Paulo, a Brazilian, was born on 24th August 1947 (9 days after India’s independence) in a catholic family and his father was an engineer. Paulo had a desire to become a writer or an artist. When he expressed that to her mother, she said that “My dear, your father is an engineer. He’s a logical, reasonable man with a very clear vision of the world. Do you actually know what it means to be a writer?“
From age 17-20, Paulo was admitted 3 times to mental rehabilitation institute, but the times, he escaped from there. Later, he became a Hippi and took drugs. On his return to Brazil, he wrote lyrics for album songs. One of his critically acclaimed albums ‘Gita‘ has inspirations from Bhagwat Gita, Indian mythology scripture. Brazil was under the Military regime and Paulo was even tortured as the government believed that his lyrics have left-wing influence and are dangerous. At age 33, he married. At ~38 years, he told his wife that they have most of the physical comforts in life but he is not happy from his life and job of lyrics writer. At age 39 he experienced a life-changing 500-mile pilgrim walk (which is the theme of his first acclaimed book The Pilgrimage).
He wrote the book in 2-weeks. The publisher published 900 copies. When the book sold only 2 copies in 6 months, his publisher refused to support the book further. However, Paulo had deep believes in himself and his writing. One of the lines of the book ‘The Alchemist’ was that if you firmly believe in something, the entire world will help you in achieving your dream. Hence, Paulo thought of contacting other publishers for the book. He told the first publisher that the book has been already published and has not sold much. However, Paulo also mentioned about his firm believe in the book. Hence, the publisher agreed and the rest is history.
The book is among the highest translated books in the world and has been translated into 80 languages (8 in India itself). The book has been recommended by Madaona, Will Smith, Bill Gates and many others. So, there is something special in the book which resonates with so many people as the book has more than 100 million copies sold and has been Newyorks bestseller for 6 years.
The book talks about a shepherd Santiago and his personal journey to a treasure. What motivates me to read the book is the concept of “Personal Legend“. Personal legend is your personal calling, the things which you aspire to do, for what you think you are born. I think this aspect of the book has have touched many. I will soon read the book and publish its review.
You can listen to this podcast to know more about Paulo Coelho