Book 2: Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist (1988)

Coelho, P. (1988). The Alchemist. Editora Rocco Ltd. English version by Paulo Coelho and Alan Clarke (1992). Harper Collins Publishers. A fiction story about the shepherd boy Santiago who traveled from Spain to the Pyramids in Egypt in pursuit of his dreams. On the way, he came across certain people who helped him accomplish his goal, including the alchemist who possesses the Philosopher’s Stone and the Elixir of Life. He learned about the Soul of the World, among other philosophical truths of life. Favorite lines (direct sitations; may not be in order as they appear on the book):

  • It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary; only wise men are able to understand them. –Fortuneteller gypsie
  • Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or his own.
  • 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. – Melchizedek
  • …and when each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.
  • If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. – Camel driver
  • Everyone, when they are young, knows what their destiny is. At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their destiny. – Melchizedek
  • And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. – Melchizedek
  • We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possesions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.
  • When he looked into her dark eyes, and saw that her lips were poised between a laugh and silence, he learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke — the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love. Something older than humanity, more ancient that the desert.
  • to die tomorrow was no worse than dying on any other day. Every day was there to be lived or to mark one’s departure from this world. Everything depended on one word: “Maktub.” Walking along in the silence, he had no regrets. If he died tomorrow, it would be because God was not willing to change the future.
  • You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his destiny. If he abandons that pursuit, it’s because it wasn’t true love . . . the love that speaks the Language of the World. – The alchemist
  • One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving. – Fatima
  • 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, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity. – The alchemist
  • Every search begins with beginner’s luck. And every search ends with the victor’s being severely tested. – The alchemist
  • When you possess great treasures within you, and you try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed. – The alchemist
  • And then there were the others, who were interested only in gold. They never found the secret. They forgot that lead, copper, and iron have their own destinies to fulfill. And anyone who interferes with the destiny of another thing never will discover his own. The alchemist
  • If a person is living out his destiny, he knows everything he needs to know. There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure. – The alchemist
  • 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. – The alchemist


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