Monday, November 19, 2007

The Alchemist

"You should pay more attention to the caravan," the boy said to the Englishman, after the camel driver had left. "We make a lot of detours, but we're always heading for the same destination."
"And you ought to read more about the world," answered the Englishman. "Books are like caravans in that respect."

This is a "journey" book, a book about discovery and self realization, in which a young shepherd in Spain has his fortune told and is informed he will find a hidden treasure near the pyramids in Egypt. He decides to seek his fortune, he sells his sheep, and embarks on his journey. Along the way he meets all sorts of people and learns something from each of them. When I read this book I couldn't help but think of all the people I have met and books I have read over the years and how I learned something from each of them. We may not always have an "Aha" flash from each encounter like the shepherd boy has but something will sink in and make us wiser in the long run.

This book has an interview with the Brazilian-born author and a reader's guide which gives you some more to consider after you've read the book. This was an extremely popular book and has been translated into 65 languages from its original Portuguese. You can read it as a simple fable or as a deeper, more meaningful story. On either level it's bound to make you think about yourself.
My rating for this book: +++

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