The Alchemist Book Review!
The Alchemist Book Review
I just finished reading The Alchemist for the second time in my life, the first being over 10 years ago. When I first read it, I was much younger and knew of its powerful story then. But now, with much more life experience, I enjoyed it even more.
I like to hear other readers talk about how they keep the greatest books of all time in their repertoire. They have some books that they revisit every year. It reminded of a quote from Francis Bacon, “Some books should be tasted, some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.”
Keeping with the theme of reading a book a week is tough at times. Some books don’t grab your attention quite like others. But The Alchemist has passages where you go into tunnel vision and hang on to each and every word. Nothing can distract you. And when you’re done with that page and a half, you re-read it so you can fully grasp the weight of the wisdom found there.
I have learned a great deal about finding your personal legend. I think each of us has it within our souls, that powerful pull from inside. You have a goal, and you want to accomplish it so badly. Most of the time you are spending your waking hours on it, dreaming and planning to get whatever it is you wish to accomplish. But what I also learned was that you need to have patience, faith, and courage along the way. You must live in the moment. You must concentrate on the moment because this is life. You are reading this right now, gaining knowledge on your own personal path. Don’t think about anything else. Just focus on these words of wisdom.
The hardest part is staying consistent throughout the journey. Some days are long and test your faith. You may be under a long journey and the goal at the end game seems so far away. Every day you compare yourself to that goal, only to find that it doesn’t seem any closer. But don’t fret. Each step you take brings you closer to your goal. Have faith and courage. Take that leap of faith. Listen to your heart. It is calling you on your own path that you must build.
I'll leave you with one final thought. Please don’t give in to your fears. Oftentimes, it is the fear of something that paralyzes us and keeps us from taking action. If something is bound to happen, then stressing over it in the meantime won’t help. You must do all you can. The rest is up to life.
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
The story is set around a shepherd boy who has a dream about finding treasure in Egypt. He meets a king who gives him advice to pursue his dreams so he can find his personal legend. “It’s what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is.” Your personal legend is that desire from your soul, “It’s your mission on earth.” And to realize your destiny is your only real obligation. This leads us to the most important line in the book: “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
Santiago, the shepherd, now sells his sheep and travels to Tangier. He ends up getting all his money stolen at a bar. Discouraged and down on his luck, he wanders around until finding a crystal shop. “He had not a cent in his pocket, but he had faith.” Without money, the boy stopped in front of the crystal shop. “I can clean up those glasses in the window if you want.” In return for lunch, the crystal merchant agreed. In order to get to Egypt, he needed some money. He ends up working for the merchant for over a year, all the while picking up wisdom for the long journey ahead.
He starts again on his quest and meets an Englishman on the desert caravan. The Englishman is in search of a 200-year-old Alchemist in the desert oasis. At this oasis, Santiago falls in love. But the larger journey has yet to start. Following the omens, Santiago finds the Alchemist and asks him if he is going to instruct him. “No. You already know all you need to know. I am only going to point you in the direction of your treasure.” He says, “Wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” They then begin on the journey across the desert towards the pyramids.
He goes on this powerful journey to find his personal legend. Learning wisdom from the Alchemist all the while, only to find that his treasure was found in the least expected place.
It is a beautiful story about faith and courage. The most important part is that we all have it within ourselves from the start. We must trust our intuition and our hearts to guide us towards our personal legends.
My favorite quotes and lessons from the book:
There are four obstacles.
1. You are told it is impossible. This is not true. Have the courage to listen to your heart.
2. Love. “Those who genuinely wish us well want us to be happy and are prepared to accompany us on that journey.”
3. Fear of defeat while on the path. “Have patience in difficult times and to know that the universe is conspiring in our favor, even though we may not understand how.”
4. Fear of realizing our dream. You might be so close to accomplishing your goal. Believe you are worthy and don’t give up on it.
“Its the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary; only wise men are able to understand them.” pg 15
You personal legend: “Its what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is.” pg 21
“Whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, its because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It's your mission on earth.” “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” pg 22.
“People fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.” pg 27
“He had not a cent in his pocket, but he had faith.” pg 42
“You must always know what it is that you want.” pg 56
“Every blessing ignored becomes a curse.” pg 58
“Never stop dreaming.” pg 62
“He still had some doubts about the decision he had made. But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.” pg 68
“People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want.” pg 76
“When you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.” “We make a lot of detours, but we’re always heading for the same destination.” pg 77
“Why do we need all these books?” … “So that we can understand those few lines.” pg 80
“It's only those who are persistent, and willing to study things deeply, who achieve the Master Work.” pg 82
“Everyone has his or her own way of learning things.” pg 84
“Because I don’t live in either the my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. You’ll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens, and that tribesmen fight because they are part of the human race. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now.” pg 85
“It was my fear of failure that first kept me from attempting the Master Work.” pg 99
“You already know all you need to know. I am only going to point you in the direction of your treasure.” pg 115
“There is only one way to learn, the alchemist answered. It's through action.”
“Listen to your heart.” pg 127
“Because, wherever your heart is, that is where you’ll find your treasure.”
“Keep listening to what it has to say.” pg 128
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.” pg 130
“The darkest hour of the night came just before the dawn.” pg 132
“Your eyes show the strength of your soul.” pg 136
“Don’t give in to your fears.” “If you do, you won't be able to talk to your heart.”
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” pg 141
“When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.” pg 150
“No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.” pg 159
“Where your treasure is, there also will be your heart.” pg 159
“No project is completed until its objective has been achieved.” pg 161