ..ففي مرحلة ما من حياتك سنجد نفسك تقرأها حتما
..و لكن ..ساظل دائما اتذكر ملعقة الزيت التي تجول بها في القصر ..فلا تشغلك الملعقة عن مراقبة ما حولك من روائع و لاتذهلك الروائع عن مراقبة الملعقة ..وتلخصه لغتنا الراقية في عبارة
"لا افراط ولاتفريط"..
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,302 reviews43.9k followers
December 20, 2022
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, poignant!

Here are my favorite quotes of the book:
“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”

“The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”

“Don't give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
February 19, 2019
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 Backdoor, a clunky but loveable country western tune, was actually begun as a facetious parody of slide guitar yokel lyricism.

I also think of the comedy / performance art of Andy Kaufman and the constant, uncomfortable tension about what he was doing and why. Was it really so bad it was funny? If it was so obviously corny and insincere, was that not funny? Or was it? Was he really wrestling women and then getting beaten up by Jerry Lawler? That was a joke right?

So ...

Was Paulo Coelho’s 1988 fantasy / magical realism parable of truths found in nature and subtle messages from God told straight or was there a wink and a nod told with some fun?

Now … think about it for a second. The whole “lost gold” theme and the discussions with the alchemist about a supposed elixir of life and “follow your heart” rhetoric. Was Coelho telling this straight or pulling our leg?

I have to say that I doubt it, but I did laugh a few times and the over the top syrupy delivery made me wonder, and maybe I liked it better considering this twinkle of a third possibility.

I will say that this could go either way. I can absolutely see where someone could find hidden treasure and deeply meaningful messages in the short novel. And I can see someone rolling their eyes and sticking their finger down their throat in a gag gesture.

I’ll cast a Cheshire cat smirk and like for another reason.

Profile Image for Amit.
5 reviews40 followers
March 18, 2014
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 witness to this beginners luck at one or other point in our lives. Also, he talks about a stage in our journey towards realizing our dreams, where everything just goes haywire and there is everything working against us and it almost takes us to the brink of abandoning everything and just getting back to what was so familiar and comfortable (i.e. our usual daily life which we get used to) this is actually the time when we are being tested for one last time and it means also that we are really close to our objective. The example given was really great and yes nothing new but we forget simple things in our life like "the darkest hour of the night is just before the dawn". It is actually true that so many of us just leave the struggle when it gets really tough and the chips are really low, whereas actually we were so close to the objective, if only we would have had a little more patience we would have been there. In one of the episodes he talks about death, yes the fact we always forget, the only reality about our life, it is a constant which is not going to change rest everything is uncertain. There are a lot of us who either think that it happens to others and then there are others, who are so busy running after the materials that they don’t have time to think about anything, leave alone death. Yes, and those who do think about death, mostly fear it, some fear death because of the physical pain attached to it (such people actually fear the pain rather than the death, I am one of them) and there are some who think they do not want to die because its not time yet for them to go. Ironically but true, this decision about timings has thankfully not been left to us. So, how do we get over the fear of death or make it our friend, a companion? And not waste our beautiful life worrying about dying all the time. One of the possible solutions lies in this book, it reads "if i have to fight, it will be just as good a day to die as any other". Yes very much right, one would never know when he or she wakes up in the morning that if it was the last day of his or her life and in fact, that day would not be any different from all the other days already spent. So, why not take everyday as the last day of our lives and live it up. Frankly speaking i really know what i am talking about, because I am in a profession which involves a lot of risk and death doesn’t have to look for reasons, it can just spring up from any bush in form of a small little piece of metal called a bullet coming out of the darkness of the night or just a deafening sound from