Paulo Coelho and turning my lead into gold

by on Sep 25 2011
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I didn’t know that my life was about to change forever. I suppose, in those types of moments, you never do.

I remember the moment like it was yesterday. I was at a one of the mountain parks near my home in Colorado with my two young kids. I brought a picnic lunch, which the kids quickly gobbled up. Now they were happily scrambling around… climbing on some big rocks and playing in the forest.

I was seated at a picnic table. It was a beautiful summer day. The sun was out, but I was in the shade of a pine tree. In my hands I held a slim, hardcover book that I hadn’t started reading yet.

Little did I know when I opened that book that it would quickly transport me to another world… and inspire me to start a business that would help tens of thousands of people, make me a fortune, and eventually change the way business was done on the Internet.

But back then I couldn’t have had a more humble setting. At the time I was Mr. Mom – I was a stay-at-home-dad… the primary caregiver for my kids. My total personal income for the previous five years was exactly zero dollars. I had quit my corporate job, and my wife was supporting the family. I liked spending so much time with my kids, but there was definitely a gaping hole in my life. I felt the drive to create something, but I didn’t know what… and I didn’t know where to begin. I was paralyzed.

The book I was holding in my hands was a book that my wife had given me. That’s not necessarily a good sign… since we don’t tend to share the same taste in books. But this one was different, and it was about to change the course of my life.

It’s a good thing that there was nothing menacing in the woods, and that my kids did a good job fending for themselves… because I can’t say I was the most attentive father that day. As soon as I opened the book, I was completely consumed by it.

That book that changed everything for me was “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. It doesn’t seem like an impressive book when you pick it up. It’s a short book, and it’s very easy to read. It’s not about marketing, or business… or even personal development.

Instead, it’s a parable about how to live your life and pursue your dreams. And the journey the book takes you on… well, it made a huge impact on my life.

Now I’ve had many mentors over the last 15 years or so – and I’ve written about some of them on this blog. And they’ve all helped me in various ways… but it was Paulo Coelho and the mysterious Alchemist that was there at the beginning and gave me permission and faith to pursue my dreams.

Paulo is a wildly successful and influential author. He’s sold over 140 million books. He has 6,605,086 likes on Facebook. He has 2,396,203 followers on Twitter. He clearly influences a lot of other people (in addition to me.)

And now, in another one of those cases of things circling back for me… one of my best friends – Brendon Burchard – is interviewing Paulo on a live teleseminar. That’s a really big deal – to show you just how significant that is… Paulo is only doing two interviews in the U.S. this year – one is with the New York Times and the other is with Brendon.

I’m going to be on the call – because I’m a fan of Paulo Coelho… and because I want to hear from someone who has had such amazing success in his life (and become so amazingly influential.)

You can register for the call FOR FREE at this link:

CLICK HERE for Paulo Coelho and Brendon Burchard

Go register now… this is going to be unlike any other call you’ve been on – I can’t wait to hear Brendon’s interview with Paulo… it’s not going to be about marketing, and there isn’t going to be anything for sale. But with what this man has accomplished in his life and the people he’s impacted… well I can’t wait to hear the wisdom he has to share…

Best regards,
Jeff

P.S. And now you know the “why” behind the name of my company – Internet Alchemy, Inc… I named it after the book that inspired everything. :-)

P.P.S. It’s sorta funny… things have come full circle in some ways, and they’re very different in other ways. I’ve now read most of Paulo Coelho’s books. And obviously, the circumstances of my life are very different. My kids are a lot older now. My wife was able to retire long ago to be a Mom. My business has grown to levels that I never could have dreamed.

But this past spring I opened another of Paulo’s books. Once again, I was with my family in a lovely place out in nature. But this time I was on a 44-foot sailboat that I had chartered for a week in the British Virgin Islands. Once again I was transported away to another world when I started reading the book. And once again I was inspired.

I can’t wait to hear what Paulo has to say to Brendon.

P.P.P.S. There are lots of inspiring books out there. I’m not sure why “The Alchemist” was the one that did it for me… but I’ve gone back to read it several times since that first time out in the woods with my kids. It really resonates with me. But I’m curious… what books have inspired you?

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49 Comments

  • Andrew Baird says:

    4 Hour Work Week was a huge inspiration for me, The Alchemist sounds amazing from what I’ve heard so far!

  • Erico says:

    Hi Jeff, now I understand where the name of your company came from. I think Sebastien has a similar company name if I am not mistaken… May he is also a fan of Paulo (or you) ;-). That aside, today, after 12 years living in Europe I am flying for good back to Brazil today at 10pm. I am looking forward to reconnect and stand to eventually positively impact the lives of entrepreneurs there.

