The Alchemist The Alchemist question

Who was not impressed by the Alchemist?
Kirsten C. - Hopeful Romantic Kirsten (last edited Oct 01, 2011 09:58PM ) Sep 29, 2011 09:49PM
I'm a very spiritual person, but I have to admit this book kinda went in one ear and out the other. At least I can say I've read it.

Sara (last edited Sep 30, 2011 10:00AM ) Sep 30, 2011 10:00AM   36 votes
Coelho's books (and books like his, like the previously-mentioned The Celestine Prophecy) are a sort of "spiritual/philosophical goodies for the masses" type of work. For those that haven't studied the ideas he lifts from, he's revolutionary. It IS nice to see people trying to grasp toward this type of thought generally, but it gets bothersome to deal with people who think he's some sort of mystical guru, or worse, who think themselves mystical gurus for regurgitating this stuff with no clue of the origin of the subject matter.

I have difficulty forgiving Coelho for his work even as fiction, though, because the quality of his writing is just so miserable. The characters are stereotypical and trite and the plot is usually ridiculous, if there is a plot to speak of. And writing style of any sort is a complete mystery to him. I actually have a list of authors and books I recommend when someone starts gushing about Coelho. They're usually shocked and disheartened to realize that he wasn't as revolutionary as they originally thought.

Wow! Finally a discussion about the very same feelings I had when I completed it.
The hype was, is, and I'm sure will continue to be tremendous around this book. Like Kirsten, I consider myself an introspective and spiritually-aware person as well. The Alchemist did nothing to inspire, move, or in any way uplift me. I had a similar reaction to The Celestine Prophecy. Both were books that fell flat.

U 25x33
Pashoo I myself thoroughly enjoyed this book when I read it perhaps 16 years back. I of course hadn't read other books like this one, though since then there ...more
Jul 06, 2019 12:50AM
U 25x33
Pashoo Check out my top five at

Jul 06, 2019 12:51AM

The novel beats you over the head with the complexity of a sledgehammer, except with less finesse.

Seems to be that this book was a great example of why advertising works. Bought it and read it, but came away thinking that it was written in bumper-stickerese.

After hearing endless comments about how amazing this book is, I finally caved and got myself a copy to read. I kept looking for the part that would finally amaze me. Sadly, I never found it. Personally, I felt that I was reading a children's book. The language is so simple, to a point which makes the book completely uninteresting. The plot is not all that either. I just didn't see what other people were seeing. (this is also how I feel about his other books, I finally gave up on him completely after 4 ridiculous books!)

I thought the book was silly, pretentious, predicable, pseudo-philosophical, not spiritual (in any sense that I use the word) and embarrassing. It is one of the (thankfully) small handful of truly awful books that I have read. At least it was short.

I read this before just before I went on a life changing trip to Nepal and it moved me beyond comprehension. As I turned each page I couldn't believe how each word related to me and how wonderful the story was.

When I came back I gave it to a friend who thought it was "pants!" So I re-read it again and well, maybe you have to be in the right time and place for it to mean anything, because on a bus to work it didn't stand up to a second reading.

wow... so glad to know I am not the only one in this category. There was just too much hype around this book; to me, the worst part was that Subroto Bagchi (one author / business person I seriously respect and admire) had highly rated this inspiration blah blah. To me, essentially the book was blah blah

Yep, I agree with you, totally not impressed by the book at all...

Wow. I honestly didn't think there were others who hated the book as well. I didn't understand the book AT ALL. Wow.

Mental_Floss ran a piece about the 25 most groundbreaking books of the last 25 years (or some such) and listed "The Alchemist" among those works. I bought it on sale for like $10, expecting a profound work laced with mysticism and spirituality.

What I got was a boring book with bland characters and a lousy plot. I was completely turned off when the treasure turned out not to be a treasure of knowledge or fulfillment, but a treasure of actual physical gold.

