The Alchemist by Paula Coelho

I’m constantly looking for ways to improve both my capabilities and the ability to manage myself from distraction. So I tend to read a lot of business books, self development, and biographies of people I admire. I love those and eat them up, but they are not exactly easy to share with my kids. Here Scarlett, let me tell you about the life story of Nikola Tesla. At least it would put her to sleep immediately regardless of my overwhelming enthusiasm for the topic.

Without calling this a self development book for kids, which it isn’t, this is a fun book that explores many of those same development and overcoming adversity themes in the context of an adventure story. It struck me as a book for young teens in its depth and reading level, but the lessons are ones I admire.

The protagonist has a long term vision that he truly desires. So as a young man in his idealism, of course he chases that adventure. It wouldn’t be much of a story if he didn’t. He is distracted by very enticing opportunities along the way. Many would have him stop his adventure and they are compelling to do so. You will immediately see your own parallel moments in life when you made the same decisions he does. There are many highs and lows on his journey, and plenty of opportunities to quit that would be very reasonable. I found myself tying real life moments to the fictional situations the protagonist endures and celebrates many times throughout the story.

So if you are raising risk takers and adventurers, or are one yourself, this is a great story that you will get a lesson out of at the same time. The parables are nothing you haven’t heard before, but the presentation is delightful ride.

Oh and the audible version is narrated by Jeremy Irons, whose voice is just perfect for this.

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