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The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

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      08.07.2013 14:17
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      Great little read about following your heart.

      This book for me still has too many negative reviews. How a book can sell over 65 million copies worldwide and not be a great and enticing read is beyond me. I guess each to their own. For me this book is well worth a read , Paolo Coelho has a unique writing style which I find very easy to relate to. I recently read ''Veronika decides to die'' also by Coelho and I found myself reading it all in 2 days - couldn't put it down!
      Put simply if you're not into spirituality or tales that inspire you to follow your dream/dreams then anything written by this author is probably not for you.
      The story is about a young shepherd by the name of Santiago who goes on a search to follow his dream, and along the way learns a lot about the world, his opinion of the world and himself. There is something endearing about the boy and his journey which had me hooked!

      This is a very short book less than 200 pages , making it easy to get into (and wishing it would last a little longer!), and made me think about my life and my own hopes and dreams, something which Coelho appears to have knack at doing!! Enjoy!

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        17.03.2013 15:25
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        Ideal for passing a few hours if you can ignore, or like, the self-help feel to the book.

        This book has been sitting on one of my shelves "to be read" for a few months now, and I finally got round to picking it up. According to the blurb on the cover it has been translated into 60+ languages, has sold millions of copies worldwide, and has been endorsed by a variety of people from all walks of life (having an endorsement by Madonna on the back cover may not have been a great idea though). I picked it because it was short (only 160 pages) and I just wanted to kill time for an afternoon.

        The story follows a Spanish shepherd boy, Santiago, as he travels from Andalusia to the Egyptian pyramids, meeting a number of characters along the way. The message of the story is to follow your dreams, and surmount all obstacles whilst doing so.

        I guess different people will take different things from reading The Alchemist. Personally I disliked it as it read almost as a self-help book, and there was a clear religious/spiritual tone of preaching throughout. The writing style was very simple, much like traditional fables, and was very straight-forward to read. The story itself isn't that remarkable or outstanding, and I felt that the story and characters came second to the authors desire to write of his philosophy of destiny and achieving it.

        On the whole, it's a simple story, simply written, and if you read is just as a story to pass an afternoon, without trying to delve into the authors deeper meaning, The Alchemist is fine. What lets it down is the preachy, self-help messages running through it.

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          22.08.2012 23:23
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          Verging on an insult to your intelligence!

          A Story About Following Your Dream...

          Whilst travelling Europe this summer I often found myself browsing the shelves of local book stores in the different cities I visited. I was reading a lot on the train journeys and seemed in constant need of new material. It was in a second hand store in Brussels that I discovered an English copy of what was described to me as 'a life changer' (not just by the blurb), so after a quick read of the beginning I conceded to give the little book a go. I noted too its 'international best seller' sticker, and recalled hearing the authors name, Paulo Coelho somewhere or other.

          In essence, The Alchemist is about a young Shepherd boy who roams the hilly landscapes of Andalusia concerned only with the well-being of his sheep - there simple needs of water and fresh food pointing him in his next direction. Santiago is that boy, and besides an obsession with a market owner's daughter in a village he is on route to make trade, he has no real place to go. It's when he meets a man (a king no doubt) in the village who talks to him of 'destinies' and the following of 'omens' that lead to life's true goal that Santiago's story makes an abrupt change. In no time he's off (having sold his flock) across the Strait of Gibraltar to Tangier. The man had told him about Egypt's pyramids and that 'there he would find his treasure, his destiny' - so of course, that was all it took, he was off. Arriving, he worked in a shop selling crystal glass and quickly changed the fortune of the business, bringing in new customers via new innovative ways of selling the glass (making tea in them). Apparently, if you really want something 'all the universe will conspire to help you achieve that thing' - amazing! Santiago really, really wanted to help the man, earn his money and go on to the pyramids, so the crystal shop flourished! After leaving the shop he embarks on the long journey across the desert and meets an English man in search of 'the alchemist' - a man capable of making gold from lead, a holder of the Philosophers Stone. He gets to an Oasis and instantly finds his 'true love' Fatima - brief like the book. He also finds this alchemist fellow and the alchemist says something along the lines of, 'Your seeking your destiny aren't you? You should carry on to the Pyramids'. So he does, then there's a silly twist at the end. The end.