    Just downloaded “The Alchemist’ (to my kindle) so I can read it during the flight… I have a feeling it will feed my soul in this first step of my new journey.

  • Great post, Jeff.

    My first good books came after I reached my 30′s – and I felt like I missed 15 years once I read them:

    Awaken the Giant Within – Tony Robbins. Opened my mind to “cause and effect.”
    Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill – How beliefs proceed outcomes
    Seven Habit of Highly Successful People – Stephen Covey – The “Blueprint” for life management

    I think I’m going to have to put up a reading list on my blog at http://KarlKrummenacher.com to share with my friends, like you shared this. Thank you!

  • Jim Judy says:

    Good story — I always wondered about the genesis of the name of your company (I just figured you picked it because it was different and sounded cool). For me, it wasn’t books that influenced me, it was early sci-fi TV (the original “Trek” and “Twilight Zone”) and the crafty way they inserted social commentary of their era into their storylines.

  • Jeff, thanks for pulling the curtain back on your mystical self…and sharing with us. Illusions by Richard Bach inspired me back in 1978. I still quote it today…”We teach best what we most need to learn.”

  • Te-Erika says:

    I learn so much from you. The subject lines you choose to use for your emails instantly pull me in. Sometimes I think to myself, “Why did I open that email when the subject line was so weird?” I am subscribed to DOZENS of teachers and philosophies that I study to keep up with the trends But I always open your emails for some reason. You definitely have a gift.

    My FAVORITE book is Florence Scovel Shinn’s THE GAME OF LIFE & HOW TO PLAY IT.

  • Mike says:

    See you at the top- Zig Ziglar
    Pit Bull- Marty Schwartz
    The Market Wizards Series by Schwager

  • Great article Jeff and thanks for the personal story. :)

    The Alchemist had also a great impact on me. I would be where I am today without having read it. I wonder sometimes : if Paulo Coelho didn’t write it, what would happen to the hundred of thousands of people who followed their Personal Legend because of the parable ?

    Where would you be Jeff ? And where would I be ?

    Fortunately, Paulo Coelho had the guts to keep going and went on to write this book. Same for us, if we keep going on, we will see the light, our prsonal goal, guided as we are by our Personal Legend. :)

  • Brad Castro says:

    For me, it was Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” that blew me away and changed my life. If you spend much time with a good mystic, you never have to bother listening to theologians trying to explain the meaning of life ever again.

    I also appreciate the genesis of your corporate name – I, too, was inspired to name my LLC after something I found empowering – in my case it was another one of Whitman’s poems. Or maybe inspired isn’t quite the right word – I think it’s more of a tribute, not just to the source of a work that changes your life, but to the actual process of transformation as well.

    Thanks for another reminder of what’s truly important . . .

  • Lauchlan says:

    Hey Jeff

    That was a great book for me too. A great journey story, both on the inside and the outside. It was great listening to Paolo Coelho at a writers festival as well.

    I liked this too:

    http://paulocoelhoblog.com/tag/creative-process/

    Another reading suggestion (this one from Australia) is “A Fortunate Life” http://shop.abc.net.au/browse/product.asp?productid=513141

    See you next month at PLF3 Live :)

  • Janja says:

    Jeff, thank you so so so much for sharing this. Paulo is my favourite author and “The Alchemist” is my favourite book of all times. I read it when I was still in high school and it really enriched me. Soon after that I was one of the lucky few who had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion with him when he visited our small Europen country Slovenia, where he actually placed the happening of his new book at that time “Veronika Decides to Die”. It was an amazing experience, way beyond words. Paulo truly is a heartful, modest person, generously sharing enormous wisdom we can all learn from. And I am so grateful for the opportunity to hear this wisdom from the man himself again :)

  • Lauchlan says:

    As to what other books have inspired me …

    I’ll leave aside business books although a few of the ones already mentioned are great :)

    Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Robert Pirsig)
    A Guide For The Perplexed (E F Schumacher)
    Exploration Fawcett
    Autobiography of a Yogi (Paramahansa Yogananda)
    War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy)

  • wayne olson says:

    Jeff~

    I definitely will be on the call……I’m on Brendon’s list and heard from him the other day. Definitely looking forward to it, and as well, reading The Alchemist and his new one, Aleph. However, thank you for sharing your story and confirming Brendon’s excitement about what the book can do.

