Cover Image: The Secret of The Alchemist

The Secret of The Alchemist

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

this was a good read, I usually don't read this type of book but I found the book very interesting and got use out of it.
Was this review helpful?
Colm Holland was working as part of an editorial team in Australia when he came across a galley copy of a book called The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. He told his buyer that he wanted to buy thousands of copies. That one act helped launch Paulo’s book to great heights. After the book was published and sold millions of copies, Paulo met with Colm. He said he wanted to thank Colm for the trust he had in the book and wanted to give him the gift of the alchemist.

This book is similar to the book, “The Secret.” Colm describes how he changed his life while using “The Alchemist” book as a guide. He gives examples and exercises for the reader to follow a similar path. He recommends not moving forward in the book without completing each chapter so the reader can fulfill his/her destiny too. The book contains pieces of the original book as Colm reflects on the true meaning. I recommend this book if you enjoyed “The Alchemist” and would like to go deeper into its meaning.
Was this review helpful?
The author was part of the editorial team that worked on the creation of the original book Paul Coelho’s The Alchemist.  In his book he discusses how he met Paul Coelho and the research that went into that project.  A particular interesting part of this book is the author's experiences in his own life and the changes that experience brought forth for him. His own process of transformation makes for fascinating reading and will help the reader connect with themselves through his experiences.  His goal is inward empowerment through alchemy and he shares this journey vividly with his readers. 

I highly recommend this outstanding body of work for all who read and were touched by The Alchemist. This author continues the alchemical transformation in every area of his life .  This is one of my top three favorite books I have read this year. The writing is so intriguing to the subject that the author speaks to the reader and brings us along on his personal journey.  You have a real sense of his knowledge and gratitude for this journey. Very well done to the author.  

Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley for the opportunity. My review opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
If you have read The Alchemist and are looking for a deeper meaning, than this is the book for you. Colm Holland does a wonderful job weaving his own personal stories and the deeper spiritual meaning found in the book.
Was this review helpful?
Colm Holland credits his extensive reading of Paul Coehlo's The Alchemist for all the positive changes in his life and suggests that book is the self help book to end all self help books. he goes on to explain the Hows and the Whys but I am sorely unconvinced by his certainty.

What he describes is confidence, an ability to question what you are doing and a belief in yourself - all important facets of improving your lot. However his talk of omens - which, in reality is simply coincidence and the colours of alchemy - to me is just pure bunkum.

I feel the author has taken a book that he loved, read more into it than it says and then tried to sell that to todays reading public. I read and enjoyed the book upon which this is based but did not see half of what Colm Holland does
Was this review helpful?
This is a priceless book. 

Well-written and highly applicable.

Highly recommended for those who have read (and absorbed) The Alchemist and wish to go deeper.
Was this review helpful?
This book is the author’s personal story of his involvement in, and reading of, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. You can get something from it if you haven’t read the original book but it will make more sense if you have, and The Alchemist is an iconic book that merits reading. This book is Mr Holland’s in depth reading of Coelho and what he discovers when he steps himself in its lore.

“Transformation is the process we must pass through to reach true empowerment. It’s not about trying to become someone other than who we really are. It’s an inward journey towards discovering our true soul.”

If the idea of transformation appeals, this book will delight. The author was responsible for bringing The Alchemist to a wide audience and believed in it even when some of his publishing superiors couldn’t see the attraction. Mr Holland believed and he was proved right. Mr Coelho has gone on to world wide success and this author shows how the secrets within The Alchemist can be found by anyone with a bit of effort. I enjoyed the book although I did find it heavy going at times. It’s certainly a worthwhile read if you love The Alchemist and want to understand its secrets.

I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley in return for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I really loved The Alchemist and was thinking I would love this too. Unfortunately I thought it was just "okay." I like how the chapters were set-up, with explaining "the secret", how it happened in the original story, and then how the author related it to his life. But I didn't really find "the secret" to be all that amazing.
Was this review helpful?
I have to say the book was interesting, and in some aspects moving and both underwhelming at the same time.