          The story is, in my opinion, very generic, very predictable, very short - and in short, nothing special. When I first started reading, Coelho suckered me in well (I must admit) with light terminology - destiny, omens - and progressively moved on to deeper (less believable) lines, throwing in 'the soul of the world' and other phrases, attempting to suggest that everything is connected like the story of the novel (even though neither are well connected in my opinion). At the time I could deal with this heavy hitting spiritual lingo because I saw it as 100% fiction, but when Coelho started 'linking' in religion and religious texts I gave in to logic and began despising what the author was trying to suggest. Life is a scientific existence in my opinion, it can't be explained by texts written by other humans several thousand years a go - it can be better explained by technology and the advances made since then. And although I can accept to an extent that there may well be more to life than we know, I don't think Paulo Coelho has the answer, somehow.

          The writing style I didn't mind - it was simple but effective. There is no depth to the characters however, because there aren't enough words between the pages to fully develop them. You get a picture of Santiago and perhaps the English man to a degree, but no one else - and that's just lazy. In conclusion to the entirety, I don't think this is a 'life changer' of any sort. Even to religious people, I don't think the assumptions would make much sense - to Atheists it is inconceivable, as anything illogical usually is.

          PAGES: 177
          AUTHOR: Paulo Coelho
          AVAILABLE: Amazon.co.uk (£5.29)
          RATING: 1.2/5

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            24.04.2012 00:06
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            The best book I've ever read.

            Been told that the book is amazing, however i've been delaying reading it for a while, a few months ago I was going on holiday and had a long flight ahead of me so I purchased the book at the airport. Read it while I was flying and absolutely loved it, I can honestly say it changed my life. I am now reading Paulo Coelho's other book. I advised this book to most of my friends and most of them have exactly the same reaction as me. he book's amazing and really is life changing. I have first heard about this book about 5-6 years ago, but since i was much younger then I did not have any interest in it, however I did always keep it in mind, as my friend did say i changed her life, I am glad she told me about it and that I read it, it's definitely the best book I've ever read.

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              04.11.2009 00:03
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              HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

              The Alchemist is a modern allegorical fable, about a man that follows his heart to achieve his destiny. The book was first published in 1988, but due to its popularity the novel has been translated into 67 languages - a record number for a living author. I think that this fact alone shows that the messages within this book transcend language and culture.

              ********* The plot **********

              In the novel we follow Santiago, a young boy Spanish shepherd, on a journey to fulfil his destiny. The central plot focuses on the dreams of both Santiago and the eponymous alchemist, who are both seeking treasure.

              We follow Santiago who is on both a physical and spiritual journey. He travels far and wide and meets different people on his travels. He also love, countless opportunities and danger.

              The main theme running through the book is 'destiny' - the novel encourages you to chase your dreams, but shows the reader that some people never manage to achieve their destiny because it takes both time and effort.

              ********** Style *************

              The Alchemist is written in a traditional fable style, the language is very simple and this is a very easy read. This is also quite a short book, so people that don't often read won't be put off by its size and this novel had such a profound effect on me that I'd be inclined to say - "if you read only one book, make it The Alcemist".

              Most of the characters within the book are not given names and animals are used to represent specific character traits.

              The scenery is described really well and this descriptive language makes you feel as though you're being sucked into Santiago's world.

              The characters that are human are only identified by what they do for a living or the belief system that they represent.

              ******** My opinion *********

              This book was recommended to me by a friend and after I read it I was so impressed that I bought a copy for my mum, dad, brother and two of my friends.

              The best thing about this novel is that it's one of those books that you'd read completely differently at different stages of your life - if I read it again in two year's time I'm sure that I'd take a different conclusion from it. My Dad and I sat down to discuss it and it was almost like we'd read completely different novels!

