The Alchemist (25th Anniversary Edition)

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Overview

Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and soul-stirring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried near the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will...

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Overview

Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its powerful simplicity and soul-stirring wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried near the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles in his path. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is an eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.

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Editorial Reviews

Spencer Johnson
“An entrepreneurial tale of universal wisdom we can apply to the business of our own lives.”
New York Times
“[This] Brazilian wizard makes books disappear from stores.”
London Times
“[His] books have had a life-enchanting effect on millions of people.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“A magical little volume.”
Indianapolis Star
“A touching, inspiring fable.”
M. Scott Peck
“A wise and inspiring fable about the pilgrimage that life should be.”
Gerald G. Jampolsky
“A most tender and gentle story. It is a rare gem of a book.”
Anthony Robbins
“A remarkable tale about the most magical of all journeys: the quest to fulfill one’s destiny.”
Rudolfo Anaya
“An adventure story full of magic and wisdom.”
Austin American-Statesman
“As memorable and meaningful as Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince.”
Joseph Girzone
“A beautiful story with a pointed message for every reader.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062315007
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 4/15/2014
  • Edition description: 25th Anniversary Edition
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 79
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author

Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, is one of the bestselling and most influential authors in the world. The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, The Valkyries, Brida, Veronika Decides to Die, Eleven Minutes, The Zahir, The Witch of Portobello, The Winner Stands Alone, Aleph, and Manuscript Found in Accra, among others, have sold 150 million copies worldwide.

Paulo Coelho nació en Brasil en 1947 y es uno de los autores con más influencia de hoy día. Conocido mundialmente por el bestseller internacional El Alquimista, Coelho ha vendido más de 100 millones de libros en todo el mundo, los cuales han sido traducidos a 68 idiomas y publicados en 150 países. Paulo Coelho escribe una columna semanal que se publica en los periódicos más importantes del mundo.

Biography

His books have been translated into 56 languages, topped bestseller lists throughout the world, and scored him such celebrity fans as Julia Roberts, Bill Clinton, and Madonna; yet for Brazilian publishing phenom Paulo Colho, the road to success has been strewn with a number of obstacles, many of them rooted in his troubled past.

As a youth, Coelho was expected to follow in the footsteps of his father, a professional engineer. When he rebelled, expressing his intentions to become a writer, his parents had him committed to a psychiatric hospital where he was subjected to electro-shock therapy. He left home to join the 1970s countercultural revolution, experimenting with drugs, dabbling in black magic, and getting involved in Brazil's bohemian art and music scene. He teamed with rock musician Raul Seixas for an extremely successful songwriting partnership that changed the face of Brazilian pop -- and put a lot of money in Coelho's pockets. He also joined an anti-capitalist organization called the Alternative Society which attracted the attention of Brazil's military dictatorship. Marked down as a subversive, he was imprisoned and tortured.

Amazingly, Coelho survived these horrific experiences. He left the hippie lifestyle behind, went to work in the record industry, and began to write, but without much success. Then, in the mid-1980s, during a trip to Europe, he met a man, an unnamed mentor he refers to only as "J," who inducted him into Regnum Agnus Mundi, a secret society that blends Catholicism with a sort of New Age mysticism. At J's urging, Coelho journeyed across el Camino de Santiago, the legendary Spanish road traversed by pilgrims since the Middle Ages. He chronicled this life-changing, 500-mile journey -- the culmination of decades of soul-searching -- in The Pilgrimage, published in 1987.

The following year, Coelho wrote The Alchemist, the inspirational fable for which he is best known. The first edition sold so poorly the publisher decided not to reprint it. Undaunted, Coelho moved to a larger publishing house that seemed more interested in his work. When his third novel (1990's Brida) proved successful, the resulting media buzz carried The Alchemist all the way to the top of the charts. Released in the U.S. by HarperCollins in 1993, The Alchemist became a word-of-mouth sensation, turning Coelho into a cult hero.

Since then, he has gone on to create his own distinct literary brand -- an amalgam of allegory and self-help filled with spiritual themes and symbols. In his novels, memoirs, and aphoristic nonfiction, he returns time and again to the concepts of quest and transformation and has often said that writing has helped connect him to his soul. While his books have not always been reviewed favorably and have often become the subject of strong cultural and philosophical debate, there is no doubt that this self-described "pilgrim writer" has struck a chord in readers everywhere. In the 2009 edition of the Guiness Book of World Records, Coelho was named the most translated living author -- with William Shakespeare the most translated of all time!

Good To Know

Few writers are able to accomplish what Coelho can in just two to four weeks -- which is how long it takes for him to write an entire novel.

Before become a bestselling novelist, Coelho was a writer of a different sort. He co-wrote more than 60 songs with Brazilian musician Raul Seixas.

Coelho is the founder of the Paulo Coelho Institute, a non-profit organization funded by his royalties that raises money for underprivileged children and the elderly in his homeland of Brazil.

In our interview with Coelho, he shared some fascinating facts about himself:

"I have been practicing archery for a long time; a bow and arrow helps me to unwind."