under a culvert that I cross everyday. Here, everyday can be the last day of my life, every meal can be my last, every call to my wife can be the last time I would hear her sweet and loving voice and the kids… Anyways, so what I personally follow is, everyday when I wake up or every time when I move out on an operation, I say to myself "what a beautiful day to die" and there on, I just do what I have to and what I have been taught in all these years in the army and go through all the motions and concentrate on the job at hand rather than worrying about my death and I am really at peace with the fear of death. Another beautiful thought which I came across about death was in the novel by the author called "Confessions of a pilgrim". I derived from it that death can be visualized as a beautiful person who is always sitting besides us, so close to us that it travels with us wherever we go and it also accompanies us to our bed. Its a beautiful companion, a faithful companion, the only one who will never be unfaithful to us, rest all the companions are just lesser mortals and have been unfaithful at one point or other. Death always stays with us and actually speaking that’s the only companion who would accompany us all through our lives right from the moment we acquired some shape in our mother’s womb to the moment when we would get the vision of that white light and that feeling of lightness when we would finally leave this body also sometimes expressed as "VASTRA" (clothes) in the Indian mythology. As per the Indian mythology, the soul never dies, it is indestructible, it only changes a body just like we change clothes. Our soul is a part of God and it goes back to him. We can find the mention of the mighty soul of ours around the last portion of 'The Alchemist' where the shepherd realizes that ultimately it his own soul which is the “hand that wrote all” and his own soul was the part of soul of God. I firmly believe that there is no fiction involved in this story of the shepherd, but this is a true expression of mysteries and realities of our life, which we never pause to discover. There is message that this book wants to convey to us!!! I have never been into writing anything ever in my life, yes not even a personal dairy, but since the time I actually started writing which was just a month back, I realized that if we just write our thoughts as they occur, the resultant has a touch of mystery, because what we wrote with all our heart and soul, sometimes tends to surprise us. We tend to learn from what we ourselves wrote. We never realized that we had so much inside us and we don’t know from where, it all came. “The hand that wrote all”, yes I think its our soul that speaks out, the soul we never recognized, the one we never knew, the one which is part of soul of God…. …All religions have over all the years have preached a man “Know thyself, you will find God”, “look within yourself u will find all the answers”, these words are so common but how many of us actually are ready to pause and give it a try. It may sound crazy, may be the book has a effect that may appear really crazy but I am sure there are some people who would identify with me. May be when Paulo Coelho wrote this book his soul was revealing itself and that’s why some of us can identify with it because our souls are the part of same soul of God, just like his is. May be these lines of his novel were written by the “Hand that wrote all……………”

Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,727 followers
February 9, 2018
~~~ T h e ~ A l c h e m i s t ~~ الـخـيـــميائـــي ~~~

Half-full Cauldron of Clever Story قدر به قصة محكية ببراعة
2 Measures of Legends of Wisdom مقدار من أساطير حكيمة
1 Bundle of Self-Help Motivations حزمة من دوافع تنمية ذاتية
1 Measure of Spiritual Experiences مقدار من التجارب الروحية
Some Drops of Love ~~~ قطرات من الحـــــب
A Bunch of Magic ~~~ حفنة من الســـحر
½ Cub of Philosophy ~~~ مقدار من الفلسفة
¼ Scoop of Thriller ~~~ ربع مغرفه من الأثارة
Mix it all together in the Cauldron..

أخلطهم جميعا في القدر
With Drops of an Oasis' Springs Water مع ماء من ينابيع واحة صحراوية
And Bunch of Golden Desert's Sands و حفنة من رمال الصحراء الذهبية
Let it all Stir by The Desert's Winds دع الخليط يقلبه رياح الصحراء
ِAnd Heat up by the Heat of the Sun rays ويسخنه حرارة أشعة الشمس

ِAnd Then you'll got the Treasure... وستحصل عندها علي الكنز
A Gold,even the Philosopher's Stone ذهــب، بل حجر الفيلسوف
A Great Charming Story, A brilliant literature قصة ساحرة، أدب لامع

The Alchemist --------- الـخيميــائـي
By the Master --------- للاستــاذ
Paulo Coelho --------- باولو كويللو

محمد العربي
في 24 اكتوبر 2013

قراءه من 25 اغسطس 2012
الي 2 سبتمبر 2012

©The Cauldron picture from http://www.pottermore.com
Profile Image for Jibran.
