Recommended by the likes of Nelson Mandela, Will Smith and even Tony Robbins, The Alchemist is a book that is without time. It’s relevance does not age and nor does it’s message. This is one of the classics that stands alone and may one day be referenced as a greater source of inspiration than the Bible. Yes. You read that here.
Why is it so good for travel reading?
At 177 pages it is an easy enough read that you can get through it in a couple of days and the storyline is simple and impactful enough so that you can afford to have breaks in between chapters. It’s also very aspirational and calming; suggesting that no matter what happens you’re going to be okay. The story follows a shepherd boy as he makes his way through a foreign land in search of the Alchemist who can turn lead to gold. His journey takes him through all the different stages of becoming a man before reaching his destiny.
The book’s success.
If you haven’t already read the Alchemist you really should. It is one of the books that belongs on every person’s bookshelf, dog eared from numerous readings. As interesting as the story is the tale behind it: so moved was Coelho by the story he wanted to write that it took him only two weeks to complete it. While it has sold millions of copies world wide and has been translated into hundreds of languages it was not an immediate success and was turned down by many publishers. It has since become one of the most celebrated “essential reads” of our age. Millions have read this book and suggested it to others and while there may be some naysayers online, their numbers are drowned in the overwhelming love that is generally felt for this simple but incredibly moving novella.
While, the book deals with elements like destiny and fate, divine intervention and spiritualism it does so without being preachy, most often by the narrator witnessing these things and allowing the reader to make up their own mind. Through this it is the kind of book that you can read when you’re a teenager and again when you’re thirty and read two completely different stories that give you pause at completely different stages.
Ultimately, buy a copy, if you don’t like it, give it away. These things disappear off of bookshop bookshelves faster than they can appear. I for one, would never give up my copy.
Coelho has produced a significant amount of work and each of his books are a testament to his understanding of life and his insights into finding happiness, peace and closure.