“When you really want something, all the universe conspires to help you achieve it” 


The first time I read The Alchemist was in the summer of 2018, just before embarking on an exciting yet slightly daunting new chapter of my life in a different country. I remember it being incredibly impactful, giving me the confidence to pursue my ambitions in a very significant way. Recently, I felt it was the right moment to re-read it, and I couldn’t have been more right. Just as it had inspired me many years ago, it achieved the same effect, if not a greater one, now that I am older and wiser (we hope).


Paulo Coelho


Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, originally published in Portuguese in 1988, has become a global phenomenon, transcending cultural and linguistic barriers to inspire millions of readers worldwide. Despite a modest initial reception, the novel’s profound message about following one’s dreams and listening to one’s heart gradually garnered widespread acclaim. Translated into over 80 languages, The Alchemist holds the Guinness World Record for the most translated book by a living author. Its success is marked by its literary accolades and its enduring popularity; it has sold more than 65 million copies worldwide. The book’s universal themes of personal legend, destiny, and spiritual quest have resonated with readers of all ages, making it a timeless classic, a staple in modern literature and the perfect addition to Funga´s library.


An illustration of Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist by Mœbius (1998)


Below, I have written out some quotes that I thought were moving, incredibly true and motivating:


“It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary; only wise men are able to understand them.”


“What’s the world’s greatest lie?” the boy asked, completely surprised. “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.”


“When you really want something, the universe always conspires in your favour.”


“Everything on earth is being continuously transformed, because the earth is alive… and it has a soul. We are part of that soul, so we rarely recognise that it is working for us.”


“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.”


“He learned the most important part of the language that all the world spoke – the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart. It was love. ”


“Maybe these desert birds could explain to him the meaning of love without ownership.”


“The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves his children. Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity.”


“There is only one way to learn,” the alchemist answered. “It’s through action. Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.”


“Listen to your heart. It knows all things, because it came from the Soul of the World, and it will one day return there.” 


“Even though I complain sometimes,” it said, “it’s because I’m the heart of a person, and people´s hearts are that way. People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them.”


“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.”


“Before a dream is realised, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way.  It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realising our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one dies on thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon. The boy remembered an old proverb from his country. It said that the darkest hour of the night can just before the dawn.”


“When you possess great treasures within you, and try to tell others of them, seldom are you believed.”


“Your eyes show the strength of your soul.”


“If a person is living out his Personal Legend, he knows everything he needs to know. There is only one things that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”


“I learned the alchemist´s secrets in my travels. I have inside me the winds, the deserts, the oceans, the stars, and everything created in the universe. We were all made by the same hand, and we have the same soul.”


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


“Because it’s not love to be static like the desert, nor is it love to roam the world like the wind. And it’s not love to see everything from a distance, like you do. Love is the force that transforms and improves the Soul of the World.”


“It is we who nourish the Soul of the World, and the world we live in will be wither better or worse, depending on whether we become better or worse. And that’s where the power of love comes in. Because when we love, we always strive to become better than we are.”