The Alchemist

ISBN: 0060887966
ISBN 13: 9780060887964
By: Paulo Coelho James Noel Smith Alan R. Clarke

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About this book

"My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer," the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky." Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams."Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. The Alchemist is such a book. With over a million and a half copies sold around the world, The Alchemist has already established itself as a modern classic, universally admired. Paulo Coelho's charming fable, now available in English for the first time, will enchant and inspire an even wider audience of readers for generations to come.The Alchemist is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist.The story of the treasures Santiago finds along the way teaches us, as only a few stories have done, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, above all, following our dreams.

Reader's Thoughts

Kali

Everyone (save one guy) said I would love this book. Three of my four roommates have their own copies. That one guy was right. Now this may be because he planted that seed of discontent, or it may be because this was the least creative and most redundant book I've read in a while. It answered the question, what happens when you put The Hero With a Thousand Faces, The Bible and 1001 Arabian Nights in a blender? That said, I didn't hate it. Two of the central themes (which were hammered in over and over again) are two of my favorite world views - ones I hold very dear to my heart. I understand that everyone has their own path and if it takes this silly little book to realize these two important messages, I'm just happy the reader finally discovered these truths. A) As the far more prolific writer Joseph Campbell says, Follow Your Bliss and B) As the far more prolific writer Ralph Waldo Emerson says, Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen. (See the pattern.) To explain my aversion to the third nail in the coffin of stolen redundancy, I will tell you story. I have a small collection of fortunes from fortune cookies. (I have always been in the habit of collecting good omens.) To make the list, a fortune must convey a good message when applied to life and even better when the requisite "Dirty Fortune Cookie Ending" is added. During my freshman year of college, I got the fortune "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also . . . . . between the sheets." Hilarious, right?! Sex, love, treasure, oh the glorious metaphors. Fast forward two years, when I discover that my hilarious fortune is actually A BIBLICAL QUOTE! Straight out the OT. Well, I was shocked and appalled. I was being proselytized to by a cookie! Now, I realize that this is my own issue, but I don't want a bible-thumping cookie or 200 year old Alchemist ramming the OT down my throat. To anyone thinking about reading this book, I have given you the two things that need be learned from it. Now go read some Joseph Campbell.

Sithara

I need to start this review by stating 1) I can't stand self-help books and 2) I'm a feminist (no, I don't hate men- some men are quite awesome, but I am very conscious of women and our place in the world.)Short summary (mild spoilers): A boy named Santiago follows his 'Personal Legend' in traveling from Spain to the Pyramids in Egypt searching for treasure. Along the way, he learns 'the Language of the World' the 'Soul of the World' and discovers that the 'Soul of God' is 'his own soul.'If the statements in quotes above ('personal legend', etc) fascinate you, then you'll enjoy this book. If you think they are hokey and silly, then you'll think this is a terrible book. If you think statements such as "When you want something, all the universe conspires you to achieve it" and "All things are one" are moving and life-changing, you'll love this book. If such statements have you rolling your eyes, then this isn't your cup of tea.Its not that I find anything wrong with these messages. They are important, but must be balanced with responsibility. In my experience, 'following your dreams' (or personal legend) is not the only way toward wisdom and strength. Is the person who struggles to put food on the table every day for his or her family, consciously realizing that he or she may not be following his or her 'personal legend' any less heroic than some traveler who leaves everything and everyone he or she is responsible for to go on a spiritual quest? Coelho comes close to labeling such people, as losers in life, which I find completely off the mark as some of these people have the most to offer in terms of wisdom.The issue of responsibility is also part of this book's sexism. The main male characters in the novel have 'Personal Legends' - they are either seeking them, or have achieved them, or have failed to achieve them. But Coelho never mentions 'Personal Legend' with regard to women, other than to say that Fatima, Santiago's fiance, is 'a part of Santiago's Personal Legend." Thats fine, but what about her own Personal Legend? Instead of traveling to find her dreams, she is content to sit around, do chores, and stare everyday at the desert to wait for his return. This is her 'fate' as a desert women. The fact that women don't have Personal Legends is even more galling considering the fact that according to Coelho, even minerals such as lead and copper have Personal Legends, allowing them to 'evolve' to something better (ie, gold).In the ideal world presented in THE ALCHEMIST, it seems that the job of men is to seek out their personal legends, leaving aside thoughts of family and responsibility, and its the job of women to let them, and pine for their return. Of course, someone has to do the unheroic, inconvenient work of taking care of the children, the animals, the elderly, the ill...If everyone simply goes off on spiritual quests, deciding they have no responsibility other than to seek their Personal Legends, no one would be taking responsibility for the unglamorous work that simply has to take place for the world to run.On the other hand, what if both men and women are allowed to struggle towards their 'Personal Legends,' and help each other as best as they can towards them, but recognize that their responsibilities may force them to defer, compromise, or even 'sacrifice' their dreams? This may seem depressing, but it isn't necessarily. Coelho seems to think that Personal Legends are fixed at childhood (or at birth, or even before) and are not changeable: they have to be followed through to the end, no matter how silly. But in my experience, many people have chosen to adjust, compromise, and even 'give up' on their dreams, only to find that life grants them something better, or they have a new, better dream to follow, a path providing greater wisdom. For me, these people have a more realistic, more humble, more fair, and less cliched vision of the world than Paulo Coelho's vision in THE ALCHEMIST.

