The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist100I think to a large degree for a book to be enjoyed and understood it has to speak of things that you are ready to hear, and perhaps already understand. The role of the book is then to allow you to see better that which you already understand.

I came across this book just before going on holiday and bought it because I recollected someone mentioning the authors name a few weeks earlier.

The book is a novel telling the story of a boy on a journey, a journey following his destiny. The story is all about change, and in particular our fear of change. The story reveals how our fears drive us to act in ways that we believe protect us from the dangers of change, but in reality trap us in its effects.

For those ready to hear, the story contains some profound and important messages about change. I tried to imagine how I may have reacted to this book if I’d read it six or seven years ago. I think I might have found the mystical references a little difficult, but that would have reflected my deficiency, not the book’s. A key message of the book is that we too easily lose sight of the difference between symbols used to represent ideas, and the ideas themselves. We become focussed, we might say obsessed, by the symbols themselves, the words in the case of a book, and our minds become blind to the ideas they represent. If we are able to avoid this trap then this is a very powerful story that may well deserve the claim on the back cover that it is a book that changes the lives of its readers.

I recommend this as an engaging and thought provoking book, which may prove to be a powerful tool in the development of your change journey.

Steve Unwin
August 22 2005