“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

We all dream and as dreamers wonder whether these dreams will ever come true. Paulo Cohelo’s modern fable, as some call it, is a manifesto for today’s dreamers. If you have read this book, you know what I am talking about. This is that book which for some reason seems like the first book to tell you that you must have courage in believing in your dreams and pursuing them is part of your destiny and to deny yourself a shot at your destiny is wrong.

Like always I will not bother with the summary of the book, because it is important to read the book. However, if anyone wishes to refresh their memory here is a piece that will help.


Here is an important trivia, The Alchemist went on to sell more copies than any other book in the history of Brazil, and thus made it into the Guinness Book of Records. The book was published in Brazil in 1988, but over the years it has been translated into 61 languages. The popularity of the book extends across diverse cultural, social and religious background. That’s what makes this one of the iconic books of the 20th Century.

A lot of philosophical thought is woven within the story of The Alchemist, and as a reader I did not perhaps fully appreciate or understand them. But something very primitive yet modern is found throughout the narration, the human obsession with life, love, destiny, fate and finally dreams. Somehow, the book resonates with all the bitter truths, half truths, worries, desires, misgivings of every man and that is probably the reason it is popular across the world.

Apart from its philosophical content, I found a deep spiritual vein running through the book that attracted me to it more. Here was a modern fable containing references to philosophy and a world of spiritual pursuits and yet sometimes it seemed like a book on motivation, almost like a self help book. My reason for putting this book amidst the top 10 picks is the mixed feeling it generated in me. On one hand it was a book that spoke of great things and sometimes it made me remember badly written self help guides for students attempting competitive exams.

What remained with me even after all these years about this book is the concept of ‘personal myth’ propagated by Cohelo, the belief that we are the heroes of our own intricate tale of valor and glory and suffering, thus we must pursue what is our destiny that which we see through our dreams. This work by Cohelo always comes to mind because the way it has touched every reader with the simplicity of language and meaning with which it showcases the symbolism and spreads the words of wisdom & philosophy so easily and penetrates even the most cynical mind.

It gives hope and motivation that is much needed.


Reference Sources:, Google images for book cover.