By Paulo Coelho
"It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting."
The Alchemist is the story of a shepherd named Santiago. One night, while sleeping near his flock in an abandoned church, he dreams of buried treasure at the Egyptian Pyramids. Troubled by the dream, Santiago seeks out a Gypsy who encourages him to travel to Egypt. While he is trying to decide whether he should follow the Gypsy's advice, he meets an old man who calls himself the king of Salem and knows about Santiago’s dream without him mentioning it. He tells Santiago that he has done something important: he has discovered his Personal Legend. The old man asks Santiago to return to him the next day with one-tenth of his flock as payment, and promises to tell the boy how to find his treasure.
Santiago spends a difficult night wondering what to do. As Coelho writes it, “he had to choose between something he had become accustomed to and something he wanted to have.” Desirous of adventure and inspired by the old man’s belief that, “to realize one’s Personal Legend is a person’s only real obligation…” and his encouragement that, “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it,” Santiago decides to sell his sheep and pursue his treasure.
Along the way he meets swindlers, shopkeepers, nomads, warriors, mentors, and his true love. He learns valuable lessons about the universe, what connects all humanity, and what happens when you ignore your Personal Legend.
Although it is a work of fiction, I found The Alchemist to be a true story in the purest sense of the word. It is an entertaining and beautifully written book that also touched my soul. I could see myself in Santiago and see a reflection of my own life in his decisions and ultimately his quest. I was especially inspired by the sage words provided by Santiago’s mentors, the king of Salem and the Alchemist himself, and also by the truths that Santiago uncovered throughout his journey. I know that The Alchemist will be one of those books that I reread over and over.
I recommend The Alchemist to everyone. It is a short book and deceptively easy read. The story moves well enough to capture even the shortest attention span, and it is insightful enough to speak to every individual, no matter where they are along the path of pursuing their Personal Legend.
I invite you to judge The Alchemist for yourself and share your thoughts in the comments. I've created links for The Alchemist at Amazon and Audible below.
For more on how I’ve been inspired by The Alchemist, please visit my blog.