The Alchemist is not about turning lead into Gold

Paulo Coehlo‘s book The Alchemist is an often recommended read. I have had it suggested by countless people (a ton of the self-help gurus swear by it.) It has been on my “to-do” list for years but I never got around to reading it. That is until now. It was a recent review by a friend on GoodReads that got me to take actions finally – because I value her opinion (and taste in books.)

People talk about the book in extremes. Some say it is deep, insightful and life-changing. Others decide it is simplistic, repetitive and nothing big. For me, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

The not-so-subtle message of the book is one that I love. It speaks to me because I believe in the message so strongly. Your dream, your “legend” is something the universe wants you to achieve. Yes, it sounds a bit woo-hoo but I do believe it. There is nothing worse than someone giving up on their dreams.

Yes, the book is a long, drawn-out fable so you need patience to appreciate it. If you are the type of person who can appreciate a slow burn and don’t require a simple bullet point list to “cut to the chase,” this can be a moving read. There is a good message in just chilling out and taking the lesson the “soul of the world” is sending you when you are able to give the benefit of he doubt to what seems simple. (Geez, that sentence sounds like something Coehlo would write. haha)

The Alchemist is dense at times and may cause you to stop, shake your head, and take a break. If you slog through and pick it back up, there will be a reward. It may be a tiny insight. It may be something that really speaks to you. You may find nothing useful at all – and that could simply mean it is not your time to hear a message. (Hehe – see what I did there.)

Let me say that if you’ve spent any appreciable amount of time spinning around on our big blue marble then this book may not contain anything you haven’t heard already. That isn’t to say it is useless for you. Rather, to be reminded of these ideas in a fresh way is always helpful. And, whether young or old, if you are still eager to learn, there is good stuff here.

by Chris Doelle

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