              I would recommend this book to anybody that is at a crossroad in their life. I also think this would be a good buy for people that are looking for something a little bit different to read their children at bedtime, because adults and children alike will get a positive, empowering message from reading this book.

              Five out of five stars.

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                28.09.2009 17:21
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                A cheesy, banal, fortune-cookie 'message' barely concealed in a paper-thin story.

                'Listen to your heart. Never give up. Believe in yourself and you can do anything. Follow your destiny.'

                Question: What have I just paraphrased?

                Is it A) the script of High School Musical? B) The blurb of some generic self help book? Or is it C) The Alchemist?

                It's C. Of course its C, you all know what review you're looking at. But it was a bit of a trick question, because The Alchemist is not much more than a generic self-help book, and may as well be High School Musical for all the depth and realism it employs.

                For those who don't know, it is a novel, of sorts, by serial best-seller Paolo Coelho, weighing in at a scant 150 pages and telling the relatively simple tale of a young Andalucian shepherd boy who gives up everything to seek his destiny. His destiny, as revealled to him in a dream, is to find treasure at the pyramids in Egypt. So, with a little encouragement from a handy plot device, sorry, 'mysterious stranger', off he travels. General adventuring ensues.

                And that's all fine. Nothing wrong with an adventure story. Nothing wrong with coming of age, falling in love, hunting for treasure, any of that. It's the messages the book conveys (with all the subtlety of a brick to the head) that really trouble me. The book tells us that if we really try to achieve our destiny, the universe will help us. This is unmitigated nonsense of course, but I could accept it within the confines of this story. Sure, why not? Interpreting signs and co-incidences to direct the boy on his journey has potential to be pretty engaging. But to ask people to accept that this is how the world really works is actually fairly insulting.

                The book throws up examples of people who've ignored their destiny, or don't really want it, and as a result they are always troubled, never quite satisfied. This is what Coehlo wants us to know. If we don't live our lives this way we can't be happy. If we don't achieve our destiny, or get what we really desire from life, then it's our fault. It's our fault for not trying, or ignoring it, or just not wanting it badly enough. And that doesn't sit right with me. An instant slight at all the millions of people who have tried and failed. People who don't know what they want from life? People with no major burning desires? They can never be happy.

                So the book started to grate on me. It was made worse by the nagging feeling that the author was repeatedly jabbing me in the ribs with a bony finger and insisting that this is the truth, this is the big secret of the universe. Stick with him and it's smooth sailing; he's got all the answers. When of course he doesn't. This work may be comforting or encouraging to some, but its philosophies came across to me as trite and shallow.

                As the story progresses it descends further and further into absurdity. By the time the boy nears Egypt the focus is on communicating with the Soul of the World (apparently the capitalisation is mandatory) and listening to your heart and turning into the wind and chatting to the sun and all kinds of bizarre blather. And still there's the undercurrent of seriousness, the implication that great truths are being imparted, when of course they are not.

                During his adventure the boy reaches an oasis and falls in love. The girl, Fatima, for some unfathomable reason reciprocates, and they are sad when the boy must inevitably continue on his journey. 'You're crying?' asks the boy. 'I may be a woman of the desert,' she replies, 'but I'm still a woman.' Wonderful. I mean, that's the thing about us women, we're just big blubbering bags of saltwater aren't we? So ruled by our emotions we're incapable of rational thought, right? How nice of Mr Coehlo to point that out. He is clearly a most astute observer of women. She goes on for a while about the duty of the women of the oasis to stay put and wait for their men to return, and it's all pretty unpleasant, to me at least. Of course, one could argue that this is pretty accurate in terms of historical and cultural context, but as Coehlo has made no other attempt at realism or historical accuracy I fail to see why he should start here.

