Customer Reviews


668 Reviews
5 star:
 (380)
4 star:
 (96)
3 star:
 (48)
2 star:
 (57)
1 star:
 (87)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply beautiful
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...
Published 8 months ago by Ol'Jee

versus
54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Trite
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.
Published on 13 July 2010 by Reader


‹ Previous | 1 267 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

54 of 61 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Trite, 13 July 2010
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply beautiful, 6 Aug 2013
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...
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Alchemist Paulo Coelho, 27 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Alchemist - 10th Anniversary Edition (Kindle Edition)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 24 Mar 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Just like the other 65 million people that have brought and read this book i cannot recommend enough. Possibly my favourite book ever!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


42 of 49 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable, 1 Oct 2010
By 
T. J. Hool - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


194 of 228 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Fable For The Weak, 10 Jan 2008
By 
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. The one and only character in the book worthy of any sympathy or empathy is the owner of the crystal shop who, although he never gets the chance to realise his own destiny at least fails to do so because he has not accepted his destiny, has not followed the path set out for him. He may not obtain the happiness of the protaganist, but at least he can emerge from the book with his head held high and say 'I did it my way'. The further I continued into this book the angrier and angrier I found myself getting. Coelho and his marketing machine have conned the world into believing he has written an uplifting inspiring masterpiece which (just like its protagonist) seemingly cherishes material gain and publicity over whatever message he is supposed to be delivering. The reality is that he has created a world devoid of hope for the independence of thought and development of humanity. Yes, the prose retains a certain childlike innocence and beauty, certain sentences flow easily off the tongue and his use of language, while simple is evocative, descriptive and emotive. This does nothing however to hide the overwhelming pessimism and lack of freedom espoused within.

As has been said a hundred times before; philosophy-lite (and even that is being very generous), trite and completely unworthy of the praise lavished upon it. This book is a hotch potch mess of cliches about how 'life will work out in the end' and you'll get rich (which is apparently even better than and should be prioritised over falling in love and learning to communicate with the elements and nature itself.) Rarely do I find myself actually becoming angry at a book or author, but this is cynicism and milking of a cash cow in the extreme, packaged up as a book that will help humanity. I found the whole thing shallow and sickening.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


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? This has been called a naive approach, but I also think it is a very dangerous thing to believe, that we all should have whatever we want purely because WE WANT IT. No wonder the world gets more and more self-righteous and selfish. It is exactly this type of thinking that drives us apart as a world as we all chase our 'destiny' and fortune. No-one remembers that if we are all 'special', then nobody is.

The author fills Santiago's journey with made up phrases which become inexplicable lynchpins that are conveniently never explained i.e 'the Soul of the World', 'the Language of the World' 'the Language of the Desert' so on and so forth. These are so generic as to be meaningless and the reader is expected to accept these elements as something deep and powerful and really important. They aren't, they are just words thrown together to sound oh-so-philosophical (and again I fail to see how anyone is fooled by it). The story is also so dependent on omens and superstition that it sets rational thought back about 3000 years.

The worst mistake in the book involves its overarching beliefs. Santiago feels proud because he is taking his life into his hands and following his destiny no matter what, yet the universe is 'conspiring' to give him what he wants. There is a real confusion between the major philospohical idea of Free Will versus Fate here. Is the shepherd great because he has chosen to follow his destiny? Or has the universe / God / the Soul of the World made him do it? You cannot be following your own destiny if everything is Fate! It is simply taking you to one place then another! The book refused to decide whether Santiago was brilliant for following his dreams, or whether he was being carried along with something that had already been decided. This is the book's fatal flaw and proves how unclear the 'message' actually is!

I agree with earlier reviews that this book is for well-heeled spoilt Westerners who do not have huge problems (such as starvation, homelessness, mass illness, war) and think that the 'universe' owes them something. I can absolutely see why this book has appealed such a great deal to celebrities, who probably make outrageous demands and tell themselves it is because the universe is 'conspiring' to give them what they want. This book appeals to a vanity in these people that regard spirituality and a philosophical viewpoint as a fashionable commodity - something that can be bought rather than learned. It also allows us to abandon all responsibility for our actions as long as we are hell bent on following our 'destiny'. Proceed with caution.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A true pleasure, 30 Nov 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Alchemist - 10th Anniversary Edition (Kindle Edition)
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, great service, 8 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The product arrived as described and in just 2 days. Amazing book easy to read and would recommend it for anybody.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read., 7 May 2012
I didn't expect this book to change my life but I really enjoyed sharing Santiago's journey.
If you like a magical read then this is one for you.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 267 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First
ARRAY(0xb5cecfc0)

This product

Only search this product's reviews