I went on to pan this book in an Amazon review (which I then lifted and posted here) and got several thumbs down but no comments on why people didn't like what I had to say. I'm glad there are more people like me that thought this book was trite.

It`s just one step above JOHNATHAN LIVINGSTONE SEAGULL. Trite moral, trite literary tact. Just trite and hackneyed, but a real crowd pleaser. Pass me the Doritos.

me too I didnt like this book at all
i am not a spiritual person
this book came as a gift
and i told the person who gifted me it that it was "ok" but i did not like it it is a PLOTLESS STORY which is exactly what i nhated

Hand-waving, drippy-hippy nonsense. There's more insight to be found in the contents of a used handkerchief than within the pages of this execrable drivel.

i had to force myself to finish the book ... not at all binding .

I feel the same way! I actually was assigned to read it my sophomore year of high school and the my English teacher was so eccentric about the whole thing. She absolutely loved the book and I thought she was making up all the things she said about metaphors, etc in the book but then I did some research and found that other people said the same things.
I just didn't get it, I guess. I never understood a single thing the book was apparently trying to convey.

I read it at about 15 I think, I remember thinking that the whole thing could have been expressed in one or two sentences, but, like the book itself implys, the journey is as important. I think the length of the book works to convince you of the central point which is very easy to dismiss, which is to follow your dreams. You're kind of beaten over the head with it.

I would not read one of his books in English again, but the great thing about them is they're very simple and you can read them as a beginner in most languages you start learning. (Not Russian or Chinese I'm sure, but any of the Romance languages).

It is very simple and easy to understand, both the writing itself and the message, I think this is why even after 11 years I can still remember the plot quite clearly and a lot of little details like the man selling crystal at the top of a steep hill where everyone wanted something to drink. I've met a lot of people like this.
It reminds me of a folk

tale, something that should be passed orally from person to person, I don't think it would lose anything.

Abdullah (last edited Sep 25, 2012 02:56PM ) Sep 25, 2012 02:40PM   1 vote
I have only read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and I don't really plan on reading another book by him, but I might give him another chance later. I wasn't really impressed with the book. But it was alright. Most of the thoughts are already consumed. Anyway, two good things about the Alchemist are that it wasn't a dull read, nor a long read.

My school's psychologist recommended this book when we talked about my career orientation. She even lended it to me.
I have to admit i don't abandon books easily, but this one...for this one I just didn't have the patience.
People say it's spiritual and inspiring? Well, there are a lot of books like that; if the book can't keep the reader even slightly interested, then, i'm sad to say, for me it is simply a literary failure.

Honestly, I feel this novel speaks through many Words, to get it's true meaning across. Or maybe even the reason why it was written. This novel started off as extremely dull due to the different style of language. Yet, I found something past the language, something that actually matters which I feel was the theme. I could figure out the theme from the reoccurring obstacles that Santiago went through to get his treasure. The desert, and being robbed and such were obstacles that Santiago faced that he passed through to get to his destiny. I feel they will either help you or break you. Basically I feel, this was meant to speak to lives in this world to live your life and chase after the dreams you have and make sure you continue your dreams no matter what obsticales may appear.

The thing is: you cannot pick up The Alchemist based on it's worldwide fame. You cannot expect a glorious and pretensious book. It's more than certain that, if you open it with this thoughts, you'll be disappointed. What's beautiful about this book is that it is not pretensious, it's a simple story about a simple person that perfoms a rather curious travel, in order not to uncover the misteries of being, but to find something as simple as a treasure. and he's following something as simple as his heart. in the end, the lesson couldn't be more valuable. it's about knowing what really matters to you. Doesn't it sound precious?

being most popular doesn't mean it should have heart stopping thrills and all... its just a simple book nd its gr8 bcoz of dat.... he tells d answers to many questions we ask ourselves everyday.... i loved the book, and found it inspiring...