Amit

There are too many things one can learn from “The Alchemist”. Its all about following your dream and about taking the risk of following your dreams, which is actually so difficult to do and there are very few people in this world who actually do, I mean risk it all, just to follow your heart and your dream. Beauty is, the author is so right in saying that when u decide to follow your dreams the entire universe conspires in your favour which he called as the “beginners luck” and we all have been witness to this beginners luck at one or other point in our lives. Also, he talks about a stage in our journey towards realizing our dreams, where everything just goes haywire and there is everything working against us and it almost takes us to the brink of abandoning everything and just getting back to what was so familiar and comfortable (i.e. our usual daily life which we get used to) this is actually the time when we are being tested for one last time and it means also that we are really close to our objective. The example given was really great and yes nothing new but we forget simple things in our life like "the darkest hour of the night is just before the dawn". It is actually true that so many of us just leave the struggle when it gets really tough and the chips are really low, whereas actually we were so close to the objective, if only we would have had a little more patience we would have been there. In one of the episodes he talks about death, yes the fact we always forget, the only reality about our life, it is a constant which is not going to change rest everything is uncertain. There are a lot of us who either think that it happens to others and then there are others, who are so busy running after the materials that they don’t have time to think about anything, leave alone death. Yes, and those who do think about death, mostly fear it, some fear death because of the physical pain attached to it (such people actually fear the pain rather than the death, I am one of them) and there are some who think they do not want to die because its not time yet for them to go. Ironically but true, this decision about timings has thankfully not been left to us. So, how do we get over the fear of death or make it our friend, a companion? And not waste our beautiful life worrying about dying all the time. One of the possible solutions lies in this book, it reads "if i have to fight, it will be just as good a day to die as any other". Yes very much right, one would never know when he or she wakes up in the morning that if it was the last day of his or her life and in fact, that day would not be any different from all the other days already spent. So, why not take everyday as the last day of our lives and live it up. Frankly speaking i really know what i am talking about, because I am in a profession which involves a lot of risk and death doesn’t have to look for reasons, it can just spring up from any bush in form of a small little piece of metal called a bullet coming out of the darkness of the night or just a deafening sound from under a culvert that I cross everyday. Here, everyday can be the last day of my life, every meal can be my last, every call to my wife can be the last time I would hear her sweet and loving voice and the kids… Anyways, so what I personally follow is, everyday when I wake up or every time when I move out on an operation, I say to myself "what a beautiful day to die" and there on, I just do what I have to and what I have been taught in all these years in the army and go through all the motions and concentrate on the job at hand rather than worrying about my death and I am really at peace with the fear of death. Another beautiful thought which I came across about death was in the novel by the author called "Confessions of a pilgrim". I derived from it that death can be visualized as a beautiful person who is always sitting besides us, so close to us that it travels with us wherever we go and it also accompanies us to our bed. Its a beautiful companion, a faithful companion, the only one who will never be unfaithful to us, rest all the companions are just lesser mortals and have been unfaithful at one point or other. Death always stays with us and actually speaking that’s the only companion who would accompany us all through our lives right from the moment we acquired some shape in our mother’s womb to the moment when we would get the vision of that white light and that feeling of lightness when we would finally leave this body also sometimes expressed as "VASTRA" (clothes) in the Indian mythology. As per the Indian mythology, the soul never dies, it is indestructible, it only changes a body just like we change clothes. Our soul is a part of God and it goes back to him. We can find the mention of the mighty soul of ours around the last portion of 'The Alchemist' where the shepherd realizes that ultimately it his own soul which is the “hand that wrote all” and his own soul was the part of soul of God. I firmly believe that there is no fiction involved in this story of the shepherd, but this is a true expression of mysteries and realities of our life, which we never pause to discover. There is message that this book wants to convey to us!!! I have never been into writing anything ever in my life, yes not even a personal dairy, but since the time I actually started writing which was just a month back, I realized that if we just write our thoughts as they occur, the resultant has a touch of mystery, because what we wrote with all our heart and soul, sometimes tends to surprise us. We tend to learn from what we ourselves wrote. We never realized that we had so much inside us and we don’t know from where, it all came. “The hand that wrote all”, yes I think its our soul that speaks out, the soul we never recognized, the one we never knew, the one which is part of soul of God…. …All religions have over all the years have preached a man “Know thyself, you will find God”, “look within yourself u will find all the answers”, these words are so common but how many of us actually are ready to pause and give it a try. It may sound crazy, may be the book has a effect that may appear really crazy but I am sure there are some people who would identify with me. May be when Paulo Coelho wrote this book his soul was revealing itself and that’s why some of us can identify with it because our souls are the part of same soul of God, just like his is. May be these lines of his novel were written by the “Hand that wrote all……………”

