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THE ALCHEMIST CD: THE ALCHEMIST CD [The Alchemist CD: The Alchemist CD ] BY Coelho, Paulo(Author)Compact Disc 20-Mar-2001 CD-ROM – 20 Mar 2001

4.2 out of 5 stars 1,397 customer reviews

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Product details

  • CD-ROM
  • Publisher: HarperAudio (20 Mar. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002E9OHWM
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,397 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,324,130 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback
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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23 Comments 126 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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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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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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24 Comments 225 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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