"In writing, I apply my feminine side and respect the mystery involved in creation."

"I love almost everything about my work, except conferences. I am too shy in front of an audience. But I love signings and having eye contact with a reader who already knows my soul."

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    1. Hometown:
      Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 24, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    1. Education:
      Left law school in second year
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 1644 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(943)

4 Star

(374)

3 Star

(164)

2 Star

(80)

1 Star

(83)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1651 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 16, 2012

    Although I feel that previous reviews will make mine look incomp

    Although I feel that previous reviews will make mine look incompetent and childish, i still feel like putting my two cents in. This novel portrays Coelho's view on the meaning of life, that everyone has a preset dream and destination, but it is their choice to take the journey or not. Paul tells his story by using a shepherd boy that decides to follow his path to get to his destiny. the shepherd, Santiago, meets several people that open his eyes and show him why he has decided to do this.
    What I liked about this book was the great imagery Coelho uses throughout the novel. Also, I love that this book is different than any others I have read. It takes you on a journey, not an adventure to slowly get the author's point across. You will feel yourself getting smarter and more adventurous as you read this book.
    What i disliked about this book was that it is slow at points and gets a little monotonous, but if you keep pushing, it will all be well it.
    I am only 14 and I have read this book 2 times. It makes you want to make sure you don't hold back in your life, that you achieve something amazing. Forget about the normal way of life. I would recommend this book to anyone who is willing to read a book that will question the way you are living and will make you want to drop everything and go find your alchemist.

    125 out of 137 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A very touching, meaningful, story with life lessons

    As I get older, it seems I discover more about life. I'm 70 now. This is a book I wish I read years ago. You will learn things that I did and did not in this book, all of which will help you find your way through life. It is a great read too. Fun, hard to put down. Wonderful.

    53 out of 59 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 30, 2009

    The Alchemist's Real Message

    Although Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist conveys an uplifting message about the individual's potential for greatness, the novel's over-simplicity and dependence on a message of reassurance detract from the strength of this central theme and its pertinence to the human experience. Through the narrative of a young shepherd boy named Santiago, Coelho constructs the age-old story of an individual pursing a dream. However, what distinguishes Coelho's story from all the others is the bold universalization of this theme that he makes when he claims that, "To realize one's destiny is a person's only obligation." Now although this is certainly an empowering message, and one that contributes to the novel's widespread appeal, the underlying message of Coelho's feel-good story of Santiago's journey across continents in search of his "Personal Legend" should not be taken at face value. In spite of its apparent self-empowerment, Coelho's simplistic reduction of achievements to desires actually diminishes the individual's role in the pursuit of his or her Personal Legend. One concept that the young Santiago is taught before his quest even begins is that when in pursuit of a Personal Legend the entire universe aids one in achieving it. This message, central to the worldview that Coelho advances in the novel, would seem to be encouraging, but in fact it is highly misleading. To say that just because a person desires something it is within the realm of his or her possibilities to achieve it is in stark opposition to the facts of reality. A person does not realize his or her goals by the mere fact of experiencing hardships as Santiago is counseled to do under the banner of the adage that the world works in mysterious ways. Instead, one triumphs over trials and tribulations by means of one's efforts and abilities, not by a naïve reliance on fate and destiny. And it is for this reason that The Alchemist is not really a novel in praise of the individual's capacity for greatness, but one that denigrates this potential by devaluing the individual's role in influencing his or her own destiny. In all, if you are looking for a book that truly lifts your spirits and speaks to the true nature of your infinite possibilities, look elsewhere, you will not find it here. In The Alchemist all you will find is a striking fatalism hidden beneath the guise of one boy's quest for his Personal Legend.

    44 out of 77 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 10, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    One of the best books I have ever read! Highly Recommended.

    One of the best books I have ever read! Highly Recommended.

    29 out of 32 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2011

    Thought provoking!

    Seems like it would be a quick read, but it's a book that you should take some time with. Very thought-provoking and helps you reflect on your own life. Next time you have 2 days off, clear your schedule and read this book with blanket and cup of cocoa on the couch. :)

    26 out of 30 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 24, 2010

    Awful, Awful, Awful

    I know i'm in the minority when it comes to disliking this book. I loved the first 50 pages (which approximately 1/4 of the book since it only has 163 pages). After that author Paulo Coelho got a bad case of the repeats. I know this book is spiritual and i feel a little guilty about this review but I can honestly say this is one of the worst books I have ever read. On a good note I think I might have found my personal legend....not to read another Paulo Coelho books again,

    21 out of 45 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    This is a masterpiece, well written in a simple form. One that

    This is a masterpiece, well written in a simple form.

    One that inspires me to listen to my truth.

    One that encourages me to go for my dream, despite how insignificant it seems at first.

    A great book like this reminds me of life's magnificence in the everyday mundane. If you enjoy the Alchemist, check out another
    incredible book by Ariel and Shya Kane. "How to Have A Match Made in Heaven: A Transformational Approach to Dating, Relating and Marriage". 

