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The Alchemist

The Alchemist

Book - 2006
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An Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasures found within
Publisher: [San Francisco] : HarperSanFrancisco, [2006], c1993
ISBN: 9780061122415
Characteristics: x, 197 p. map ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Clarke, Alan (Alan R.) - Translator


From Library Staff

#70 The Great American Read

An inspirational journey of a young man discovering life.

From the critics

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Jun 02, 2021

The novel, The Alchemist, by Paul Coelo, is a novel about the journey of a young boy and his Self-discovery of who he really is, and is a tale about the young boy named Santiago who is on a journey to find a large amount of treasure that is hidden from him. He learns a lot about himself and meets some interesting people who help truly understand his journey and what his goals in life are. I thought that this book was extremely interesting and it covered a lot of excellent and relavant topics such as goals and “personal journey.” I think that this book dragged on a bit in the middle but was very well paced and was filled with excellent characters. It also had a lot of minority representation and took the reader to a variety of different locales. I would rate this book 12+ because of some violence and language.

May 22, 2021

I loved this story.

Mar 30, 2021

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, is a novel focused on the following of one’s dreams. The story is centered around a shepherd who experiences a repeating dream, and seeks to solve the mystery behind it. Though he is skeptical at first, Santiago is advised by an old man to follow his “personal legend,” a calling of sorts that exists for every passionate individuals. As Santiago journeys, he meets various characters who support him along the way, the most influential of which is the alchemist. Together with the alchemist, the boy completes his journey, fulfilling his personal legend. Throughout the novel, multiple instances demonstrate that if one intensely seeks to complete one’s journey, the universe will assist in its completion. I felt extremely inspired by this message, and I feel that reading the book and discovering it was a great learning experience. I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone of age 10 or more, considering the reading level.

Mar 17, 2021

A very interesting story and with many philosophical concepts, the novel of the alchemist tells about a Andalusian Shepherd named Santiago, a young boy with a huge adventurous spirit, and huge desire to see the world in its totality. Santiago's life would have 360 degrees, due to a simple dream that tells him to seek from no other place than the Egypt pyramids, and so he decides to start the journey to Egypt to find them. The Alchemist gives the reader a “therapy” section in the majority of the book’s pages, it goes deeper into the concept of individualism, make us ponder about yourself, and the way to think when it comes to challenges in our daily-life, think about what is stopping us to achieve your goals and expectations, and the only that may stop you is your mind. It also expresses the complexity of understanding different perspectives from other people and how dreams and desires can be a huge factor to go on and achieve what you want, and it would “teach” you many lessons that can be helpful in the near future like the appreciation of today, the importance and effects of taking decisions, and standing strongly in the truth, etc. Afterall a very recommended book to read.

The Alchemist follows the journey of Santiago, a shepherded from Spain who seeks out treasure foretold through his dreams. Throughout his journey, he strives towards attaining his Personal Legend through learning the Language of the Universe, reading omens and listening to his heart.

I was looking forward to an uplifting, and inspiring journey about a simple shepherded boy, taking the leap into unknown lands; meeting strange and wonderful people , travel to new places, discover diverse cultures and ultimately finding his place in the world.

Unfortunately, I was disappointed to discovered that this story had little substance and wisdom to share and here's why:

The Alchemist takes the most compelling aspects of the story and uses them instead as vague tools to preach the repetitive and common advise such as; follow your dreams, listen to your heart, take risks, be more observant, everything happens for a reason, or to trust in a higher power.

While I believe those are all wonderful things to write and share with the world, The Alchemist delivers those messages flatly through one dimensional characters in a world setting that felt incomplete.

All the characters in this book only serve one purpose - and that purpose is to push Santiago towards his Personal Legend. They are used as plot devices to move the story along and provide Santiago lessons and omens to add to his rather uninspiring journey.

The writing was repetitive and uninspiring. As a result, throughout the entirety of the story I was bored and underwhelmed.

Jan 14, 2021

Leo says 4 stars

Dec 26, 2020

The book is about a shepherd boy named Santiago who is going on a journey to search for his personal legend. His personal legend is important to him because it is his reason for life. On the way of his journey, Santiago meets someone who will change his future and many other people. I really like this novel, because all the characters are not just background characters, but rather they make a huge impact on Santiago's journey. Everything in the book is thematic and connected. Those little details matter and are relative to the story, and those little details that are beautifully written in the book will not make sense until you have read everything. Everything in the story ties in together! This book tells a message to the readers to never give up on your dream. Following one’s dreams and following one’s heart is very crucial to happiness. In this story, the main character, Santiago, learns a lesson from his journey and learns to listen to omens and his heart. I would give this book a 5 out of 5 stars, because again, everything connects in the story!