Lydia

Overrated. Grossly overrated book. Everybody was talking about how it was some life-changing book and I admit to be hoping that at least it was kinda inspirational.And it proved to be the least inspirational book I had ever come across. It was written from the point of view of a traveling shepherd, telling us how he dealt with problems he encountered through his journey. The language was bland (I read the English version) and there was hardly any conversation in the book. Everything was written blandly (so I used the word twice. It's just to show how bland it is) using a tone of an old, ancient teacher trying to tell a very slow student how to boil an egg. Like, the writer repeated the same thing over and over again (you know the works: the teacher will show up when the student is ready, material things ain't as important as the spiritual, the future is for no one to predict) and over and over again.After a few pages I just wanted it to be done and over with. Hey, I might be a slow student when it comes to boiling an egg, but the least an ancient teacher can do is to use a lively language to instruct me, don't you think?

Eleanor

I picked up this book in an airport between flights, it's been pretty hyped up and was obviously the most-purchased book from the store. Even the girl on the plane next to me, obviously not an english-speaker, took great efforts to tell me that she loved this book. The book's protagonist is an adolescent shepherd and reads as if it were written by one. Coelho abandons all subtlety, capitalizing the phrase "Personal Legend" and using it every other page in a story that has the ingredients of a successful fairy tale but stitches them together in such a barebones superficial way that reminds me of $1.50 starbucks cups wisdom or motivational stories told by commencement speakers with a religious agenda. It's initial message of 'follow your passion' is soon altered to 'the story of your life is written by the same hand who wrote the story of the world' and then to 'the heart of alchemy is the Soul of the World [sic] which all should strive to join.' 80 pages was more than fair. Very willing to sell/swap.Needless to say I didn't read any of the "Plus" aspects of this edition.

Andrew

The Alchemist has been translated into like a million languages, and it feels like it. Bland sentences, simple story telling and zero nuance. It's a quaint parable about a shepherd who bucks the current course of his life - shepherding - to go in search of his Personal Legend (Coehlo's caps, and phrase). Coehlo's got a point, and he's going to drive it through your eyeball until he's absolutely sure you've got it.If you ignore much of the language of the book, this is a paper-thin rehashing of Rand-like individualism Atlas Shrugged The Fountainhead. No one can show you your way but yourself. Step out on your own and you are invincible. But all the trappings of this moral story are mystical platitudes. "Good luck shines on those who are following their Personal Legend." "Omens are the Language of the World. Learning to read them is communicating with the Soul of the World and the hand that wrote all." "All things are one." "Listen to your heart, it speaks in the Language of the World." I'd rather read Siddhartha.

