Thursday, January 7, 2010

Inspiration: The Alchemist


I know I might be preaching to the choir with this post, but I have to say that reading The Alchemist was a transformative experience for me.

I first read the book back in college, at a time when getting laid, drinking with friends, and “finding myself” were very much priorities. Looking back, I have a feeling that the real message of the book was probably muddled by a good deal of post-adolecent angst and a perverse (naïve?) confusion only a classical liberal arts education can generate.

Some years later I reread the Alchemist at a time when getting laid, drinking with friends, and “finding myself” reemerged as priorities. The experience was completely different. Coelho's narrative was now crisper, mode defined, and less allegorical. I no longer saw a boy tending to his flock and traveling the world in search of a treasure he has only seen in his dreams.

Suddenly, I understood what I had to do. Where I had to be. And, more importantly, who I didn't want to be.


MK said...

I found this book really useful. There are so many nuanaces that spoke to my life at the time I read it. I still revisit the introduction when I need reassurance that blazing my own path is the right thing to do.

Do you have any other books you recommend that you found inspirational?

I can recommend to you: The Prophet, Letters to a Young Poet, and The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.


Sara Jean said...

I thought that book was the dumbest waste of time aka: common sense.

Why does everyone like that book so much?!

Anonymous said...

What college did you go to?

Anonymous said...

Damned Boring! such a Cliché

Ms Hen said...

Hi Jack.. I have to catch up on your blog..

Betty Ann from NYC.

Jack said...


Sorry for the late response. Yeah, I love this book. Well, Coelho has plenty of other interesting books but Life of Pi is another that I would put in the same category. And thanks for the recomm. The already on my radar.


I guess to each his own. I found so much in its pages that I can't even part with it. I'm sure other people can find meaning in something else.


Sorry, not about to reveal that on an anonymous blog.

Jack said...


Everyone has an opinion. No worries.

@Ms Hen,

I hope you did by now. Been a while.