Given my entreprenuerial lifestyle of the past six years, I rarely had an opportunity to read much besides the occasional magazine, daily newsletters, blog sites and significant volumes of emails. I, of course, picked up the hot new business books now and then but only infrequently got the chance to read any good fiction.
Prior to heading to Argentina recently, I decided to purchase a piece of literature for the trip and randomly stumbled upon The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho in a airport bookstore. This book has been around for a few years and was a best-seller, as I now understand it, but I had heard nothing about it previously. I believe it’s actually the best selling Brazilian book of all time. So, it was to my surprise that I happened upon, what turned out to be, one of my favorite books ever. And, it was almost surreal to me that, given my current state in life, I was having the opportunity to read such a jem.
In short summary, The Alchemist is the story of a Spanish shephard who, while content with his life, finds himself in search of something more. His repeated dreams transform themselves in to an actual vision quest of sorts whereby he journeys to discover his “personal legend.” The road is a rough one and, on numerous occasions, he nearly disembarks early from the mission only to see it through at the end. His ultimate discoveries and life lessons become far greater, both monetarily and otherwise, than he ever could have imagined.
Nearly everyone would enjoy this piece of fiction but I believe it sits particularly well with those more spiritually minded individuals who may be wrestling with the subjects of purpose, vision and one’s mission in life. According to M. Scott Peck, auther of A Road Less Traveled, this novel is “a wise and inspiring fable about the pilgrimage that life should be.” As a entreprenuer myself, I particularly loved the concepts that one is capable of nearly everything and that the long and hard journey has rewards of many types.
I am a huge fan of The Alchemist and have since mentioned it to many of my close friends, including T-dubs, who devoured it in just a couple of days. This is a book I’ll certainly keep on my permanent bookshelf and can see picking up every so often during those times where a little bit of inspiration and mental fortitude can make all the difference.