Book Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

If you’re hunting for a book that changes your life’s perspectives by providing a positive turn to every event in life, this is the book for you! It is an inspirational masterpiece that has taken a seat in the minds of positive thinkers and believers.

About the book

The original version of ‘The Alchemist’ was published in Portuguese in 1987, after which Paulo Coelho turned it into an English masterpiece. Although the book’s sale was relatively low in the first few weeks, the universe conspired to make it a hit in the later months of its release. As a result, the book has sold 65 million copies worldwide and remained a NY Times Bestseller for over 315 weeks. For anyone who has already read the book, it is a self-help masterpiece that provides a valuable lesson in every chapter, if not every page.

Summary of The Alchemist

The story is centered around a shepherd named Santiago, who constantly dreams about striking a treasure in the Pyramids of Egypt. While on the journey to find answers, he encounters a fortune teller who interprets his dream as a prophecy. While searching, he also meets the King of Salem, who recommends Santiago sell all his sheep and fill his ‘Personal Legend.’

After this encounter, the story shifts to the shepherd boy selling all his sheep and following his life’s purpose. Finally, he starts his journey to discover his dream treasure. The boy faces various obstacles to gain what he believes is his and eventually finds it.

Interpretation of The Alchemist

While talking about Santiago’s story, the author throws light on following one’s destiny. The book’s central theme is ‘when you want something to happen, the entire universe will conspire to make your wish a reality. After you read, you will notice that this motif is followed throughout the story.

Another reader’s interpretation of the book is based on overcoming one’s fear and giving in to destiny. The detrimental consequences of fear are endless. If one lets fear take over their life, one can achieve nothing and live miserably. If Santiago had allowed his fear of the unknown and traveling to a deserted land by selling his herd to get to his brain, he wouldn’t have discovered the treasure in Egypt.


Lessons from the alchemist

Although it depends on the reader to interpret and learn a personal lesson, the author focuses on providing the following lessons to his readers:

  • Everyone has a dream that they wish to conquer. If you wish to reach that goal, you have to follow your personal legend.
  • Stop being afraid of the unknown. If you wish to conquer something in life and progress forward, you should never let fear get in your way.
  • It is essential to rise stronger after you fall, which is one of the factors in running after your success.


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