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Every few decades a book is published that changes the lives of its readers forever. The Alchemist is such a book. With over a million and a half copies sold around the world, The Alchemist has already established itself as a modern classic, universally admired. Paulo Coelho's charming fable, now available in English for the first time, will enchant and inspire an even wider audience of readers for generations to come. The Alchemist is the magical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure as extravagant as any ever found. From his home in Spain he journeys to the markets of Tangiers and across the Egyptian desert to a fateful encounter with the alchemist. The story of the treasures Santiago finds along the way teaches us, as only a few stories have done, about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, above all, following our dreams.
About The Author Paulo Coelho, born in Rio de Janeiro in 1947, is one of the bestselling and most influential authors in the world. The Alchemist, The Pilgrimage, The Valkyries,Brida, Veronika Decides to Die, Eleven Minutes, The Zahir, The Witch of Portobello, and The Winner Stands Alone, among others, have sold 115 million copies in more than 160 countries. Paulo Coelho naciÃ³ en Brasil en 1947 y es uno de los autores con mÃ¡s influencia de hoy dÃa. Conocido
mundialmente por el bestseller internacional El Alquimista, Coelho ha vendido mÃ¡s de 100 millones de libros en todo el mundo, los cuales han sido traducidos a 68 idiomas y publicados en 150 paÃses. Paulo Coelho escribe una columna semanal que se publica en los periÃ³dicos mÃ¡s importantes del mundo.
Biography His books have been translated into 56 languages, topped bestseller lists throughout the world, and scored him such celebrity fans as Julia Roberts, Bill Clinton, and Madonna; yet for Brazilian publishing phenom Paulo Colho, the road to success has been strewn with a number of obstacles, many of them rooted in his troubled past. As a youth, Coelho was expected to follow in the footsteps of his father, a professional engineer. When he rebelled, expressing his intentions to become a writer, his parents had him committed to a psychiatric hospital where he was subjected to electro-shock therapy. He left home to join the 1970s countercultural revolution, experimenting with drugs, dabbling in black magic, and getting involved in Brazil's bohemian art and music scene. He teamed with rock musician Raul Seixas for an extremely successful songwriting partnership that changed the face of Brazilian pop -- and put a lot of money in Coelho's pockets. He also joined an anti-capitalist organization called the Alternative Society which attracted the attention of Brazil's military dictatorship. Marked down as a subversive, he was imprisoned and tortured. Amazingly, Coelho survived these horrific experiences. He left the hippie lifestyle behind, went to work in the record industry, and began to write, but without much success. Then, in the mid-1980s, during a trip to Europe, he met a man, an unnamed mentor he refers to only as "J," who inducted him into Regnum Agnus Mundi, a secret society that blends Catholicism with a sort of New Age mysticism. At J's urging, Coelho journeyed across el Camino de Santiago, the legendary Spanish road traversed by pilgrims since the Middle Ages. He chronicled this life-changing, 500-mile journey -- the culmination of decades of soul-searching -- in The Pilgrimage, published in 1987. The following year, Coelho wrote The Alchemist, the inspirational fable for which he is best known. The first edition sold so poorly the publisher decided not to reprint it. Undaunted, Coelho moved to a larger publishing house that seemed more interested in his work. When his third novel (1990's Brida) proved successful, the resulting media buzz carried The Alchemist all the way to the top of the charts. Released in the U.S. by HarperCollins in 1993, The Alchemist became a word-of-mouth sensation, turning Coelho into a cult hero. Since then, he has gone on to create his own distinct literary brand -- an amalgam of allegory and self-help filled with spiritual themes and symbols. In his novels, memoirs, and aphoristic nonfiction, he returns time and again to the concepts of quest and transformation and has often said that writing has helped connect him to his soul. While his books have not always been reviewed favorably and have often become the subject of strong cultural and philosophical debate, there is no doubt that this self-described "pilgrim writer" has struck a chord in readers everywhere. In the 2009 edition of the Guiness Book of World Records, Coelho was named the most translated living author -- with William Shakespeare the most translated of all time!
Good To Know Few writers are able to accomplish what Coelho can in just two to four weeks -- which is how long it takes for him to write an entire novel. Before become a bestselling novelist, Coelho was a writer of a different sort. He co-wrote more than 60 songs with Brazilian musician Raul Seixas. Coelho is the founder of the Paulo Coelho Institute, a non-profit organization funded by his royalties that raises money for underprivileged children and the elderly in his homeland of Brazil. In our interview with Coelho, he shared some fascinating facts about himself: "I have been practicing archery for a long time; a bow and arrow helps me to unwind."
"In writing, I apply my feminine side and respect the mystery involved in creation." "I love almost everything about my work, except conferences. I am too shy in front of an audience. But I love signings and having eye contact with a reader who already knows my soul."
Reviews From Barnes & Noble
With the help of several enchanted strangers, an Andalusian shepherd boy learns to listen to himself. Palm Beach Post
The unmatched Jeremy Irons reading this book makes it an instant audio classic. M. Scott Peck
A wise and inspiring fable about the pilgrimage that life should be. Indianapolis Star
"A touching, inspiring fable." London Times
"[His] books have had a life-enchanting effect on millions of people." Austin American-Statesman
"As memorable and meaningful as Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince." New York Times
"[This] Brazilian wizard makes books disappear from stores." San Francisco Chronicle
"A magical little volume." M. Scott Peck
"A wise and inspiring fable about the pilgrimage that life should be." Rudolfo Anaya
"An adventure story full of magic and wisdom." Joseph Girzone
"A beautiful story with a pointed message for every reader."
