Book Review: The Alchemist

“To realize one’s own destiny is a person’s only obligation.”

~ Paulo Coelho

My choice for book club this month, The Alchemist, is a story about a young shepherd who goes on a journey in search of treasure buried near the Pyramids of Egypt. This classic book uses his journey to articulate the need to follow one’s inner voice, to pursue your dreams, and have faith along the journey of life.

The message of this book is undoubtedly a good one. In today’s status-driven society, many of us often are pressured to give up our passions in the pursuit of fame and money; we forfeit the dreams of our youth in exchange for the comfort and surety of the well-trodden path. It takes courage, bravery, and perseverance to achieve one’s own dreams, to act against the often well-intentioned advice of those close to us, however the book argues that following this inner voice and pursuing your “personal legend” is the most fulfilling way to live life.

Despite the fantastic message, this book is simple and unchallenging. I think it is best suited for children and young adolescents, who are finding their feet in life and are being confronted with the questions of their existence for the first time. However, the book still has utility across all age groups, and was a great reminder to me to never give up on my dreams, even the one’s that have somewhat fallen into obscurity due to the busyness of life.

Time is non-renewable and is therefore the most valuable resource one has: no one knows how much of it they have been allocated. This book is a reminder that everyone has makes their own choices in life, and despite the inevitable trials and tribulations, one should never lose sight of their goals.

“The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and get up eight times.”

~ Paulo Coelho


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