This is the second book on alchemy I’m reading this year. The friend who recommended it to me assured me that I would love it and it was worth my time. In fact, I read it twice.
The story focuses on how pursing dreams can make a person take seemingly stupid risks. Santiago (or the boy) who lived in the beautiful countryside of Andalusia could not find happiness in formal education but took to tending sheep. One would have thought he was crazy but the peace that came with being united with the sheep was satisfying, at least in the beginning.
Then he started having dreams of distant deserts and pyramids. This would take him from the sheep he had become united with, the countryside terrain he was familiar with and the merchant’s daughter he had a crush on.
From meeting with gypsies and an old king he was able to learn what a Personal Legend is, how to study and apply omens and to take even crazier risks.
Along the way the boy saw many who did not follow their Personal Legends for several reasons and how unhappy their lives became. He met with robbers, a crystal seller, fellow pilgrims on the journey of destiny and finds love in a desert girl who is unafraid to lose him.
Finally, his meeting with the alchemist taught him about the Soul of the World, how to be united with his heart and how that he was part of everything and everything was part of him.
According to the book, a Personal Legend is a person’s mission on earth. It is what you have always wanted to accomplish, known clearly as a child. The Soul of the World comprises passions and emotions and speaks a language every creature can understand; the Language of the World.
Excerpts from the book include;
When you really want something to happen, the whole universe will conspire so that your wish comes true.
We are afraid of losing what we have, whether its life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history were written by the same hand.
You must understand that love never keeps a man from pursuing his Personal Legend. If he abandons that pursuit, it is because it wasn’t love…the love that speaks the Language of the World.
Coelho Paulo is a Brazilian lyricist and author. His book “The Alchemist’ was originally written in Portuguese a while back but has been translated to about 50 languages.
In the book, Coelho Paulo not just told a story but gave a guide to those who seek out what exactly they are supposed to do. He spoke of knowing and guessing, focus and distraction.
The concluding part of the book was a twist and I did not see that coming. It showed that our treasures are often in the places we do not value and that if we followed our Personal Legends, we would live like gods.