The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.

The Alchemist is a joy to read. Quite upset to get to the end.

It will not to be to everyone’s liking, especially the cynics, but as a parable it has a number of wonderful lessons.

Everybody seemed to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about their own.


“What is the world’s greatest lie” the boy asked, completely surprised. “It is this; at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what is happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That is the world’s greatest lie.”

Self-imposed barriers

“No,” the alchemist answered. “What you still need to know is this; before a dream is realised the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. That’s the point at which most people give up. it is the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.”


If you start out promising what you don’t even have yet, you lose your desire to work towards getting it.


I am like everyone else — I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not what actually does.


The hills of Andalusia were only two hours away but there was an entire desert between him and Pyramids. Yet the boy felt that there was another another way to regard his situation; he was actually two hours closer to his treasure…the fact that two hours stretched into an entire year didn’t matter.


Don’t forget that everything you deal with is only one thing and nothing else.


As he mused about these things, he realized that he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief and as an adventurer in quest of a treasure.

“I am an adventurer, looking for treasure,” he said to himself.

Reframing and Positivity

“You should pay attention to the caravan” the boy said to the Englishman, after the camel driver had left. “We make a lot of detours but we are always heading for the same destination.

“And you ought to read more about the world” answered the Englishman. “Books are like caravans in that respect.”


“If I have to fight, it will be just as good a day to die as any other. Because I don’t live in either my past or my future. I am only interested in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. You will see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens and that tribesman fight because they are part of the human race. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we are living right now.”

Carpe Diem

“We have to take advantage when luck is on my side, and do as much to help it as it’s doing to help us. It’s called the principle of favourability. Or beginners luck.”


“When you possess great treasures inside you and try to tell others of them, seldom you are believed.”


“I’m going away” he said. “And I want you to know that I am coming back, I love you because…”

“Don’t say anything,” Fatima interrupted. “One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”


“If a person is living out his destiny, he knows everything he needs to know. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

Fear of failure

How do I guess at the future? Based on the omens of the present. The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present you can improve upon it.

On being present

“I am an old superstitious Arab, and I believe in our proverbs. There is one that says, ‘Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time.”

On the future