The Alchemist 2“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better.” Paulo Coelho

Early this year I saw a clip of a Tavis Smiley interview with the actor Will Smith. Smith was promoting his movie, I am Legend, and he mentioned that The Alchemist was one of his favorite books. He was very emphatic about his belief in the concept of the bestseller by Paulo Coelho. Though I was unfamiliar with the author, Smith’s passion encouraged me to put The Alchemist on my ‘must read’ list.

Two weeks ago I bought the book. It is a short, but very powerful read. The Alchemist chronicles the journey of a boy named Santiago, who chose to be a Sheppard instead of a Priest. He wanted to travel, and to be a Sheppard gave him that opportunity. He was contented with his life until he had a dream that proposed he could have much more. At first, he was skeptical that his dream was literal, and he did not want to leave his sheep or the chance that he could marry a girl he barely knew. He met a king who convinced him to pursue the dream, and so the boy sold his sheep, and went to Africa.

In Africa, Santiago sought knowledge, and the treasure his dream promised. Many unforeseen trials threatened his victory. The more knowledgeable he became, he began to understand that everything was connected. His perseverance rewarded him with many valuable comrades, including an Alchemist, who helped him believe in his Personal Legend. He also fell in love with a girl from the desert, Fatima. His love for Fatima made him want to end his search to build a life with her. She told him that he should not let love divert his journey, and she promised to wait for his return.

In the end the boy triumphed. He saw his journey come full circle, and he honored his promises.

When I finished The Alchemist, I wanted to read it again immediately. I wanted to maintain the feeling of hope I felt as I read it, as well as the desire to follow my own dreams. I recommend this book to anyone who needs encouragement to make their dreams a reality. Sometimes your dreams are too big for others to believe possible. If fear of ridicule is holding you back just don’t tell anyone. Decide what you want and do it. Get educated about whatever it is. Use every spare moment you have to build on it, so when your opportunity comes you are ready.

“If you stay ready you ain’t got to get ready.” Will Smith


  1. endofthegame says:

    If you liked this you should check out ‘Way of the Peaceful Warrior’, that feeling you mention after reading the Alchemist was even stronger for me after reading Peaceful Warrior. Enlightening book!


  2. When people ask me, “What is your favorite book?”, I always say The Alchemist. I absolutely love this simple story. Everyone should own a copy. It breaks down into simple terms the beauty and power of having a dream. If not for this book, I might not have the drive I do to fulfill my Personal Legend. Maktub!



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