Book Review: The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

Occasionally, I stumble across the same message so often that a flashing neon sign, with bells and whistles, couldn’t be more effective in getting the point across. Most recently, I keep slamming into “follow your dream.” A few months ago, Mr. H and I watched The Secret (achieving your goals). A few weeks ago, my youngest daughter visited, and we watched Man of La Mancha (“Dream the Impossible Dream”).

And, I recently read The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho, a fable about understanding and pursuing one’s destiny, with the universe firmly conspiring to help. The theme is similar to The Secret and Man of La Mancha, when Destiny calls, you must faithfully go. Although The Secret is New-Agey, and gives too much credit to individual willpower, the starting point is the same. Each individual must discern his destiny, then dare to dream his dream, no matter how impossible it might seem.

The Alchemist is the story of an Andalusian shepherd boy who dreams of traveling to the Pyramids of Egypt to find a treasure. He sells all of his sheep and leaves his life behind, in pursuit of this dream. On his journey, he is joined by an Englishman who dreams of becoming an alchemist, and he is helped by a centuries-old alchemist who dreams of an apprentice.  The tale, as told, is well-founded in Christian principles.

Here are some of my favorite quotes, with links to relevant scripture:

“To realize one’s destiny is a person’s only obligation.” Romans 8 tells of living our lives according to the Spirit, pleasing God. In Luke, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hear, and obey, God’s call.”

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” The Spirit intercedes on our behalf.

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” If we rely on ourselves, failure is a valid concern. If our goals are aligned with God’s plan for us, such fear is misguided. Jeremiah 17

“The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.” (Proverbs 24:16)

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.” One of the most frequent commands in the Bible is “do not fear.” Although it is in our nature to fear, it is a blessing to suffer in our Godly pursuits. We are called to walk humbly with God.

“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” (Matthew 6:21)

“People are capable, at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.” We are inherently dreamers. Abraham was well over 100 years old when God gave him the son he’d promised.

The message is: identify your calling, your dream, your goal…and the universe will respond. If what you pursue is in obedience to God’s will, then of course you will be able to achieve your goals. To doubt would be foolish. After all, God is, well…God.

The Alchemist is a tale well told; it’s an enchanting parable of a young man, a dream and the obstacles he faced in order to achieve his goals. He heeded the universe, the guidance of God, and the magnetic force of his destiny, overcoming all interference and distractions, such as the love of a woman or the theft of his savings.

Each of us has an obligation to discern God’s will for our own lives, day by day, and to set out to obey, trusting that if it is God’s will, it will be done. We must learn to trust our hearts, to pay attention to the world around us, and to respect that while we search for our dreams, our dreams are searching for us.

I recommend this book to anyone who is ready to face the challenge. What is your destiny? Are you ready to pursue it? Do you dare to achieve it?

About Fran Hart

Disciple of Christ, earning a living as the director of US-based operations for a Taiwanese company, managing an engineering organization while carving out time to write. Wife, Mother, Grandmother.
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One Response to Book Review: The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

  1. Bernie Davies says:

    I say, jolly good show! Well said and pip-pip. Love it when you get into book writing.