15 INSPIRING Books Similar to The Alchemist

Every so often, though not often enough, a book comes along that is simply life-changing.

Novels like The Alchemist have the power to move you in ways that you couldn’t have anticipated, to change something inside of you, and they tend to leave a lasting imprint on your subconscious.

The Alchemist is one of those books. The story of the shepherd boy who follows his dreams stays with you long after you’ve turned the last page. It’s a story of hope and wisdom, mysticism, and wonder, and it has inspired millions to follow their dreams.

If you’re looking for books similar to The Alchemist, then you’ll enjoy the inspirational and thought-provoking books I’ve included in my list.


Summary of The Alchemist (No spoilers!)

As wonderful as The Alchemist is, it may be a while since you last read it, so here’s a quick summary – don’t worry if you haven’t read it yet, I won’t spoil it for you.

Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist tells the tale of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy. When Santiago has reoccurring dreams of treasure to be found at the foot of the pyramids in Egypt, he sets off on an adventure to (literally) follow his dreams.

During his quest, Santiago meets a variety of people, including a crystal merchant, an Englishman, and Fatima, his love. But none are more fascinating, nor as impactful, than the Alchemist. The Alchemist becomes something of a philosophical mentor to Santiago and accompanies him on his trip to Egypt.

As Santiago learns about the Soul of the World, a principle that connects all things to one another, he gains insights that help him understand what it is that keeps men from following their dreams.

Above all, The Alchemist is a tale of self-discovery and love; it will speak to those who seek spiritual awakening, as much as those who need a different, fresh outlook on life. The Alchemist is the sort of tale that leaves you with warm and comforting thoughts.

If you enjoy thought-provoking books about travel and self discovery, mysticism, and philosophy, then The Alchemist is a must-read!

Life Changing Books like The Alchemist

Now that you’ve read a quick summary of Paulo Coelho’s wonderful, timeless novel, you’re probably wondering what else is out there to read. My list includes life-changing books like The Alchemist; a list of tales that are full of wonder and inspiration.

1. Journal of a Solitude – May Sarton

May Sarton was a novelist, poet, and memoirist. In her book titled Journal of a Solitude, she reveals her deepest thoughts, her passion, anger, and an insight into how her creative mind worked.

In Journal of a Solitude, May talks about seasonal patterns in her garden and our routines. She talks about rhythms of the soul and reveals honest truths about her feelings, depression, relationships, and the quiet moments in-between.

If you’re looking for books like The Alchemist, then Journal of a Solitude is full of moments of mindfulness and introspection.

Through the beautifully written fragments presented in her book, Sarton imparts priceless nuggets of wisdom, and like The Alchemist, she tackles deeply thought-provoking topics, such as, “What do you want of your life?”


2. Tuesdays with Morrie – Mitch Albom

When it comes to books similar to The Alchemist, it’s impossible not to think of Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays with Morrie.

In this powerful book, Mitch Albom narrates the weekly meetings he has with Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from almost twenty years ago.

During the last few months of Morrie’s life, the duo met each day in Morrie’s study, just as they did in college, and they conversed about life, death, friendship, family, and love. They’re deeply moving discussions have impacted millions of lives worldwide, especially for those who have experienced loss.

Albom does an incredible job of immortalizing his mentor’s words, and by the end of the book, it’s difficult not to think of Morrie as your own mentor.

Tuesdays with Morrie helps to remind us about the things that really matter in life – it imparts life-enhancing lessons in a simple, engaging way.


3. The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari – Robin S. Sharma

Julian Mantle is the protagonist of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, a fable about a man who seemed to have everything – a seven-figure income, a mansion, and of course, a Ferrari. Except, he was overworked, stressed, and ultimately unhappy.

It usually takes a big wake-up call to inspire change for someone like Julian, and in his case, it was a stress-induced heart attack.

After this, Mantle sold his mansion, his Ferrari, and the rest of his material possessions, before embarking on a journey of enlightenment.

Luckily for us, Mantle takes us on his journey with him, and as he discovers the meaning of life, we get to live it too.

