"The Alchemist", by Paulo Choelo, is a novel about a young shepherd who embarks on a journey to find his unknown personal treasure. He dreams he will find a magical, beautiful place at the end of his journey.
The anonymous main character travels across different cities and countries, finding work to finance his journey and meeting different people such as Kings, recluses, and magicians who all provide wisdom to the boy.
Through hearing the stories of others, he gains wisdom that he learns is all essential for him throughout his quest. He learns to take chances, notice omens, and that coincidence are not real.
His ultimate lesson as he reaches the end of his journey is that the treasure he was searching for was in fact in his possession the whole time. The simple moments such as the stories he heard, the views he took in and the sheep he cared for.
I could go on and on about the elements of the story but I won't ruin it for those who have yet to read the book. Instead, I am providing some of the quotes I found to be the most inspirational.
1. "When you want something, all the Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it."
2. "Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own."
3. "Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure."
4. "People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams because they feel that they don't deserve them, or that they'll be unable to achieve them."
5. “Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams.”
6. “There is only one way to learn. It’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.”
7. “What is the world’s greatest lie?” the little boy asks. The old man replies, “It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That’s the world’s greatest lie.”
8. “The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”
9. “The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better.”
The book values the idea of enjoying what is, never failing to pursue your goals, but not forgetting to stop and take everything in. The secrets to life are all handed to us, we just have to notices them. Something that is normal to one, may be fascinating to another. We cannot try to convey it, but simply stop and be in awe.