    Take care.

    Wayne Olson
    Chicago

  • Jeff,
    Thank you for the inspirational reminder. I read “The Alchemist” many years ago (and maybe now it’s time to re-read it!) In my journey there have been many books that have encouraged me and helped along the way. While still in elementary school I stumbled on Herman Hesse’s “Siddhartha” and I don’t think my life was ever the same after that. Consciously growing can be a challenge. In the beginning, I found Ken Keyes’ “Handbook to Higher Consciousness” an extremely easy to digest primer that encouraged me to keep looking. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle.

    Last, but not least, I am continually inspired by the poetry of Robert Frost; in particular “The Road Not Taken.” (My website name is an “inspired tribute” as well….)

    Thanks again for the spiritual lift.

    Your friend on the road,
    Kevin

  • Some of the most influential books for me have been by Idries Shah, especially Learning How to Learn; and Coleman Barks translations of Rumi; the poems of Kabir; and Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning.

  • Ward Minifie says:

    For me it is “when everything changes, change everything”. I hit botton last friday night. I read it Saturday, and I believe now that i am going to be fine :-)

  • Chad says:

    Atlas Shrugged was mine…and there’s a new iPad version of the book with lots of very cool features: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ayn-rands-atlas-shrugged-a/id460533345?mt=8

  • Wolfgang says:

    Hi Jeff, I have also read the Alchemist and was inspired by it, I will be on the call.
    Thanks for the post.

  • JLopezJr says:

    I just read ‘The Alchemist’ for the very first time this past weekend and it really centered me in what I want to pursue. It’s strange how a simple story like that has so much heart and soul. Can’t wait to hear what he has to say on the call…!

    I’m the type of person when I get inspired by someone, I go and research as much as I can on there body of works. So I went on Youtube and found an eleven part interview that he did which helps you see how he thinks and lives. The man walks an inspired path!

  • rena says:

    Jeff,
    moved by your post as i grieve for the loss of my life partner….. “Island of the blue dolphins” the first book i ever read from cover to cover… i was 12+/-….. it was like a Spiritually Awakening Journey…. transporting me to a reality that continues to lift me up…… each time i re-read/remember…..Thanks for asking!!!!!
    warmly, Rena

  • Ryan says:

    As much as I try to shake it and continue with my cushy 9-5 public service job….I can’t stop thinking about the words of wisdom in the 4-hour-work-week. I’m still trying to take the actions necessary for me to become yet another success story……but I know I’ll never give up.

    Thanks for the inspiration Jeff.

  • Thanks Jeff for great stuff.. Again :) And greetings from Finland to all of You guys!

  • My fave book is “Do You QuantumThink? New Thinking That Will Rock Your World” by Dianne and Alan Collins. A new way of thinking in today’s world backed up by quantum physics. Deep………..love it!

  • Hi Jeff,

    I agree! “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho is one of my all time favourite books and I connect deeply to its spiritual messages.

    I look forward to the call.

    Thank you,
    Jacqueline

  • John Carlton says:

    Jeff — Funny how so many of us had similar reading experiences that started a major life-change. I’m heartened to see that even new kids on the block still read books… that’s the one common denominator here: Read book, change life. Not a TV show, not a seminar or webinar, not a bolt of lightning or even an experience.

    For me, it was Think & Grow Rich. But it was the subtext that did it — the very concept that I could actually openly (and without shame) desire something blew my working-class mind. WTF? I’m allowed to crave something different? Seriously? Wow.

    Then, being suddenly presented with rational steps to take to acquire it… along with motivation-enhancement strategies that made it easy to ACT and actually move toward my goals (all tidily packed into T&GR)…

    … it all just demolished every last brick of the Wall in my head, and freed me almost instantly from the slavery of Working For The Man and Conforming To Authority. What a rush, and what a ride that started.

    I’ll have to pick up The Alchemist now. Skipped it before. Thanks for the reco.

    John Carlton

    • Jeff Walker says:

      @John: It’s just shockingly amazing how you can be sitting there with a book… really just a bunch of pages with words on them… and all of a sudden feel your entire reality shift by several degrees. It’s downright awe-inspiring, really.

