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The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream [Paperback]

Paulo Coelho
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (668 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

8 Mar 2012

A global phenomenon, The Alchemist has been read and loved by over 62 million readers, topping bestseller lists in 74 countries worldwide. Now this magical fable is beautifully repackaged in an edition that lovers of Paulo Coelho will want to treasure forever.

Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. This is such a book – a beautiful parable about learning to listen to your heart, read the omens strewn along life’s path and, above all, follow your dreams.

Santiago, a young shepherd living in the hills of Andalucia, feels that there is more to life than his humble home and his flock. One day he finds the courage to follow his dreams into distant lands, each step galvanised by the knowledge that he is following the right path: his own. The people he meets along the way, the things he sees and the wisdom he learns are life-changing.

With Paulo Coelho’s visionary blend of spirituality, magical realism and folklore, The Alchemist is a story with the power to inspire nations and change people’s lives.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New edition (Reissue) edition (8 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0722532938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0722532935
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (668 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 154 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Trite 13 July 2010
By Reader
This book should be avoided by anyone who enjoys literature - it is a self-help book for the religious, full of the most leaden cliches and waffle. Its popularity is depressing as it does not have authentic spiritual content.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply beautiful 6 Aug 2013
By Ol'Jee
This is simply one of the most beautiful books I have read. I love the way he has woven gems of knowledge and inspiration into the different characters. As I read this I knew it was just a story, yet I could relate every plot and every character to myself or people I have met in real life.

This book made me stop and think and consider my own journey through life...
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Alchemist Paulo Coelho 27 Feb 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
At a time in my life where I have had so many life changing things happen, not all my choice, I had naturally felt low and out of spirits and hope, and an endless fear of not knowing what to expect with my future, The Alchemist has given me hope once again to not be afraid and to believe in the power of dreams. I found this to be exactly what I needed, at a time I needed it the most.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 24 Mar 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just like the other 65 million people that have brought and read this book i cannot recommend enough. Possibly my favourite book ever!
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable 1 Oct 2010
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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194 of 228 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Fable For The Weak 10 Jan 2008
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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101 of 119 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Vacuous, confused, utter nonsense! 2 Oct 2009
I purchased 'The Alchemist' thinking that it was an actual novel which just happened to be inspiring to many people. If I had known that it was a self-proclaimed 'fable' with a big message about spirituality and the meaning of life then I would have avoided it with every fibre of my being. I do not subscribe to things that inform you that they are going to tell you something to make your life better or make you understand a deeper part of yourself. The fact that the back cover tells you your life will be changed usually leads the more impressionable of us to believe this HAS happened, regardless of what the book has actually said. And, being an avid reader of REAL philosophy, obviously new-age hippy nonsense is bound to get on my nerves. For these reasons of bias, I was not at first planning on submitting a review of this book, but it annoyed me so much that I felt I had to vent my frustrations!

The plot is straightforward - Santiago is a shepherd who feels there is more to life and gets encouraged by many people, messages and omens to follow his destiny. The writing is basic at best, with repetitive dialogue tags and no sense of depth. This simplistic style is obviously purposeful to allow the writer to hammer home his 'message' again and again and again. The translation is no excuse for the writing; anyone who thinks so needs to read Gabriel Garcia Marquez and consider the beauty and intricacy of his translated prose.

What that message is, however, becomes the real issue of the book - that if you really want something, the universe will conspire to give it to you. Oh PLEASE. It immediately made me wonder who on earth would accept that as some sort of doctrine?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true pleasure 30 Nov 2012
By Alex
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book when it was first published, and it was lovely to be offered it as a gift on kindle. I don't normally like to re-read books, but I think this is one I will never tire of.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning and profound.
There is one line in this book very close to the end that made my heart chakra just explode and I experienced a moment of grace after reading it. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Soothing
I have never felt so calmed and soothed when reading as I did when reading this book.

Paulo Coelho has been able to reach into the human soul with his words and produced... Read more
Published 7 days ago by jenny norman
2.0 out of 5 stars Sentimental garbage
A superficial, poorly written story, not at all what I was expecting. I don't understand what all the hype was about!
Published 10 days ago by Joanne Hemming
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful and profound book
A wonderful and profound book; excellent service, the copy arrived on time as expected; the book is wonderful; I can highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for the meaning of... Read more
Published 10 days ago by kikalma5
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretentious Mumbo-Jumbo
On the one hand, it's an easy read. The Alchemist isn't a weighty tome, but on the other hand, it's got almost nothing to say. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Mac McCaskill
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed this
I've had this on my 'to read' list for ages but just never quite got round to it. When I saw this edition on the Kindle I decided to jump in and finally get it ticked off. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written!
Beautifully written book that stays with you long after you put the book down. An inspiring and thought provoking must read!
Published 13 days ago by Jadene
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
a great book second time read the book but still as good definetly must be read book very well written
Published 17 days ago by stephen baskett
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple yet very clever
Only half way through but this is a very simple story, beautifully told with a big lessons. It is short and engrossing. I imagine many readers would finish this in a few sessions. Read more
Published 18 days ago by Photo Pete
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible
Incredible, must read, gives some clarity in your life and how to lead a happy one, I repeat must read l
Published 20 days ago by Saad Ahmad
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