Saud Omar

تنبيه :في مراجعة الرواية هذه لا يوجد حرق للرواية. في هذه المراجعة يتم استعراض عقدة الرواية الأساسية. كل ما كٌتب هنا بدا لي أنه سوف يجعلك تقرأ الرواية بشكل أفضل. هذه المراجعة كٌتبت خصيصاً لأولئك الذين لم يقرءوا الرواية بعد.***من مدونتي: ثمانون كتابا بحثا عن مخرجwww.80k.met***“الخيميائي” رواية عن راعي أندلسي يسافر طلباً لكنز مدفون في مكان قريب من الأهرامات الفرعونية. يقابل الراعي العديد من الأشخاص الذين يساعدونه, أو يلهمونه, أو يقفون ضده, في طريقه للكنز. ويواجه الراعي أيضاً الكثير من المواقف الصعبة, والأفكار المحيرة, واللحظات التي تتطلب شجاعة, واللحظات التي تتطلب بصيرة.رواية مغرقة في البساطة والحكمة .. كعادة كل روايات باولو كويلو ..باولو كويلو أديب برازيلي ولِد في مدينة ريّّو دي جانيرو عام 1947, له روايات عديدة ناجحة, وقبل أن يكون روائياً, كان مخرجاً مسرحياً, وممثلاً, وكاتب أغاني, وكاتب صحفي؛ لكنه قرر في النهاية أن يكرّس حياته للأدب.واجهت رواية “الخيميائي” فشلاً في البداية؛ فلم يوزع منها في أول الأمر سوى 900 نسخة, بل إن الناشر اعتبرها عملاً فاشلاً لدرجة أنه أعاد لكويلو حقوق النشر, بعد ذلك نشر كويلو الرواية عند ناشر أخر لتصبح الرواية حينها الرواية الأكثر مبيعاً في الأدب البرازيلي في القرن العشرين, وتتصدر قائمة الأكثر مبيعات في ثمانية عشرة دولة, ويباع منها فوق الأربعين مليون نسخة في مئة وخمسون دولة, وتترجم لأكثر من ست وخمسون لغة, حتى أنه في عام 2003 ( بعد خمسة عشر عام من نشر الرواية ) كان ترتيب الرواية السادس على العالم في مستوى المبيعات.ورغم أنه عادة يشار لرواية “الخيميائي” بأنها ثاني أعمال باولو كويلو بعد “حاج كومبوستيلا”, إلا أنها في الحقيقة رابع عمل له؛ فالعمل الأول له كان (أرشيف الجحيم)؛ وهو العمل الذي نفذت طبعته الأولى ولم تعاد طباعته حتى الآن, وقد قال كويلو في أحد المقابلات أنه فخور جداً بهذا العمل, وسوف يعيد طباعته في الوقت المناسب. أما بالنسبة للعمل الثاني ( الدليل العملي للفامبيرية ) فقد سُحب لأنه بدا لكويلو أن العمل لم ينجح في إيصال الفكرة المنشودة.المكان الذي تبدأ منه رواية “الخيميائي” هو في جنوب أسبانيا, في سهول الأندلس, بالقرب من مدينة “طريفا” الواقعة عند مضيق جبل طارق, والتي لا يفصلها عن مدينة “طنجة” المغربية سوى 14 كيلو متر, والوقت, الذي تأخذ الرواية فيه مجراها, هو في أوائل القرن العشرين, أو أواخر القرن التاسع عشر؛ ورغم أن زمن رواية, عموماً, غير واضح فيها, إلا أننا نستطيع القطع بهذا الوقت؛ لأننا في بداية الرواية نرى خيميائياً يقرأ قصة ” التابع” ( The Disciple ) للأديب الأيرلندي “أوسكار وايلد”.وقصة وايلد هذه عبارة عن تعديل على أسطورة نرسيس (نرجس) الشهيرة؛ فالأسطورة تقول أن نرسيس أٌخذ بجماله, وكان يتأمل نفسه في البحيرة كل يوم, حتى سقط في البحيرة ومات غرقا. لكن أوسكار وايلد يستطرد بعد هذه النهاية, ويقول بأنه بعد وفاة نرسيس تنزل ربات الغابات لتسأل البحيرة عن جماله, لكن البحيرة تقول أنها لا تعلم عن جماله شيئاً؛ فهي كانت تنظر لجمالها هي في عينيه. في الحقيقة أنه اقتباس رائع جداً من كويلو, وقد ألقى هذا الاقتباس بظلاله على فكرة الرواية, حتى أن أحد دور النشر قد جعلت لوحة “نرسيس” للرسام الإيطالي “كارافاغو” غلافاً لرواية الخيميائي.وفكرة الرواية هي كالتالي:فكرة الرواية تقوم على مبدأ ( الوحدانية ), فكل الأشياء هي تجليات لشيء واحد؛ وكل الكون خلقته ذات الذات, وبالمثل, فإن كل ما نقوم به في حياتنا هو للقيام بشيء واحد, ولإنجاز مهمة واحدة, وتضيف الرواية, أن أيضاً ما نتمناه ونرغب به هو جزء أصيل من هذا الكون ووحدته.الكون كائن حي, له روح, وفيه حياة, هذه الروح تتغذى على سعادة البشر ( وأحياناً على تعاستهم ), ومن ( روح الكون ) يتولّد ما تسميه الرواية ( ألأسطورة الشخصية ).