224 reviews663 followers
September 24, 2017
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.
Profile Image for Patrick.
267 reviews93 followers
September 9, 2008
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 'The Alchemist' was selling.

It's a good, quick read, I'll give it that. I enjoyed myself, and I definitely thought a little bit about my own life in the process, which I appreciate from my literature. And while I was more or less with it for a while, I just couldn't stay on board with an ending that left me saying, "that's it? Really?" Be forewarned, there will be spoilers after this point . The whole book Santiago is in pursuit of his "Personal Legend", which he is told is a great treasure found in the pyramids of Egypt. Along the way he befriends many people and makes a great sum of money, while also meeting a beautiful young woman who agrees to more or less be his life-partner, Romeo and Juliet-style (which is stupid in and of itself, but more on that later). It is at this point that he determines he has achieved a greater treasure than any he had ever dreamed of, and would go no further. Beautiful. Cue the music and themes of recognizing treasure in all its forms. Santiago has a wonderful, fulfilling life laid out before him, and would most likely die a happy man by the side of his lovely wife and adoring children, all while living comfortably as village counselor of a beautiful desert oasis. Sounds pretty nice, no?

Well, that's where the book lost it's footing. Santiago is urged, coerced even, into continuing to follow his "Personal Legend", leaving behind his "love" (who, it should be mentioned is a "woman of the desert" and so is completely fine being abandoned by her "love" and will simply wait and wait and wait for him, whether he ever returns or not) traversing the desert and (bizarrely) evading a hostile army along the way by turning himself into the wind (it makes about as much sense as it sounds). In the end though, Coelho reveals to us that Santiago does, indeed, reach his "Personal Legend" in a two and a half page epilogue, where it is shoddily revealed that Santiago's long-sought after treasure is...treasure. Literally. Buried treasure. A box in the sand filled with gold coins and diamonds and jewelry and crowns, and all the other cliche treasure images you can think up. What the hell?

So what message are we supposed to take from this book then? Money is the most important thing in the world? Women are objects meant to be seen and valued for their beauty, there to serve you and wait around forever while you go on wild goose chases across continents in search of money?

Obviously I'm being facetious, and Coelho intended to say that one should follow their dreams no matter what, even if it transcends a nice, content life, so long as you are in pursuit of a life that would be even greater than you can ever imagine, sacrificing what is good now for what can be great later. But he did so in an extremely simplistic way, and the revelation of the Santiago's treasure being literally treasure was a major disappointment.

The thing was, despite his simplicity, the book had a nice message going for a while. If Fatima was Santiago's treasure, that I could have gotten behind, even if it shows a good deal of contempt for the role of women in relationships (beauty being the most important factor in deciding on a mate, as Santiago is struck by her beauty and immediately professes his love; Fatima more or less acquiesces immediately and pledges herself to Santiago no matter what, even if he must travel the desert forever in selfish pursuit of his own dreams, with no regard for her), because that is something intangible that is meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of financial standing. But then Coelho basically goes on to say that that is just a roadblock in the way of real achievement, and that one should selfishly pursue their own dreams with no regard for those closest to them.

How a book can go on and on talking about seeing the everyday symbols and omens in life and taking heed of them, presumably leaving metaphors for life all along the way, and then have what was presumably the biggest metaphor of them all, Santiago's treasure, turn out not to be a metaphor at all, but just money? To me, that summed up everything. I suppose Coelho realizes this, as he begins the book with a brief fable about Narcissus falling into the river because he loved staring at his reflection, and the river's disappointment in this, as the river loved gazing into Narcissus's eyes and seeing the reflection of itself. This is a horrible little story implying that everyone is obsessed only with themselves, a sad, empty little thought that Coelho spends 167 pages endorsing wholeheartedly, under the guise of following your dreams.

