People are extremely hard on themselves and possibly worse on other people. For what reason, no one truly knows and I think it’s best not to pretend we do. Reading Paulo Coelho’s book, The Alchemist, I came to an understanding of myself and of other people. We’re always searching for something, meaning specifically, but it’s always different to everyone. It’s laughable how people get upset that one individual’s idea of life/meaning/happiness isn’t the same as theirs. It tells me they are looking for the answers on their own, they just want someone to give the answers to them.

The Alchemist follows a young Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago. He travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to overcome the obstacles along the way. Of course, what begins as a journey to find worldly goods becomes a discovery of the treasure found within.

If there are any cons, I’d say it’s everyone’s negative perception of this book. Having read this in high school, I found it amazing and great insight while keeping a fable-like feel to the story. Back then, I remember considering it a self-help vibe book. Now, I see it more of a reminder. I might sound silly putting it that way, but we are already aware that we are great and capable of great things. Society, our community, and our own families make us forget.

It’s horrible, but the truth. Some forget to the point where they believe they were never able to from the beginning. They enable themselves and look to others to find solutions to they problems and questions instead of putting the effort in on their own. Harsh, I get, but when you spend your life being negative and holding a negative viewpoint on positive things, your mind won’t expand very far.

For pros, I can go on forever with this book. Though it’s translated from Portuguese, I liked the way it is written. You start of thinking it’s all about the treasure and making it to the pyramids, but when he meets the individuals on his trip, you feel yourself growing with him. You learn more about yourself and what makes you complete and what you want in life, the same way Santiago does.

With the feel of a fable, it’s quick and simple read for a heavy topic. Santiago’s journey brings him so much that once it’s all over, he has a new home and a love to return to and friends he learned so much from. All of which he never even considered happening when he started out. In the beginning, he was so focused on the treasure being the only thing he needed and came to realize gained and had all that over time.

The Alchemist reminds you that it isn’t the end goal that makes the goal worth it, it’s how hard you’re willing to work and far you’re willing to go to maintain your own happiness. You are happy now, everything else is just a plus.


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