الأسطورة الشخصية هي الواجب الوحيد المفروض على كل شخص, أي مهمته في الحياة, ودائما ما تصير هذه المهمة هي حلم وطموح الإنسان, ودائما ما تراود الإنسان رغبة عارمة وقوية لتأدية هذه المهمة التي جاء من اجلها, وعندما تتملك الإنسان رغبة قوية لتحقيق هذه الأسطورة الشخصية فإن الكون كله يطاوعه لتحقيقها؛ ذلك لأن الكون يتغذى على سعادة البشر, وأيضاً لأن هذه المهمة هي جزء أساسي من الكون, انبعثت من روحه.ومن أهم أشكال مطاوعة الكون للإنسان في تحقيقه أسطورته الشخصية هي ( المبدأ الملائم)؛ فلأن الكون يريدنا أن نحقق أسطورتنا الشخصية فهو يعمد لأن يجعل (الحظ) بجانبنا في أول الأمر.كي نعرف ما هي المهمة التي جئنا من أجلها, وكيف نؤديها, يجب أن نصغي للغة الكون, والكون يتحدث بالإشارات, والإشارات هذه تحدث أمامنا على هيئة ما اعتدنا أن نسميه (حظ) أو ( مصادفة), هذه الإشارات هي طريقة الله – حسب وصف الرواية – في إخبارنا بالطريق الذي يجب أن نسلكه, حتى تتعلم لغة الإشارات الكونية يجب أن تتطور حدسك وتثق فيه, وكي تتطور حدسك يجب أن لا تخاف من ارتكاب الأخطاء, ويجب أن تعرف أن لكل شيء معنى ومقصد.أيضا تقدم الرواية بعض الأفكار الخيميائية القريبة من الأفكار السابقة, ففي علم الخيمياء هناك مصطلح ( روح العالم ), ويقصد به المبدأ الذي يحرك كل شيء, وهو قائم على تحول الأشياء وتغيرها من شكل لأخر, وهو دائماً ما يعمل لصالح الإنسان, ويقترب الإنسان من روح العالم كلما تزايدت رغبته بشيء ما, ونستطيع إدراك روح العالم من خلال لغة الإشارات أيضاً, وهي هنا تسمى (لغة العالم), اكتشاف مبدأ (روح العالم) سمي بــ ( الإنجاز العظيم ) وهو اكتشاف خيميائي مكون من جزأين, أحدهم سائل وهو ( إكسير الحياة), والأخر صلب وهو ( حجر الفلاسفة).دائما ما نجد نزعة روحية, وصوفية, وأحيانا باراسيكولوجية, في روايات كويلو, وهذا هو طبع كتابات كويلو, وهذا أحد أسرار نجاحه, فأحيانا يحتاج القراء من يعيد المعنى لوجودهم, ويخبرهم أن لحياتهم هدف, وأن عبثية وبرود الحضارة الحالية ليست نهاية المطاف. أيضاً يشتهر كويلو ببساطة أسلوبه الشديدة وببساطة مفرداته, تلك البساطة التي يرافقها دائماً عمق غير عادي في الطرح, ومن ما يتصف به أسلوب كويلو, هو انه لا يصف كثيراً البيئة البرازيلية, وربما يعود ذلك لكونه رجل يحب السفر؛ لذلك يهتم بوصف المكان الذي ذهب إليه أكثر من اهتمامه بوصف المكان الذي جاء منه, ويذكر أنه من أهم أسباب شهرة رواية “الخيميائي” عالميا هو سحر الشرق الموجود في الرواية, وعزز كويلو هذا السحر باستعراضه بعض أوجه التراث العربي والثقافة الإسلامية في الرواية.من الشخصيات التي جاءت في الرواية هي شخصية “ملكي صادق” وهو رجل عجوز يقول أنه ملك منطقة أسمها “سالم”, يتضح من الأحداث أنه كائن فوق طبيعي, فهو يعرف الأسرار والسرائر, لكن كينونته لا تتضح تماما في الرواية, مهمة “ملكي صادق” هي مساعدة الناس الذين يكونون على وشك العدول عن الجِد خلف أسطورتهم الشخصية, وهو يظهر للكل في هيئات وصور مختلفة. في الحقيقة “ملكي صادق” هو اسم ملك ورد ذكره في التوراة وذكر أيضاً بأنه ” ملك سالم “, و”سالم” اسم قديم للقدس, وقد كان “ملكي صادق” ملك لها في عهد النبي إبراهيم عليه السلام. في الحقيقة لم أجد أي ارتباط بين الشخصية التاريخية والشخصية الموجودة في الرواية.أن أكثر ما يميز رواية “الخيميائي” هو بساطة المواقف التي ترافقها دلالات عميقة, وهو ما يجعلني أبالغ نوعا ما, وأعتقد أن رواية “الخيميائي” كتبت بفكرتها, أعنى أن الرواية نفسها التي قدمت فكرة الإشارات الكونية, تحمل نفسها إشارات – تظهر في مواقف أو شخصيات أو جُمّّل – قد تبدو للبعض هامشية, وطفولية, وبلا أي معنى, وقد تبدو للبعض الأخر أنها دلالات مهمة, ومعاني عميقة, وإضاءات ضرورية, تماماً مثل الإشارات الكونية التي تحدثت عنها الرواية, وكأن باولو كويلو مبرمج قرر أن يكتب كتاب عن التشفير فكتب الكتاب مشفراً؛ فيكون الكتاب بهذه الطريقة كتب بفكرته.

