The Alchemist is a masterpiece novel by Paulo Coelho that has sold over 2 million copies worldwide. This novel is inspiring, and there are many life lessons to be derived from the story. The book was first published in 1988 and is a favorite of many people including renowned actor Will Smith.
Although a novel, The Alchemist is more than just a story. It inspires and keeps readers grounded and encourages one to chase their dreams.
The novel is a symbolic parable with moral lessons to help achieve dreams, and therefore in this light, it is a self-improvement book. This book Summary will provide you with some of the lessons you can get from the book, but many more are hidden within the writing.
The book starts by describing Santiago and his life. He is a shepherd in the beautiful town of Andalucia. Santiago has not possessions besides his sheep and a book he has read. He uses the book as a pillow at night. In the past one week, Santiago has had the same dream, but he awakens before he can make sense of the dream. This dream has been bothering him much.
The recurring dream that Santiago gets is about a treasure hidden in the Egyptian Pyramids. Thinking of this treasure Santiago realizes that he has to get out of his comfort zone to go get it. Andalucia is a beautiful city in Spain, and Santiago has traveled all of it in search of pasture.
Every day was the same for him, and he even thought that the sheep understood his schedule if not the other way around. Santiago was not satisfied with his life. He felt that he needed to do more.
One day when reading his book, Santiago meets the king of Salem, Melchizedek. The king encourages Santiago to go for the treasure and soon enough Santiago sells his flock to raise money for the trip. This is the first time Santiago is risking it all to do anything out of his comfort zone, but he gets some motivation to get him through.
Paulo puts it this way “when you play cards for the first time you are almost sure to win. Beginners luck. Because there is a force that wants you to realize your personal legend; it whets your appetite with a taste of success.”
On the very first day in the desert, Santiago meets with a brilliant thief who steals all his money. He is in a new country without any money. To survive Santiago finds a job where he is paid in kind with food, shelter and eventually with money. He earns enough money to buy a flock and return home, but he realizes again that he has become complacent.
Instead, he resumes his journey to the pyramid. He joins a caravan where he meets an Englishman in search of an Arab alchemist who lives by the oasis near the pyramids. They arrive at the oasis, and they stay here as guests to wait for the tribal war to end. While at the oasis, Santiago gets a vision about a hawk. He interprets the vision correctly that the oasis will be attacked.
The oasis is a safe place, and at first, Santiago has doubts about his vision but shares it with the chief anyway. The attackers come and are all killed. Santiago is rewarded with 50 pieces of gold, and the alchemist takes him to where the treasure is hidden.
On the way, both the alchemist and Santiago are captured and taken to a nearby military camp. It is in these trials that the boy realizes that he can perform miracles. He is able to speak to the sun and the wind. He realizes that he has become one with God by finding and following his legend and the omens given along the way.
They are later released, and Santiago discovers that the treasure is not at the pyramids. He is informed that the treasure is in an abandoned church in Andalucia, precisely the place where he had his first dream about the treasure. He then travels back to the church and right under the sycamore tree finds all the treasure he had been promised buried in there.
- Some of the teachings that can be picked from this story include:
- Follow your dreams just like Santiago did.
- Live in the present moment. If Santiago were to live his life worrying about the future or regretting the past, he would not have completed his journey.
- Watch out for the signs the universe gives you. The universe is always trying to help.
- Do not give up when you fail. Santiago failed many times, but because he pursued his dream, he was able to see it to fruition. Keep getting back up
- Always take action. There is no way to progress or to learn without taking action
- When you succeed others also do. When you follow your dream and succeed, others around you also benefit. This can be seen when Santiago performs miracles.
Remember, “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
What I Like About the Book
I like that this brings out many different lessons in a story. The story is relatable to many people because it is about achieving life dreams. I also like that in the different journeys that people are pursuing and the various challenges being faced, people can gain different lessons from the book.
The lessons learned and even the number of experiences may well depend on the personal interpretation of the story and the writing. However, there are those very obvious lessons that everyone will get from the book most of which are discussed in this The Alchemist summary.
Why You Should Read the Book
Everybody needs some motivation and inspiration at some point in life. It is essential to have something that will keep you focused and grounded, so you do not lose hope as you pursue your dreams. The Alchemist is the book to read whenever you feel you need some push towards the right direction.
This book starts with a vision, and many people have such views only that they never chase their visions. The novel will give you the push you need to chase visions that you might have thought of as crazy and what you find along the way might just surprise you the more, just like Santiago.