If you kept seeing that same cute dress every time you walk through a shop, would you buy it? Or if your buddies keep rooting for the same football team, would you root for that team as well? Statistically and scientifically speaking, yes you would. The more often you experience those kinds of instances, the more likely you are to buy the dress or root for the same team as your buddies.

But what about dreams? If you had the same dream over and over, would you actually follow the advice of the dream? Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist answers that question as it takes you from Spain to Egypt and then back again, like a happy little hobbit.

 

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Now this book isn’t nearly as old as the LOTR books, but it’s been published for about 25 years, and its author Paulo Coelho has also published 26 other books, including The Pilgrimage and Veronika Decides to Die. What makes The Alchemist unique, though, is not just the fact that it’s a story, but a story done in which Coelho has done his homework.

According to livescience.com, alchemy is “…an ancient practice shrouded in mystery and secrecy. Its practitioners mainly sought to turn lead into gold…however, the goals of alchemy went far beyond simply creating some golden nuggets.”

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The book not only exemplifies that idea, but takes it to the next level by weaving it into the personal journey of the hero, a boy named Santiago. As he decides to listen to the signs in his dream and travel to Egypt and adapt to new situations, he realizes that even though he hasn’t studied alchemy vigorously as others might have, there’s a proficiency that he’s developed naturally just by determination alone.

Along the way, Santiago (or “the boy”) encounters new characters who not only teach him lessons, but also convey how he teaches them, which is rare compared to a lot of the other books I’ve read throughout my life. From love to business to old kings and alchemists, The Alchemist is a masterpiece when it comes to new and different characters.

This is a book that has completely changed my life. I’ll admit, I haven’t been in an easy spot lately, and there will be tons of challenges that will be waiting for me for the rest of my college career and beyond. However, this book has not only given me patience that I didn’t know I had, but also given me a new perspective on my anxiety and depression.

If you haven’t read it yet, go check it out. You won’t regret it. And remember, if you keep seeing that dress, maybe you should consider trying it on at least.

What’s a good book to you that’s more than meets the eye?

 

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