The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

Here are my comments on the book:

What can we learn from Paulo Coelho’s parable, The Alchemist? Despite it being a fiction novel, there’s a great lesson that can be taken away from it: to live out what you believe you were destined to do. The story’s essentially about a boy’s journey and the hiccups along the way on finding out his destiny. Here are some points from the book:


1. You are the captain of your own life; you have full control over a lot more things than you believe you do. Don’t fall in to the belief that you can only achieve so much as those limits have been imposed on you by others. If you desire something, you have the capability to get it if you become deserving enough of it. As Bill Gates has stated, “If you are born poor its not your mistake, but if you die poor its your mistake.” There’s no greater shame than a person significantly underperforming from one’s potential. ‘Hmm…’ said the old man, looking at all sides of the book, as if it were some strange object. ‘This is an important book, but it’s really irritating.’ The boy was shocked. The old man knew how to read, and had already read the book. And if the book was irritating, as the old man had said, the boy still had time to change it for another. ‘It’s a book that says the same thing almost all the other books in the world say,’ continued the old man. ‘It describes people’s inability to choose their own destinies. And it ends up saying that everyone believes the world’s greatest lie.’ ‘What’s the world’s greatest lie?’ the boy asked, completely surprised. ‘It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.’


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2. A reason why a lot of successful people are as successful as they are is because of persistence. Sure there are other factors of success, but persistence, in my opinion, is up there as a top factor. Success is a relative thing; not everyone can be successful. If you’ve ever studied statistics, there’s always a normal distribution in essentially everything. There’s always going to be people at the top, people in the middle, and people in the bottom. I believe that those at the top got there just by doing things that others weren’t willing to do. Everyone wants to be successful, but those at the top are the ones more willing to pay the price for it. The higher you get, the more difficult things become. ‘Why do they make things so complicated?’ he asked the Englishman one night. The boy had noticed that the Englishman was irritable, and missed his books. ‘So that those who have the responsibility for understanding can understand,’ he said. ‘Imagine if everyone went around transforming lead into gold. Gold would lose its value. ‘Its only those who are persistent, and willing to study things deeply, who achieve the Master Work. That’s why I’m here in the middle of the dessert. I’m seeking a true alchemist who will help me to decipher the codes.’” and then later in the book, Meanwhile, the boy thought about his treasure. The closer he got to the realization of his dream, the more difficult things became. It seemed as if what the old king had called ‘beginner’s luck’ were no longer functioning. In his pursuit of the dream, he was being constantly subjected to tests of his persistence and courage. So he could not be hasty, nor impatient. If he pushed forward impulsively, he would fail to see the signs and omens left by God along his path. God placed them along my path. He had surprised himself with the thought. Until then, he had considered the omens to be things of this world. Like eating or sleeping, or like seeking love or finding a job. He had never thought of them in terms of a language used by God to indicate what he should do. ‘Don’t be impatient,’ he repeated to himself. ‘It’s like the camel driver said: ‘Eat when it’s time to eat. And move along when it’s time to move along.”


3. I once read that your life right now is a compilation of how you’ve been living for the pass 5 years. If you don’t like your current situation, make a commitment or promise to yourself to start making changes now so that in the years ahead you can live the life you’ve always wanted. In today’s age where we’ve grown so impatient due to technology, pretty much everything is instant, we’ve forgotten that good things take time. Someone today is now sitting in the shade because someone planted a tree a long time ago. Everything starts from something small but it can grow into something big. Start today, make a commitment to yourself to live a life of a better you in 5 years. ‘I make my living forecasting the future for people,’ he said. ‘I know the science of the twigs, and I know how to use them to penetrate to the place where all is written. There, I can read the past, discover what has already been forgotten, and understand the omens that are here in the present. ‘When people consult me, it’s not that I’m reading the future; I am guessing at the future. The future belongs to God, and it is only he who reveals it, under extraordinary circumstances. How do I guess at the future? Based on the omens of the present. The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves his children. Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity.’

By Ryan Timothy Lee


My rating:

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Check out the book here:

Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK


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