Book Review: The Alchemist

Santiago, the Shepard boy from Andalucia, has a dream about finding treasure in the Pyramids of Egypt. He encounters an old man, claiming to be a king, Β who advises him to pursue his dream. “To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation,” the king says to Santiago. “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Encouraged by these words, Santiago sells everything and travels to Africa., where he meets a merchant, an Englishman, the Alchemist and his love.

On his journey, Santiago is expose to the greatest and eternal alchemy of all–love–Santiago thinks he has found the treasure. My favorite part of the novel was the experience Santiago has with the elements of the world, in order to convert him entire being in the wind.

My greatest take-a-way is about the Personal Legend. The king brings an interesting perspective concerning a person’s Personal Legend, in that “people’s inability to choose their own Personal Legends.” The king says this idea is common because people come to believe “the world’s greatest lie“–that we all lose control of our own lives and must let them be controlled by fate. And that basically, alchemy is all about pursuing our spiritual quest in the physical world as it was given to us. It is the art of transmuting the reality into something sacred, of missing the sacred and the profane. This was a deep, deep novel. I highly recommend it.

Favorite quote: “When you are loved, you can do anything in creation. When you are loved, there’s no need at all to understand what’s happening, because everything happens within you, and even men can turn themselves into the wind. As long as the wind helps, of course.


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