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

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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 (1,116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 314 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."

Review

‘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

68 of 69 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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78 of 92 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Aug. 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is a simple gift from the heavens, like so many other things in our world which go un-noticed. Read it in a day, or draw the pleasure out over three and have your life changed irrevocably without even trying. I read this book four years ago the first time, and finished it yesterday the second time. On both occasions, I was inspired into letting myself dream, and more so, to not be afraid to demand that these dreams be realised. Since then, somehow, I've come full circle around the world and into the arms of amazing friends and miraculous opportunities for growth. This book mightn't teach you anything you don't already know, but it's story will inspire you, and remind you of the moments when you feel love within your body, stronger than any other earthly bond known to humankind. That kind of love is what this book is about: it seeks to help us live it for ourselves.
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53 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Is on 24 Jun. 2004
Format: Paperback
First of all: I don't want to offend any of the people who have found a positive message in The Alchemist - just provide a perhaps slightly less enthusiastic comment for those who haven't yet read the book.
Initially, I was charmed by the fairy-tale style of this book - but the more I read on, the less I liked it. A simplistic style can work really well to convey wisdom - just look at "The Little Prince" by St Exupery - but then the philosophy backing the style up needs to be spot-on. I don't know why, but for me Coelho's message echoed a little bit too much of a self-help book. It was a little bit too smug, I suppose.
This book definitely has to be read as an "ideas book" rather than a "character book". None of the characters are real, complex, multi-faceted human beings, and I don't think the author intended them to be. Rather, they serve as symbols to explain the author's world-view, a little bit like "Candide" by Voltaire. The main character, the treasure-hunting shepherd, symbolises the quest for meaning in life, and the voyage we are all on. His beloved Fatima, on the other hand, shows how our quest can be tangled up in another human being, rather than any of our own achievements. (Is it a coincidence that the female character is fulfilled through her feelings for a man, whereas the male character shapes his own destiny? I don't think it is, and I have to admit that riled me a little bit.)
Coelho is taking on a huge task, trying to present us with a philosophy in a fairy-tale, and it's perhaps unfair to criticise him when he fails. I don't regret reading this book, but I can't say it captures the mad, whirling, ambiguous world as well as many other novels I have read (Elliot's "Middlemarch" or Philip Pullman's "Northern Light spring to mind).
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43 of 51 people found the following review helpful By T. J. Hool on 1 Oct. 2010
Format: Paperback
I got the wrong idea of what this book is.

What it is, is a spiritual/faith/I-believe-in-God book.

Which is all very nice, but being an engineer and practically minded its a load of cobblers.

I did read it to the end, only because it was so short.

Look before you leap, I wish I had.
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214 of 256 people found the following review helpful By Dirk Ryder on 10 Jan. 2008
Format: Paperback
Every so often a book comes along that is championed by millions who read it as profound, life changing and inspirational. For the current generation that book appears to be The Alchemist. 'A Simple fable about the importance of following your dreams'. Who could fail to find something worthwhile in such a blend of magical realism, spirituality and beauty? Well, me for one.

Put simply this is one of the most abject books I have ever read. Anyone who takes a positive, life affirming message from Coelho's prose has completely misunderstood the message it unintentionally broadcasts. Despite what the author and Richard and Judy would have you believe, what The Alchemist does espouse is a barely updated version of Leibnitzian Optimism which occasionally blunders over the line into full blown Fatalism. The very same philosophical position in fact that was so mercilessly torn apart and held up to the light of reason and absurdity by Voltaire over 200 years ago. Rather than a positive message, the book is overwhelmingly negative for anyone who believes in free will or our own ability to make our own choices. As Voltaire realised, the problem with Optimism/Fatalism (above and beyond its complete refusal to accept that bad things happen unless it was for 'a higher reason' or 'the greater good' or 'part of God's plan) is that when you work it all the way through to its logical conclusion you are forced to accept that free will can not exist and that we are all merely pawns in a larger game over which we have no control. How people manage to extract a positive message from being told that happiness is to be found in blindly following a destiny that is laid out before you is utterly beyond me.
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