It’s Called ‘The Alchemist’ and Here’s Why You Should Read It!
It’s been 25 years since its debut, and the novel has now been translated into 56 different languages (that’s a Guinness World Record, by the way). It’s safe to say it has a stellar reputation not only among the general population but also among the world leaders such as Oprah Winfrey, Neil Patrick Harris, Pharrell Williams
‘The Alchemist’ is a thought-provoking story of Santiago’s physical journey from Spain to Africa, and his spiritual journey where he discovers the importance of completing his Personal Legend and realizes the purpose of his life.
The novel tells a story about a young Andalusian shepherd named Santiago, who leaves his sheep and his former life behind to pursue a journey to the Egyptian Pyramids where a supposed treasure awaits him there, according to his recurring prophetic dreams.
Now, what is that, the silver lining in The Alchemist that has attracted and garnered its millions of readers from across the world? A simple line:
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
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In today’s daily hustle and bustle of life, young men and women have lost touch with reality where they are lost in the society’s expectations from them. Low self-esteem, fickleness in trust and compatibility issues result in low confidence and an inability to fulfill their dreams.
It is in these low-lying moments that ‘The Alchemist’ by Paulo Coehlo emerges as a Superman in the Metropolis and has ended up in inspiring millions of souls across the world.
The Alchemist is an enigmatic example of magical realism, a genre of literature that weaves fantastical elements into realist stories.
The novel is grounded in the real world (specifically, in the landscapes of Spain and then journeys through Egypt where Santiago discovers his dream), but the events that take place are magical in nature, some mentioned even in The Bible and can be likened to miracles.
But the charm that can be found in The Alchemist is like none other. Here are a few:-
The Realization of a Dream
A dream under a Sycamore tree begins an adventure for the young shepherd, Santiago.
The dream reveals a treasure waiting to be discovered, but the treasure appears to be in Egypt at the base of a pyramid, and Santiago is living in the Spanish town of Tarifa. What appears, at first, to be a quest for treasure, soon becomes a tale of discovery.
Santiago discovers the value of achieving his Personal Legend, the importance of unity and connectedness within nature, and the hope that comes when ‘inner realization’ is reached. This has inspired millions of readers across the world to fight for their dreams.
Santiago is the hero who must overcome various obstacles (violence, confusion, despair) in order to achieve his dreams.
And any High-School/College student can easily correlate almost every event/dreams of his/her life to the protagonist in The Alchemist i.e. Santiago because embedded in this journey is a desire for spiritual fulfillment, making Santiago’s quest one of self-discovery, the fulfillment of one’s purpose and enlightenment.
The same is an example for today’s youth. These days, we have become way too ungrateful to the gifts of our life that we have stopped to understand their importance and meaning. With everything available at our fingertips from food to clothes, we have lost the import of hard work and the need to be true to ourselves and our dreams.
And when a man isolates his dreams from passion, truth, purpose, and hard work, his dream isolates him. In his enigmatic book, Paulo charmingly (and in simple words), inspires his readers across age groups to follow their inner dreams.
A term that comes up repeatedly in the text is the Soul of the World which is sometimes equated with God. It is a spiritual force that binds all of us together and governs all things and that speaks with us in the language of signs or omens.
Through this Paulo is trying to connect all us and make us believe in the presence of a mystical universe wherein the souls of human beings are inter-linked to each other in such a way that we can feel each other’s souls, dreams and visions.
Part of this also includes pursuing what Coelho refers to as your “personal legend.” That’s whatever your passion is in life, whether it be playing music, writing, cooking, photography, chemistry, theoretical physics, entrepreneurship or whatever you deem your purpose to be in this life.
We discover within the story that a Personal Legend is a key to living a successful and satisfying life as perfection comes from achieving your Personal Legend. Santiago eventually realizes this truth after avoiding the distraction of personal wealth gained through working with a crystal merchant, and then the distraction of love found in the unexpected encounter with the beautiful Fatima.
While on this journey, he receives assistance from a traveling alchemist, who is an Englishman. While traveling across the Sahara, this Englishman helps Santiago better understand his quest for completing his Personal Legend.
In the conclusion, it is revealed to the reader that the life lessons Santiago learned while on his quest to complete his Personal Legend were just as important as the actual treasure he finds upon returning to his Spanish town.
During his journey to find the treasure, Santiago is also educated regarding the oneness of nature.
This fascinating story takes the reader into the unfamiliar world of Northern Africa. Through the use of the traveling alchemist, Coelho effectively develops the concept of connectedness between man and nature.
Santiago has to learn how to communicate with nature in a language that is believed to be commonly shared. In the storyline, we see the protagonist’s horse directing Santiago to life in a barren desert.
Also in that desert, the main character must summon the power to connect with the elements in order to create a sandstorm that will allow him to turn into wind and impress the critics. This connectedness within nature becomes instrumental in helping Santiago find the oneness and the reward for which he is searching.
And for all you readers out there, at the end of the day, it is your state of mind, your universe and you have to take control of it.
And here’s how you can do it:
- Your “Personal Legend, the purpose of your life, looking at omens” is the central theme of the book and the more you read it the more you can get of it. There are people who have read it more than half a dozen times!
- The protagonist confirms that it’s OK to be unsure of yourself as long as you keep pursuing your personal legend.
- Paulo Coelho teaches us how to turn down the negative noise in your life into positive vibes.
- It focuses on the individual and the pursuit of individual dreams as making a positive contribution to the “Soul of the World”.
- It shows that obstacles to one’s personal legend are merely obstacles – not blockades.
- It challenges you to think about your own personal legend.
- It explores the meaning of “living the dream”.
- It encourages you not to delay the living of your legend.
- It emphasizes constant learning.
Well, this book deserves more than a shot.
Buy the book by clicking here.
About the Author
When I die, bury me with all my tatts on. When I die, bury me without the lights on.