Annie

This book is one of my all time favourites but judging by the fact that there are 65 million copies in print, I can safely say I'm probably not alone in that either. The Alchemist, if you're not familiar with the work (gasp! horror!), is a grown-up fable that at its very heart is a story about a man, the woman he loves and following your destiny. Anyone who has ever had a dream can find inspiration within the pages of this novel, and, as the novel so poignantly points out, each one of us has a dream or a personal legend to fulfill. I think one of my favourite lines is what the Old King says to the boy on their first meeting:“When you’re following your personal legend, all of the universe conspires to help you achieve it." Every credit should be given to the translator who managed to convey the simple beauty of Coelho’s writing which is one of the reasons the book works so well. This is just one of the best feel good books out there, perfect in its simplicity yet complex in its spirituality. Because it borrows parts form Egyptian Mythology, the Bible and the Qu'ran, it has the ability to touch the hearts of a diverse population of people. An interesting fact about The Alchemist, it was listed as one of the five most frequently stolen books from Melbourne bookstores. Life has such an amusing sense of irony! Read this book if: No ifs on this one. If you're one of the small few who haven't been lucky enough to read The Alchemist, then do yourself a favour and just read it.

Michelle

** spoiler alert ** While this book made some points that I agreed with (all things in the universe are one; a person is happiest when living in the present moment, rather than the past or future; even things that seem like detours in your quest toward achieving your goals can be rich opportunities for learning) I just couldn't buy a lot of it. For instance, I disagreed with the idea that your experience along the way shouldn't cause you to change your basic course. What's accumulated wisdom and experience for, if not to cause us to live differently (often with very different goals, aspirations, and fundamental beliefs) than we did when we were younger?I also couldn't buy the notion that your "Personal Legend" is made manifest to you in no uncertain terms when you are a child and you should never deviate from it. I dreamed of doing a hundred different things at various times during my childhood. More than one of those aspirations (psychiatrist, teacher, stay-at-home mom, sociologist) at one time or another during my youth seemed, without question, like the path I should follow. As I get dangerously close to middle age, I'm finding that I'm really happy as a horticulturist and constantly learning and doing new things within that field. I feel no regret at not having pursued those other paths.Also, I was left with the impression that the "Personal Legend" of the main female character in the story was to send kisses on the wind and wait for the safe return of her man. I thought the book made an important point: that true love shouldn't keep you from fulfilling those aspirations that are truly important to you. But that should, obviously, be true for both partners. I'll give the author the benefit of the doubt and assume that he didn't focus much on Fatima's goals and dreams because that's not whose story he was telling. I'm hoping that, though she takes time out of her day to think of her love and pray for his safe return, she's spending more of her time pursuing dreams of her own.

Don

I simply could not finish this book. I got halfway through it only to wind up on goodreads.com to see what others thought. I simply felt guilty panning a book that has received such global acclaim; more than that, I felt lame and inadequate.Well, it turns out that my sentiments were echoed. I basically felt I was reading an overblown parable and that the same lessons were being spelled out again and again. It was like the 16th verse of a hymn. Throughout my life I have periodically reflected to get a sense of who I am, where I am going and whether I want to end up there. I am an extremely introspective person and I am constantly evaluating and re-evaluating my person; sometimes for the better, sometimes out of necessity. To put a fine point on it, I regularly do that which is, for lack of a better word, preached in this book. The problem I had with The Alchemist is that instead of feeling reinforced and validated, I felt uncomfortable and nagged.

Lujayn Al

كلّ شيء مكتوب !ما إن انتهيت من قراءة هذه الرواية حتى أحسستُ أن الدنيا سكتت ، و العالم سكت و أنني أريدُ أن أسكتُ باقي عمري .. أتأمل الحياة .. لعل روح العالم تغمرني فأفلسف الحياة كما شاء لي قلبي مليئة هذه الرواية بالرموز و الحكم و التراث و الأخلاق بل وحتى الآيات الإسلاميةتحسّ و أنت تقرؤها برياح أندلسية تلفح فكرك ، تجعلكَ تبتسم بين حكمة و أخرى ببساطة القدر ، و تعقيد البشر .. بعمق المعاني ، و سطحية الفهم هذه الرواية تجسّد القدر و الحكمة في أسمى معانيها ، كما نؤمن بها تمامًاأحببتُ حكمها جدًا " كيف يتحدّث الكون لغة واحدة هي الحب ، العمل ، متعة الهدف و كيف نتعلّم تقديس الحياة من حولنا على بساطتها، والتفكّر في كلّ أحداثها على أنّها منحٌ و إشارات يلقيها الله في طريقنا لتقودنا نحو ذواتناو مجدنا و كيف أن الكنز قريب جدًا جدًا من أحدنا كما كان قريبًا عند شجرة الجميز التي نام تحتها سانتياغو أو الفتى - كما يسميه الكاتب - إلا أن العمل من أجل الحصول و الجهد المبذول و التعب المضني في سبيل الوصول.. كان هو الغاية .. و هو سرّ الوجود و " الإنجاز العظيم " فما معنى الكنز إن لم تستحقّ الحصول عليه !! أحسستُ بالقرب الشديد من جوّها ، صورة الراعي ، و الخيميائي .. إكسير الحياة والإنجاز العظيم ..روح العالم و الأسطورة الشخصيةحقًا ، لقد خلق كلّ منا لـ يحقق أسطورةو الحياة لا تمنحُ الفرص إلا للراغبين

