Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Book I Read - The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

This book is about life’s trails and tribulations. Discovering who you are, following your dreams and knowing where your destiny lies.

The narrator of this story is Paulo Coelho This book, like all fables, is written on many levels. Apparently, the story of a Shepherd in Spain who, unlike so many people, follows his dreams. He does get a little help from the supernatural, but many of the stories most interesting thoughts come from his musings on nature. His travels take him across the Mediterranean into Africa, where he meets several archetypal characters (the Man Afraid of Change, the Waiting Woman, the Wise Shaman, the Warrior Chief, and the Cynical Fool), learns about himself and his dreams, and finds his destiny.

An interesting way to look at this story is to ask the question: who is the title character? Alchemy is such a potent idea–the changing of one element into another has had a grasp on the human mind for as long as we have known about elements. But, of course, alchemy has secondary meanings–an alchemist transforms. Is the boy an alchemist, for transforming himself and the lives of those around him? Is God the alchemist, for transforming the destinies of humanity? Is the reader the alchemist, for taking the fable and transforming its words into something personally meaningful?

Favorite quotes / passages that I found insightful:

Ø The secret of life is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.

Ø Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.

Ø “I’m like everyone else — I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not what actually does.”

Ø God created the desert so that man could appreciate the date trees.

Ø “When you want something, the entire world conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Ø “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

Ø “At a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what's happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fates. That's the world's greatest lie. Whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.”

Ø "As he mused about these things, he realized that he had to choose between thinking of himself as the poor victim of a thief and as an adventurer in quest of his treasure"

Ø "There is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it's because that desire originated in the soul of the universe... The soul of the world is nourished by people's happiness."

Ø "The desert takes our dreams away from us, and they don't always return. We know that, and we are used to it. Those who don't return become a part of the clouds, a part of the animals that hide in the ravines and of the water that comes from the earth. They become part of everything... They become the soul of the world."

Ø "It is said that the darkest hour of the night comes just before the dawn."

Ø "What happens once will never happen again. But what happens twice will surely happen a third time."

Ø "The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself."

Ø "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

Personal Opinion

I loved this book because it can inspire someone to follow their dreams and listen to their heart. And not care what other people think of them.

When I was reading this book I was going through a rough time in my life. This book lifted my spirits and encouraged me to keep trying, to keep traveling and following my dream. Better to seek your Personal Legend and fail than to give up without even trying.

Yes, I would recommend this book to others because it can motivate and inspire people to do well for themselves and the people around them.
But, some people complain that the book is too simplistic, that you would be stupid to believe that there is some "plan" for your life that you should have followed; that you should wake up, take your head out of the "touchy-feely" clouds and get back to work.
If you are prone to such thoughts, perhaps this book is not for you. However, if you enjoy waking up your soul from time to time, there is no better place to do it than in the clouds.

Do read The Alchemist; it is just such a good book. It will definitely give you a “Wisdom-buzz” or an "Esoteric - buzz".

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