All you need to know about the book "The Alchemist"

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A young shepherd called Santiago dreams of a buried treasure at the pyramids. In the dream, child plays with Santiago sheep and reveals that buried treasure awaits Santiago at the Egyptian pyramids. During the rising action, king Melchizedek urged Santiago to follow the stream and some tell Santiago to sell his flock and purse his personal legend. A thief robbed Santiago on his first day. What happened next?

Book Information

  • Title: The Alchemist: A Fable about following your dream
  • Author: Paulo Coelho
  • Publisher: Harper Torch
  • Length: 208 pages
  • Height: 157 mm
  • Weight: 230 g
  • Genre: Fantasy fiction, Novel, Drama
  • Release date: 1988, In English 1993.

Summary of The Alchemist

The Alchemist tells the story of a young shepherd named Santiago, who is able to find a treasure beyond his wildest dreams. Along the way, he learns to listen to his heart and, more importantly, realizes that his dreams are his personal legend, are not just his part of the soul of the universe. Santiago is a humble shepherd whose desires are few, he wants to be free to roam with his sheep, to have some wines in his wine skin and a book in his bag. Fate intervenes, however, in form of the recurring dream of a great treasure hidden thousands of miles away at the base of the Egyptian pyramids. When Santiago meets Melchizedeks, a strange wise man who claims he is king from a far off land, he decides to seek his treasure. The next day, Santiago sells his sheep and embarks to Africa to purse his dream. 

Upon arriving in Africa, though, it becomes apparent that things will not be as easy as he thought. The first day Santiago is in tangiers, he is robbed and left completely alone, unable to speak a single world of Arabic. At first Santiago contemplates giving up and turning around. He remembers the words of the wise man, though he decides to carry on getting job at a local crystal shop. After working at the crystal shop for a year, learning much about life and his personal legend, Santiago earns enough  money to buy a new flock of sheep and return home. At the last minute, though, Santiago decides to risk it all and join a caravan to Egypt. Once in the caravan, Santiago meets an Englishman who has come all the way to Africa to seek a renowned Alchemist. As they travel through the deserts, the Englishman tells Santiago about the secrets of Alchemy. Santiago finds the Englishman’s ideas to be very similar to Melchizedek’s. They both speak of a soul of the world to which we are all connected and of the necessity of following our hearts true desires or our personal legend. Santiago however prefers to learn these secrets by observing the world, while the Englishman prefers to learn from complex books. While they travel, they begin to hear rumors of coming tribal war. 

When they finally arrive at the Al-Fayoum oasis the home of the titular Alchemist Santiago meets a beautiful girl named Fatima with whom he immediately falls in love. He discovers that love, like the personal legend, comes directly from the soul of the world. While walking in the desert, Santiago has a vision of an upcoming battle. He rushes back to warn the elders at the oasis and, when his vision is confirmed, they offer him a position as a counselor. Santiago considers staying at the Oasis with Fatima but the Alchemist finds Santiago and tells him that he will lead Santiago to his treasure. Once again the move, the Alchemist teaches Santiago to listen to his heart. Hearts can be treacherous, but the best way to keep them from fooling you is to listen to them intently. Almost to the pyramids, Santiago and the Alchemist are taken prisoner by a warring tribe. The Alchemist tells the tribesmen that Santiago is a powerful magician who can turn himself into the wild. The tribesmen are impressed and will spare the lives of the men if Santiago can do it. The only problem is that Santiago has no idea what he is doing. After three days of meditating, Santiago uses his knowledge of the soul of the world to ask the elements to help him. First he asks the deserts, then he asks the wind, then he asks the sun and finally he asks the soul of the world. Immediately, the wind whips up, and Santiago disappears and reappears on the other side of the camp. The Alchemist takes his leave of Santiago, who continues on to the pyramids. 

Once there, Santiago is attacked by robbers. 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 says that he has had the exact same dream, except that in his the treasure was buried in Spain. Santiago realizes that the treasure was back in Spain the entire time. The story then jumps forward in time and finds Santiago digging a hole at the base of the tree where he 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.

Lessons or takeaways from The Alchemist

  • Don’t be concerned with what others think
  • Take off your rose colored glasses
  • Be observant and open to learn new things
  • Focus on the present
  • Don’t let anyone or anything derail your dream
  • Take action to learn
  • The real treasure is learning
  • Never give up pursuing your personal legend
  • Listen to your heart
  • Actions will flow out of having confidence in your decision.

Quotes from The Alchemist

  • What you seek is seeking you.
  • When some makes a decision he is really diving a strong current, which will carry him to places.
  • When you want something all the universe conspires into helping you achieve it.
  • The secret of life is to fall 7 times but to get up 8 times.
  • There is only one way to learn…It’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.
  • Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.
  • It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.
  • When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.
  • Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.
  • If its still in your mind, it’s still worth taking the risk.

About Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho was born on August 24th 1947 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He wanted to be writer but his devout catholic parents discouraged him, due to uncertainty of the profession, he rebelled against his parents and Jesuit school teachers at certain points contemplating suicide. His parents had him committed to a psychiatric facility when he was 17. He under went electroshock therapy and he also spent time in psychiatric wards during his young. Later he enrolled in law school, but dropped out to write and play, music, travel experiment with drugs and participate in the Brazilian rock and roll scene. He was jailed tortured in prison for political activism at one point. In 1986 he embarked on a 500 mile trek across Europe to the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, which is the endpoint of a famous pilgrimage route followed by Christians since the middle ages. The Journey inspired Paulo Coelho to renew his faith in Christianity and write his first book the Pilgrimage in 1987. He published The Alchemist in 1988 and it explores similar searches for spiritual and self enlightenment through different journeys, he chose the name for Santiago which means Saint James who is patron saints of Spain. Initially the Alchemists sold very few copies and the publisher let it go out of print. Paulo Coelho managed to convince Brazil’s top publisher to give it another shot. The Alchemist became an enormous hit with its second publication in in 1989, it sold more than 65 million copies and was on the New York times bestseller list for more than 315 weeks. Paulo Coelho continues to write and publish, he posts regularly in his personal blog and on social media.


This book is one of the motivation book and a great fantasy fiction book, This book deals about a young boy Santiago achieving his dreams. This book is 100% recommendable, We personally recommend you to read this book to get motivated and start achieving your goals. The rating for this book is (4.7/5).