I understand that other people love this book and find it inspiring, and I think I would have felt the same way years ago, when I was just out of college and it appeared I had my whole life ahead of me and a lifetime to live it. I'm older now, and I've found someone who I consider to be a real treasure, and while I still have dreams, I'm not willing to sacrifice the happiness that this life brings me every day in a single-minded pursuit of something that I want for selfish reasons (fame, fortune, etc.). If I was Santiago, I would have never left Fatima in the first place if she truly made me happy, as Santiago claimed she did. Perhaps that makes me a coward in Coelho's eyes, not unlike the Crystal merchant from the story. But it'd also make me not the sad Englishman, whose single-minded pursuit of his "personal legend" had cost him all his money, friends, and family and left him alone in an oasis burning lead in a tent in the vain hopes it will turn to gold.

I guess what I'm trying to say in this long-winded review, is that this book is all about being selfish and doing what you think will make you happy, regardless of everything else. I can see why that appeals to people, especially those who want to show the doubters and find their own treasure beneath a sycamore tree, but it's sad, in a way. We live in a culture where everyone wants selfish things like fame or money or power, just to satisfy some gaping hole in their own souls, ignoring the real problems that lead to these compulsions in the first place. To me, this book feeds and even encourages that misplaced ideal, and that's a shame.
Profile Image for Mohammed  Ali.
475 reviews1,149 followers
December 10, 2021
الرواية التّي سبّبت .. ظاهرة الإحتباس الحراري :

قد يبدوا العنوان غريبا نوعا ما.. ولكن صراحة أحبّ العناوين الغريبة " الرجل الذّي حسب زوجته قبعة " ، " انتحار حمار " و عناوين أخرى غريبة يزخر بها عالم التأليف والكتب، ولكن ما سبب اختياري لهذا العنوان ؟

حسب وكيبيديا هذه الرواية تمّت ترجمتها إلى حوالي 67 لغة .. وبيع منها 65 مليون نسخة في 150 بلد، وفي مقال آخر .. يقولون أنّه لصناعة طن من الورق نحتاج إلى قطع 17 شجرة طول كل واحدة منها هو 11 متر .. هذا بالإضافة إلى عمليات التصنيع والنقل وما يصاحبها من انبعاثات غازية. سيقوم محبّوا الرياضيات والإحصائيات بحساب عدد الكتب في الطن الواحد ثمّ عملية ضرب هذه الأطنان في عدد الأشجار اللازمة لصناعتها .. ويضيف إليها تقديرا نسبيا لكمية الانبعاثات الغازية أثناء عملية النّقل والصّناعة .. ثم يقوم بتقسيم النّاتج على عدد البلدان التّي تمّ فيها طبع أو بيع هذه النسخ . لنجد أنّ هذه الرواية بشكل ما أو بآخر كانت سببا في ارتفاع درجة حرارة الأرض مسبّبة ظاهرة الإحتباس الحراري .

في النّهاية.. ماذا عسانا نقول يا كويلهو؟ لقد غيّرت حياة البشر بسبب روايتك.. ملايين البشر تغيرت حياتهم بسبب ظاهرة الإحتباس الحراري، ذوبان القطبين الشمالي والجنوبي بسبب ارتفاع درجة الحرارة أنت السبب فيه .. تغيير الفصول وتداخلها أنت السبب فيه.. الأعاصير القويّة والعواصف المتقلبة أنت السبب فيها .. ثقب طبقة الأوزون أنت السبب فيه .. اجتثاث أشجار غابة الأمازون ( وأنت من البرازيل وتعرف قيمة هذه الغابة ) أنت السبب فيه .. لقد قتلتنا يا كويلهو بروايتك هذه .

أخيراا :

من الروايات القليلة جدا التّي قرأتها بسقف توقعات مرتفع .. ولكن للأسف خاب ظنّي والسبب فيّ أنا وليس في الرواية طبعا

عن المراجعة :

" I did it my way "

- Frank Sinatra .
Profile Image for Kon R..
