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42. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - The Magic Behind Its Success

Updated: Oct 18, 2021

What is Soul of The Alchemist Book ?

The Alchemist (Portuguese: O Alquimista) is a novel by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho that was first published in 1988. Originally written in Portuguese, it became a widely translated international bestseller.

An allegorical novel,The Alchemist follows a young Andalusian shepherd in his journey to the pyramids of Egypt, after having a recurring dream of finding a treasure there.

Coelho wrote The Alchemist in only two weeks in 1987. He explained that he was able to write at this pace because the story was "already written in [his] soul."

The book's main theme is about finding one's destiny, although according to The New York Times, The Alchemist is "more self-help than literature". The advice given Santiago that "when you really want something to happen, the whole universe will conspire so that your wish comes true" is the core of the novel's philosophy and a motif that plays throughout it.

The Alchemist was first released by Rocco, an obscure Brazilian publishing house. Albeit having sold "well", the publisher after a year decided to give Coelho back the rights. Needing to "heal" himself from this setback, Coelho set out to leave Rio de Janeiro with his wife and spent 40 days in the Mojave Desert. Returning from the excursion, Coelho decided he had to keep on struggling and was "so convinced it was a great book that [he] started knocking on doors".

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is one of the best-selling books in history. The story of Santiago, the shepherd boy on a journey to realize his “Personal Legend” has inspired people all over the world to live their dreams.

Paulo Coelho has sold more than 350 million printed books ! Yes more than 350 million books in 150+ countries !

The Alchemist has been on The New York Times bestseller list for more than 315 weeks. It's also been translated into 80 different languages, setting the Guinness World Record for the most translated book by any living author.

Here are some of the most popular reviews by some of the greatest personalities influenced by The Alchemist:

1. “The Alchemist is a beautiful book about magic, dreams and the treasures we seek elsewhere and then find at our doorstep.”

- Madonna in Sonntag-Aktuell (Germany)

2. “A boy named Santiago joins the ranks of Candide and Pinocchio by taking us on a very excellent adventure.”

Paul Zindel, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning play

3.“Paulo Coelho gives you the inspiration to follow your own dreams by seeing the world through your own eyes and not someone else’s.”

Lynn Andrews, author of the Medicine Woman series

4. “Paulo Coelho knows the secret of literary alchemy.” —Kenzaburo Oé, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature

5.“ A most tender and gentle story. It is a rare gem of a book, and will most certainly touch the very core of every heart earnestly seeking its own destiny on the journey of life.”

Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D., coauthor of Change Your Mind, Change Your Life and Love Is Letting Go of Fear

6. “An entrepreneurial tale of universal wisdom we can apply to the business of our own lives.”

Spencer Johnson, M.D., author of Who Moved My Cheese

7. The Alchemist is one of Oprah's favorite spiritual guides.

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, or his Personal Legend, are not just his but 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 wine in his wineskin and a book in his bag. Fate intervenes, however, in the form of the recurring dream of a great treasure hidden thousands of miles away at the base of the Egyptian Pyramids. When Santiago meets Melchizedek, a strange wise man who claims he is a king from a far-off land, he decides to seek his treasure. The next day, Santiago sells his sheep and embarks to Africa to pursue 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 word of Arabic. At first Santiago contemplates giving up and turning around. He remembers the words of the wise man, though, and decides to carry on–getting a job at a local crystal shop. After working at the crystal shop for a year, learning much about life and about 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 desert, 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 heart's 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 a 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 on 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 wind. 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 desert, 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 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.


Its a Mysterious to know this fact, The Alchemist Book, which sold 350 Million copies in 150 Countries , translated in 80 languages has been written in just two Weeks in 1987. Whether this Book has found Paulo Coelho and revealed through him or Its a Life Calling of Paulo Coeho, to be Author of The Alchemist.

The Alchemist happened now testing the soul of the universe and now it belongs to world.

And, In 1987, a little-known Brazilian author named Paulo Coelho published a book called The Alchemist,There are no takers for this book in the begining.

So, Coelho decided to knock on doors, literally, and try to make his dream of literary success happen. “The first door that I knocked, the guy opened. A very important publishing house in Brazil. And I said, ‘I have a book that was published and did not sell. But I trust this book is going to sell,’” Coelho recalls. “The guy said, ‘OK, I’m going to publish it.’”

Then, Rest is History.

MM Rao


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