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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 (3535 )
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4.5 (2195 )
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1 star
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    claudia OREM, UT, United States 10-08-13
    claudia OREM, UT, United States 10-08-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Simple, Powerful, Thought Provoking"
    Any additional comments?

    A lot of people complain that the story is very basic and predicatable. I agree but I think thats what makes this book great. We tend to over complicate our lives, question why bad things happen to good people, we blame others for what happens in our lived. I feel like this book brings you back to the basics which is always a good place to start or restart. I recommened it to everyone who feels like they can't get a grip on their life. If you're looking for a new prospective...this book won't be a waste of your time.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ninjac Washington, DC, United States 07-25-11
    ninjac Washington, DC, United States 07-25-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
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    16
    3
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    Overall
    "Narration adds to ho-hum story"

    I joined a book club and this was the first book they chose to do. I wouldn't have read this book otherwise. But I really enjoyed Jeremy Irons reading this. You will like this book if you like new age religious themes.

    11 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J Lewisville, TX, United States 06-28-11
    J Lewisville, TX, United States 06-28-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    3
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    "This book ruined my personal legend"

    I had so much to give this audiobook. My hopes, my dreams, my time. I ventured out in search of treasure, but, alas, my personal legend was crushed under this lightweight novel like a wicker stool under a very large circus man. Quite possibly the most overrated novel in human history. Brutally redundant. Horrible writing. If you feel the stars may have aligned so that you might listen to or, dare I say, actually read this book, get a new alchemist. I'd rather be forced to read lyrics to the Black Eyed Peas' "Ring-A-Ling" song over and over and over again.

    34 of 51 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cienne REDONDO BEACH, CA, United States 02-26-12
    Cienne REDONDO BEACH, CA, United States 02-26-12 Member Since 2010

    Cienne Aubryne

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    4
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Too Dull"
    What would have made The Alchemist better?

    This would probably be better if you read it yourself, rather than an audible. It just didn't capture my interest. I didn't care about the characters and since finishing it, can't remember much about it.


    Would you recommend The Alchemist to your friends? Why or why not?

    I wouldn't recommend the Audible version because it just didn't grab me, make me want to find out more.


    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    EW Corydon,IN 10-21-11
    EW Corydon,IN 10-21-11 Member Since 2010

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    51
    3
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    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Eh....."

    Well I thought I would really like this book but didn't like it much at all. The story on the surface is very plain. The plot takes the main character in a big circle and back to square one with no "happy" ending (really it feels like no ending at all). It does have a deeper meanings that you can read into some but still not an exciting read. If I hadn't been one of those people who has to finish a book once it is started I would have put it down early rather than finishing.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Minola Clark Manson San Diego, California United States 03-27-12
    Minola Clark Manson San Diego, California United States 03-27-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    18
    1
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    Story
    "Poorly written overworked "fable""
    What disappointed you about The Alchemist?

    The story was too poorly veiled. Too chauvinistic. the concept was not new original. Therefore the information should be presented very well. It was not.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Paulo Coelho again?

    no


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Jeremy Irons?

    Absolutely


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Alchemist?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    no

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kent Springfield, VA, United States 03-20-12
    Kent Springfield, VA, United States 03-20-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    100
    ratings
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    64
    29
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    13
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What a nice little allegory!"

    This is a pleasant little story. And, it's one of those books that bears re-reading (or re-listening, if you did the audiobook format, such as I did)! I has the same sort of feel as "The Prophet" by Kahlil Gibran, or "Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse - and similarly carries a lot of subtle and overt life-messages in it's concise text. It is one of those stories that I'll ponder for quite a long time!
    Jeremy Irons did a fantastic job with the narration - lots of variety in voices, and LOTS of emotion and feeling in the emphasis of dialogue!
    This was a short, quick, and easy listen, and was very much worth my time!

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn BEAUMONT, TX, United States 10-19-11
    Lynn BEAUMONT, TX, United States 10-19-11 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    682
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    161
    144
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    376
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    Overall
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    Story
    "Entertaining"

    If you are interested in classical literature that will keep its value, this book isn't it. If you want deeply drawn characters, this will disappoint. If you want an entertaining listen for a long drive, this may well be your choice! It is filled with thoughtful moments and insights into the human condition. It is filled with "religious" references, but that will not kill the story, but add to it. It is just a good listen.

    7 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frank Newark, NJ, United States 08-02-12
    Frank Newark, NJ, United States 08-02-12 Member Since 2012

    avid reader, on my way to avid listener. also an employee at Audible.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    4
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    Story
    "It Really Was Very Good"
    Any additional comments?

    This one had me all over the place. I liked the book - I loved the book - I hated the book - the book was ok - I liked the book - the book was ok. But by its last words, I had to say that I do love the book. I disliked the constant use of the words, "personal legend", and the awful affectation that Jeremy Irons employs when pronouncing these words in particular.

    Though my opinion mixed and spun throughout my listen, that very challenge made the book ever more engaging, ever more interesting. This book is neat, heavily symbolic, heavily allegorical, concise, beautiful, and mystifying. And though the story and words are simple, the philosophy and meaning are challenging. Still, I think almost everything about this book is widely accessible. A friend described it as a "modern myth", and I have to agree with him. It reads like a myth: something ancient and wise, unbelievable and fantastic yet applicable and meaningful. It seems that the author has gathered the unspoken wisdom of a generation and wrapped it into this tight, literary package.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kirstin Atlanta, GA, United States 07-29-12
    Kirstin Atlanta, GA, United States 07-29-12 Member Since 2010

    I am a grower. A tangle of vines weaving round myrtle branch fences. Rusty metal, soft stone, and worn wood. Unkempt curls and knees covered in clay. I listen.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    ratings
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    "Awe is contagious..."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes I would recommend this audiobook to friends. It is a beautiful story that at its core teaches us to have faith in the flow of life and trust in the whispers of our own heart.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Alchemist?

    My favorite part was when the boy must become the wind.


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

    No I have not


    If you could take any character from The Alchemist out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    The old king. I would have many questions to ask.


    Any additional comments?

    I love this timeless story of following your heart!

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 225 results PREVIOUS12323NEXT
Sort by:
  • 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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