By Paulo Coelho
BookMattic's Rating: 5/5
Goodreads’ Rating: 3.79/5
“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.”
-Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist,”
Many people have mixed opinions about this book and that's because they go about reading it the wrong way. The majority of people read this as a self help book or an inspirational book, but for me, I read it purely as fiction and took the messages of ‘life’, the suggestions and advice that were spread throughout the book as only part of the whole story. Nonetheless the messages had a great impact on the way I think about my goals and happiness.
The story is about a ‘boy’, who is really actually a young man I believe, named Santiago from Spain. He works as a shepherd leading his sheep around trying to learn from them by watching. During the night he has a reoccurring dream that tells him he has a treasure waiting for him close to the pyramids of Egypt. He has some doubts about this dream so he goes to a fortune teller who confirms that his dreams are true. She doesn't charge him for the session but makes him promise that if he finds his treasure, he must give her 1/10 of it. He still has doubts about the reality of the treasure but something deep inside him, way down in his heart says that it's true.
Having his doubts he almost gives up and goes back to lead his sheep around aimlessly. He can only learn so much from watching sheep. But then he meets a king who guides him with wisdom to follow his dream ‘literally’ to find his treasure that his dreams have been telling him about. He sets off leaving his sheep behind knowing that if he really wanted to he could come back to shepherding at anytime.
Along the way to achieving his dreams he comes across several obstacles, some small and some huge that might make any man turn back, give up and go back to the same rut day after day, but Santiago kept on persevering through the good and the bad.
The main message I got from the story is that we should strive to achieve our goal or the dream of our life but make sure to truly listen to your heart and follow what it says. Our hearts can trick us so we have to make sure not to be fooled. The most important thing if not more important than the goal itself is that we should gain all knowledge and skills from the obstacles that get in our way of achieving our goal. Example from ‘The Alchemist’ is when Santiago gets stuck with no money at one point but decides to work at a crystal shop to earn enough money to continue on his way. During that time he learns a lot of skills he couldn't have got anywhere else. Point is that the learning process is much more valuable than the end result.
So I leave you on that note and strongly recommend that you read this book. I will post my top list of quotes from the book tomorrow.