                I don't have a problem with characters saying or thinking things I disapprove of, (such as when the boy narrator observes that Africans have an 'evil' look about them) if I did I doubt I could ever read anything, but the problem here is that these aren't really characters, they're allegories, metaphors, designed to be just about anyone, and relevant to all. But in that case it's probably better if one avoids the lazy stereotypes about women and race as 'something we can all relate to'. Because I'd rather not, thanks.

                And yet, despite all this, I didn't hate the book. I disliked its message, I disliked its characters (or lack thereof) but the writing is adequate; simple and sparse in a way befitting a folklore-esque tale, and it had the good grace to be short and not drag its message out more than could be stomached. I suppose if it makes people happy, if people gain something from following the lessons laid out in this book, then it can't be too bad a thing. But personally I'm far too jaded and cynical to put up with these tales of wonder conveyed as some sort of immutable fact.

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                  08.06.2009 11:13
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                  A world best-seller which didn't inspire me

                  This is perhaps the most famous book written by the renowned Brazilian author, Paulo Coelho. It is the second book of the author that I read, following on from my reading of 'The Fifth Mountain'. Apparently, this book is one of the most best selling books in history and it has been entered into the Guinness Book of Records as having been translated into the most different languages.

                  The book tells the story of Santiago, a shepherd boy living in medieval Spain. A dream leads him to abandon his life with the sheep and seek to travel to the Pyramids in Egypt in search of a treasure. He has many adventures and setbacks along the way but finally arrives at the Pyramids where he has a surprising encounter.

                  The book is very well written and Paulo Coelho is clearly an extremely talented storyteller. Although the term 'classic' can often be interpreted to mean 'difficult to read', this modern classic is easily read and is not literally challenging.

                  However, despite everything that this book has going for it, I was ultimately a bit disappointed by the book. Probably, the amount of hype and the big build-up led me to have too high expectations. However, the jumble of confused religion, spirituality and magic, although undoubtedly enchanting and lifechanging for some, just didn't appeal to me at all. However, I seem to be in a minority of one on that score and I understand that the book is now being made into a film starring Laurence Fishburne.

                  Although I didn't really enjoy it, the book can be read easily and without too much effort. It's probably worth a read to make up your own mind.

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                  19.01.2009 22:30

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                  The story was full of metaphors and really exciting

                  Santiago is a young boy who dreamed about the treasure in a place. He went million miles to get to his dream. The journey brought him to many beautiful places and also a very fantastic adventure he never imagined he would experience.
                  I wonder what made Paulo Coelho made a story like this. It is really something beyond my imagination. Not only that the story and the deep philosophy was maybe too hard for me to understand but I couldn't believe that someone could put such a deep and meaningful message in such interesting story.
                  Though I couldn't get the meaning, I don't think that the story was boring. Instead of feel bored I feell that the story looks like some fantasy novels I read before. Indeed, this is really something that lots of people have to read.
                  And I always like Paulo Coelho's way of writing. He used lots of metaphors which would make the readers thought a lot about what he would really wanted to deliver.
                  No wonder that this book was a hit and a best seller, since it was really something wonderful.

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                  01.11.2008 23:01
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                  Wanna change your life? Read this book!!

                  Well, Im Brazilian so i should speak about my favourite writer:Paulo Coelho, he is brazilian as well!
                  The Alchemist was the first book i read, My literature teacher asked us to read when we were only 15 years old! and it changed my life! its such an amazing story!
                  It is a symbolic story that urges its readers to follow their dreams.

                  Originally published in Greece in 1988,The Alchemist has been translated into 67 languages, a guinness world record for the book translated in most languages. It has sold more than 100 million copies in more than 150 countries, becoming one of the best-selling books in history.

                  The Story goes like this:

                  Santiago, a boy living in Andalusia, leads a common life of travel through his trade of shepherding and entertains thoughts of marrying a merchant's daughter. One day he has a dream telling him to go to the Egyptian pyramids, a destination pointed out to him by a child in-dream and apparently leading to treasure. He consults a gypsy to interpret his dream, who simply tells him to go to the Pyramids to find the loot and asks for a tenth of his future treasure instead of a fee for her service. He becomes discouraged by this advice, yet she assures him that the wisest men would agree with the simplicity of this special case.

