The book tells the magical story of Santiago, a shepherd boy who longs to travel in search of a worldly treasure. Santiago experiences a recurring dream of a great treasure hidden thousands of miles away at the base of the Egyptian Pyramids.
Along the way, he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself a king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows exactly what the treasure is or if Santiago will be able to overcome the obstacles on his path.
Early into his journey, Santiago finds himself in a town where he doesn’t speak the language, is robbed and left completely alone. He contemplates giving up and turning around, but decides to carry on. He finds a job in a crystal shop and saves up money to return home, but then decides to risk it and continue his quest for the treasure.
Santiago meets a girl named Fatima who he falls in love with but must leave her to continue his journey. On his way to the pyramids, Santiago is taken prisoner by a local tribe. Santiago’s friend on this journey, tells the tribesmen that Santiago is a powerful magician and then tribe offers to set them free if he can prove it.
Santiago then asks the elements (stick with me here) to help him turn himself into the wind (yes, the wind) and somehow does it. This scares the tribesmen so they free Santiago and his friend.
Santiago finally makes his way to the Pyramid and finds some gold when he is attacked by robbers. When asked what he is doing there, Santiago replies that he had a dream of a treasure buried at the base of the Pyramids. One of the robbers laughs at him, and mentions that he has had the exact same dream, except that in his dream, the treasure was buried in an abandoned church in Spain (which is where Santiago first started his journey).
The story then jumps forward in time and finds Santiago digging a hole at the base of the tree where he had had his first dream. Sure enough, he finds a trunk full of gold–enough for him and Fatima to live happily for a long time.
The book is essentially a tale of the journey being equally important as the end goal, because of all the experiences and lessons one learns throughout their quest. Just like Santiago, the book encourages readers to find and pursue their life purpose, no matter how discouraged they may at times feel.
Santiago shows readers how to earn to trust their hearts, read the seemingly inconspicuous signs, and understand that as we look to fulfill a dream, the universe works with us to do the same.
“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho is an enjoyable fiction book that anyone can understand. At first, the story may seem too simple: a boy leaves home on a quest to find treasure, encounters foes and friends, gets his treasure stolen by thieves, but then realizes the real treasure was right where he started.
And it is true, the story is simple. But perhaps that is what makes this book loved by millions of readers. A simple story with simple lessons that can be applied to anyone’s life.
Lessons such as: Life is about the journey, follow your dreams, it may not be easy but it will be worth it, what you’re seeking is also seeking you, and many more.
At 197 pages, this book can be read quickly in as little as two or three days. However, the passages you read from this book will likely stick with you for years or decades to come.
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If you want to check out my list of recommended books, you can find that here.