The Alchemist Book Summary (Paulo Coelho)

Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist is more than just a book; it’s a map of the hidden treasures within ourselves. This unforgettable novel is about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts and following our dreams.

I really liked the story about a shepherd named Santiago. It made me think about myself and inspired me to pursue my goals.

Let’s dive into the story of Santiago, the shepherd, and see how his journey can inspire our own

The Treasure Dream

Once, a boy named Santiago wanted to go on a trip around the world. He shared his dilemma with his father and asked him if he would like to work while pursuing his dream of traveling worldwide.

His father suggested that he become a shepherd to fulfill his dream. He did what his father told him to do and became a shepherd.

One day, while looking for land to graze his sheep, he saw a sycamore tree and decided to rest. He slept under it and dreamed that he was in Egypt, digging a hole in front of the pyramids, where he found his treasure.

When he woke up, he was not surprised because he had also dreamed about it before. He wanted to know the meaning of his dream, so he went to a magician. He told her about his dream and asked what the possible meaning of his recurrent dream could be.

The Treasure Dream
Want to know a new way of thinking about mornings that has made people’s lives better worldwide? Then Read Miracle Morning Book.

Magician and Mysterious Stones

The magician promised to tell him about his dreams, but in return, she wanted 1/10 of the treasure he would find. When he assured her that he would pay her the definite amount, she told him to go to Egypt and dig a hole near the pyramid until he found his treasure.

After hearing this, Santiago becomes disappointed because whatever the lady told him, he already knew about that before. Then he gets out of her place again to meet an old man named Melchizedek, the king of Salem. 

The king tried communicating with Santiago and learning about his dreams and the magicians. Then he gave him two stones and told him to use them when he could not decide. 

  • The black stone is called Thummim, and the white stone is called Urim.
  • Thummim signifies ‘yes’, and urim signifies ‘no’.

When Santiago asked why the king gave his stones to a shepherd, he replied that they would help him find his treasure. The king forced Santiago to find his treasure, so he booked his tickets to Africa.

Magician and Mysterious Stones

Santiago’s Journey Through Africa

After reaching Africa, his real journey began. It is because, in Africa, only the Arabic language is used, and he doesn’t know how to speak Arabic

Then he went into a café and asked the waiter to bring him the same drink the man on the other table had. He didn’t know that it was wine, so he drank it.

Then he saw a boy who asked him, “Who are you?” in Spanish. At first, he thought about what the boy had said and considered his omens. Then he asked the boy how he knew how to speak Spanish. They talked briefly, introducing themselves and asking each other basic questions.

The boy wore Western clothes, and his skin color indicated he was from the same city. His height and age were almost the same as Santiago’s.

As Santiago started trusting him, he told the boy about his dream, treasure, magician, king, and overall journey to Africa. Santiago also worried that the Arab people would ask for small amounts of his treasure.

But it turned out differently. The boy told Santiago that he would help him in his journey and that he’d love to guide him. Then Santiago asked him if he had any idea how to get there.

When they were talking, Santiago noticed that the bar owner was listening to their conversation. But now he had found his guide, and he didn’t want to lose that opportunity, so he ignored the owner.

Then the boy told him that he had to cross the Sahara desert to find his treasure. After they left the cafe, it was their turn to pay the bill.

However, Santiago noticed the owner was furious and angrily spoke with the boy. His new friend then informed him that he wanted to take your money.

Now, Santiago trusted his friend completely. He took out his money, counted it, and gave it to his friend. His friend told him that tomorrow they would reach the pyramids, but they would need two camels, so he went to his home.

But later, to Santiago’s surprise, he learned that his new friend was a thief. The owner tried to help him by warning him, but the shepherd could not understand him as he was talking in Arabic.

Santiago’s Journey Through Africa

An Entrepreneurial Shepherd 

Although he was upset, he continued his journey, and on the way, he saw a shop of a crystal merchant. He went into the shop and asked the merchant to give him some work to do. When the merchant didn’t reply, he started cleaning the vessels with his jacket.

After some time, the shepherd again said that he would do all the work in his shop, and in return, the merchant would provide him with food and water. The merchant agreed. Santiago said he would leave the shop when he had saved enough money.

But the merchant replied that even if he worked here for one year, he could not save enough money to go anywhere. His shop is situated on the top of the Red Cliff, and not many people visit it.

To this, Santiago replied that if he served his customer’s tea in crystal vessels, the climbers who climbed this cliff would quench their thirst and purchase his vessels.

The merchant liked his idea and started making tea and serving them in his crystal vessels. Eventually, people started getting attracted to that shop and buying vessels from it

Many other crystal merchants adopted his idea, but the travelers only liked to drink at the shop where Santiago worked. They got tired climbing the red cliff, and when they drank the tea, it tasted more delicious.

When he had accumulated enough money to go to Egypt, he said goodbye to the merchant and left.

