Home » Blog » “The Alchemist” Book of The Month October 2018

Recently, yet another wonderfully successful and fulfilled business leader told me that ‘The Alchemist’ was one of her favourite books and that when she first read it about 10 years ago it gave her insights as to why and how she had come to do what she loves and get handsomely rewarded for it.  These insights enabled her to dissolve much of the unconscious guilt she had about being so successful, and these metaphorical insights enabled her to take her business to another level of success whilst expanding her sense of purpose and fulfillment. Although she could not put her finger on exactly how she had achieved this, she said that much of the explanation lay in this metaphorical story. Interestingly the journey that Paulo Coelo went on to initally get this book published is a reflection of the fable itself.

The Alchemist Book Coaver

This book has sold a staggering 65 million copies since 1988!   So whilst it is one of the best-selling and most translated books of all time, it has still only been read by less than 1 percent of the world’s population. Interesting, a coaching friend of mine (who shall remain anonymous) who coaches and consults with the founders of several technology companies in Silicon Valley (off the record) referred to many of his teachings as ‘Alchemy’!  He believes that only around one percent of people in the world are consciously aware of what ‘Alchemy’ is, and another one percent are unconsciously aware.  What I know for sure is that many of the most fulfilled and prosperous people I have met over the years tell me that it is a book that really resonated with them, many saying that this is their number 1 most favourite book.

This fable is about a Spanish shepherd boy, who has a yearning to travel and learn, his journey takes him so far beyond what 99% of people think should be possible for a person from a small village whose occupation is looking after sheep.  The story is packed with so many hidden philosophical metaphors and spiritual messages for life that I will most likely re-read or listen to again.

Interestingly, a whole host of celebrities refer to this book as their ‘favourite book’.  People like Oprah Winfrey and legendary actors Will Smith, Jim Carey and indeed Jeremy Irons who loved the book so much he chose to narrate the Audiobook version, which is well worth listening to as he reads it as beautifully as only a professionally trained Shakespearian actor could.

So, what do you think of when you read the word ‘Alchemy’? Magic, hocus pocus, turning lead into gold, or perhaps it is a metaphor for transformation?

The author references and uses what he calls “The language of enthusiasm of things accomplished with love and purpose.”This book is littered with thought-provoking philosophical points and there are numerous realisations and insights learned by the central character such as  …“I see the world in terms of what I would like to see happen, not what actually does.” And a lesson he receives from several sources is ….

“If you want something with all of your soul, the universe will conspire to make your dreams a reality” The other lesson around this statement is that most people (probably 98%) do not believe this!

Ultimately, the most profound lesson I take personally from this book is that our most authentic and greatest power lies in the things about ourselves that we are most fearful, guilty or shameful about together with the childlike dreams that many of us suppress.  It is in this supposedly vulnerable place that we transform and are able to surpass all limitations we may have previously had.  For me this is the essence of ‘Alchemy’.


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