Thanks to NetGalley and John Hunt Publishing for a complimentary electronic arc of this book..
Was this review helpful?
Really interesting ideas.
Although I found the writing style a bit long-winded at times there are some really thought provoking anecdotes and ideas about the meaning behind The Alchemist.
An interesting read.
Was this review helpful?
This book was written to enable author Colm Holland to explain the deeper meaning of another book, “The Alchemist,” by Paulo Coelho. Mr. Holland has obviously spent many hours delving into “The Alchemist,” reading between the lines to find the real meaning behind the printed words.

True empowerment is the goal Mr. Holland espouses, and he states “It is yours for the taking if you truly want it. It is the treasure you will find when you follow your true destiny.” The author asserts that Mr. Coelho’s book is not a fable or another Hero’s Journey. It is “…about how all of us can tap into the power of ancient alchemy to create magic and change lives.”

Mr. Holland examines “The Alchemist” in sections, first giving a synopsis of the story and then sharing his interpretation of what author Coelho was trying to say. He then follows each explanation with a personal story of how he used the information to transform his own life. 

I found most of the book interesting and something I could understand as it related to many of the self-help books I have read. The description of becoming an alchemist went in a different direction than I expected, and some of the points I am still having difficulty assimilating. As with any book on this subject, every reader will have to make up his or her own mind on whether or not to personally apply the teachings. 

Overall, the book is well-written and Mr. Holland’s interpretation of “The Alchemist” is interesting. I have never read the other book but after reading this book I have it on order. Due to Mr. Holland’s excellent descriptions, one does not have to read it first before reading this book. Four stars.

My thanks to NetGalley and john Hunt Publishing for a complimentary electronic copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?
This book should have hit for me on all cylinders, I enjoy reading spiritual and philosophical books and I love exploring new ideas. Colm Holland has written just such a book. Yet the book didn't "click" for me. I can't explain it, and I don't want to give the impression that this is a negative about the book. I think it's more that it wasn't a fit for me at the time I read it.

My thanks to NetGalley and John Hunt Publications LTD for allowing me to read a copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. All opinions expressed here are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I confess that I have never read The Alchemist, although I am now more interested than I ever was.  For those who have read and loved that book, this title will be most welcome. The author was involved with the arrival of the book in Australia.  He also met the author and this led to a transformation in his life.  This life change is shared with the reader who may be encouraged to make their own changes.


Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this title in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This was a deeply emotional read. As someone who loved The Alchemist, this exploration of the deeper meaning in the fable, alongside the author’s personal journey, was insightful and thought provoking.
Was this review helpful?
This book provided a detailed analysis of The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. I have read that book and could never understand why it is such a best seller as it never “spoke” to me, so I figured I might understand more by reading this book. In the book, the author recounts meeting Paul Coelho and, after much research and analysis of the book, he figures out the secret behind its success. After that, he uses the secret of the book to bring about profound changes to his own life, with which he is dissatisfied, using the powers of alchemy. The author has done extensive research into the many theories and psychology of life, which is incorporates into this book, and which helped him transform his life, but I really did not connect to a lot of it. Still, the book does present a lot of hidden meanings, which I had not realized where there and had not thought about much. I liked the way he related things to his own life, figuring out just what got his to where he was, why he was dissatisfied and how to change things for the better. I really did not expect this when I got the book to read, but it was an interesting and beneficial approach. I thought the most interesting aspect of the book was the association the author had with Paul Coelho and how he carefully and thoroughly looked at his own life after figuring out the secret of that book and how he went about transforming the things that needed it in his own life, using the secret he found. However, I am not sure I will ever be a die-hard fan of The Alchemist. It may just be too “new-agey” and too esoteric for me, but it definitely was interesting and worthwhile to read this author’s take on the book and its secret. It also helped that the author could put things into perspective, using his own life as an example. I received this from NetGalley to read and review.
Was this review helpful?
I had high hopes for this book as Alchemy is a subject matter that interests me. But unfortunately I struggled with the turgid writing and never finished it
Was this review helpful?
This is a book unlike anything I've seen before. It is written by someone who was in the publishing industry when The Alchemist by Paul Coelho first came out in English translation. The introduction explains how the author was in charge of determining which new releases would fill the scarce shelves of the Australian book market and after reading the manuscript of Coelho's book, saw a bestseller and ordered an unprecedented number of copies.