Christopher

I really disliked this book. I dislike it in the way that I dislike a great deal of modern self help books. Their basic message is that if you want something to happen, you need to want it as hard as you can, without caring about anything else, not allowing yourself to doubt it, or let criticisms will get in the way then it will happen.I disagree with this notion, not only because it is false, but because it is bad.Just because we desire something, does not make it good. This idea of 'following your heart' is often wrong. Who are we to be the arbiters of truth? Why should our hearts be sources of information that go beyond logic, doubt and reasoning? Haven't we all desired things that have turned out to not be in our best interest, or to be harmful to others? Andrew Jackson was a man known to have a lot of integrity. He was always 'true' to himself and followed his heart. Andrew Jackson is the man who initiated the 'Trail of Tears'. Moving Native Americans from their homes and into reservations. Next, this idea of not letting ourselves doubt or consider doubts. This is a terrible and dishonest way to live. If we don't consider doubts, and entertain them often, then we are deliberately blinding ourselves. Deliberately making ourselves ignorant. If someone doesn't give serious consideration to the idea that they may be wrong. Give serious thought to why they believe what they do, and that perhaps those who doubt them may be correct, then they are behaving in a dangerous and dishonest way.Not giving heed to the concerns doubts and criticisms of others is something I believe is a major fault in modern society. Often, people fail to recognize the needs of the group and the community. We place so much emphasis on the needs and rights of the individual. This causes people to focus so much on themselves to the detriment of others around them. At times, it can be beneficial to go against the group, but one should first give serious consideration to the groups concerns.According to Ideas like the Alchemist, groups like, the Westboro Baptist Church,(godhatesfags.com) should be seen as American heroes. These are people who take a totally irrational stance, and stick to it as hard as they can in complete defiance to the views of everyone around them.

Zaki

A spanish shepherd boy santiago dreams about a treasure hidden at the foot of the egyptian pyramids. He leaves Spain to find it and journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert, guided along the way by a camel driver, an alchemist and other spiritual guides. and he discovers a far greater treasure (greater than any earthly gold): wisdom, self knowledge and enlightenment. But the Alchemist is not about Santiago at all. It's an inspirational fable; it's about our own self discovery; it's about awakening your passions; it's about following your heart; embracing life as a journey and finding the courage to chase your dreams. It felt more like a really hackneyed self-help book. I don't know if it makes great literature. What is great literature?

Mohamed Galal

-- بعد أن بدأت ب20"" صفحة بترجمة بسمة أشرف " نسخة ورقيّة " انتقلت إلى ترجمة بهاء طاهر " نسخة pdf" .-- سمعت كثيرًا عن روعة تلك الرواية قبل الشروع في قرائتها .-- لم تعجبني ، ولا يستهويني هذا النوع من الروايات .-- الأسطورة الذاتيّة ، إكسير الحياة ، حجر الفلاسفة ، روح العالم .-- شعرت أنّي أقرأ رواية فى التنمية البشريّة .-- شعرت وكأنّ كويلهو كاهن يلقن تلاميذه تعاليم الرب .-- أحسست بملل شديد ورتابة مضنية في أوّل 100 صفحة " الرواية 159 صفحة " ، بدأت الأحداث في الإثارة _إلى حدٍ ما _ بعد ذلك .-- حوار مع الصحراء ، ثمّ حوار مع الشمس ، ثمّ حوار مع يد القدرة ، ما هذا الهراء ؟! ، لا أعرف كيف أنهيتك !-- لا أعي تفسيرًا لتلك الضجّة والصخب الكثير والإعجاب المبالغ فيه للرواية إلّا أنّ أغلب ساكني البسيطة أصبحوا يلهثون وراء أي هراء متعلّق بعلم التنمية البشريّة .