Gerald G. Jampolsky
"A most tender and gentle story. It is a rare gem of a book." Spencer Johnson
"An entrepreneurial tale of universal wisdom we can apply to the business of our own lives." Anthony Robbins
"A remarkable tale about the most magical of all journeys: the quest to fulfill one's destiny."
As I get older, it seems I discover more about life. I'm 70 now. This is a book I wish I read years ago. You will learn things that I did and did not in this book, all of which will help you find your way through life. It is a great read too. Fun, hard to put down. Wonderful.
In all honesty, if one were to choose to read a single book in their lifetime, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho should be a top contender. This book was referred to me by a teacher and I am quite glad that I went through with the recommendation. The story is written in a very simple writing style which allows nearly any person to pick up the book and comprehend it fully. Originally having thought the beginning of the book was a bit dull, I quickly realized the valuable lesson weaved into the plot. The story follows a young boy who chose to leave his family to live the simple life of a shepherd. The author mentions the boy's name only a single time because it's not the name that's important, but the values that the boy learns. The boy learns of treasure and an alchemist, a clairvoyant man with the capabilities of turning any metal into gold. This alchemist resides in Egypt, a long way from Spain, the boy's homeland. The simple shepherd sells his entire flock and risks it all to find this treasure as well as his destiny. The boy encounters many events that would make even the most determined people turn back home, but he continues. The meaning of this book is cleverly embedded into this short tale. I'd prefer to avoid spoiling the entire message of this story, but in all honesty it will make you smile on the last page. *****
Here's what it boils down to: if you hug a bible tighter than a teddy bear don't read. Also if simple metaphors cause great confusion if your world, skip this one. This.book demands an open mind un-poluted by the lies of conventional religion and demands you think outside the box. A truly inspirational story that may or may not be taken literally, it is up to the reader. This is one of those novels you keep in your bed stand or actually highlight or take notes in. Outstanding piece of literary genius and a definite must read in my book!
Read An Excerpt Part One
The boy's name was Santiago. Dusk was falling as the boy arrived with his herd at an abandoned church. The roof had fallen in long ago, and an enormous sycamore had grown on the spot where the sacristy had once stood. He decided to spend the night there. He saw to it that all the sheep entered through the ruined gate, and then laid some planks across it to prevent the flock from wandering away during the night. There were no wolves in the region, but once an animal had strayed during the night, and the boy had had to spend the entire next day searching for it. He swept the floor with his jacket and lay down, using the book he had just finished reading as a pillow. He told himself that he would have to start reading thicker books: they lasted longer, and made more comfortable pillows. It was still dark when he awoke, and, looking up, he could see the stars through the half-destroyed roof. I wanted to sleep a little longer, he thought. He had the same dream that night as a week ago, and once again he had awakened before it ended. He arose and, taking up his crook, began to awaken the sheep that still slept. He had noticed that, as soon as he awoke, most of his animals also began to stir. It was as if some mysterious energy bound his life to that of the sheep, with whom he had spent the past two years, leading them through the countryside in search of food and water. "They are so used to me that they know my schedule," he muttered. Thinking about that for a moment, he realized that it could be the other way around: that it was he who had become accustomed to their schedule. But there were certain of them who took a bit longer to awaken. The boy prodded them, one by one, with his crook, calling each by name. He had always believed that the sheep were able to understand what he said. So there were times when he read them parts of his books that had made an impression on him, or when he would tell them of the loneliness or the happiness of a shepherd in the fields. Sometimes he would comment to them on the things he had seen in the villages they passed. But for the past few days he had spoken to them about only one thing: the girl, the daughter of a merchant who lived in the village they would reach in about four days. He had been to the village only once, the year before.The merchant was the proprietor of a dry goods shop, and he always demanded that the sheep be sheared in his presence, so that he would not be cheated. A friend had told the boy about the shop, and he had taken his sheep there. "I need to sell some wool," the boy told the merchant. The shop was busy, and the man asked the shepherd to wait until the afternoon. So the boy sat on the steps of the shop and took a book from his bag. "I didn't know shepherds knew how to read," said a girl's voice behind him. The girl was typical of the region of Andalusia, with flowing black hair,and eyes that vaguely recalled the Moorish conquerors. "Well, usually I learn more from my sheep than from books," he answered. During the two hours that they talked, she told him she was the merchant's daughter, and spoke of life in the village, where each day was like all the others. The shepherd told her of the Andalusian countryside,and related the news from the other towns where he had stopped. It was a pleasant change from talking to his sheep. "How did you learn to read?" the girl asked at one point. "Like everybody learns," he said. "In school." "Well, if you know how to read, why are you just a shepherd?" The boy mumbled an answer that allowed him to avoid responding to her question.He was sure the girl would never understand. He went on telling stories about his travels, and her bright, Moorish eyes went wide with fear and surprise. As the time passed, the boy found himself wishing that the day would never end, that her father would stay busy and keep him waiting for three days. He recognized that he was feeling something he had never experienced before: the
desire to live in one place forever. With the girl with the raven hair, his days would never be the same again. But finally the merchant appeared, and asked the boy to shear four sheep. He paid for the wool and asked the shepherd to come back the following year. And now it was only four days before he would be back in that same village. He was excited, and at the same time uneasy: maybe the girl had already forgotten him. Lots of shepherds passed through, selling their wool. "It doesn't matter," he said to his sheep. "I know other girls in other places." But in his heart he knew that it did matter. And he knew that shepherds,like seamen and like traveling salesmen, always found a town where there was someone who could make them forget the joys of carefree wandering. The day was dawning, and the shepherd urged his sheep in the direction of the sun. They never have to make any decisions, he thought. Maybe that's why they always stay close to me.
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