                  When Santiago finally reaches the Pyramids, he is attacked by the desert's inhabitants and has to admit that he is searching for a treasure there. One of them laughs and reveals that he once had a dream about finding treasure in the very church where Santiago first had the dream. Santiago then returns to the church and finds the treasure, thus realizing his dream


                  Paulo Coelho wrote also the following that are my favourite books:

                  The Pilgrimage
                  The Valkyries
                  By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept
                  Veronika Decides to Die ( VERY GOOD!!!)
                  Eleven Minutes

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                  09.09.2008 14:31
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                  Follow your Dream, do not worry about obstacles and difficulties, as long as you belief and prepare

                  When I first saw this book, I cannot help but wonder how would a thin book like this be an inspirational self help book. I was wrong.

                  The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is one of the bestselling books in history. It has been translated into 56 languages, and has sold more than 65 million copies in more than 150 countries.

                  The Alchemist is about an Andalusian shepherd boy called Santiago, who was lead by his dream to found his treasure in the pyramids in Egypt. His journey brought him through Africa into Egypt. He used his intuition and determination to conquer the trials he faces along the way.

                  There are several interesting characters in the book like the gypsy, the alchemist and the girl he fell in love with. There is also some mystic illustration like how Santiago turn himself into wind and how the Alchemist could turn lead into gold.


                  I would like to look beyond the mystical illustration. This book points to us that in whatever we do, there is a process we have to follow such as training and learning. This is the step we have to take to achieve our dream. Beside learning and training, we should also be aware of our environment and surrounding to make it work for us.

                  Finally, the most important I have learned from the Alchemist is Follow your Dream, do not worry about obstacles and difficulties, as long as you belief and prepare yourself substantially, you will succeed.

                  I would high recommend this book, there could be a message for you too.

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                    06.03.2006 11:18
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                    An interesting read but generally this book has been overhyped.

                    I recently came across Paulo Coelho's 'The Alchemist' on a friend's bookshelf. Having never read it and given that it is a book of great aclaim I hastily borrrowed it.

                    The Alchemist is Brazilian born Coelho's most famous works although he has written many others including 'The Pilgrimage', 'The Fifth Mountain' and 'Veronica Decides to Die'.

                    The Alchemist is a short book, with just 177 pages in a decent sized and well speced font and I read it quickly in just a few hours. According to the back of the book over 30 million copies have been sold world wide in 56 different languages, since it was first published in 1988. The Alchemist has receieved numerous prestigious awards inlcuding The Crystal Award and France's Legion d'Honneur.

                    The main character is 'Santiago' although he is commonly referred to throughout simply as 'the boy'. The Boy is a shepard in Spain, in the Andalusian mountains. He became a shepard because of his desire to travel and to see the world.
                    When we meet him he has just experienced a recurring dream in which he travels to the pyramids of Eygpt to find buried treasure. On both occassions he has had the dream he wakes up just as he is about to be shown where the treasure is buried.

                    The boy goes to visit a gypsy who tells fortunes and here he asks to know more. She tells him his dream is true and sent by God and that he must find the treasure. She does not charge him for the consulatation but instead requests that when he finds his fortune he bring her one tenth.

                    Soon the boy meets a man who claims to be a king. The man tells him about the language of the world and how he can follow his destiny by listening to his heart and following the omens send to guide him. His words encourage the boy to sell his flock and to set off to Eygpt to find the treasure.

                    The book details Santiago's journey folowing the omens presnted to him all the way to Africa and the fortunes and misfortunes he meets along the way. There he meets a Alchemist who guides him and teaches him in the ways of the soul, aiding him in his quest.

                    This is in essence a philosophical, spiritual book and as such it isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea. Those of you who enjoyed the likes of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Sophie's World, and The Celestine Prophecy may want to give this book a try. It is only short afterall and it is easy to read using a poetic, simple language suitable for most ages.

