The Alchemist - Book Review

2017 marked the 29th year anniversary of the publication of The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho), in 1988. Since then, there were over 150 million copies sold worldwide, in 80 languages. The book has won 115 international prizes and awards. And if you look into the New York Time Bestsellers, it is still there. Needless to say, The Alchemist received tons of recommendations from book lovers community.

I have so far purchased 18 books of Paulo Coelho. Among that, I have read 10. For that, I am quite familiar with his writing and the message he tried to leave his readers with. Paulo Coelho’s writing always has a touch of magic. Some books are either entirely set in a magical background, or the characters will somehow practise magic to some extent. Further, his books are mostly spirituality related, so you can expect to read about Faith, Religion and Christianity. However, I don’t find his books to be religious, which is a good thing for readers like me, who is not religious (I’m Budhist).

In this review, it’s gonna be a long one for I have read the book 3 times. Thus, I can’t just do a brief one because there are so many things to talk about it. But I will be selective


The Alchemist is a story about a shepherd in search of his treasure, named Santiago. On his journey to the pyramids in Egypt, he encountered many challenges. He had lost much and gained just equally, even more. He found Love, accumulated Knowledge, understood Himself and gained Wealth. Santiago’s journey, though fictional, represents each of our own. The journey toward a Dream only us know. The journey toward finding the meaning of our own life. The journey of personal growth. And during that journey, none of us would make it very far alone, without the help of people around us.

The theme of the book is about one’s Personal Legend. This theme is the leading inspiration of most Paulo Coelho’s books.

Find your Dream and never stop chasing it down. This is the only obligation in one's life. #book Click To Tweet


The Alchemist is one of the most recommended novel for entrepreneurs. That to say, the book has an effect of encouragement. But what is more in it?

#1 | The Alchemist – When you need to realise your dream …

We all have Dreams. Some of my friends, up until this point (24 years old), don’t know what they are most passionate about in their life. They conclude often that “I don’t have a dream.” Sadly though, I believe they are wrong and you may be too. Think about it, the time when your mind was free, what did you think about or do most? If you like watching movie all day long and imitating the characters, voicing over their lines. Didn’t you once dream that you can do it someday? Be an actor, voice-over actor, perhaps?

The first thing we do unknowingly is killing our own dream, even just a flashing thought of it. We kill it out of thinking it is not practical enough. And we are not capable of doing it. If a dream doesn’t serve as our hobby and bring income, it is not a valid dream. It is not true, especially the latter part. Even businessmen get advised like thinking about money after having a very good product that serves best to its users. Money is the result of hard work, not the goal of it. You should think the same when it comes to your Dream. You should enjoy doing it first, be so good at it second and lastly, monetise it (optional).

#2 | The Alchemist – When you face challenges on your journey …

You will encounter the concept of Beginner’s Luck in the book. It means that when we start out doing something, it is easy and we become confident when we get it done. But then things start to get harder after the initial works. And we begin doubting our self. So remember this, nothing worths having comes easily.

Tips!!! Funny enough, when I encounter hardship, I tell myself that this is just a minor one, big ones are coming. “Winter is coming!” (hey there Game Of Thrones fan!). With that light-hearted attitude, I get over each obstacle, knowing I am strong enough to go through my journey.

#3 | The Alchemist – When you doubt yourself …

We do this a lot. We withdraw from every idea or anything just because we think we are not good enough. I recently watched video of Mark Zuckerberg giving a commencement speech at Harvard University. He said that ideas are not fully formed from the start, they are good only when we work on them. So when you have a dream, WORK ON IT and it will take shape. You will then see it more clearly day by day.

As in The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho believes that we are already equipped with whatever things demanded from us to complete our journey. Trust in yourself more!


The Alchemist is a rather short book, less than 200 pages. It is very easy to finish in one go. But you need to take aside time and contemplate every detail from the book. You will miss out a lot of great lessons if you rush the reading. The stories from the book are metaphorical. Which means you may want to compare them to your life to find out their meanings.

I can count more than 10 things I learned from it, but I won’t list all. The 3 lessons I listed above are the main things you can’t hardly miss out. And the remaining, I would love it if you can share your thoughts with me after reading it. Again, if you don’t have time, don’t rush into this book. It is not entertaining, it is for contemplating purpose.

Now I mentioned that I read it 3 times, but still there is one point I didn’t get and hope you can help me out. Comment below your thoughts on the question here. For now, enjoy the book!

What is the relation between the story of Narcissus in the prologue with the main story of The Alchemist?



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