Paul Coelho is definitely my favorite author with regards to travel and self-discovery. He is the most translated author of all time. The Alchemist, which has sold over 65 million copies worldwide, plain and simply changed my life. Why I chose to wait to read this until now, I pondered briefly, but choosing to read this book during the most difficult point in my life made sense as it spoke to me on the most existential level. I will literally carry this book with me everywhere I go, for I know I will reread passages often. I don’t think there is a human emotion this book did not evoke within my heart and soul.
This story is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his treasure, which is not distinctly disclosed to the reader, or whether or not Santiago will surmount the obstacles. What we do know is that what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of a treasure found within.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the novel:
- The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”
- “No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.”
- “We are travelers on a cosmic journey,stardust,swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.”
- “Why do we have to listen to our hearts?” the boy asked. “Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you will find your treasure.”
- “Every blessing ignored becomes a curse.”
And my very favorite quote being:
- “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
If you are simply looking for a work of fiction The Alchemist will NOT be the book for you. If you are ready to transform your life and find deeper meaning to your existence, you, like me, will treasure the life lessons taught here. The power of The Alchemist is not in the story itself, but rather your personal reflective journey as you read.
If you truly open your mind, you will travel with Santiago and find your own personal legend.
I am definitely going to read all of Paulo Coelho’s novels and certainly reread The Alchemist often.
Do you have that one special novel that was transformational for you?