The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

by Organikal on August 6, 2006

The international bestseller by Paulo Coelho was first published in 1988. I’m ashamed that it’s taken me so long to getting round to reading it!

Better late than never, the saying goes, and in this case, absolutely true. This deeply philosophical tale is described in such a simple fashion that we have deemed it 8 year old Ruaridh’s next bedtime story. The eternal and essential truths contained within should be mandatory reading. Mandatory reading at school, that is – not just for self-development nuts or spiritual seekers, or indeed philosophers in making.

Echoing many familiar themes, Coelho addresses self-awareness, goal setting, omens and destiny all through the adventures of Santiago, a simple shepherd boy from Andalusia. Santiago decides to act upon a dream. Along the way, his encounters convince him that within the dream lies his destiny. Alongside seemingly irrefutable omens, his journey is interrupted with many distractions: there is success in the shape of business; there is temptation in the shape of women; there is trickery and thievery to contend with; there is wisdom and learning offered by mysterious teachers; there is even the threat of death.

The circumstance is ordinary yet fantastical. The story familiar yet exotic The telling simple yet evocative.

If you have managed to pass by this book in the belief that its philosophies may not be of the moment, then I urge you to let go of your apprehension and embrace a moving, powerful and timeless message in the guise of the tale of a simple shepherd boy.

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