The Alchemist – A book that I reread multiple times

If there’s one book which is my all time favourite in all categories, it is The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. This book helped me change my perspective on thinking.

This book was lying in the book shelf for many years, untouched. It came as complementary copy to some other book. I kept it along with my book collection without making any attempt to read it.

After almost 4-5 years, I somehow decided to read it. These are some of the mysteries of life !!

That day, one of my cousin visited the home, and asked for couple of books to read. I gave her all the collection I had. She selected few and returned The Alchemist. That is when I actually realised that I had this book.

For the previous few months I was in a state of confusion about present and future. I was feeling all alone. I was thinking about the next steps in life. I had started questioning the purpose of life. I wouldn’t say I got the answer after reading this book but certainly understood a way to think about it. There are many books which helped in fine tuning this thought but Alchemist was the first one to plant the seed.

Anyways, when I noticed this book that day, it looked different than how it looked for all those years. I decided to read at least one page of it.

Alchemist is about a boy who goes in pursuit of a treasure which he dreamt in his dream. This treasure is located very far from his place. To achieve this, he has to leave his comfort zone of being a Shepard.

Addiction

After I read the first page, I felt so connected with the main character of the book, that I didn’t want to stop reading it. I read 70% of the book in next one day. As I went through the book, all the idea or philosophy mentioned there started making sense. I started feeling that this is such a brilliant book that it summarises story of every individual. Paulo Coelho is a genius writer.

Brief overview of the book

  • Santiago, the boy who lives in Andalusia, is Shepard who’s living a comfortable life. He follows his dream of getting the treasure by leaving behind his comfort zone. This includes his favourite sheep, Parents, his place and the beautiful daughter of a nearby trader. He goes through lot of conflict in his mind while thinking on this adventure but finally decides to go with it.
  • He crosses the ocean and reaches a new place where everybody spoke new language which he didn’t understand. That doesn’t stop him from going ahead with his earlier plan. Unfortunately someone robs him of what money he had made from selling his sheep. He is now left with nothing. How can life be so cruel. He becomes sad and decides to go back to his home.
  • He starts working with a trader and helps improve his business. The boy accumulates some money so that he could go back to where he cam from. The trader narrates his story about why he setup this shop. He always wanted to go to Mecca which his life’s dream. He wanted to accumulate wealth and then pursue his dream. But, by the time he accumulated enough wealth to go to Mecca, it was already late. Now he can’t go to Mecca, he’s too old. This point changes The Boy’s thinking and he decides to go in search of the treasure.
  • Life tests him with many different things on his way to the treasure. He joins a caravan which passes through Egyptian deserts. He meets new people, learns about new culture. He also meets the Alchemist who can convert any metal into Gold. He finally reaches the place which is supposed to be filled with treasure.

Will he get the treasure or not is – something you need to read the book to understand.

The Boy’s journey to a new and unknown place through many difficulties, is itself philosophical in nature. It teaches you many lessons. The book concludes with the same summary.

One must go in search of the treasure of one’s life.