You may have noticed that I stopped doing a ton of book reviews. Down to nearly zero as of late, actually. At my reading pace this year, it was becoming overwhelming and I started to feel like I was phoning the reviews in.
With that said, I recently read The Alchemist. It was originally recommended to me by a former colleague that cited it as the most influential piece of fiction they had ever read.
I absolutely love reading books that other people cite as one of the most important to their own development. It’s led me to books like Ender’s Game, Small Giants and The Total Money Makeover.
These recommendations don’t always have the same impact on me as they do the person that recommended it, but they always open me to having a conversion with the person that recommended it afterwards.
I went into reading The Alchemist with an open mind but early into the book I felt like I was reading a book written for grade schoolers.
It was such an easy read (both in skill required and length of the story) that I dismissed the book very early into the process. In fact, I had even told the wife that I wouldn’t recommend the book.
I finished the book to little or no fanfare. I could understand why people like the book but I didn’t think anything was all that profound or earth shattering.
A week or so later after finishing the book, and during one of my alcohol-induced vision quests / growth spurts, the gravity of the story finally hit me.
Middle school reading level or not, the story left a profound impression on me without even realizing it. It’s easily helped re-shape my and my family’s future, at least in the immediate 5 year plan context.
Against my previous recommendation, the wife is reading the book as I write this, and I just ordered a physical copy so my now decade old daughter can read it too!
As per usual, I’m not going to go into detail about the book as to not spoil anything for anybody. It’s just another book about a boy following his dreams.