If you’re looking for novels like The Alchemist, then The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari is a must-read.


4. The Art of Happiness – Howard Cutler & Dalai Lama

In this book written by Howard Cutler, Dalai Lama reveals meditations and lessons on life from his perspective.

Together, they delve into topics such as the purpose of life, the need for compassion and empathy, and even the usefulness of suffering in life.

This book serves not only as a self-help guide on self-improvement and enlightenment but also as an actionable handbook on how to achieve happiness. Dalai Lama touches on aspects such as rejecting the idea of comparing your successes with others, and on how to focus instead on accepting self-worth and dignity, a core condition for happiness.

The Art of Happiness shines a light on individuality and self-determination, in an inspiring and patient way, reminding us that change does not happen overnight, but rather that it’s a conscious and deliberate choice we make every day.


5. Sophie’s World – Jostein Gaarder

If like me, you enjoy books on philosophy, then you’ll love Sophie’s World.

Written as a novel about the history of philosophy, when Sophie receives two notes through her door, one asking, “Who are you?” and the other, “Where does the world come from?”, she unwittingly becomes a student of philosophy.

Sophie continues to receive letters and postcards through the post, addressed to someone named Hilde Moller, who she doesn’t know. The letters appear to come from a mysterious author named Alberto Knox, and they cover the history of philosophy, from ancient Greece to Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates.

As the plot advances, the mystery is combined with philosophy, and fantasy, to create an unforgettable story.


6. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel García Márquez

Gabriel García Márquez’s tale is one of the most famous books in the world, and one of the best examples of magic realism. With its blend of magic realism and sociopolitical allegory, and its power to provoke deep and intellectual thought, One Hundred Years of Solitude deserves all of the praise it gets.

One Hundred Years of Solitude chronicles the seven generations of the Buendia family, and Macondo, the town they founded.

Built in the middle of a swamp, Macondo was once a utopia, an isolated town that was often visited by gypsies and hucksters, but it doesn’t stay that way.

One Hundred Years of Solitude is an epic tale of many lives, the consequences of industrialism, and fantasy combined with harsh reality.

If you think this book sounds exciting, you might also like these books like A Man Called Ove.

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7. The Book of Speculation – Erika Swyler

When young librarian, Simon Watson, receives a mysterious book that contains his grandmother’s name – Verona Bonn, he finds himself pulled into a world of magic and curses, of traveling circuses and omens.

The aged book with its cracked, and yellow pages chronicles the lives of two doomed lovers who worked in a traveling circus over two centuries ago. The more Simon reads, the more he unravels.

Soon he begins questioning why so many female members of his family have died on July 24th. He wonders if there is a curse on his family, and he worries for his sister, a tarot reader who works for a traveling carnival.

The Book of Speculation is a magical read, a whimsical tale written beautifully.


8. Siddhartha – Hermann Hesse

After meeting with the Buddha, young Brahmin embarks on a quest in search of ultimate reality. He leaves a life of self-indulgence and wealth in favor of abstinence and gives up the false pleasures of his relationship with a courtesan, instead focusing on his struggles with familial relationships.

Siddhartha is about a man who gains all the material wealth of the world, only to leave it all behind in search of true happiness.

If you want books similar to The Alchemist, then Siddhartha is one for your reading list. Hesse imparts wisdom on enlightenment, self-enrichment, and happiness, in a simple, engaging allegorical tale.


Acclaimed Books Similar to The Alchemist

The books I’ve talked about are undoubtedly life-changing – some, like One Hundred Years of Solitude, have been translated into countless languages. But if that’s not enough, then hold tight as I reveal 7 of the best-acclaimed titles, which will appeal to those looking for more books like The Alchemist.

9. Life of Pi – Yann Martel

The story of Pi Patel, a boy who survives a storm aboard a ship, and finds himself on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger, is beautifully written, and packed with emotional and philosophical depth.

After the loss of his family during the storm, Pi must survive by drinking filtered seawater – he also provides for the tiger, and trains it.

