Paulo Coelho wrote The Alchemist in 1988. He believed it was the fulfillment of his purpose in life. Since that time, the book has been translated into 56 languages and has sold more than 26 million copies. The book has capture the attention and imagination of presidents, actors, business men and children. Some have seen the book as a wonderful story – fairy tale in nature. Others find inspiration to chase their dreams. Still others, believe the main point to be that the most important things in life are already in your grasp. My basis for reading the book came from the encouragement of my pastor to do so. I am not sure what he took from The Alchemist, but it must have been special since he has never been so adamant about his desire for me to read a book as this one.
As I finally read the book myself, the most interesting revelation was that, though I could see the basis for all of these meanings and more, I was unaffected. I did enjoy the book. In fact, I had no problem reading it in one day. However, it was simply a nice story for me. Could be that I am not as deep as other readers. This seems unlikely given that I have read many books and have often taken away more than was written into the surface of the characters and their journeys. I think the truth behind my lack of new inspiration is that it was basically a story of common sense to me. I have already ventured out of my comfort zone to pursue dreams. I have achieved many goals and continue to set others. Though I have been distracted at times, I still hold my family in high esteem. Many obstacles have come my way – in these, I become more resilient in pursuit of my goals. Perhaps the greatest value of this book for me is encouragement. You see, unlike Santiago, I am still on my journey. Hopefully, my story ends well as did his. But then again, I don’t see my story ever ending because there will always be something more to dream of and work for.
A few quotes that I highlighted during my read include:
- We are then faced by the second obstacle: love. We know what we want to do, but are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream.
- I couldn’t have found God in the seminary, he thought, as he looked at the sunrise.
- It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.
- Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.
- There is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.
- When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.
- I’m afraid that if my dream is realized, I’ll have no reason to go on living.
- “Maktub” – It is written.
- There was a language in the world that everyone understood… It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired.
- Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life.
- Life is the moment we’re living right now.
- One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.
- There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.