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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

4.4 (6665 )
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4.6 (4873 )
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Joanna Chicago, IL, United States 11-16-12
    Joanna Chicago, IL, United States 11-16-12 Member Since 2011

    Traveler. Artist. Dreamer.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.

    22 of 23 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

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judi Portland, OR, USA 01-07-07
    Judi Portland, OR, USA 01-07-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
    58
    ratings
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    92
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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.

    56 of 63 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Carmichael, CA, USA 02-02-07
    Linda Carmichael, CA, USA 02-02-07
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.

    57 of 65 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kenny Hogan 10-29-14
    Kenny Hogan 10-29-14 Member Since 2013

    A musician and songwriter from the Boston area. I like "Regular Guy" books. No chick Lit, no zombies, or vampires please. No politics.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Disappointing Fable"

    This is a book that tries hard to be full of inspirationally motivated lessons in life. The narration was good, but the story itself was geared more to an adolescent mindset. I had hoped for some sort of spiritual uplifting, but it just didn't accomplish that for me.

    Nothing profound here.

    I'd say it's overrated, and a bit long.

    It's pleasant enough to read and these simplistic fables and philosophies are nice to think about, but as a story it's not too exciting.

    5 of 5 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.

    43 of 51 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 07-28-14
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 07-28-14 Member Since 2015

    I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very special... a keepsake."

    This book is one that I will read (listen to) over and over. The lessons one learns from this book are very similar to those one understands when studying Law of Attraction. The principles are sound and the story is a wonderful one. Jeremy Irons does a fabulous narration. Some chide me for not "reading" books... but when one can have the treat of hearing a talented actor such as Jeremy Irons do a rendition of such a special book, it's a win win as far as I'm concerned. I am now anxious to read other books by Paulo Coelho!

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ed Maximus Kearny, NJ USA 11-13-14
    Ed Maximus Kearny, NJ USA 11-13-14 Member Since 2014

    Living my life one chapter at a time!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Superb Tale of Finding Your Personal Legend!"
    Where does The Alchemist rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Through four audiobooks, this one was amongst the top of all of them.


    What did you like best about this story?

    What I liked best was the main character's interactions with the different characters he met along his journey.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite scene was when the boy tried to tell Fatima the reason why he loved her and she stopped him and told him he didn't need to.


    If you could rename The Alchemist, what would you call it?

    Realizing Your Legacy.


    Any additional comments?

    The narration was perfect.

    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.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kyria Astoria, NY, USA 01-04-06
    Kyria Astoria, NY, USA 01-04-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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!

    41 of 51 people found this review helpful
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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.

    15 of 15 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.

    10 of 11 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
  • 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.


    1 of 1 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.


    1 of 1 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
  • Luke Mooney
    7/21/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The power of belief"

    Exceptional story which relates strongly to the power of self belief and realisation. Throughly enjoyed this audio book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Hannah Jackson
    6/6/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Exceptional, beautiful and really helpful"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book as I'm totally down on my luck at the minute and in search of my own personal legend. I happened by chance to fall upon The Alchemist and after realising it was narrated by the legendary Jeremy Irons knew it was a must buy! A life changing book for sure!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Brendan
    5/24/15
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    Performance
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    "Now one of my favourite ever books!"

    Insightful and philosophical. This book has helped me look at my woes as a necessary evil on the road to my personal legend lol. Loved it

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • nina
    Long Island City, NY, United States
    5/18/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Best book ever"

    Absolutely brilliant!!! highly recommend it ... I couldn't put it down , had to read/hear it in one go .....great story about life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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