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The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream Paperback – 8 Mar 2012

1,177 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New edition (Reissue) edition (8 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780722532935
  • ISBN-13: 978-0722532935
  • ASIN: 0722532938
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,177 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947. He has become one of the most widely read and loved authors in the world. Especially renowned for The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes, he has sold more than 100 million books worldwide and his work has been translated into 67 languages. The recipient of numerous prestigious international awards, amongst them the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum and France's Legion d'Honneur, Paulo Coelho was inducted into the Brazilian Academy of Letters in 2002. He writes a weekly column syndicated throughout the world.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Like the one-time bestseller Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Alchemist presents a simple fable, based on simple truths and places it in a highly unique situation. And though we may sense a bestselling formula, it is certainly not a new one: even the ancient tribal storytellers knew that this is the most successful method of entertaining an audience while slipping in a lesson or two. Brazilian storyteller Paulo Coehlo introduces Santiago, an Andalucian shepherd boy who one night dreams of a distant treasure in the Egyptian pyramids. And so he's off: leaving Spain to literally follow his dream.

Along the way he meets many spiritual messengers, who come in unassuming forms such as a camel driver and a well-read Englishman. In one of the Englishman's books, Santiago first learns about the alchemists--men who believed that if a metal were heated for many years, it would free itself of all its individual properties, and what was left would be the "Soul of the World." Of course he does eventually meet an alchemist, and the ensuing student-teacher relationship clarifies much of the boy's misguided agenda, while also emboldening him to stay true to his dreams. "My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer," the boy confides to the alchemist one night as they look up at a moonless night.

"Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself," the alchemist replies. "And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second's encounter with God and with eternity."


‘His books have had a life-enhancing impact on millions of people.’ THE TIMES

‘One of the few to deserve the term Publishing Phenomenon.’ INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

‘Coelho’s writing is beautifully poetic but his message is what counts… he gives me hope and puts a smile on my face.’ DAILY EXPRESS

‘I love The Alchemist.’ OPRAH WINFREY

‘The Alchemist is a beautiful book about magic, dreams and the treasures we seek elsewhere and then find on our doorstep.’ MADONNA

"I feel like the luckiest man on the planet. It's a dream come true for me," to be able to direct and star and bring Coelho's book to the screen." LAURENCE FISHBURNE on the upcoming film adaptation of The Alchemist

"One of my favourite books is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and I just believe that…I can create whatever I want to create. If I can put my head on it right, study it, learn the patterns…I feel very strongly that we are who we choose to be." WILL SMITH

"When I'm on the set with young actors and sometimes you meet people in life who you feel they are a little confused and they want to be re-centered, there are two books that I always recommend. One of them is Siddhartha, and the other is The Alchemist. RUSSELL CROWE

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Ashley Goldman on 18 Mar. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this book quite inspirational and it reminded me a little of The Shamanic Prophecy in its style and content. The message I took from this tale was to follow your true destiny and to have hope. We are all on different life journeys and I must say that it wasn't life-changing for me like other people have found it. That being said though I found it a simple and heart-warming tale of the power of dreams. Every one will take a different message from it so just enjoy it and make your own mind up. I wrote this review because I personally feel that a book in itself cannot fundamentally change one's life, but even if you take a small measure of comfort then that's no bad thing is it?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By snazzybooks[dot]com on 16 Jun. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
The Alchemist by Paul Coelho was picked by a fellow reading group member who said that she’d actually already read it a few years ago and had been completely blown away by it. She felt it really spoke to her, in part due to personal issues going on in her life at the time. We were all pretty excited to read it, thinking we’d be enlightened by what it would tell us, etc etc, and I’m always up for a story that might make me re-evaluate my life! Plus it’s a really short novel so I thought even if I disliked it, it wouldn’t be too hard to finish…

I read the first half and was, quite frankly, incredibly bored. I struggled to pay attention and my mind kept wandering. I thought, perhaps I need to read this in a quiet room, away from any possible distractions.I tried this- it didn’t work.I don’t usually give up on books unless I really am not enjoying them, but had it not been for this being a book group choice, I would have given up on this.

As it was, I carried on to the end and unfortunately my opinion didn’t change. I’m all for reading new styles of writing or something a little different, but I honestly have never struggled to concentrate on a book so much, and I never usually have a problem with this. I didn’t mind the ending really, but it didn’t make up for the rest unfortunately!Having spoken to fellow book club members, they felt largely the same, apart from 2 people – one of whom picked the book, who still enjoyed it but not as much as the first time she’d read it, and another member who found it really wonderful and enjoyable. The rest of us ranged from thinking it was ‘OK’ to really not enjoying it.
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful By L on 13 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
Have you ever noticed, amongst a sea of approval and a deluge of gold stars, the contumacious reviewer who openly scorns the book in question with a litany of unjustified abuse? Have you ever looked on, with pity, with anger, with confusion at this misguided person who has so missed the delicately subtle message in the book? Have you ever immediately concluded this unrepentant one-starrer is an unqualified idiot?

I, of course, have done all of the above. But I have to confess - as someone who rarely pens a review, especially an outright negative one - that I hated this book.

As a lover of books, 'The Alchemist' stands out as the only book I have ever been moved to comically, absurdly and histrionically rip in half and throw into the bin - the outside bin no less! - with fresh helpings of pomp and self-righteousness.

Sorry Paulo, just couldn't get it.
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102 of 121 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Aug. 2003
Format: Paperback
I was bought this book by a friend when I was going through a brief 'bad patch', which should have been a warning in itself. While it passed the time for a few hours, there was nothing at all profound about it and indeed it's unlikely that something with such trite messages ('try harder - everything will be okay in the end' 'live for your dreams') so blatantly put is going to be much more effective than a mate giving you a slap on the back, buying you a pint and telling you to 'pull yourself together, it's all going to be all right'. For a far more profound, infinitely better written, and more subtle 'self improvement' book, read the uplifting 'Life of Pi', which is all the better for not being written or marketed as a self-help volume. This is literature-lite and philosophy-lite and Coelho comes across as the equivalent of a Harley Street quack. The cynicism of the whole marketing machine behind this author leaves a nasty taste.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Simon Savidge Reads on 11 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
The best way for me to arrange my thoughts on `The Alchemist' is to split my thoughts into two main sections the first would be the story, though really `The Alchemist' fits more into the fable category. Santiago is a shepherd in the Spanish countryside, though educated highly rather than go onto another career he chose to herd sheep as it would cause him to travel and see some of the world and the people, places and quirks of Spain and human nature. As we meet him he has been having a reoccurring dream, a dream of a boy showing him treasure in the pyramids of Egypt though what can it mean? In a village he comes across both a gypsy lady and a king in disguise give him information that sends Santiago on an adventure to find out if dreams should be followed.

I did actually really like the story, I am always up for a fable and this is - in terms of story - rather a charming one. I also liked the characters, a few were a little one dimensional and some were a little contrived, I particularly loved the wise old gypsy woman and Santiago was a nice young man to follow the journey of. Can you feel there is a `but' coming on?

The second aspect of the book is the fact it's not just a story but almost a mixture of self-help book and moralistic clichés messages. You find characters will say things like `there is no such thing as coincidence', `destiny is in your hands' or `a happy man is a one who follows his heart'. I think I made the last one up but you get my meaning. At first you can ignore it, it's rather mild and indeed the best fables and fairytales have some sort of moral message at the end.

The difference with this book is that I started to think `but why would that character say that?
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