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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 (328 )
5 star
 (202)
4 star
 (68)
3 star
 (37)
2 star
 (13)
1 star
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Overall
4.4 (235 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.6 (239 )
5 star
 (167)
4 star
 (47)
3 star
 (19)
2 star
 (4)
1 star
 (2)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Bev London, United Kingdom 05/10/2011
    Bev London, United Kingdom 05/10/2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    1
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
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    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 07/10/2011
    g St Helens, United Kingdom 07/10/2011 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    13
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    2
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    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 04/04/2012
    S KENT, United Kingdom 04/04/2012 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    2
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    0
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    "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 09/12/2013
    jen Westbury on Trym, United Kingdom 09/12/2013 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    14
    7
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    0
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    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 02/07/2013
    A. Collins 02/07/2013

    Programmer, powerlifter and lover of maths.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    18
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    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 24/06/2012
    Natalie ASHBY DE LA ZOUCH, United Kingdom 24/06/2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "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
  •  
    Emma 17/08/2015
    Emma 17/08/2015 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "😍😍😍😍"

    Loved every moment of this journey and have stolen a few quotes and life lessons.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luke Mooney 21/07/2015
    Luke Mooney 21/07/2015 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    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 06/06/2015
    Hannah Jackson 06/06/2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
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    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 24/05/2015
    Brendan 24/05/2015 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    2
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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
Sort by:
  • Joanna
    Chicago, IL, United States
    16/11/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    25 of 26 people found this review helpful
  • John
    tallevast, FL, United States
    30/12/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
    07/01/07
    Overall
    "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
    Overall
    "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.

    58 of 66 people found this review helpful
  • Ed Maximus
    Kearny, NJ USA
    13/11/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Kir Kanos TN
    Franklin, TN United States
    20/06/07
    Overall
    "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.

    44 of 52 people found this review helpful
  • DIANE
    Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada
    28/07/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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
  • Jes
    Hobart, IN, United States
    05/06/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "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.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  • Ian C Robertson
    South Australia, Australia
    12/05/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enduring and Peaceful"

    This modern parable is a beautifully simple tale, beautifully read by Jeremy Irons. If you've read this before, then you won't be disappointed by this production. If you've not read it before, then do yourself a favour and listen to it now. Yes, it has a deep religious undercurrent, but you can take that in or just be swept along on the top of the wave of poetic language. So graceful. So peaceful. Truly enduring.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Kyria
    Astoria, NY, USA
    04/01/06
    Overall
    "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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