It was a great experience reading every page of this book. It can change every view u are looking at... in that time or moment. Coelho is a good writer but he can effect u so much with "the Alchimist" that you can carry it in your heart and mind for a long long time~~~!

Evojanus (last edited Mar 05, 2014 03:59PM ) Mar 05, 2014 03:59PM   1 vote
What is the average age of the people here reading this book for the first time?

I too was unimpressed, I am 27. It's pretty basic and simple, but it has a good merit. If I were much younger I don't know if it would have had a bigger impact on me.

I did like the ending, mainly because I didn't think this book was clever enough to have sent me back to the beginning.

Huw (last edited Oct 03, 2011 12:07AM ) Oct 03, 2011 12:06AM   1 vote
I read this because it was recommended by some friends. A news article from the US suggested that the book was influencing the President at the time. It was virtually unbreadable (I assume it was a translation which doesn't help)and the climactic scene in the desert where he discusses life with the wind and sun made me laugh aloud. If this book really influenced a President, we're all in a heap of trouble!

i could not finish it, just nothing in there which caught my attention.

Never picked another Coelho book after this...

i red it and will..... i stayed the same it didn't change one bit of my thinking
the propaganda was over the top

I had this book in my bookshelf for eons and it was only after my sister went through the pieces and asked if I have read it that I realised it is one of the pieces you keep but never want to peek at. I had tried reading it twice, I think. And put it back at both instances. But my sister kept it at the table top, probably intentionally. She wanted me to know my true self or shit like that but I think I am already quite awakened about my inner self. I honestly don't believe in people who keep publicising their awakening and seem to be doing some kind of social service, wanting other people to find their innerselves too. I believe more in the fact that everyone takes their own time for the awakening if they have to find one in true sense.

So, I eventually started this book to finish it off and while the book was ok as a work of fiction (rather bland for my taste though), I didn't find anything meant for revival of people's soul. Couldn't relate, couldn't visualise, barely finished.

I actually enjoyed The Alchemist, but it was the first Coelho book I ever read. I didn't like the preachy tone of certain passages, but the story was all right. I remember I got teary-eyed at the end.

But all that's over now. My mother has several Coelho books and she lent them to me some years ago.

THEY'RE ALL THE SAME! I couldn't get past the first couple pages of sermon. No, no.

At the time I read it, I liked The Alchemist, but that must be because it was the first Coelho book I ever read. After flipping through the rest and seeing they all gravitate around the same pound-in-your-face mysticism, I have to agree with my boyfriend and say: NOT IMPRESSED!

Me too. My friend raved about it. ( She also worshipped Wayne Dwyer, which should have been a tip off.) I read it once. Left me cold. Wondered if it was just me. Read sgsin 10 yrs latar. Still nothing. Boring. Pseudo symbolism.

And I agree with another reviewer on their comparison to Jonathan Livingston Seagull, which seemed trite to me. But if people get domething out of this stuff, great!

Personally, I now go to my Own Inner Being for the Truth.

Absolutely, the whole time I was reading, I was expecting some good stuff would come up. I almost got angry when I finished reading it. Paulo could have written a good romantic novel or something between Santiago, the Shepard and Fatima.
Benefit of reading Alchemist? well you can say you read it that's all. GOSH! it ruined all my time! At every turning of the events it makes no sense! International best seller?? It doesn't wort a penny!

I too found it somewhat Underwhelming, and a bit over-hyped.

deleted member Mar 27, 2012 08:00PM   0 votes
to me the novel introduced so many good ideas but didn't follow through on them. certainly leaving the reader guessing is good but by the end of the book i couldn't pinpoint any true messages. i do feel that it was an interesting way to view life and if it were a little more thought out readers wouldn't be left guessing on fragments of ideas.