But that isn't all. It goes on to tell how a meeting with Coelho led to a mystical experience and understanding of the book far beyond a story of a shepherd discovering his true will. That mystical revelation and subsequent changes to the author's life, from a fiction story, is what this book is all about.

At the time of writing this review I haven't read The Alchemist, though it's on my tbr. I wondered many times while reading, did Coelho intend to speak in allegory for deeper meanings or did Holland read his own mystical journey into what was intended only as a hero's journey story? I have no answer to that, but it apparently worked well for Holland and put his life on a satisfying track.

The explanation of the stages of spiritual Alchemy was worth the read alone. The "Dark night of the soul", enlightenment, then active phases might have come out of a book in the Mind, Body, Spirit section and perhaps that is where this one will be categorised. Much of it is personal to the author, yet the journey has similar stages to anyone following this spiritual path, whatever symbols they couch it in.

An interesting read and well-written so that it kept interest.
Was this review helpful?
Colm Holland talks about meeting Paul Coelho who wrote The Alchemist. This is a book about how he went thru the The Alchemist with a fine tooth comb and analyzed everything. He felt that he had found the secret behind the book and decided that his life needed to different. He set out to put what he learned into action by using alchemy. It is well researched and I found it interesting. He speaks of how his upbringing shaped the way his life and how this book helped him I received this book from Net Galley and John Hunt Publishing for a honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I chose this book to read because I only saw "The Secret of the Alchemist" not the "Uncovering the Secret in Paul Coelhe's Besselling Never..." and thought it was a medieval mystery. Boy was I ever wrong!

It is 320 pages and who knows how many hours of my life that I can never get back again. Most of the book is Holland retelling Coelho's novel. Holland also gives his personal experiences as he becomes an alchemist for his life. 

When I started reading all I could think of is that this is the typical "name-it-and-claim-it" philosophy that, sadly, some churches have embraced. Do this and you will change your life.

Holland discovered his miserable inner child and reaches the Dark Night of the Soul. (the white phase of alchemy) Then he has to heal that child and experiences past memories going back to the time he was in the womb. (the white phase) Lastly he enters the red phase where things happen! 

Scattered through out this, he inserts Biblical references. Some ideas are totally bogus - like the Urim and Thummin. No one really knows exactly what they were or how they were used in the Old Testament. But Holland asserts they gave a "yes" or "no" answer to questions. This all comes up because Melchizadek (there is very little about him in the Bible also) is one of the people that help Santiago in The Alchemist. He attributes things to Melchizadek that the Bible never even hints at. His Scripture references are totally taken out of context, perhaps to give people the idea that this book is fine for Christians. Again, sadly, too many Christians are unaware of what is happening and are like sheep being led to a New Age slaughter.

Before I wrote this review, I checked goodreads to see if there were any other reviews of this book. There were 11 reviews giving 3, 4, and 5 star reviews. I have to believe that anyone who read "The Alchemist" and gave it a lower review would not be inclined to read this one, there for not so many bad reviews. I found a review for "The Alchemist" that says a lot of what I wish I could say here. You can find it under "The Alchemist" Community ratings but Jennifer (aka EM). She gave it 1 star. Although I never read the original book, Holland spends so much time retelling it, I know I needn't bother. And Jennifer's thought on that book are mine on this one.
Was this review helpful?
A good interesting read, inspiring but not life changing.   I enjoyed it and liked the author but didn't always see the relevance of his own life story as an example of living the principles.  It is a feel good book that is uplifting and it might inspire you to read the alchemist even though you will know all the story from reading this book.  It is very well written and easy to read.  Enjoyable, definitely worth a dip into.
Was this review helpful?