"The Alchemist" shares his secrets about changing life

Not all the speakers at this year’s World Economic Forum summit in Davos were politicians or business people. One of the world’s best-selling authors – Paulo Coelho -– chaired a conference on global change.

This content was published on February 3, 2000 - 07:49

Not all the speakers at this year’s World Economic Forum summit in Davos were politician or business people. One of the world’s best-selling authors – the Brazilian novelist, Paulo Coelho -– stopped in to chair a conference on global change, during a tour of Switzerland.

Paulo Coelho hardly needs any introduction. His books have been translated into 43 languages and have sold over 26 million copies in more than 100 countries. His most successful work is "The Alchemist", one of his many tales of faith and mystery. He is also an accomplished novelist and writer of parables.

Coelho is currently touring Switzerland to talk about his books and his philosophy.

During a visit to Zurich, he gave his audience an idea of his views on spirituality and change. He said everyone experienced a "magic moment" every day of their lives, whether it was a chance meeting or simply reading a particular book.

"It is your duty to recognise and take advantage of that moment instead of trying to forget because you do not want to change. In my opinion, this is the problem. People normally oppose change because they feel safe where they are... but nobody is safe... so please do not try to control the world. Let the river flow and go along with it."

Paulo Coelho can draw a richly-varied life to provide the inspiration for his books. Before becoming a best-selling author, he was a playwright, theatre director, songwriter and hippie. He has since worked as a journalist and television playwright.

Coelho would most like to be remembered as a writer and a pilgrim - his first book, "The Pilgrimage", is an account of his pilgrimage to Santiago in Spain.

"[I want to be remembered ] as one who didn’t stop even when I faced defeat. As a writer because I put the best of myself into my books...

"Life is about sharing and I’m very glad that up to now I was able to share my soul, and by doing that I understand that I am not alone. There are a lot of people who might not think like me but we share the same ideas about this present moment."

By Richard Dawson

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?