Dec 21, 2020

This book will make you rethink your life (in a good way, though). Coelho does a marvelous job at dropping one sentence lines of wisdom as the story follows Santiago, a Spanish shepherd, on his journey of fulfilling his dream. Along the way, Santiago learns from a variety of people, including a king, crystal merchant, caravan driver, and an alchemist. He discovers the meaning of love and the way to happiness. Originally published in Portuguese, this book references multiple religions and mentions spirituality. However, people not of the same, or any, religion can still take away significant meaning from the book. And for that reason, I believe you should pick the book up and give it a chance to change your life.

Oct 27, 2020

I fancied the location,
eyes bored dilation,
my soul void of elation,
a journey of flirtation.

like Bible, to preach,
lack of poetic overreach;
inflate a fable hollow to teach,
stretch a tale vain to beseech.

"personal legend" obvious,
appealing to strived fame glorious.
children's guide to dream laureate.
adults' self-help from godliness.

JCLCharlesH Sep 17, 2020

The Alchemist is a relatively straightforward story of Santiago, a shepherd from Andalusian who goes to Egypt in search of treasure. On a deeper level though, the people he meets along the way tell a more complex tale of what it means to live up to your life's mission. A quick read with real staying power.

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Add a Quote
Mar 25, 2021

"Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own."

Mar 25, 2021

"We are told from childhood onward that everything we want to do is impossible. We grow up with this idea, and as the years accumulate, so too do the layers of prejudice, fear and guilt. There comes a time when our personal calling is so deeply buried in our soul as to be invisible. But it’s still there."

Mar 25, 2021

"Intense, unexpected suffering passes more quickly than suffering that is apparently bearable; the latter goes on for years and, without our noticing, eats away at our soul, until, one day, we are no longer able to free ourselves from the bitterness and it stays with us for the rest of our lives."

Oct 22, 2019

THE ALCHEMIST, by Paulo Coelho is about that certain click one gets when pursuing his/her true path.

May 26, 2019

"But you don't know about love. If there hadn't been a sixth day, man would not exist; copper would always be just copper, and lead just lead. It's true that everything has its destiny, but one day that destiny will be realized. So each thing has to transform itself into something better, and to acquire a new destiny, until, someday, the Soul of the World becomes one thing only."

Aug 25, 2018

“It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

ArapahoeMaryA Jun 28, 2018

...wherever your heart is, that is where you will find your treasure.

We are travelers on a cosmic journey,stardust,swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.This is a precious moment. It is a little parenthesis in eternity.

ellensix Oct 09, 2015

"When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too."
—Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

Jun 17, 2015

"Everyone has his or her own way of learning things," he said to himself. "His way isn't the same as mine, nor mine as his. But we are both in search of our Personal Legends, and I respect him for that."

Jun 08, 2013

"When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too."

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Add a Summary
Oct 22, 2019

THE ALCHEMIST, by Paulo Coelho (HarperSanFrancisco, $18.00) is about that certain click one gets when pursuing his/her true path. Set in Saharan Africa sometime between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries, it involves recognizing omens along life's journey that can be used to achieve dreams. It is about the interconnectedness of all things; the "Soul of the World" from which all things spring. It is that common bond which makes alchemy - the changing of lead to gold; adversity to opportunity - possible. Through the story's protagonist, a Spanish boy named Santiago, Coelho guides the reader through the process of recognizing opportunities that will ultimately lead one to know and trust their heart. In so doing, the author puts us in the shoes of Santiago, and himself in the role of the alchemist, although in the interconnected world of Coelho they're one and the same.

Coelho writes in Portuguese, so it's hard to judge his writing from a work that's been translated to English. But suffice to say, THE ALCHEMIST is original and thoroughly enjoyable. The author comes off a bit heavy-handed in his presentation of some concepts in the story, but bear in mind he hasn't written a novel; THE ALCHEMIST is a fable, and as such is intent on delivering the writer's truth via a platform of fiction. It's this truth - philosophy, if you will - that gives the fable weight; its characters that give it soul; a combination of both that fill it with magic. All the magic of an Arabian night.

Nonimouse Oct 03, 2010

Dreams, symbols, signs, and adventure follow the reader like echoes of ancient wise voices in "The Alchemist", a novel that combines an atmosphere of Medieval mysticism with the song of the desert. With this symbolic masterpiece Coelho states that we should not avoid our destinies, and urges people to follow their dreams, because to find our "Personal Myth" and our mission on Earth is the way to find "God", meaning happiness, fulfillment, and the ultimate purpose of creation.

The novel tells the tale of Santiago, a boy who has a dream and the courage to follow it. After listening to "the signs" the boy ventures in his personal, Ulysses-like journey of exploration and self-discovery, symbolically searching for a hidden treasure located near the pyramids in Egypt.
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EPLPicks_Teen Apr 06, 2010

A young Spanish shepherd boy seeks a hidden treasure, dreaming of travelling the world in search of the most extravagant riches.


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