An Entrepreneurial Shepherd 
Want To Know How To Get Blessed With Money And Happiness? Read This. The Richest Man In Babylon Book Summary

A Quest for the Alchemist

When he left the merchant shop, he reached a caravan on which one side was full of people and the other side was filled with camels. There, he met a young Englishman and became friends with him.

The shepherd asked him why he came to Egypt. The Englishman replied that he was searching for an alchemist. Santiago again asked him why he was searching for the alchemist. 

The Englishman replied that the alchemist he searched for was not ordinary; he could turn metal into gold. After some more conversation, Santiago started reading the Englishman’s books.

In that book, the word ‘alchemy’ is used, but Santiago doesn’t know its meaning, so he asks his friend about it. His friend explains that alchemy is a study in which any metal can be turned into gold

His friend also said that the new generation no longer believes in alchemy, so he is searching for an alchemist to prove his existence.

As they talked, they lost track of time and didn’t even notice that they had reached the Al-fayoum oasis. After they got off their camels, they asked the desert people where the alchemist was.

Most of the inhabitants were women, as men were always busy fighting wars. Most women wear black clothes, and only their eyes are visible.

Every woman they asked turned around without answering, but they could not understand why they acted this way.

Then suddenly, one man approached them and said don’t you know that it’s considered insolent if you are talking to any woman who is wearing a black burqa?

Then they understood their mistake and reached the well after asking some other people.

A Quest for the Alchemist
Learn the 80/20 Principle and How to Use It to Become Happy and Blessed.

Love in the Oasis

There, they saw a girl who was not wearing a burqa, so they asked her about the alchemist. She replied that no one here knows about alchemists.

Santiago fell in love with her at first sight, so he asked her name. She said that her name was Fatima. He would go to meet her daily, but one day, when he was on his way to her home, he saw a pair of eagles fighting.

Immediately, he went to the head of the oasis and was told that the next day, some other tribe would attack the oasis when the head asked him how, he knew that some other tribe would attack them.

He replied that his omens told him that. The head said that if the omens turn out to be wrong, then they’ll hang him to death. Although he was scared, he still agreed.

The next morning, another tribe attacked them, but they won as they were already prepared. The head rewarded Santiago with 10 gold coins. Now, Santiago had enough money to go to Egypt, but he didn’t want to leave Fatima alone, so he went to Fatima’s house to tell her everything. 

But she said that he is free to find his treasure, she will wait here for him like the other women do for their husband.

A Quest for the Alchemist

From Doubt to Miracle

Then he went to find his treasure but didn’t forget what he promised the Englishman, so he agreed to help him find the alchemist first.

After finding the alchemist for days, they finally found him in a little tent. The Englishman asked him how to convert any metal into gold. To which the alchemist replied, have you ever tried turning metal into gold yourself?

But the Englishman denied that he hadn’t tried turning metal into gold. After some more conversation, the alchemist took Santiago with him, wanting to show him how.

On the way, he also taught Santiago many meaningful things until they reached a monarch, who turned metal into gold. The monarch gave Santiago some gold and offered to guide him in his quest to find his treasure.

On their way, they encountered a thief who snatched their belongings and all their gold. But to save them, the alchemist pointed towards Santiago and said to the thieves that he could turn himself into the wind, but for that, he needed three days.

The thieves granted their request and went back to their tents. After they were gone, Santiago angrily asked the alchemist why he had told the thieves that he could turn himself into wind when he knew. Santiago himself knew that he didn’t know how to turn into wind.

But the alchemist calmed him down and insisted he pray. Santiago obeyed the alchemist and started to pray. Two days passed, but nothing happened. On the third day, he really turned into the wind and started destroying everything.

The thieves said that they would leave them and pleaded to spare their lives. Santiago forgave them and turned them into his original form, and the thief ran away.

From Doubt to Miracle

Dreams Fulfilled

He continued his journey and finally reached the pyramids, where he started digging on the same spot he had seen in his dreams. But again, he encountered some thieves who asked him what he was doing and threatened him to tell the truth; otherwise, they’d kill him.

He told them the whole truth to save his life. They mocked him first, but then forced him to dig the hole until he found the treasure. After digging for some days and nights and being beaten by the thieves, he could not find the treasure.

He was disappointed, but then one of the thieves told him that one day, just like him, he had a dream. That one man is sleeping under a sycamore tree near a church, and there is a treasure under that tree. 

He again explained that he had not followed his dreams, and now, at least, he was happy with what he was doing. Because if he had followed his dreams like Santiago, then he would have ended up like him.

After listening to the thief, Santiago now knew where the treasure was and started laughing at himself. The thieves left him thinking that he was mad.

After that, he went to the church, where he began his journey. There, he found his treasure. As promised, he gave 1/10 of it to the magician and then went to Fatima’s house to live with her happily.

Dreams Fulfilled


  • Follow your dreams.
  • Leave your comfort zone.
  • Use your full potential.
  • Focus on your aim.
  • Do hard work and work with full dedication.
  • Accept failure and never give up.
  • Learn from failure.
  • Show gratitude to the universe.

Leave a Comment