The Alchemist is a wonderfully simple story of a young shepherd who follows his dreams of treasure and encounters many experiences and people, learning wisdom and life lessons along the way. Paulo Coelho has skillfully woven many bits of truth and wisdom about life into this masterpiece, and it is a true delight to read. Just like it teaches, it is not the destination, but the journey with this book, that counts.
It doesn't matter if you're searching for buried treasure, or for love, or for the secret of turning lead into gold. It doesn't matter if you die trying, never reaching your goal. It doesn't matter if you don't find what you're looking for, once you get there. What matters is what you've brought with you on the way, and what you've learned along the way. The people you meet, the hardships and heartaches you go through, the lessons your experiences has taught you.
The Alchemist tells you how to turn lead into gold. It tells you of the wonder and the uncertainty of change and evolution, the secret of enjoying the beauty of life without becoming hardened by the harshness of reality, the art of living in the moment without worrying about the past or the future, and most importantly, the ultimate secret of the universe, that we are all interconnected. We are all one.
It has been compared to Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince and Herman Hesse's Siddhartha. I have read both, and while they both have their own beauty and teach their own wisdom, The Alchemist touches people in its own quiet way.
What I like about the book is that it teaches you to live your life well. Live every moment in the moment. Let go of anything that is an encumberance. Follow your dreams. Have fun and enjoy everything life has to offer, but don't forget the things that really matter. Let go of things that are not within your control. Live your life and let others live theirs, what works for you may not work for them and vice versa. There is something to be learnt in everything.
There is so much wisdom contained within the pages of this little book, but for me, the most important one, is to enjoy every minute of your life. We all have goals in life, we have dreams to fulfill and successes to achieve. We need to remember to stop once in a while, and smell each rose and count each star in the sky. It is not the destination, but the journey, that counts.