Not impressed at all. I mean I read worse but was really bored almost the whole way. Loved the story in the begining though, was the best part of the book.

ugh!!! What a BORING book, sooooo long and hard to push myself through it, and a waste of my time. I only read it because I love books by Wallace D. Wattles, Bob Proctor, Jack Canfield, Jim Rohn, Ali Brown, Og Mandino, to mention a few, I've read so many books and this Alchemist bored me to tears. If you're into reading good motivational/inspiring/PMA/ or self growth books, I can refer you to so many better books if you're looking to grow. Heck, just get the book "The Secret" or watch the video, which you can listen/watch on YouTube now. Maybe this book is for the newbies who need a story format

I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way about the book. It was hard work reading it the whole way through. I was ready to give up but I like to think positive so plodded along hoping something in the book would inspire me. I really thought something magnificent would happen in the last few pages, but No! Total waste of time and this book was on the top of my Christmas present list this year!:( Santa, I would like an exchange or a credit note please:)

I loved it when I was younger (14 years old or something) but as I grew up and read more books, especially Coehlo's book I started to abhor his style.

I don't read Coehlo anymore, but it was a good reading at the time.

Summarising preferences in terms of arts are very subjetive, it may vary depending on the context in which you experience it.

The story was slow moving.I felt that the story setting was too antiquated for this day and age.

Was a good read. Maybe for some spirituality is not deep intellectuality but paying attention to the now. As shawn the surfer guru tells maxine in Bleeding Edge, here is THE WISDOM. "It is what it is." I need someone to tell me to slow down and pay attention. Added it to my bag of tricks.

I was unimpressed. I liked some parts of it, not enough to like the whole book. The people that recommended this to me oversold it by saying it was the best story they've read and it'll change my life or something like that.

But I like how other people connect with the story, and I like hearing about how it's enlightened or inspired them.

I am glad to have come across people who did not find the book all that great....I thought I was the only one!

I read it once and in hindsight I think Coelho is pretty much overrated and the only reason why this book got so much hype was that he had a great PR team which managed to get hollywood celebrities pictured towing it with them. The book really didn't make sense for the most part.

I have read several books by Paolo Coelho some years ago,
starting with the Alchemist.
Maybe it was the greek translation, but I cannot say that I liked a single one of this author.
I was so unimpressed...
Complete waste of time and money, in my opinion.

Exit Darkness, Enter Light

I thought the Alchemist was spiritual popcorn. Fluffy and light and not bad while it lasted, but not really much of an impression is left. Anyway, I have just read a book called Exit Darkness, Enter Light, which was brilliant. Lots of spiritual meaning, depth and also exciting. Here is an extract:

“Love is the most mysterious force in the universe.
It locks two souls together across space and time.
Once that spark is ignited it consumes all else.
It was that shard of light that transformed a dark soul forever.
Now let that love burn bright like a sun for eternity…”

I have taken the above from the author's page so hopefully I shouldn't get into any trouble!

Andrew (last edited Jun 05, 2012 04:59AM ) Jun 05, 2012 04:56AM   0 votes
a book that seems to think its very deep and meaningful but is so very very shallow....meant to about links between societies and religions but sadly lacks any grounding for covering those areas got to the end and wondered why i did. not even good enough for a holiday read

The first time I read it I loved it and found it quite profound. I've just re-read it and was rather disappointed....I cannot seem to get the same feeling out of it at all. Perhaps I was expecting too much, but it seemed a tremendously long book for one so slim!

Kirsten wrote: "I'm a very spiritual person, but I have to admit this book kinda went in one ear and out the other. At least I can say I've read it."

I've read a few of his books. Although this one was a lovely story I just didn't get what all the fuss was about. It didn't resonate with anything for me... My favourite Coelho book so far is Eleven Minutes.

Aw, I'm sad so many people didn't enjoy this book! it's one of my all time favorites! :)

Cliched. Immature. Appeals only to those who read sporadically. Saying that this book is about spirituality is an under-rating spirituality itself. The views expressed in this book remind of mine when I was 10.

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