The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

This self-help-esq fictional tale of a Spanish shepherd who goes on a quest to find a treasure and Personal Legend flows with a simplicity of good intentions if not terrific prose. The trouble with this book, as with The Celestine Prophecies, et al. is that their mantra advice "when a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person realize his dream" is well-meaning and often good advice about perusing what you love, yet not always the most realistic. As someone who spent some twenty years on my own "Personal Legend," I have come to the dreary conclusion that the universe does not always share an individual's dream and that circumstances are such that, by chance or by destiny, they may cripple even the most determined person.