At his heart, Life of Pie is a tale of friendship between a boy and a tiger, but it’s also a tale of survival and spiritual and emotional growth.

Readers often take different things away from this wonderfully written book, but I love the beautiful imagery that Yann Martel uses and the quiet way in which he seeps wisdom and meaning into our minds through them.


10. The Old Man and the Sea – Ernest Hemingway

Known for his beautifully simple prose, Ernest Hemingway tells the tale of the Cuban fisherman, Santiago, who’s down on his luck.

When Santiago hooks a giant Marlin, he enters an epic fight with the fish and eventually succeeds in capturing it. The Marlin is big enough to erase all of the bad luck that Santiago has experienced of late, and all he has to do is take it back to shore. But this is where Santiago’s real struggle begins.

The Old Man and the Sea comes across as a simple tale, and yet it explores humanity, perseverance, and morality, all in one slim novella!


11. The Prophet – Kahlil Gibran

In this powerful and thought-provoking book, Lebanese artist and poet, Kahlil Gibran, tells the tale of a fictional prophet named Al-Mustafa, through a series of 26 poetic essays.

Gibran explores topics such as family, love, friendship, pain, religion, freedom, and more, and his words have been translated into a hundred languages and inspired millions of people throughout the world.

The beautifully written meditations make for a slim book, and yet his profound teachings are guaranteed to stick with you for a long time.

Like The Alchemist, this book will inspire spiritual growth and introspection, and it will change your outlook on life.


12. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner is a heart-wrenching novel about friendship, betrayal, redemption, and the constant fight between good and evil.

Told from the perspective of Amir, it tells the story of a past in which he grew up in a privileged home, and his friendship with Hassan, the son of his father’s servant.

Perhaps one of the most memorable aspects of this story is that Amir is not a flawless hero, but rather a human, for all his mistakes, his arrogance, his regrets, and his need for redemption. The Kite Runner makes for a compelling read and inspires self-improvement in all of us.


13. Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer

What drives a man to give away everything he owns, his money, his material belongings, to abandon his family ties and everything he’s ever known, and then seek solitude in the wilderness?

Into the Wild tells the true story of 24-year-old Christopher McCandless, the man who gave $25,000 to charity before strolling into the Alaskan wilderness, never to be seen alive again. It’s a fascinating read about a man who was a philosopher as much as he was an adventurer.

In the end, Chris McCandless died in the process of following his dreams, but through Jon Krakauer’s beautifully written words, we discover his struggle for self-discovery and its conflict with society.


14. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Written back in 1942, The Little Prince is a timeless tale fit for both children and adults. It’s a sweet story that serves as a parable, an allegory, and a fable simultaneously.

It tells the story of a little extra-terrestrial boy who embarks on a journey across the stars and chronicles his adventures and encounters thereafter. The Little Prince is a philosophical work, written with the imagination and wonder that children find easy to accept, and adults often forget.

The Little Prince is full of moral lessons about relationships, personal growth, love, and responsibility if you look for them, but the author breathes life into inanimate objects, giving them the ability to speak, and therefore the story appeals to a younger readership without becoming dull.


15. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert M. Pirsig

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance might seem an odd choice for this list, but the contents of this book are not what the title suggests. They’re much, much more.

In this book, Robert Pirsig and his son go on a road trip on their motorcycles, giving them all the time and road needed to discuss different aspects of life, morality, philosophy, and everything in between. It is, at surface level, a bonding trip between father and son, which in itself makes for an entertaining read.

If you’re looking for a book on motorcycle maintenance or Zen, then this book isn’t for you. On the other hand, this book will challenge your perspective on life, and give you plenty of food for thought.


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books similar to the alchemist

Final Word on Books Similar to The Alchemist

That concludes our list of the top books similar to The Alchemist. All the books I’ve mentioned include deep and resonating philosophical and moral wisdom, and they’re all worth a read if you’re looking for a book that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.

Besides, if you share my obsession with inspirational quotes, then the above books will easily fill a journal or two!

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