241 reviews106 followers
March 12, 2022
All those negative reviews are baffling to me. Where does it say this is a self help book? People are bashing the "lessons" as if this is some philosophical or religious work. It's a fictional story that can be enjoyed by yourself or with your kids for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES. It's a fun story filled to the brim with quirks and marvels. I was curious the entire time how following one's legend blindly would turn out for the boy. Am I going to now follow my dreams without logic and reason as in the story? No. Because I'm not a crazy person. Get over it. It's just a story and a good one at that.

EDIT: My first 100+ likes review. Thank you everyone!
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.5k followers
April 26, 2023
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. however, i read somewhere that effective parables should comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. unfortunately, this book does neither of those things - it pampers to the egos of the self-righteous and chastises those who dont adhere to certain values. which is a shame, because this was supposed to be a story about following ones heart by chasing dreams and passions. too bad that message got lost somewhere along the way.

secondly, i didnt connect with the any of characters, as i found them to be very two-dimensional. for a story that was meant to be about personal growth, i did not get any sense of emotion in the writing. a boy sells his entire livelihood, sets sail for distant continent, and crosses an entire desert in search of something he desperately desires - and yet, i couldnt care less about his journey. also, the portrayal of women in this is frustratingly poor.

anyways, i liked the idea. i personally try to live my life by many of the lessons and teachings in this book - i believe it is important for one to follow their dreams, to always listen to their heart, and to never give up on something they are passionate about (as much as realistically possible). but i think the effectiveness of those messages was lost in this story.

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Lisa.
991 reviews3,320 followers
September 25, 2019
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 than from books, as stated by the wise young protagonist, a shepherd who uses books for a pillow and sheep for dialogue partners (it is a one-way road, with the sheep as teachers, for the sheep don't learn anything from him). In simple, unsophisticated prose, which seems to be carefully following the rubric of a Grade 6 descriptive writing assignment, I read:

"The only things that concerned the sheep were food and water. As long as the boy knew how to find the best pastures in Andalusia, they would be his friends. Yes, their days were all the same, with the seemingly endless hours between sunrise and dusk; and they had never read a book in their young lives, and didn't understand when the boy told them about the sights of the cities. They were content with just food and water, and, in exchange, they generously gave of their wool, their company, and - once in a while - their meat."

Learning to take everything literally is part of my course, so I try not to see a metaphor in the fact that the boy learns more from sheep than from books. But I do have a question or two:

If the sheep are only his"friends" as long as he brings them food, do they really count as friends? Are they not just following their needs?

Is it not quite self-evident that they have not read any books in their young lives - they are sheep after all, and won't read in their old age either, I assume?

Do they really "generously offer their wool, their company, and -ONCE IN A WHILE - their meat? At least as far as the meat is concerned, I am sure they offer it once, and not again, and not by free choice, and generously?

As this book is to be taken seriously, I beg to accept my apology if my questions sound like sarcasm. That is not my intention. I am really just asking "all universe to conspire to help me achieve my goal" (another piece of wisdom the book offers) - of understanding how anyone can take this seriously! I just wonder how all universe deals with opposing wishes, which must occasionally occur, even in a small place like our earth. If I for example wish to have my neighbour's garden chair, and my neighbour wishes to keep it, who does "all universe" side with, and how does it conspire to help me get it, and at the same time to help my neighbour to keep it?

Things that happen once can never happen again, I also learn. Before I can even ask why, I get another piece of information: Things that happen twice will always happen again. How does that go together? If things have happened once (which is a prerequisite for happening twice in my world) they won't happen again?!? Whatever is meant, things can NEVER happen twice, that is sure. I can't travel to Italy twice. If I do it anyway (which is not possible) I will definitively do it again. That is nice!

When I do travel to Italy (once, or three times), my life and my path will always provide me with enough omens. That is interesting, and I do not know why I all of a sudden associate this with the sheepish followers in Life Of Brian, who found omens in sandals.

