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The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream | [Paulo Coelho]

The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream

Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its simplicity and wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an Alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest.
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Publisher's Summary

Paulo Coelho's enchanting novel has inspired a devoted following around the world. This story, dazzling in its simplicity and wisdom, is about an Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago who travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of treasure buried in the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an Alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles along the way But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a meditation on the treasures found within. Lush, evocative, and deeply humane, the story of Santiago is art eternal testament to the transforming power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.

©1988 Paulo Coelho; (P)2005 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

"The story has the comic charm, dramatic tension and psychological intensity of a fairy tale, but it's full of specific wisdom as well, about becoming self-empowered, overcoming depression, and believing in dreams." (Publishers Weekly)

"Yareli Arizmendi spins this marvelous tale of exotic adventure....[He] makes us feel the pain and joy of Santiago, the poor shepherd boy, as he tries to decide whether to seek a larger fortune or stay in the security of his job. Exuding softness and pathos, the narrator reminds that us most people who are unhappy failed to follow their dreams when young." [AudioFile]

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (3753 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Joanna Chicago, IL, United States 11-16-12
    Joanna Chicago, IL, United States 11-16-12 Member Since 2011

    Traveler. Artist. Dreamer.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    68
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    "A quest for dreams come true"

    Santiago is a young man who proceeds in literally making his dreams come true. He is an ordinary man, full of doubts and fears, like you and me, but he has this drive inside of him and a courage to continue on his path. This is a fantastic fable filled with unsurmountable challenges and life changing choices. I do agree with a previous reviewer in that Paulo over uses "omen", but it's kind of funny when you expect it. Jeremy Irons does an amazing job with changing voices to match each character (his voice does get low at points though). This is, hands down, my favorite book.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Carmichael, CA, USA 02-02-07
    Linda Carmichael, CA, USA 02-02-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    46
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    "Marvelous Book & Expressive Reader"

    No better choice to read this magnificent book by Paul Coelho than Jeremy Irons. It is exceptionally well read, with great expression, and wonderful adaption of voice to characters. I have had it on audio cassette since it was first released in that format and was delighted to find it available in audio-book format at CD quality. It's truly a must have and is suitable for all ages. The book is also most profound yet told simply with grace and depth.

    46 of 51 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judi Portland, OR, USA 01-07-07
    Judi Portland, OR, USA 01-07-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Timeless Tale"

    I've been listening to Audible books for years, but this is the first one that, after finishing it, I immediately bought a hard copy. In fact, I bought TWO!! One for me to (re)read and mark up with highlights and notes, and one to pass around to my family and friends! This story is an amazing parable, richly layered with insights for finding and living a richer, more grounded, more meaningful life. Never "preachy", this is an allegorical story written in lyrical language that stands beautifully on its own. Add the richness that Jeremy Irons's delivery brings to this Audible edition, and it becomes a transcendent experience.

    41 of 47 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kir Kanos TN 06-20-07

    kkanos

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A must for every young person"

    I really enjoyed this book. While it is not necessarily the enthralling Hero's journey that I thought it would be, this book should be on every high school and college student's reading list. It helps to put your "personal legend" or life's mission into perspective. While it isn't nearly a basis for theology, it touches on the many issues that people face as they embark on their life's journey. I especially liked the Alchemist's advice about not giving up on your life's mission for love. While admirable and definitely worth while, if one ends their life journey to pursue love, they will regret it and eventually resent the one they love. On the other hand if that significant other truly loves you, they will encourage you to pursue your personal legend and even wait for you if need be. To stand in the way of another person fulfilling their purpose does an injustice to that person, but is also self detrimental. Each person is on this earth for a purpose. It is up to each of us to be open enough to God's plan to find and pursue that purpose. Then we can truly live rich and fulfilling lives.

    31 of 37 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kyria Astoria, NY, USA 01-04-06
    Kyria Astoria, NY, USA 01-04-06
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    "Wonderful!"

    This is everything you want in an audiobook: a gorgeous story, beautifully read. I could listen to Jeremy Irons for hours... in fact, I did!

    33 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John tallevast, FL, United States 12-30-13
    John tallevast, FL, United States 12-30-13 Member Since 2011

    List of favorite books: Woodcutter - Reginald Hill, Consent to Kill, First Deadly Sin - Lawrence Sanders, Sniper Elite - Scott McEwen

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Made me think about my own dreams not followed"

    I was given this book as a gift. Because it falls under the category of a "Fable" with a hint of fantasy, I probably would not have got it for myself. I really liked this book through and through. It really made me stop and think about how I have let a busy life and possibly some fears stop me from pursuing things I want to accomplish - Not need to accomplish.

    Jeremy Irons was obviously Jeremy irons and told the story very well. It was a great story and I am glad I listened to it.

    J

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jes Hobart, IN, United States 06-05-14
    Jes Hobart, IN, United States 06-05-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What the Dream Give tried to be meant"

    When I first started reading this book I thought I was reading a part of the Count of Monte Cristo. Then as it progressed I felt I was reading the ‘Dream Giver’ and realized this book is what Brian Wilkins was trying to achieve when he wrote his book. The Alchemist was written 20 years earlier and it a great story. The ‘Dream Giver’ always left me wanting more. Here the author give us more and then some. This book ties in very well with ‘Infinite Possibilities by Mike Dooley’ extremely well as well as ‘Excuse Me Your Life Is Waiting by Lynn Grabhron’. Here we meet a young man who thinks he has it all and is content with life, but his dreams tell him there is more out there. He pursues it and the story begins. After reading it I’ve removed the ‘Dream Giver’ from my recommended list and have replaced it with this book instead.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arnold North Ridge, CA, USA 04-24-06
    Arnold North Ridge, CA, USA 04-24-06 Member Since 2005
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    "A Meanigful Listen"

    Jeremy Irons does a wonderful job narrating this work. The story is an easy listen. It is packed with lots of meaning and there were times I wanted to stop the audio just to think about what was being said. Lessons on life, love and the way we see the world can be found in this wonderful story.