      I would tell you that I would be happy to send you a copy of The Alchemist… I always keep three or four copies on hand to send to friends – but I know Amazon will do a MUCH better job of getting it to you in a timely fashion. :-)

  • Mary says:

    Hi Jeff…
    Well, this is interesting.
    I’m writing a book, being completed end October and POD published in Nov/Dec and YOU are one of the inspirations in it!

    It was not a book you wrote that changed my life, but an email you sent…a few days after 2 words John Reese said (in another email) that made all the cells in my body twist and squirm and re-align…or something weird like that and right when I was in the middle of that moment that changes a life!

    I’m personally delivering you an autographed copy next year if possible or at the latest, the year after, as a token of my appreciation at you getting a list set up and for me of having the privilege of being on your list.
    Now…you didn’t expect that, did you?

    Awesome stuff…you never know when that life changing moment can happen
    Books that opened the doorway onto this path…The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale.

    Kindest,
    Mary

  • Mike Noone says:

    Hi Jeff,
    The Alchemist is a favourite of mine too. Got given a copy by a friend at a similar time in my life to what you describe.
    There are so many wonderful books out there. “Magister Ludi” or “The Glass Bead Game” by Herman Hesse was one such book. It’s a total bitch to read until you “get it” and then the rest is just devoured. I love Sidhartha too. A wonderful opening up in the last few pages.

    Thanks for this post Jeff. I think I’ll read the Alchemist again while I’m taking a few days out this weekend.

    Mike

  • A.Rash says:

    Hi, Jeff.
    I don’t know how my life is going to change after buying the 2 books, but your story has already touched me deeper. I read the post several times, trying to find out what’s in it that
    captivates me. I don’t know, but I feel it’s all real and comes from your heart. To me, that’s a true gold.
    God bless you.
    Rash

  • Vikk Simmons says:

    Looking forward to the talk. Thanks for posting the info. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone had a profound impact on me at the age of 12. I didn’t know it. I just loved the book, devoured it, and made it an annual ritual to read the book every year for the next 10 years.

    It was quite a few decades later when I realized how deeply the story and words had burrowed. I realized that my passion and quest to learn about the creative process began within those pages as I sank into Michaelangelo’s POV and absorbed his creative process through Irving’s writing. And Irving fanned the flame for reading and for writing that has lasted a lifetime. I owe him a lot.

    Thirty years after receiving the book as a Christmas gift, I met Mr. Stone, and was able to show him my deluxe bound, water-stained, flood and fire-surviving, worn copy and meet him. We talked, he signed the copy and I then sat in my car for 20 minutes with tears streaming down my face. I was sad to learn a year later that he had passed away.

    I still have the book and had planned to read it again this week. Thanks!

  • Vimmela says:

    Hi Jeff,
    Thank You for being so open in this Blog. I only this past weekend did a Quantum Reading Course. After years of feeling that I am a slow reader am now sure I am highly intelligent and can read a book in 15 minutes with the methodology I learned. I have a huge cupboard of books on Personal development, Business, selling … you name it I have it and am constantly buying nore books. Now I can read the., I have read a few books but never finish them. Now I am inspired to get the Alchemist and read it. I look forward to your Blogs and have just completed writing a Book on “Strategies For Success in Training” I have been training people for the last 22 years.
    Thanks for being who you are!

  • “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~ Lao Tzu

  • Mary says:

    The Book reveals all Jeff! :-)

    I just wanted you to know that sending out regular updates to your list has untold benefits and to keep it up.
    You never know when someone is in the middle of a crisis, especially people trying to learn the ins and outs of an online business, combined with all the other stuff going on in their lives!
    Timely emails with just the right headlines can save souls…you’ll never know the true impact.
    Kindest,
    Mary

  • Patty Soffer says:

    What books inspire me? Anything by Paul Coehlo, including his fiction. The Alchemist, of course, and Aleph is spectacular. Coehlo forces you to stretch to another level.

    I also love anything by Tom Friedman, and anything Michael Lewis touches.

    If you want to read a fab economic philosopher, get Michael Smorch’s monthly newsletter.

    The common thread between all of these greats is heart. They live in their hearts and that is why their messages resonate. With them, the head is no more than where the hat lives.
    The ultimate book? Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning.”

  • Darian says:

    To be honest, I’ve not actually read any of Paul Coelho’s books (even though I have heard of him). Looks like I’ll be browsing through The Alchemist on my next trip to the bookstore. :)

    One book that did inspire me was actually Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. I’m not really keen on reading e-books on the computer (tiring for the eyes and such) but this one held my attention till the end.

