I began to hear more and more about The Alchemist and finally decided to borrow it from the library. Having sold over 20 million copies, I had high hopes for this book and it did not fail to deliver.
The Alchemist is the story of a young Shepard living in a small village who has a longing to see the world. After having a dream about the Egyptian Pyramids, he decides to pursue his dream and risk his comfortable life in search of the pyramids. Along the way he meets a variety of people including a gypsy who convinces him there is a treasure waiting for him at the pyramids. The boy goes on to meet a shopkeeper, a king, and the list goes on. Each person in the book acts as a symbol or a sign for the boy to keep following what he set out to accomplish, and that is finding a treasure at the pyramids. The book follows the boys trials and setbacks as he keeps trying to find the courage and follow his new path. Despite constant struggles and insurmountable odds, the boy is always able to find the signs and follow them in such a way that they eventually lead him to his dreams.
This book was fantastic. It spoke to everything ranging from religion, faith, following your dreams, and the law of attraction. The message I got from this book was quite clear - when you have a desire to do something, "the universe will conspire in your favor" to bring you what you want. To allow the universe to act accordingly however, you have to be willing to follow the signs along the way and accept that while things may not happen in the manner you hope or expect, they are all somehow working with you to deliver your dream. That thing you thought was a set-back was really an omen, guiding you on your way so that you would eventually be in the right place at the right time. But you have to roll with the punches and stay positive and determined. Just like any successful person will tell you - never give up on your dreams. Be persistent. As for the main character, he proved that anything is possible when you believe in yourself and the universe.
This book was a quick and easy read - you can easily read it in several hours. In fact, they are currently making it into a movie starring Laurence Fisbhurne, slated for release in 2009. If you are looking for some inspiration in life, this is worth your time. It can show you that everything happens for a reason while en route to fulfilling your goals. Just don't give up too soon - like the protagonist in this book, he had many chances to give up and go home. Although he made sacrifices along the way, he never turned back prematurely. You shouldn't either. I highly recommend this book.