Call me literal-minded, but I do have some issues with the idea of omen provision. Can I order them online nowadays? What do they cost?

To close my reflection on learning more from sheep than books, I have to say: In some cases, that is very true! What a bitter medicine!

As with all medicines, there are some side effects, and it is very important to read the warning before you take this drug:

Please do not read this book if you are in danger of thinking too rationally.

When you read this Grade 6 essay, be careful to check if you show behaviours that you would define as out of character, as they might be symptoms of acute drivel reading allergy.

Symptoms include: anger, frustration, ridicule, frowning, nausea, meaningless giggling, dreams about book burning, urge to throw the book in the bin or out the window. Symptoms may vary, but in all cases, it is recommended to suspend reading until the brain is reset in adequate sheep mode again.

If symptoms do not diminish after enjoying a couple of good, real books, please see your librarian for memory removal surgery or therapy.
Profile Image for فايز غازي Fayez Ghazi .
Author 2 books3,902 followers
December 30, 2022
قرأتها منذ عامين، وانا اقرأها كنت احس بأنني اعرف روحية النص وبأنني قرأته في مكان آخر.....

وبعد سنتين كنت اقرأ بعض الصفحات من "الف ليلة وليلة"(حكاية إفلاس رجل من بغداد)، فعرفت اين قرأت "الخيميائي" ولماذا كان ذلك الإحساس بروحية النص، فدافع البغدادي (الف ليلة وليلة) في رحلته هو الحلم (مثل سانتياغو في الخيميائي)، سافر البغدادي الى مصر (وكذلك فعل بطل كويلو)، تعرض البغدادي للمخاطر والتنكيل به (وكذلك بطل كويلو)، تكذيب الحلم والإستهزاء بصاحبه (الوالي عندما يتكلم مع البغدادي في الف ليلة وليلة، والزعيم لسانتياغو في الخيميائي وهو يحفر النفق)، الحلم المضاد (الوالي للبغدادي: هناك بيت في بغداد وصفه كذا وكذا فيه كنز (بمعناه)، والزعيم لسنتياغو: في اسبانيا كنيسة يرعى فيها الرعيان..الخ (نفس الكنيسة التي كان يرعى بها سانتياغو)، العودة وايجاد الكنز (في كلا القصتين) و "الف ليلة وليلة قبل الخيميائي بمئات السنين!!!!
Profile Image for Cecily.
1,137 reviews4,176 followers
February 23, 2016
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 know where I get that from!).
Profile Image for s.penkevich.
964 reviews6,815 followers
November 27, 2022
Welcome to the best game show on Goodreads, the pre-review game Who Said That? [Insert audience applause] Guess if the following quotes are from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho OR from a CEO/inspirational memoir:
1. The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.
2. The only thing worse than starting something and failing is not starting something.
3. Chase the vision, not the money, the money will end up following you.
4. Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.
5. Sometimes theres a sign that something really great is about to happen. You’re about to grow and learn a lot more about yourself.
6. Life is fragile. We’re not guaranteed a tomorrow so give it everything you’ve got.
7. People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.
8. A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.
9. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.
10. Pessimists may be right in the end, but an optimist has a much better time getting there.
11. Without passion, you don’t have any energy, and without energy, you simply have nothing.
12. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.


Jokes aside, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is an endlessly quotable book. It reads like a fable, with very catchy and accessible writing that is meant to empower and make you feel good. This really works for a lot of people—I mean this was a widely successful novel—and I’m happy that so many people could be moved and inspired by a book. Especially a book that unites people around the world by being an international success. Unfortunately, for myself at least, it all comes across as a pristine facade without much behind it, offering something that can be quickly digested but isn’t actually filling. This is a book that I recall enjoying enough when I read it as a teen but haven’t thought of since, so when someone picked it as our next read for our book club I was excited to revisit it seeing as I remembered literally nothing about it. I hate to say it, but being fun but forgettable is my takeaway from it again.