                    I can't say it has caused any major life changes for me personally. Although I did enjoy it and I think it raises some interesting and novel ideas, I guess I am a little sceptical when it comes to these kind of ideas. I give it four out of five which seems to be the general consensus amongst other reviewers.

                    The book is available from all major retailers for £6.99 which is pricey given how slim it is. As it has been in print for years I reccomend hanging on to see if you can grab it from a second hand shop or from one of the millions of other people that bought it new.

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                      13.09.2005 10:29
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                      I can't see that it'll change many lives, but it's enjoyable reading, and should make you think

                      "Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever."

                      That's a pretty impressive claim, and one that is echoed by the rest of the (even more than usual) gushing praise on the back cover of The Alchemist. Coehlo's work is much-adored, and such was the level of esteem directed its way, I felt it would be tantamount to criminal neglect not to give it a go. After all, it's only a slim little fellow, so wasn't going to be heavy going, and anything that can condense such apparent quality to such an extent had to be something special.

                      The tale acquaints us with Santiago, an Andalusian Shepherd-boy who travels with his sheep around the country, and, as we meet him, is currently looking forward to returning to the village where he met a merchant's daughter a year ago, hoping no-one else has since asked for her hand. However, stopping at Tarifa, he meets a Gyspy woman who reads dreams, and imparts that which has been running through his head: A child is playing with his flock, who, unusually, have no fear of him, and suddenly whisks Santiago away to the Egyptian Pyramids, where he tells him he will find his treasure.

                      The gypsy tells him that he must follow his dreams, and agrees to take one tenth of any treasure that Santiago might find, and our hero sets off to cross the sea to Tangiers. A King aids him, taking part of his flock, and from here, he journeys over to Africa and across the continent, coming across a host of people who help him along his way, imparting various gems of knowledge and insight. A Merchant, with whom he works to gain enough money to continue his journey, an Englishman, searching for the Alchemist (who possesses the secrets to gaining the Elixir of Life and the Philosopher's Stone), and a woman of the desert, to become the love of his life.

                      This is certainly not an original and innovative structure being dealt with here - boy goes on treasure hunt, come to village, meets character, leaves, comes to city, meets character, leaves ...

                      As such, the basic plot and characters (other than Santiago) are simply vehicles for the real tale being told - the people our boy meets contribute little in terms of interesting personalities to the book, and there are no substantial deviations from the routine procession from point A to point B in the storyline, save for a minor twist at the end.

                      Having said that, this is not the focus of the novel - the characters are deliberately vague and unimposing, so as to allow the philosophical musings and life lessons to come through unhindered. Although this can feel a bit awkward and forced, when an individual who has barely been introduced launches straight into intellectual debate on "The Soul of the World", or complex issues of Alchemy, it does focus attention on Coelho's key points.

                      When he meets up with the Alchemist, Santiago learns to communicate with this soul, that which runs through everything that has been created, becoming able to speak the language of the world through listening to his heart. If such ideas appear overly syrupy and cliched to you, this isn't likely to be a book you appreciate, for there is little else here but such lessons.

                      "Remember ... the world is only the visible aspect of God. And that alchemy does is to bring spiritual perfection into contact with the material place."

                      Coelho's writing is smooth and liquid; it runs off the page at a fair old rate, and you should be able to slip through it in a couple of hours. He's not a superb writer, though - he often resorts to telling the reader the emotions of the characters, especially those minor ones; tacking "he said, frustrated," or such like onto the end of a fairly unremarkable portion of dialogue.

                      Personally, I couldn't quite see this as a life-changing work; it is thought-provoking at times, and deals with some nice concepts relating to pursuing your dreams, believing signs and ways to change your life. However, these ideas exist in little more than a fable - the story itself is relatively weak, and remains in the memory for a suprisingly small period. Although I was rather taken with the book the first time around, I soon forgot most of what I had read. By all means read - you'll likely enjoy, but don't expect to come out of it a changed person.

