I’m reading “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coehlo…

…and it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I decided to read The Alchemist after hearing numerous spiritual gurus talk about it on Super Soul Sunday (a program on OWN). People kept referring to the lessons in The Alchemist and so after I finished reading Lean In, I decided to read it. The book is simple, uses words that any and everyone has heard (except alchemist) and its message is clear: The universe conspires for you to achieve you Personal Legend.

In the book a young shepherd decides to leave his home to seek out his Personal Legend and see the pyramids of Egypt. Along the way he encounters a king who manifests himself in various forms to guide the young man along the way. He makes many stops along the way and is faced with the decision to stay where he is comfortable or take a risk and go toward his destiny at all of those stops. I am halfway through the book and I understand what all of the hype was about 26 years ago and why it is still widely read today. This is a book that should be required reading in all schools. It is Dr. Seuss’s Oh the Places You’ll Go for grown-ups, namely because of the way it talks about fear. Fear is the killer of all dreams and the ruler of too many lives.  Paulo Coehlo took a story, much like Aesop’s fables and the stories of Sinbad and molded them into something people living in the 20th century can relate to. Below are some of my favorite quotes from the book thus far:

“Making a decision is only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”

“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

“And, when you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.”

“There was a language in the world that everyone understood, a language the boy had used throughout the time that he was trying to improve things at the shop. It was the language of enthusiasm, of things accomplished with love and purpose, and as part of a search for something believed in and desired.”

Note: An alchemist is a philosopher concerned principally with discovering methods for transmuting baser metals into gold and with finding universal solvent and an elixir of life. Alchemy was practiced in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. (definition from dictionary.com)

Note: My next book will be Native Guard by Natasha Tretheway, the current U.S. Poet Laureate. 

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