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

Coelho said the book was written very quickly because ‘the book was already written in my soul,’ and in the forward he discusses how this novel was his own Personal Legend. ‘I was living my own metaphor,’ he said, being thrilled just to get it picked up by a Brazilian publisher who, in 1988, only ran 900 copies assuming it would not be a big success. The book ended up taking off, with the 1993 English translation becoming a massive hit and lead to numerous further translations. Coelho even holds a Guinness World Record for “most translations of a single title signed by the author in 1 sitting”, signing his book in 53 different translated editions at a book event in Germany. So I can really appreciate that aspect, and his own personal journey into publishing and believing in himself is honestly better than the book itself.
Fun fact: The Alchemist had a big boost in sales when then-President Bill Clinton was photographed reading it.

For those who don’t know, the story follows a young boy, Santiago, as he journeys across the desert and meets a lot of interesting people along the way. Literally every person has a pearl of positive wisdom to share it seems, and it becomes a rapid fire of empowerment quotes that could all go on one of those inspirational posters made for office walls in the 90s. Actually, I’m fairly certain I’ve seen one that quoted this book. The characters all feel like a mouthpiece for Coehlo to pass along his positive message, or wisdom, and one can easily imagine this being a self-help book had he not decided to attach a fictional narrative to it. It is a nice message, that you have to believe in yourself and in your goals and, if you truly do (“only those who are true of heart” vibes like in fairy tales) the universe will conspire to help you achieve your goal. Which is a nice inspirational message and sometimes that is what you need to hear to break free from self doubt. Particularly as another primary message is that we must overcome fear to accomplish what we need to do. ‘Don't give in to your fears,’ Coelho writes, ‘If you do, you won't be able to talk to your heart.’ So great, yea, believe in yourself. I dig that.

To realize one's destiny is a person's only real obligation.

I do, however, see it as a bit of a back-patting perspective. Like yes, if you are successful it is nice to feel like it is because you are pure of heart. He tells us that those who don’t follow their dreams end up in ruin and sadness. This is sort of a success fallacy in a way, as it implies that if things are bad its because you just didn’t try hard enough. Which…ehhhhh…I mean there are a lot of forces acting in society that gatekeep and sometimes it’s more than just not overcoming adversity. And I get it, keep trying, yea, but it feels a bit like shaming? Which is honestly overthinking it though as this book is not that nuanced or deep (something I kept saying during debates over minor details during book club: “I don’t think he even considered that and its beside the point because it’s not actually that deep”). It is meant to be a fun and empowering story that paints in broad strokes and yea, I get why it means a lot to many people. For me it just seemed a bit flat and like a snack when I wanted a meal.

Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.
Okay, fine, I don’t know how to write a good book or how to live my life either, but I just know this one wasn’t it for me.

I did appreciate how it was aimed at a general positive idea of spirituality that, while using different religions, was not necessarily religious. Spiritual, or mystic would seem the better term. I liked the idea of the universe, the sand, the wind, etc as conscious entities that can collaborate with you. While I really disliked the deus ex machina ending, the whole idea of the world as a spiritual presence was well done. Coelho does sort of pull an orientalism in his depiction as an outsider of the region as this wild and savage land full of wise sages and cutthroat robbers, but it does seem with the aim of capturing the feel of One Thousand and One Nights or other tales of adventure and ‘finding yourself’ in exotic locale. Which I think is a topic that people have had a more nuanced discussion on since this book was written.

It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting,’ Coelho writes, and this I can agree with. However, in The Alchemist, the general tone of the book is that dreams seem a thing only for men. Fatima, Santiago’s love interest, lacks much agency in the tale and is more or less written as a prize for following his Personal Legend. She is an element of his journey, while I guess he is all her journey gets to be. He tells her ‘I love you because the entire universe conspired to help me find you,’ which…isn’t all that romantic or great? Hey, the universe popped you into my life, guess you’ll do for a bride. C’mon, man, does she have any personality or intelligence you enjoy and don’t just tell me how beautiful she is. Didn’t vibe with any of that aspect of the book.