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                        26.08.2005 21:46
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                        A MUST read..a modern day clasic

                        This is the story of an Andalusian shepherd boy.The tale is simple in as much as its an easy read, but it is also a magical story with heaps of wisdom woven into it. The boy follows his dreams and learns great wisdom as he listens to his heart.
                        I read this on holiday and came back a changed person. It was a sort of an epiphany, it made me take stock of myself and my outlook. I can thoroughly recommend this and all Paulo's novels.

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                          26.10.2003 01:37
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                          In all honesty this is not a book I would have picked up of the bookshelf as my next absorbing read but, as chance would have it my sister dropped it into my lap and said '....before you do anything else you MUST read this book - and don't forget to give me it back'! Hmmm....so what was all the excitement about? We generally like the same books so, henceforth, it became the next book on my reading list. I had no idea what to expect as I had never heard of Paulo Coelho before so his style of writing was new to me. The book itself was very short, only 177 pages, and very simplictically written. It had an attractive front cover in orange and blue depicting a barechested boy with the Egyptian Pyramids in the background. A cover very symbolic to the storyline. The book covers the journey of Santiago, a simple shepherd boy, who, feeling there is a lot more to life than his present lot, travels the world in search of his treasure and fulful his destiny. From his hometown in Spain to the sands of the desert. Santiago has many eventful encounters along the way and each has a spiritual message within which Santiago interprets into omens to point the way ahead towards his hidden treasure. We are subsonsciously led to believe that there are no such things as coincidence but that each event has arisen for a purpose, which we need to understand if we are to heed the hidden agenda. Paulo Coelho combines the mystical and the spiritual throughout the story in a very smooth flow of words which makes for a very easy read. I will not spoil the end of the story for those who haven't read it yet but it does leave you feeling inspirational and free. For a while after finishing the book you forget all about the 'baggage' we carry around with us and feel as free as a bird. Some people will no doubt act upon this feeling but the majority of us will just pick our 'baggage' back up and carry on as normal. However this book affects you it does prompt you to question where your true treasure really does lie. It is worth a read if only for this thought provoking question! Paulo Coelho is a Braziian writer and The Alchemist was translated by Alan R Clark. To date, the book has sold over 35 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 54 languages. The book is priced at £6.99 and is available at W.H. Smith and almost all major bookshops. Publishers: HarperCollins ISBN Number: 0-00-715566-2

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                            11.05.2002 06:48
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                            I was given a collection of Paulo Coelho's books for Christmas. I started reading this one - being the earliest. What a load of codswallop. I cannot belive this is an international bestseller. I will not give away the story. If you want to know what it is about read it - it won't take long. I just hope you won't be as disappointed as me. He goes on and on about omens, repeating the same stuff over and over and soon the sense of deja vu overwhelms you and you think why am I bothering to carry on. I am an avid book worm. But please do not waste your time on this. Get a decent read like Chocolate or A Walk in the Woods. You'll feel satisfied after reading those. Not disheartened like Paulo has left me ;0( Well from peoples comments I have decided you want to know more... so sorry if I give away the story... Basically the story is about a shepherd who goes in search of treasure. On many occasions he almost gives in, but he remembers the omens that the wise King has told him about and he is visited along the way by the alchemist who encourages him to listen to his heart or he will never be truly happy. In the end he disovers his treasure but the moral of the story is to go forwhat your heart desires and not just waste your life by ignoring your dreams. What irritated me was the endless talk of omens and the style in which the book was written. However this is just my "opinion". Obviously lots of people must love this book or it would not be a number one international bestseller. Personally I thought this was a waste of time, but as others who have written comments on this have said, it is only a short book, so why not see for yourself?

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                          • Product Details

                            This is the story of Santiago, a shepherd boy who dreams of travelling the world in search of a worldly treasure. From his home in Spain, he journeys to Tangiers, and from there into the Egyptian desert, where a fateful encounter with the alchemist awaits him.