Apparently, “The Alchemist” was originally published in 1988. How did I not know this book existed before recently?
This book follows Santiago, a young shepherd on his quest to achieve his personal legend — his destiny. He gives up everything to achieve this goal — his herd of sheep, his money, his initial plan for his life. And he puts every strength, every hope into following the path the world has set for him.
“Here I am, between my flock and my treasure, the boy thought. He had to choose between something he had become accustomed to and something he wanted to have.”
His journey leads him through the desert to Egypt, where his treasure lies, apparently, in the pyramids. On his way, he meets a Gypsy, a king and an alchemist who all, in their own ways, encourage, educate and advise him on his quest. He also meets the love of his life, whose mere existence tempts him into giving up his quest and settling for less than what the world intends him to have, less than his deepest desires. A daily occurrence in the lives of lovers everywhere, in my opinion. But he realizes that his love will wait for him, just as he will come back to her. For their love is a wonderful thing, a meaningful thing. But it is not the only wonderful, meaningful thing in the world. It is simply part of the world.
“… people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.”
Santiago encounters forces in the world seemingly working to keep him from achieving his personal legend — thieves, storms, wars. But he fights them, and he wins. Because that is what the world intended. When you are strong enough to give up what you have for the dream of what could be, the world will help you achieve it.
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
I truly enjoyed this book. So many things Santiago experienced spoke to me and the challenges I’ve been experiencing lately. And, as you can tell, I love picking up quotes from books. My pen was kept busy while reading this book, as there were so many quotes that jumped off the pages, begging to be remembered. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick, enjoyable read that has some meaning behind it. Paulo Coelho has many other books that I’ll be adding to my “to read” list.
Let me leave you with one last quote from the book that I think sums it up pretty nicely:
“We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written on the same hand.”