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Book Review: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Posted in Book Reviews, Lifehacks, Technology by engtech on May 28, 2006

A friend from work recommended that I pick this up, and I was glad I did. This is one of those novels that everyone should read when they are at a crossroads in their life and wondering what kind of career path they should pursue. It is the tale of a young boy who decides to listen to his heart and follow his dreams instead of succumbing to life of mere contentment. Throughout this allegory, Coelho imparts the wisdom that as long as you are following your heart and your intuition, and you listen to the omens that life provides, you will find success in that which you most desire. It is one of those books that is simple yet profound and everyone should read at some point or another.

Favorite quotes / passages that I found insightful:

Whenever we do something that fills us with enthusiasm, we are following our legend.

[The Four Obstacles]
1. We are told from childhood onward that everything we want to do is impossible.

2. We are afraid of hurting those around us by abandoning everything in order to pursue our dream.

3. We who fight for our dream suffer far more when it doesn’t work out, because we cannot fall back on the old excuse: “Oh, well, I didn’t really want it anyway.”

4. The fear of realizing the dream for which we fought all our lives.

The secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.

Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.

“I’m like everyone else — I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not what actually does.”

People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want.

God created the desert so that man could appreciate the date trees.

He had been told by his parents and grandparents that he must fall in love and really know a person before becoming committed. But maybe people who felt that way had never learned the universal language. Because, when you know that language, it’s easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it’s in the middle of the desert or in some great city. And when two such people encounter each other, and their eyes meet, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.”

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”

“This is for you,” he said, holding one of the parts out to the monk. “It’s for your generosity ot th epilgrims.”
“But this payment goes well beyond my generosity,” the monk responded.
“Don’t say that again. Life might be listening, and give you less next time.”

‘Everything that happens once can never happen again. But everything that happens twice will surely happen a third time.’

We learn to trust our hearts, read the seemingly inconspicuous signs, and understand that as we look to fulfill a dream, it looks to find us just the same, if we let it.

Following your dream is like learning a foreign language; you will make mistakes but you will get their in the end.

5 Responses

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  1. Rocio said, on December 08, 2006 at 8:57 am

    This book is amazing and I think everyone should read this once in their lives. The book is a life lesion in its self and and it will make you realize whats important in life, and how setting and achieving goals is very is as well. I would recoment it to anyone.

  2. engtech said, on December 08, 2006 at 9:26 am

    I totally agree. Amazing, amazing read.

  3. neha sharma said, on December 22, 2006 at 11:06 pm

    follow ur dream …..
    and the world will follow u.

  4. peachy said, on January 26, 2007 at 7:04 am

    i have read and re-read this book over and over again – and it has become my guiding “light” in making decisions, minor or major, in my life. your review of the book reflects the latter’s simplicity in conveying coelho’s message.

    in our pursuit to more material and wordly things, we sometimes forget that our life’s true treasure is just in front of us.

    @neha sharma: i like what you said “follow your dream…. and the world will follow you.”

  5. [...] speaks on and on about the inspiring quotes and how the book made an impression on them and all. This review provides some of the quotes provided in the book, while the wikipedia enlists the whole story in [...]


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