10 Most Meaningful Passages – The Alchemist

I love this book! As a practicing ‘alchemist’, even more so! Because perhaps the greatest riddles are hidden in plain sight, and this work by Paulo Coelho is no exception, showing a breadth of understanding quite rare in modern short stories, and a lively prose peppered with four dimensional characters.

Here are the 10 most meaningful passages from The Alchemist as chosen by literally thousands of reader from around the world. Enjoy!

“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.”
Highlighted by 2629 Kindle users
“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, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”
Highlighted by 2604 Kindle users
There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
Highlighted by 2569 Kindle users
It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting,
Highlighted by 2446 Kindle users
Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.
Highlighted by 2371 Kindle users
when each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.
Highlighted by 2358 Kindle users
“We are afraid of losing what we have, whether it’s our life or our possessions and property. But this fear evaporates when we understand that our life stories and the history of the world were written by the same hand.”
Highlighted by 2107 Kindle users
‘The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world, and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon.’”
Highlighted by 1946 Kindle users
“Because I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man. You’ll see that there is life in the desert, that there are stars in the heavens, and that tribesmen fight because they are part of the human race. Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now.”
Highlighted by 1932 Kindle users

“That’s what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”

Highlighted by 1734 Kindle users
If this has wet your appetite, you can find a full digital edition here.

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19 responses to “10 Most Meaningful Passages – The Alchemist”

  1. Alex Jones says :

    Great quotes there.

  2. amoonfull says :

    I enjoyed this! Thanks.

  3. Supersede (Jaq White) says :

    I used to read this book on my bus ride home from work, as the journey was long so I could immerse myself into books. By the time the bus reached a section of open countryside, I would feel the work stress being left behind me, so it was always a time I could return to my state of inner peace. Anyway, it was at just that point in the journey, as we reached the fields, that I came to the closing pages of The Alchemist, and I started weeping – it was so moving that I was overwhelmed!! I was so overcome that I had to put the book away and save it until I got home, so that I could enjoy it properly and weep to my heart’s content 🙂
    Thanks for the reminders from this very special book.

  4. jessicawritesnow says :

    I feel conflicted at leaving a reply– however my nature that adheres to honesty
    no matter if it sits with the majority or the minority usually tempts the hell out of people to recriminate me for not buying what someone offers, at retail price, Frankly, i feel perfectly sad for the individuals who a) Don’t know these “truisms” already, because it reveals that technology is so far up people’s butts that simple awareness becomes a challenging topic and b) If anyone in the audience of the 10 things most important to know judged by the majority…hummm Hitler reigned due to the majority, lobotomys according to Rockefeller investments, were the new successful “scientific” treatment for mental illness. I always stop, and think what kind of racket is this? Well atheists perhaps, but one of the 10 things implies a higher power. So this excuses the generation next and after that to behave badly, but eventually an alchemist intervention will be invented and the statistics will support Alchemy. No I am not trained in any philosophy, I am a practical user of some of all of them, one of them I prefer over all. Lofty statements produce nothing. Okay, Lofty statements produce an awareness that mimics good will which unsettles our humans into action and soon pleasantville results by the cerebral shake of the Alchemist’s hand. God, I’m so sorry, you are very smart & I admit I’m hard on people.

    • otove says :

      Hi Jessica,

      an insightful critique there, you know – sometimes a thesis (mine) requires it’s antithesis (yours), it’s the tug and pull of debate that keeps things moving, so no hurt taken, actually the debate is here entirely of your own initiative.

      One important thing i’d like to add though, is that a superficial analysis yields superficial conclusions. Haiku are a prime example.

      Late autumn
      the buffalo’s shadow moves
      through the tall grass


      The first cold shower
      even the monkey seems to want
      a little coat of straw

      Nature as consort to Human Nature is implicit, but not explicit in Haiku/Haibun (and mystical writings), You must dig deeper, then deeper still! There are no cliche’ , tautologies or truisms, just world weary eyes.

      With Care,


      • jessicawritesnow says :

        I must ask is it the person with world weary eyes, because over repeatedly, cast in a new light, different shadow, the eyes tire of results that the society (I) live in never changes (mirrors the same shallow consumerism that my life’s philosophy is based on how many kindle views the sentence has received.) What meaning to draw from the majority; the majority has to consist of structuralism likened over centuries of one man (woman’s) meditation to the next. For some this is religion. For some it’s fortune, other’s it’s luck and still others it’s a cauldron of all that’s good or all that’s bad. For me, not kindle users. I’m sorry, maybe I missed your obvious points with the Haiku?