José-contemplates-Saturn's Aurora

The above picture (of the first English edition of the book) condenses, remarkably well, what this book is about. A shepherd boy (from Spain, Andalucia)and his sheep (inside center triangle);he has to travel to Africa to meet beloved Fatima in a oasis(right side)... and fight (sword on left side) in several ways to get his dreamt treasure.He'll have to pass many [initiatic?] tests,..facing the Nature elements (while crossing desert)and his own psychological limitations and fears. With the help of some other characters(the King of Salem-Melchizedek-, the old gypsy woman and, especially, the Alchemist) he'll manage to realize his dream.PreambleBefore reading this beautiful book I had the chance to watch some interviews Paulo Coelho gave. Ahead are some of the aspects I found pertinent to the interpretation of the present novel. (1) The author acknowledged the importance of Symbolism in the making of the text (how many times have I read "You've got to follow the signs"...in the Alchemist?); it goes back to a 1492 Catholic secret sect called Regnus Agnus Mundi.(2) Coelho made a very important distinction between having a dream and living the dream; this book, obviously, is about both.(3) When asked about his own death, how he would like to be recalled, the writer's first answer was that "he fought the good fight and kept his faith"; then spoke of cremation and this epitaph: "he died while he was still alive". Coelho stressed the importance of "following" one's own dreams.(4) Coelho said there are writers who attained to the level of: writing the "world language": Hemingway,Blake,Borges and Malba Tahan,as examples. In fact, ultimately, everybody can "dive" into the Soul of the World (Jung's Collective Unconscious).Preface to the bookCoelho explained that before writing this book he spent 11 years studying Alchemy. Yes, the issues of transforming metals into gold. That was back in the 1970's. The writer wanted badly to fabricate the Elixir of Life, that was the most seductive part of the enterprise he got into.Experts refused to receive him. It got him to nullity. In 1973 he was desperate. He tried (regrettably,he reckons) using his theatre pupils in magic...with the Emerald Tablets. No way. It followed 6 years of skepticism.THEN in 1981 he met RAM and his master....and got back into Alchemy studies; the master taught him some lessons....in a language directed to the heart, not to the reason.The Story1. Spain, AndaluciaSantiago is questioned: why are you a shepherd, since you can read...?... he says he'd been in the seminar till 16 years of age; he studied Latin, Spanish and Theology...but told father that he didn't want to become a priest. Santiago wanted to travel ...so he became a shepherd.One day a strange character shows up to Santiago; "I am the King of Salem": give me 1/10 of your flock and I will tell you how to get to your treasure.Santiago met the old gypsy woman: you come here because of dreams. Dreams are the language of God. Santiago had a recurrent dream; about a treasure...when a child was about to tell him the exact location of the treasure he woke up. Gypsy woman says wants 1/10 of the treasure.Again the King of Salem. He tells Santiago:"you got to follow the signs". And gives two stones to the shepherd; Urim and Turim, the black and white stones, for divination purposes. Santiago must fulfill his personal Legend, because what he wished to do was born in the universal Soul.2. AfricaThe shephard finds Africa strange.He gets robbed of all the money he took with him. So he has to work for the Crystals Merchant. A man whose business is 30 years old, ...but fears to accomplish his dream; he only dreams. Santiago wants to realize his. He knows he'll have to cross the desert to reach to the pyramids: the treasure is there. Meanwhile he helps the business prosper for the Merchant. Santiago has learned Arabic. On Tangiers Santiago recalled the image of Knight Santiago Matamouros (Moors slayer), riding his white horse.2.1 On the way towards Al Fayoum OasisIt's been 11 months, Santiago spent in Africa. Now, he's heading to the Oasis. He meets an Englishman who studied this topic: a world common language. But the Englishman is mainly concerned with the search for the Philosophical Stone; he wants to meet a man: The Alchemist; a 200-years-old master who visited Europe, but now lives in the Oasis.The boy befriends a camels conductor who lived in El Cairum; due to an earth quake he quit the agricultural work.The englishman speaks about the famous Alchemists: Ceber,Fulcanelli,Elias and Helvetius. He tells the shephard boy: fear to fail prevented me from trying the great work, now I am starting what I should have started 10 years ago. 2.2 Oasis of 50,000 Tamaras trees and 300 wellsThe Alchemist saw the caravan approaching. Santiago meets with Fatima.She is his treasure,now. Fatima says that the Alchemist knows about the world secrets and talks with the desert djins. Santiago ponders about love without possession while watching the desert hawks. Then he has a vision: an Army approaching the Oasis to attack it.Santiago is telling the leaders of the Oasis about his vision. -Who dared to read the flight of the hawks?... and old man recalls [Bible's] Joseph interpretations of dreams when in Egypt.... -we all know that whoever believes in dreams than he/she knows how to interpret them.In fact, the Oasis was attacked by 500 men; 499 got shot one hanged. The shepherd gets rewarded with 50 golden coins and he's invited as Oasis counsellor. But Santiago must follow his dream. So he leaves Oasis with the Alchemist.2.3 Ride to the Pyramids with the AlchemistOne Army makes them prisoners. The Alchemist says Santiago knows how to transform himself into Wind. The boy is scared, terrified. The Alchemist warns him: you are going to die, I know how to transform myself into Wind.It's the darkest hour for the boy. He starts praying: he wants to get back to Fatima and find his other treasure. He's got to "dive" into the desert; he'll talk to the desert for help; he'll try talking to the Levante Wind...or the Sun...though they don't know about love. But he manages to enrage the wind and a great sand storm covers the place where they're at. The Army gets convinced about the Shepherd's powers. He concludes he can perform miracles....because he believed his personal Legend. It's the Alchemist farewell: it's a 3-hours ride till the pyramids, now you go alone.2.4 The PyramidsSantiago is crying; he doesn't know where his treasure is. But at the spot where the tears had fallen upon, there's a scarab right there...(follow the signs!); Santiago starts digging...for all night. Robbers show up, spank him...and he confesses he was looking for a treasure; but found none. One of the thieves tells Santiago: you won't die, you're going to live and learn that a man cannot be stupid; right on the spot where you stand I, too, had a recurrent dream...I should go to the plains of Spain, search for a church in ruins, where shepherds used to sleep with the sheep,...a sycamore tree growing up inside the church...had I excavated where the root was, I would have found a hidden treasure.But I'm not stupid.Thieves left,the boy knew the pyramids were smiling at him.3. Back in Spain , Andalucia plains.Yes, by the sycamore tree Santiago digs...and finds the treasure: golden coins...and precious stones. He adds to them Urim and Turim. He's got to hand 1/10 of this to the gypsy woman. He feels the kiss of the Wind...he must rush to Fatima, waiting for him in the Oasis.------------A Boy turning into a Man; one who relies on his heart.Rituals of Becoming.Four stars and a half.-What about the Englishman? ..he was left in the Oasis trying to produce gold out of plumbum,...via Alchemy. But there's no telling of his success...or failure.

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