Inspired by Oprah’s Book Club challenge which I religiously followed through my College days, this morning, I too decided to challenge some of my students to try and read at least one book a week (Oprah had more sense: she gave readers a month!). For some reason, I also heard myself promising them that I too would read along and keep to that pledge. Knowing my erratic schedules, I regretted the words as they were leaving my mouth but looking back, I really do hope I’m able to keep to that!
So, on the way back home this evening I began to think back on the many books I’ve read and the ones that have inspired me. I have quite a lengthy list with genres ranging from action-packed thrillers to eye-opening biographies. But really, only one book stands out in my mind as a book that resonates with me even to this day.
That book that changed everything for me was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. It doesn’t seem like an extraordinary book when you first pick it up. It’s a short book, and it’s very easy to read. It’s not about advertising, or commerce or even personal growth. Instead, it’s an allegory about how to live your life and pursue your dreams. And the journey the book takes you on… well, it made a huge impact on my life.
More a parable than a novel, The Alchemist uses the story of young shepherd Santiago’s search for his personal journey as he pursues his life dreams. Along the way, of course, he is overwhelmed by numerous setbacks, testing his resolve and forcing him to become attuned to the World around him in order to survive. By paying attention to the details in the world around him, which serve as omens guiding him towards his goal, young Santiago becomes sort of an alchemist himself, spinning unfavorable circumstances into riches. I’ve read this tale thrice now, and it never ceases to provide priceless inspiration.
There are a number of inspiring books out there. The Old Man and the Sea by Hemmingway would be my close second choice, but I’m not sure why The Alchemist was the one that did it for me. It continues to resonate with me and makes me want to be like Santiago too.
Books are such a wonderful solace and can provide such deep inspiration. Try reading The Alchemist if you haven’t already and let me know which books have impacted your life.
Have a good evening everyone….God Bless!