The Alchemist

Author : Paulo Coelho
Genre : Literature, Philosophy, Self-Help, Spirituality

I thought a lot on whether or not to include this book in my list here. It claims to change your life, and no doubt it has for many of its 80 million readers. The book has been translated in 67 languages and holds a Guinness record for maximum translations. It also made Paulo Coelho the most famous living author, with 28 million fans on Facebook (only author in Top 100 Fan pages… all others are Musicians or Actors).

The novel’s message is simple: “when you really want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” [Recall Shah Rukh Khan saying it in Om Shanti Om!]. It follows the life of a young shepherd who, against all odds, follows his dream and finds a big treasure. The core message is sound. As we grow older, a mysterious force begins to convince us it will be impossible to realize our dream. And so we live shackled by what society tells us to do, rather than what we really want to do, living a life of emptiness, misery and discontentment. The novel extols us to follow our dreams, instead of worrying about what others will think. For ‘everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own’.