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This was my second time reading The Alchemist, and I was struck by how difficult it is to categorize this book. Is it meant for children? Adults? Does it even matter?
I came to the conclusion that it’s a story for anyone searching for their “personal legend” regardless of age or stage of life. Some people discover and pursue their life’s goals and dreams at an early age while others follow along traditional paths laid out for them.
The book is simple yet complicated, straightforward but also mystical, and I hope you discover your own personal inspiration through these quotes.
"When I read about clashes around the world—political clashes, economic clashes, cultural clashes—I am reminded that it is within our power to build a bridge to be crossed. Even if my neighbor doesn’t understand my religion or understand my politics, he can understand my story. If he can understand my story, then he’s never too far from me. It is always within my power to build a bridge. There is always a chance for reconciliation, a chance that one day he and I will sit around a table together and put an end to our history of clashes. And on this day, he will tell me his story and I will tell him mine." | Paulo Coelho, 2014
22 Quotes from The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo
1. “I couldn’t have found God in the seminary, he thought, as he looked at the sunrise.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 13)
2. “Whenever he could, he sought out a new road to travel. He had never been to that ruined church before, in spite of having traveled through those parts many times. The world was huge and inexhaustible; he had only to allow his sheep to set the route for a while, and he would discover other interesting things.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 13)
3. “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 13)
4. “Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 18)
5. “What’s the world’s greatest lie?” the boy asked, completely surprised. “It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 20)
6. “It’s what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is. “At that point in their lives, everything is clear and everything is possible. They are not afraid to dream, and to yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them in their lives. But, as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their Personal Legend.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 23)
7. “People learn, early in their lives, what is their reason for being,” said the old man, with a certain bitterness. “Maybe that’s why they give up on it so early, too. But that’s the way it is.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 26)
8. ‘The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.’” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 34)
9. “He still had some doubts about the decision he had made. But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 70)
10. “The desert is a capricious lady, and sometimes she drives men crazy.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 73)
11. “I’ve crossed these sands many times,” said one of the camel drivers one night. “But the desert is so huge, and the horizons so distant, that they make a person feel small, and as if he should remain silent.” The boy understood intuitively what he meant, even without ever having set foot in the desert before. Whenever he saw the sea, or a fire, he fell silent, impressed by their elemental force.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 75)
12. “The boy was beginning to understand that intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it’s all written there.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 76)
13. “Because I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. You’ll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens, and that tribesmen fight because they are part of the human race. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 86)
14. “Because, when you know that language, it’s easy to understand that someone in the world awaits you, whether it’s in the middle of the desert or in some great city. And when two such people encounter each other, and their eyes meet, the past and the future become unimportant. There is only that moment, and the incredible certainty that everything under the sun has been written by one hand only. It is the hand that evokes love, and creates a twin soul for every person in the world. Without such love, one’s dreams would have no meaning.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 95)
15. “It’s not what enters men’s mouths that’s evil,” said the alchemist. “It’s what comes out of their mouths that is.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 117)
16. “One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 123)
17. “People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them. We, their hearts, become fearful just thinking of loved ones who go away forever, or of moments that could have been good but weren’t, or of treasures that might have been found but were forever hidden in the sands. Because, when these things happen, we suffer terribly.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 131)
18. “…the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 131)
19. “Everyone on earth has a treasure that awaits him,” his heart said. “We, people’s hearts, seldom say much about those treasures, because people no longer want to go in search of them. We speak of them only to children. Later, we simply let life proceed, in its own direction, toward its own fate. But, unfortunately, very few follow the path laid out for them—the path to their Personal Legends, and to happiness. Most people see the world as a threatening place, and, because they do, the world turns out, indeed, to be a threatening place.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 132)
20. “That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.’” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 134)
21. “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 143)
22. “The alchemist said, “No matter what he does, every person on earth plays a central role in the history of the world. And normally he doesn’t know it.” Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist (pg. 160)