    I had never read a book that's done in a more creative format: you get to watch stories coming alive through the video links in the book. 
    These are videos of real people in their real lives; how their lives transformed as they discovered that new possibilities open up in their 
    relationships. It is down to earth yet nothing ordinary.

    The Alchemist, even though structured in a different way, is such a gem that inspires me over and over again.  I gain new perspectives for life and
    feel renewed and refreshed whenever I read them. I highly recommend both books!

    19 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Wonderful Story

    I originally read this book about 18 years ago after finding it in a small bookstore. At first I thought it was a children's book because the wording and tale was very simplistic. I'm so glad I read the entire thing. The story is uplifting and puts a smile on your face. Though it is a an allegory, the book is well-written and timeless. The character's journey through the desert is really a journey of self-discovery and growth - one that all of us need to take from time to time.

    19 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Alchemist is Okay; not great

    This book was okay. I think the message of theis book is follow your dreams. I liked it; but I am not sure that I would recommend it. I enjoyed the imagery of The Alchemist. The story moved a bit slowly. It wasn't a page turner, but it wasn't a tough read either. The Alchemist is a nice fable;but, that's it.

    15 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2010

    There's nothing here you haven't already learned

    I can't understand what all the excitement is about surrounding this book. Yes, it is a story of self-discovery and remaining true to one's dreams, but there's nothing here that's new. The message is simplistic and superficial, and delivered in a heavy-handed style. As literature it is weak. There is no character development to speak of. The writing is repetitive and tedious, as though intended for children who often need to be reminded of key points. The fairy tale style is engaging at first, but is not enough to sustain interest. The best thing about this book is that it is very short.

    10 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Believe

    Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy, has reoccuring dreams about a hidden treasure in the Pryamids of Egypt. Along his journey, he gets his life savings stolen twice, meets a Gypsy, a 'king', an Englishman and an Alchemist. Through Santiago's search for treasure, he learns the true meaning of life, and how humans and nature should help with one another to sustain the life of Earth. This book is very touching and is equipped with many of life's lessons. Although The Alchemsit is an easy read, the book is very ambigupus and can be veiwed upon in many different ways depending on the reader. I would recommend this book to anyone.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Real Treasure!

    Open this book and you will be on your way to a new adventure. An adventure beyond your wildest dreams. Talk about motivating...this is the ultimate motivator. This journey will remind you of the importance of endurance, strenth and above all loyalty. Its brilliant, my own little treasure!

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2007

    Boring

    The idea of the story: a young man setting out on an adventure, in search of a treasure that seems to be a real mystery was intriguing. In the 1st 2 chapter you get the main idea of the story quickly, it¿s about searching within and find your destiny, listen to all that is around you for your life ahead is already written in your personal legend. Great concept, but to keep going on and on about it in every chapter was very repetitive!! It seem like the author didn¿t think we were smart enough to remember what a personal legend was in the 1st couple chapters, so he had to repeat it in Every chapter. The whole adventure part of the store dies with to much talk about personal legends and languages of the world sico philosophy .

    7 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2012

    The book The Alchemist is an exception read. You follow the jour

    The book The Alchemist is an exception read. You follow the journey of a boy named Santiago on his journey to achieve his Personal Legend. While reading, you are forced to reflect on your own personal journey through life. At a plethora of moment you feel as if you are besides Santiago, making his decisions. This book is not only a good story but also teaches the reader valuable lessons. You won’t be let down by The Alchemist.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Must Read

    Don't listen to the reviews saying The Alcemist is boring. It is a huge lie. This novel cuts in deep and leaves you hungry for more. I read this book for my Advanced Placement English class years ago and I can still feel its powerful words today. I have a hard copy of the novel at home and with me on my Nook COLOR. No regrets whatsoever.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2011

    Very good book, a must read.

    This book was well written and made the reader think for themselves as to the true meaning of the answer given by the Alchemist.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 11, 2010

    got bored

    skimmed through the last 100 pages. the end was cliche and a bit of a let down.

    5 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2010

    A type of book that comes once in a while

    The book is one of the most touching and inspiring books one have ever read. I am recommeding it to my friends!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2010

    A little book with a simple message.

    This is a short read with a simple yet thought provocative message. Following the story of a sheepherder we learn that life is about following dreams and living your authentic truth. When we decide to follow a dream or take a risk the universe tries to help us along.
    If you like Ekhart Tolle, Siddhartha, Carlos Castaneda you will love the message in this book. I just wish it had been a little longer.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 20, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    With all the hype I expected more.

    I expected this book to be a great read because of all the tremendous hype. I wanted to loved it, but I found it boring, empty, and repetitious; so I found myself skimming through page after page just to finish it.

    The book has some notable pages out a of nearly 200 pages. On numerous occasions the book tries to make the point that any person with what the book calls a "Personal Legend" can derive for themselves, from just living.

    The metaphors are empty, and repetitious. I found myself rolling my eyes every time I read a corny metaphor.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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