The Alchemist

The Alchemist is a novel by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho that was first published in 1988. Originally written in Portuguese, it became a widely translated international bestseller.

The Alchemist continues to change the lives of its readers forever. With more than two million copies sold around the world, The Alchemist has established itself as a modern classic, universally admired.

10 Powerful Life Lessons from The Alchemist:

  1. Fear is a bigger obstacle than the obstacle itself
  2. What is “true” will always endure
  3. Break the monotony
  4. Embrace the present
  5. Your success has a ripple-effect
  6. Make the decision
  7. Be unrealistic
  8. Keep getting back up
  9. Focus on your own journey
  10. Always take action

The Alchemist follows the journey of an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago. Believing a recurring dream to be prophetic, he asks a Gypsy fortune teller in the nearby town about its meaning. The woman interprets the dream as a prophecy telling the boy that he will discover a treasure at the Egyptian pyramids.

Early into his journey, he meets an old king named Melchizedek, or the king of Salem, who tells him to sell his sheep, so as to travel to Egypt, and introduces the idea of a Personal Legend. Your Personal Legend “is what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is.”

Early in his arrival to Africa, a man who claims to be able to take Santiago to the pyramids instead robs him of what money he had made from selling his sheep. Santiago then embarks on a long path of working for a crystal merchant so as to make enough money to fulfill his personal legend and go to the pyramids.

Along the way, the boy meets an Englishman who has come in search of an alchemist and continues his travels with his new companion. When they reach an oasis, Santiago meets and falls in love with an Arabian girl named Fatima, to whom he proposes marriage. She promises to do so only after he completes his journey. Frustrated at first, he later learns that true love will not stop nor must one sacrifice to it one’s personal destiny, since to do so robs it of truth.

The boy then encounters a wise alchemist who also teaches him to realize his true self. Together, they risk a journey through the territory of warring tribes, where the boy is forced to demonstrate his oneness with “the soul of the world” by turning himself into a simoom before he is allowed to proceed. When he begins digging within sight of the pyramids, he is robbed yet again, but accidentally learns from the leader of the thieves that the treasure he sought all along was in the ruined church where he had his original dream.

  • Author: Paulo Coelho
  • Genres: Novel, Drama, Quest, Fantasy Fiction, Adventure fiction
  • Originally published: 1988
Best Quotes From "The Alchemist"
  • “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
  • “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”
  • “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.”
  • “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.”
About The Author:
Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho de Souza (born in 24 August 1947) is a Brazilian lyricist and novelist, best known for his novel The Alchemist. In 2014, he uploaded his personal papers online to create a virtual Paulo Coelho Foundation.

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