    14 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Micah Woods Cross, UT, United States 08-08-12
    Micah Woods Cross, UT, United States 08-08-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Personally, I did not care for it"

    This book was very little story surrounded by lots of rather ill-conceived philosophy. The little story there was is very simple with every small conflict easily resolved within a few 'pages'.

    I also did not agree with several aspects of the 'follow your dreams at all costs' theme that the writer espoused. I don't want to put in any 'spoilers' but the writer put way too much emphasis on the 'personal legend'. I was sick of that phrase by the end...

    Be warned it is VERY judeo-christian based, so if that kind of thing offends you, then stay away. I am a Christian, but still found the way the author used religion to be heavy-handed.

    Perhaps if you are looking for inspiration you might enjoy it, but I left it feeling uninspired and wishing I had spent my credits elsewhere.

    PS: Jeremy Irons did a good job with the reading, no complaints there.

    22 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Winston Salem, NC, United States 06-08-11
    William Winston Salem, NC, United States 06-08-11
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    "Heavy-handed"

    This book was like listening to a long sermon on a hot day, sitting in an uncomfortable pew while someone hits you upside the head with a canoe paddle.

    I suggest drinking a shot every time you hear the word, "omen".

    64 of 93 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 233 results PREVIOUS1224NEXT
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  • Bev
    London, United Kingdom
    10/5/11
    Overall
    "Mr Irons makes this reading beautiful"

    Whilst a lot of people may debate aspects of the book and its content in their review, I would like to comment on the extraordinary power and beauty of the reading by Jeremy Irons. His voice made this story a real joy to hear, I am going to search and see if he narrates any more on here. Having read the book before I can honestly say that Jeremy Irons' reading surpassed my reading by far. His dynamic tone and characterisation truly transport you on the magical journey of wonder that this book is all about. Thank you Audible, thank you Mr Irons, a beautiful 4 hours indeed.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • g
    St Helens, United Kingdom
    10/7/11
    Overall
    "Such an inspiring story"

    This was recommended by Will Smilth during an interview on his ideas of success.
    It's a simple and interesting tale with lots of twists and thought provoking ideas.
    Highly recommended to anyone, especially those interested in "the way" or personal development.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • S
    KENT, United Kingdom
    4/4/12
    Overall
    "Great Story - Great Narrator"

    This was recommended to me by a friend and I really enjoyed it. The narration was 1st class.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Natalie
    ASHBY DE LA ZOUCH, United Kingdom
    6/24/12
    Overall
    "Beautiful reading"

    As the first audiobook I have listened to, I worried about the narrative voice blurring my own appreciation of a wonderful story. Irons' narration, however, is expressive and clear and brings a real authority to the reading.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • John F
    London, United Kingdom
    6/25/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable the 2nd time around"
    What made the experience of listening to The Alchemist the most enjoyable?

    I read the story of The Alchemist many years ago, back then, I kind of got the jest of it and that life is a journey. Fast forward several years later and instead of picking up the book, I listened to the book. The audible story transformed me to another place that the book version wasn't able too at that time. I listened to the story over two days and was drawn in with the experiences throughout the book.

    I also suspect that I, myself, was at a place to truly understand the story. Worth the read and worth the thoughts that one has while listening to the story. Recommended Read!


    What does Jeremy Irons bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Jeremy Irons has a good voice that doesn't take away from the words being expressed, he's able to capture the characters and the story where one is intrigued to keep listening and can't quite stop the audiobook.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Emotional reaction, doesn't have to involve laughter or tears, instead I was greeted with a higher awareness of things, daily things, one take for granted. My emotion was more meaningful and one of thought.


    Any additional comments?

    Life is a journey as it has been said many times. This book is about a journey, I believe it can help one to stop and think for a while and observe ones own life. To look at the individual belief system and ask questions that deep down each of us knows the answer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • jen
    Westbury on Trym, United Kingdom
    12/9/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This story moved me."
    Would you listen to The Alchemist again? Why?

    This is a wonderful and thought-provoking tale. I wanted to listen again as soon as it was finished! It really invites you to read between the lines and reflect upon your own life story. Highly recommended.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Paul
    Crawley, United Kingdom
    11/7/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Uplifting"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Alchemist to be better than the print version?

    its just a different way to absorb the message. Both book and audio were very enjoyable


    What did you like best about this story?

    No one particular part... I liked the whole book


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No, I liked listening to it during my stretching sessions


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A. Collins
    Southampton, UK
    7/2/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Soft, easy and inspiring"
    What made the experience of listening to The Alchemist the most enjoyable?

    This book is all it's hyped to be. A warming and inspiring story with great characters and intrigue. A nice twist too ;)

    Jeremy Irons really enhanced the story for me too. His accents were apt and sometimes amusing; his voice acting top notch.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The ending, the characters.


    Have you listened to any of Jeremy Irons’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    I've not.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Irons made the experience absolutely better.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Alexis
    79a West Drive, Highfields Caldecote, Cambridge, CB23 7RY
    9/5/11
    Overall
    "Very disappointing"

    This book was extremely disappointing. It was very cheesy and sentimental drivel. Badly written, repetitious and juvenile in style. The characters are one dimensional and in being so lacks depth. Despite it crossing various parts of the world, it fails to describe any of the beauties or otherwise of the places. In summary, this is a very badly written self-help book. The only good thing I can say about the book is that it is short ...

    I would not recommend this book to anyone - just a waste of time and money!

    3 of 19 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-9 of 9 results

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