The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: Book Summary

In this book summary of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, you’ll find my notes, high-level ideas, valuable lessons, and important action steps.

The Alchemist Summary

Listen to that voice inside you that whispers your dream.

It’s worse to fail and suffer than do nothing because you fear failure.

When life is getting boring, be grateful for the blessings in your life.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” (I don’t know about this one, sounds like The Secret. I believe more in hard work and taking advantage of opportunity.)

The best thing you can do for your friends, your family, your community, and most importantly yourself, is to pursue your dream. By striving to become better, you’ll positively affect the people around you.

You absolutely must promise yourself and keep your promise that you’re going to pursue your “personal legend” (your dream).

It’s not selfish to follow your dream. It’s actually the best thing you can do for the people around you and yourself. Otherwise, you’ll be lousy and miserable if you settle. (I mostly agree, but there are situations where it’s irresponsible to chase your dream if your kids can’t eat because of it.)

Making decisions and taking actions are what produces results. Don’t waste time going back and forth over something you know you want or need to do.

Free yourself to think big. You’re allowed to not be realistic.

Self discovery is priceless.

The journey of following your dream with all the people, wisdom, and memories made along the way is the real golden treasure.

Mini Summary

Listen to your heart to discover your dream. Then chase it at all costs.

Stay focused on the present, not the past or future, and you’ll be happy.

Self discovery is the most precious reward that comes from going after your dreams.

Three Favorite Quotes

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”

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

Action Steps For You

Find your dream, or personal legend. No one can tell it to you. It has to come from you. It has to be true for you.

What are you drawn toward? What do you think about your future? Search for it. Get experience doing it.

If you know it’s your dream, you have to pursue it. It’s not easy, but it’s that simple.

And there’s no doubt it’s going to be scary, risky, and unplanned. That’s the fun in it, overcoming the struggle.  

For example, besides book sales, I didn’t know how I was going to get paid when I left my sales job to be an entrepreneur. But I adapted. I reached out to small business owners to do their social media and SEO, and made it happen.

I gained wisdom from this experience. Wisdom that wouldn’t be in me if I stayed at my outside sales job. And I’ve replaced the income, some months making three times what I made on my previous salary.

So it’s time to step up and do what you need to do to live a true life. If you do anything other than what you feel called to do, you’re essentially living a lie to yourself.

Want to have your own art studio? Start painting every day. The best way to learn is through present action. It doesn’t hurt to study the best painters throughout history. Just know you’ll learn more by mimicking what they do and doing your own creative variation.

Want to be a professional blogger? Stop reading about blogging and start blogging. Taking action is where you’re going to make upward steps to your dream and feel fulfilled.

Want to be a college basketball coach? Go coach a high school (or junior high) team and work your way up. Coaching is how you will gain wisdom and experience as a coach.

If you don’t have the money to follow your dream, pursue these dreams after work or school until you can do it full-time.

You have to make the decision and take action if you’re going to be truthful with yourself and go after your dream. Continue to pursue your personal journey and never go off course.

Order The Alchemist

Buy this book.

Or check out other book recommendations to become more successful.

Brian Robben

Brian Robben is the founder of Take Your Success, a site dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and wantrepreneurs grow a profitable business and reach freedom. For in-depth training, visit: