I’ve never been a huge fan of self-help books.
My siblings and I come from a small town, population: 3,500. We only recently opened a super-Walmart (which is still kind of small).
We don’t get to see the big city often, but when we do, our favorite thing to do is go to Barnes & Noble.
No, really. We love it there.
It’s crazy how excited we get come the day we get to go. It is, in fact, the only thing we do in Atlanta. And we go there just to read all day long! We would yearn for the weekend to come just so that we can spend an entire day sitting under the store’s tree nook and read.
This time, I chose to read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I’ve heard of this title through various lists of books one should read during their life, and it seemed short, so why not?
The book captivated me.
It was a perfect dose of fantasy and reality. It asked questions that I’ve been asking myself, such as: What was I meant to do with life? What if I just wanted to enjoy life versus working the life expected of me?
But it didn’t write the book in the typical tell-you-facts kind of book. There were adventures, adversities, and realizations.
Published in 1988, in Brazil, The Alchemist started out modestly. Copies of the books were sold through word of mouth, but exponentially grew as Coelho had appealed to an American publisher to translate and sell it in the United States. Then, everybody was reading it.
The Alchemist tells a fictional story of an Arab “boy” (as he is referred as throughout the whole book) who has a recurring dream and the tug of fate to pursue it. He is discouraged by many obstacles, but always has guidance “omens” to pursue what his legacy is. Along the way, he learns to read the signs of the world, understanding how everything in the world is connected. As he reaches the “X” where his treasure is supposed to be located, he finds out that it was buried alllll the way back where he started.
It wasn’t a life changer like The Four Agreements, but I was hooked and finished it within 3 days. The short 200 page book (100 if you read on the phone) had given me a lot of thinking on my current life phase.
The book highlights his resilience, quick wit, weakness, bravery, compassion, logic, ambition, sorrows, and regrets. The boy is so human.
Yet, there were magical elements, which reminds me of all the fantasy books I used to obsess over.
Time and again, I found myself rooting for the boy, wondering what happens next, as if it were happening to me. I want him to reach his treasure, as I yearn to reach mine- whatever that may be.
I related to the book on a personal level, because I felt it throughout my life.
There is an impression that seems like the book has an overdone cheesy, silly, time-wasting story of you-can-do-anything-you-put-your-heart-to kind of attitude. I don’t believe that the book is meant to be taken seriously by any means.
There were many important lessons I enjoyed through the book, such as:
The book highlights the boy’s resilience, quick wit, weakness, bravery, compassion, logic, ambition, sorrows, and regrets. The boy is so human. Yet, there were magical elements, which reminds me of all the fantasy book I used to obsess over.
If you want something bad enough, the universe will conspire to help you
If one wants something to happen, they have to go after it like crazy. I find that when I search for things, there are always ways to make it happen. Sometimes it comes from a different place than expected, but the signs are all there.
Awareness of the disconnect between people and the surroundings
People don’t listen to the signs in nature. The book also teaches us that all things are connected. The life and energy of every living being can affect all others around it.
Nothing is insignificant, knowledge and sincere, hard work will pay off on the long run
In this part of the book, the boy had gotten all of his life savings taken by a thief. He is left with nothing in a strange land where he begins working at a jewelry store. Slowly he helped the shop-owner expand his business over the months. The business amazingly takes off.
The book spoke out to my naive self, that dreams will eventually come true, if you keep pursuing it and not lose sight of your treasure.
Thanks for stopping by! Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Do you know of similar books that is similar to this and can recommend? Thanks!