  5. otove says :

    “What meaning to draw from the majority; the majority has to consist of structuralism likened over centuries of one man (woman’s) meditation to the next.”

    Hmm, ‘Structuralism’, I guess you have it all there in that single overwhelmingly Catholic term. What can anyone draw ‘meaning’ from, but the cultural substrate we use to grow and harvest knowledge and wisdom – i.e. raw experience or God.

    This author suggests the purpose of Haiku is as a document of raw experience.

    “The haiku poet, knowing that words are not enough to capture the fullness of any moment, inscribes a partial idea that leaves an all-important space for the reader to fill in. As you question what the poet has omitted, the poem comes alive through your own memories and feelings. When Otsuji writes:

    Its sail dips in the sea
    The ship on the spring waters.

    He does not need to say that the waters are rough, because we have seen the rocking of the sail on the waves…The poem tells us as much with omission as it does with inclusion.” From,The Moon in The Pines.

    Words only point out the way, but some point it out better than others.


  6. pjgracecommunity says :

    Thanks , and the journey continues.

  7. Religion4All says :

    LOVE this post … one of my favorite authors and a book that continually alters my choice of paths to this day! 🙂

  8. jessicawritesnow says :

    Is it better when everyone expresses the fuzzies because your post helped them to feel better? Impermanence, the cheapest of thrills. (not a dig I should know, my life was filled with it, if that is possible. Than I made it somewhat permanent.) Wormhole. I wish someone might challenge you–like write your own 10 things that you live by: obviously some men and women are more realized and aware than others. Where do you stand? What do you do in a day’s time that reflects the writing on the wall so to speak. As usual it’s Jessica.

    • otove says :

      Hey Jessica, nice to hear from you.

      We both seem to be ‘like ships at sea’, Guess I’m trying to say that any advice i have is an expedient way to stop my boat from sinking, but might not help you rite now. Sort of like a bucket to bail out storm-wash, pretty useless the rest of the time.

      “I wish someone might challenge you”

      I will spend 20 minutes or so writing this reply, which i guess means you are challenging me, i just hope you find it helpful.

      The only rule i really use all the time is to ask: “Is this thing really necessary” and, “how can i do this thing better”. and when im feeling angry:

      Blunt the sharpness.

      Untie the knot.

      Soften the glare.

      Settle with the dust…

      When I’m feeling down – this is exhilarating: http://youtu.be/FPqd_9T5Zx4

      Hope this finds you well,


      • jessicawritesnow says :

        I beg the question– if it requires sharpness, or for you to tie the not and hold on, or for you to be blinded by the glare for your protection, and the realization that the dust never settles, what then? They r probable, or foreseeable. Now what, if what sustained your spirit is challenged: are you in a spiritual trial, or do you just hold on to the side of the boat?

  9. otove says :

    “Now what, if what sustained your spirit is challenged: are you in a spiritual trial, or do you just hold on to the side of the boat?”

    To remain kind compassionate and caring when dealing with bitterness, contempt and hatred, is all there is to it. The secret is remaining afloat, quickly bailing out those dark thoughts before our spirits sink. Ultimately it is to keep an eye on who we are, or who we are becoming, especially when dealing with others.

    If we are angry Jessica something is wrong, if our throats choke with grief, something is wrong, we must appear angry and upset only to fit in (our Controlled Folly) but once the moment has passed we are left with only kindness compassion and empathy, nothing else.

    Easier said than done, I can hear you say! Have a go, Read What Carlos Castaneda has to say here:


    With Care,


  10. Marsha J. O'Brien says :

    One of my favorite books. I shared on Facebook. Hope okay!

  11. Ricky Pearl says :

    I never known the meaning of love if I haven’t read “The Alchemist”. Actually this novel was suggested to me by someone while I was searching for “The secret of Nagas’ after reading ” The immortal of meluha” by Amish Tripti. First I thought It would be waste of time but the very next moment I thought to buy the book and finally bough both. When I was travelling to home from Chandigarh. I opened ” The Alchemist” and try to concentrate but couldn’t. So I put it back into bag and slept for some time as sleep usually caught my eyes whenever I travels to same place again and again. In sleep I’d a dream as an indication to read the book. I suddenly woke up as there was accident right in front of us. But no injuries were happened by the grace of almighty. I come back to bus and still journey was of 4 hours to the destination. So, i opened book and begin to reading; I totally immerse myself in book and ended up reading in two days. The book teach me language of love and to identify myself. I couldn’t stop myself from reminding my love interests; who I left somewhere; in the race of time to win over each other.

    Now I’m happy because I have found my treasure, My true treasure….

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