The Alchemist

Book Review


the alchemist 1


Santiago is a shepherd in a small village in Spain. Being a shepherd meant traveling to many new places which he loved. He loved to explore new places, meet new people and this made him happy and content.

When Santiago had the same recurring dream, he wanted to know the meaning behind it. He later comes to know that his dream is about finding treasure in the pyramids of Egypt. He travels all the way from his home in Spain to a foreign land in search of this unknown treasure and along the way he faces many struggles. He has now sold his flock of sheep and is chasing an uncertain dream, scared that if he fails this he would be left with absolutely nothing.

How does Santiago overcome the struggles? Did he manage to find the treasure?


“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

 – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist


The concept and the moral of this fable are truly amazing. You might feel your dream is so far away to become a reality but in fact the dream would have been right in front of you all the while. The silver lining is you have at-least seen so much along the path. You would have seen the beauty of the world and would have got many life lessons.

It also tells how the universe conspires together to make one’s dreams come true. But as we approach the dream closer and closer, it sometimes test us to see our determination. I was awestruck at this perspective.

Looking out for omens is something my ancestors used to do, that the present generation don’t quite understand. This book talks about omens and how we must honor them. It made me understand them a bit more.

You can also read this review: Life Unknown – A fascinating travelogue

While this message is truly amazing and philosophical, I felt it was a bit overstretched. I know I might be offending a lot of people, but this is how I felt about this book.

Maybe it was the hype surrounding it or I don’t know what it is, but while the concept is good, the philosophical aspect was too overused, to the point where it didn’t even make sense for it to be there on that page.

Every blessing ignored becomes a curse.

 – Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist


I am not sure if it got lost in translation or I am just not smart enough to understand the philosophical aspects of it.

What is puzzling to me is that the book is only around 160 pages but it took me so long to finish it.

I am confused as to whether I like this book or not. I don’t want to just label it as “I don’t like it”.

There are many parts where I felt really moved and I could relate to the fear of the protagonist of the story, like when he was in a dilemma after he sold his sheep and lost all the money. He was in a foreign land where he did not know the language and he had no money but he didn’t lose his heart.

He kept moving forward and that was heartwarming as a reader. As a reader, you are traveling alongside of Santiago through this unknown land and you are rooting for him to achieve his dream. When he felt lost, I felt it too.

The ending of the book was kind of like a whiplash to me.  I felt deceived almost, having gone through so much to go back to the starting point.  While that is the whole point of the book, it took me some time to actually comprehend my thoughts.

It has been two days since I finished this book and I am still unsure about my feelings about it.

If there is one thing I could take-away from this book, it would be the sense of assurance it gave me to just go all in to achieve your dreams. If you don’t chase your dream, then who else will do it for you?

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