Book Summary: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

May 19, 2018

GenreFiction, Self-help, Motivational I Author: Paulo Coelho I PublisherHarperCollins
First published1988 I Pages: 197p I ISBN: 0061122416 (ISBN13: 9780061122415)

'The Alchemist' by Paulo Coelho doesn't need any introduction; with over 150 million copies sold, 115 international awards, and has been translated into 80 languages, this is indeed one of the most read books worldwide.

Alchemist is a unique piece of fiction-combined with self-help/motivation genre. In the book, Paulo Coelho takes us to an interesting atmosphere of medieval fantasies with the voice of the desert, dreams, symbols, signs, and adventures - while teaching important life lessons.

Here's my brief summary and lessons (that I perceive) from the book.


At the onset of the Alchemist, we meet Santiago - a simple shepherd who lives in Andalusia, a small village in Spain. He has no big desires in life – all he wants is to be free to roam with his sheep, little wine and a book in his bag. Soon things change… he gets a repeated dream of a great treasure, hidden under the Egyptian Pyramids. One day, he meets Melchizedek – king of a distant land, who encourages Santiago to chase his dream and treasure. Santiago also sells his sheep and sets off journey towards the desert.

But unfortunately, on the very first day in the new country, a clever thief robs Santiago. Broken Santiago finds a job with a crystal merchant – just to get some money to go back to his home. But soon he learns all the tricks and makes the merchant’s business successful.

Days run, at one-point Santiago realizes that he’s just getting comfortable with things as they are, instead of pursuing his personal legend. That strives Santiago to restart his journey, he joins a caravan which travels across the desert. He meets an English man on the caravan,  who’s looking for the 200-year-old alchemist. That English man is an avid-reader who tells Santiago that the alchemist lives in the nearby oasis.

The caravan stops near an Oasis since there's a tribal war on the way. There, he finds Fatima – a girl from the deserts. They fell in love with each other and starts living together near the oasis. One day, Santiago envisions an attack on the Oasis and save all the people and animals over there. His inception to predict the future makes him popular across the desert, that the alchemist himself pays a visit to Santiago. The alchemist promises to guide Santiago towards the treasure. Fatima too encourages Santiago to chase his dream.

The very next day, Santiago resumes his journey with the alchemist towards the treasure pyramids, but both are captured by some refugees on the way. At the climax, with his strong confidence and magical powers, Santiago speaks to Sun and Wind - to bring the rain. Frustrated refugees beat up Santiago, but one of them reveals that the treasure is not in here in the pyramids, but they’re there at “Andalusia” - the small village in Spain from where Santiago's all the journey began😇.

The story ends as Santiago discovers the treasure, right at a tree in Andalusia – where he’d his first dream. With all the fortunes, Santiago goes back to the deserts to meet his love, Fatima.


The book is full of lessons and pieces of inspiration spread all through the story. Perhaps, I need a full post to list all of them. Here are some of the 4 important takeaways in my view:

1. Listen to your heart and follow your dreams 
The alchemist summary - Paulo Coelho

2. Live in the present
The alchemist summary - Paulo Coelho

3. Watch out for “signs” of the Universe that tries to help you.
The alchemist summary - Paulo Coelho

4. Never give-up on failures
The alchemist summary - Paulo Coelho

Not all of us can find Santiago within us; we all have dreams, but not everyone is ready to quit the contented life and start chasing dreams, and that’s what makes the Alchemist story enchanting😜. What do you think?

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  1. I've never read The Alchemist. I do like those rules to live by though. I am not religious but I have my own rules to live by and they all sort of focus around kindness and consideration.

  2. Excellent summary. I've not read this book but enjoyed your break down of the main themes.

  3. I own this one and need to read it soon!!

  4. I have heard so many good things about the Alchemist. I need to read it!

  5. It does sound inspirational! A good choice for a self-help read for sure.

  6. I love the photo set that you brought into you review! Very unique. I love this book!!

  7. I've heard a lot about the book, and seen a fair few reviews. Not sure it would be for me though. Loved your thoughts on it.

  8. I adore this book! I loved your layout for this review as well.

  9. I like the sound of this one. Great review!

  10. Great review!!
    Loved it.