The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. HarperSanFrancisco, c1995.

The subtitle, "A fable about following your dream," tells only some of it. The boy, a shepherd in Spain, has a recurring dream about finding a treasure near the Pyramids in Egypt. He encounters an old man claiming to be a king, who encourages him to follow his dream and gives him two divining stones: Urim and Thummim. The boy sells his flock and embarks on a journey to find the Pyramids of Egypt. Along the way, he meets people like thieves, a crystal merchant, a camel driver, and others who teach him to listen to his heart and to come to know the Soul of the World.

An alchemist, we know, is someone who is searching for - or who has found - the essence of creation. Commonly, he is thought to be able to transform lead (baseness) into gold (something of rare value.) Coelho, in this fable, expands the idea of alchemy far beyond magick or religion and applies it to your life, opening up an avenue for identifying your individual destiny and actually achieving your highest dream.