Reading “The Alchemist” in Spanish

My review of Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist is one of my most popular posts. The Alchemist is one of my favorite books; I connect deeply with the message. I feel that it was introduced to me at a pivotal moment in my life — the message appeared exactly when I needed to hear it.

Last summer, a good friend’s long-term girlfriend handed me a copy of The Alchemist. They’re both engineers, based in Seattle. They were making great money, lived in a modern apartment with a magnificent view, and seemed to be doing great. “It’s my favorite book,” the girlfriend told me as she handed me the book. She longed for travel, like I had done.

Mt. Rainer loomed in the distance, visible from their apartment window. The boyfriend spoke of climbing it next summer. I thought that sounded fun. But you could tell, it wasn’t the girlfriend’s dream.

I was just back from extended travel in Asia. I was unemployed, emotionally devastated, and unsure of what to do with my life. I had been home for two months, floating around from friend to friend, spending my days mostly sleeping and trying to make sense of everything I had learned from breaking up with my girlfriend in the Hong Kong airport, and going on to Nepal. I was spending money recklessly, including coming out to Seattle for just a weekend. Chasing my dreams had, in a very real way, destroyed my life.

If there is a better time to be handed a book about the power and importance of following your dreams, I don’t know when it would be.

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Book Review: The Alchemist

Paolo Coehlo The Alchemist Meaning Themes

“To realize one’s Personal Legend is a person’s only real obligation.”

These were the words with which Paulo Coehlo stole my heart.

My world is far too full of I cant’s, but’s, and if only’s. I hear these words all the time from friends, from lovers, and from family. I heard these words from the woman who introduced me to this book: “I wish I could do what you did and travel, but I need to work.”

Essentially, Paulo Coehlo’s “The Alchemist” pivots around this idea of “I can’t.”

This book exists to convince you: “You can.”

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