I also didn’t really like the ending. Sure it is riffing on the whole “it’s the journey not the destination” aspect but it felt a bit flat for me with the deus ex machina moment. It is a happy ending though, and one full of success and rewards. As a bookclub member pointed out, it sort of resonates with a quote by T.S. Eliot: ‘We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.

So in the end, I’m mostly ambivalent to this book. I see why people enjoy it and it is admittedly pretty and sweet and uplifting. It’s a good vibe to be in. It didn’t do much for me, but that’s alright too.

Profile Image for فؤاد.
1,066 reviews1,757 followers
June 9, 2016
كتاب درمانى
به كسانى كه هنوز مثل من به گرداب تلخ انديشى (يا آن طور كه سعی می کنم به خودم تلقین کنم: واقع بينى) دچار نشده اند و با جملاتى مثل "اگر چيزى را بخواهى، تمام كائنات دست به دست هم مى دهد تا آرزويت را برآورده كند"، ته ته دلشان نورى شیرین و گرم و لذت بخش مى درخشد. به اين ها اين كتاب را توصيه مى كنم، و ازشان برادرانه درخواست مى كنم با خواندن كتاب هاى نورکُش، مازوخيست گونه تلاش نكنند اين نور را خاموش كنند. بعد از نور، چیزی جز ظلمت نیست. گرایش های انتلکتوئلی فقط اسم شان خوب در رفته.

هزار و يك شب
پيرنگ اصلى داستان، از حكايتى از داستان هاى هزار و يك شب اقتباس شده. خود نويسنده در مقدمه ى داستان اشاره مى كند كه نويسنده ى آرژانتينى خورخه لوييس بورخس نيز از همين حكايت هزار و يك شب الهام گرفته و داستانى بر اساسش نوشته.

خلاصه ى حكايت هزار و يك شب چنين است:
آورده اند كه در بغداد مردى فقير شبى در خواب ديد كه گوينده اى همى گويد: روزی تو در مصر است.
آن مرد به مصر سفر كرد. شبى در مسجد جامع قاهره خفته بود كه دزدان به خانه ى متولى مسجد در آمدند و ناله و فرياد اهل خانه بلند شد. چون شحنه در رسيد، جز آن مرد فقير كسى را نديد. او را بگرفت و تازيانه بزد و به زندان بينداخت.
بعد سه روز او را خواند و گفت: سبب آمدن تو از بغداد به مصر چه بود؟
گفت: در خواب ديدم كه كسى به من گفت روزی تو در مصر است.
شحنه بخنديد و گفت: اى كم خرد! من سه سال است خواب مى بينم كه گوينده اى مى گويد كه در بغداد، در فلان محلت، در فلان خانه، حوضى است و به زيرش مالى فراوان. ولى خواب را باور نكرده ام. تو به سبب اضغاث احلام از شهرى به شهرى شده اى؟!
و آن خانه كه صفت كرد، خانه ى همان مرد فقير بود. به بغداد بازگشت و به زير حوض خويش گنج فراوان يافت.
Profile Image for هدى يحيى.
Author 9 books16.2k followers
April 15, 2021

إن كل رجل سعيد كان هو ذاك الذي اعتنق الله في داخله
وأنه يمكن للسعادة أن تكون موجودة في حبة رمل بسيطة في الصحراء
لأن حبة الرمل هي لحظة من عملية الخلق
وأن الكون قد كرّس ملايين وملايين السنين في خلقها

إنّني أخاف إذا حقّقت حُلمي
ألّا يتبقّى لي بعد ذلك سبب للعيش

يوجد شخص ينتظر شخصاً آخر
سواء أكان هذا في وسط الصحراء
أو في قلب المدن الكبرى
وعندما يلتقي هؤلاء الشخصان
وتتقاطع نظرتاهما
فإن الماضي والمستقبل لا أهميةلهما
ولحظة الحاضر وحدها هي التي تبقى

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