  • Isabel says:

    I’ve been reading some of your posts and I’m really impressed. I also write books (the last one was a novel about volunteer work) and I would be very happy if they could inspire many people as Paulo Coelho’s “Alchemist” inspired you. I love writing. The problem is that writing books in Portugal are not a way to pay the bills. That’s why I intend to learn from you how to earn a little more money through Internet. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  • Hello Jeff,

    Just saw you in the New Money Masters video with Tony Robbins. After watching that I instantly found you on the web and signed up. I’m currently deployed to GTMO and the internet here is suspect at best, so I haven’t been able to fully explore the new ideas and options that have been exploding in my mind since watching the video!

    That being said, I have been inspired by many great people and their work (e.g.TR and Kiyosaki just to name two); however, being a uber-visual guy ( I see everything as pictures and shapes in my head), I would say the “one” resource that had the most impact on my mindset and perspective of life. was the film “What the Bleep Do We Know, Down the Rabbit Hole.” It was one of those films that about half way through it I sat bolt upright in my bed and had, what Stephen Covey likes to refer to as, a paradigm shift. I’ve never looked at life the same way again after that movie and after that moment. Powerful stuff. Just reflecting on it gives me a chill down my spine.

    I am really looking forward to seeing more of your work and your genius. I really appreciate your mission for improving other people’s lives and the genuine care you have for others. Take care and in the immortal words of the great Tony Robbins, continue to “Live with Passion!” (Couldn’t resist:)

    Respectfully,

    Sean

  • Sammy says:

    Jeff, thank you so so so much for sharing this. Paulo is my favourite author and “The Alchemist” is my favourite book of all times. I read it when I was still in high school and it really enriched me. Soon after that I was one of the lucky few who had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable discussion with him when he visited our small Europen country Slovenia, where he actually placed the happening of his new book at that time “Veronika Decides to Die”. It was an amazing experience, way beyond words. Paulo truly is a heartful, modest person, generously sharing enormous wisdom we can all learn from. And I am so grateful for the opportunity to hear this wisdom from the man himself again
    +1

  • Hi ,
    To be honest i wish i could speak personal with you because is like i feel we have lots to share but also because i would like to learn from a guy like you…is a type of man and business man trhat i am looking for to be a mentor, a guru..well ,why i say this,because i feel we have simular path,not same,but simular way of seing life and enjoying it!!!
    First i am from Brazil,i never read a Paulo Coelhos´book ,i just read one translation he did about one passage of the bible ,a long time ago, and i love his songs with Raul Seixas from the the time they were “rockstars” .so he did have lots of influence in my life from his lyrics.
    Second The word alchemy has a lot to do with my life because i study Ayurveda,the most ancient science of healing in the world from India and where the Alchemy comes from,so my life has lots to do with making changes,making gold into medicine….
    Third,reading about your story as everything started is very inspiring for me because i am in simular situation,at home,helping my mother and healing myself from many things that happened in my life.I graduated in medicine but i am not working and making no dollar,or real in my case(real is brazilian money).But this situation is an optino of changing my whole life,my habits,is a moent to heal myself and my mother and i have being doing this through yoga,meditation and ayurveda…i am choosing a diferent path from the traditional system of living in all dimensions(work,relations,spiritual and etc),looking for a natural,healthy ,spiritual and wealthy way to be in this planet! and the i can share this exxxperince..
    Now ,is from the point where my story with you starts,i mean i am here in this blog writting this things. Two months ago i was in facebook reading some scraps and i saw this guy sayin how to make good money in the internet and chill out…so clicked and my journey to this new world started,imediately i was facinated about this business and what you can do wit it,the opportunity it gives to everyone and how creative it can be plus the connection that we can do with all the world..so i was really crazy about this and started to search,read,purchase things ..take action…however i realized that i need to meet the right people,the right mentor to take me through this path and i mean by right someone who is succesful and has a vison of carpe diem life and helping other people to be succesful as well,someone interesting in health,spiritual life in this world and that is why i came to you because i saw those qualities in you as i saw in Eben Pagan,from who i got to know about you this last days when he send me a link of yours launch formula.
    So,i hope the englihs is ok?And i really felt like opened my self this way here because i felt conection..that is what i think is all about in this comment.
    Last i would like to say that i am really interested about this internet marketing business and i would love to learn from you and Eben,i have many gurus in my life,or you can say mentors and i choose you guys to be mine in this path.I am Total for this and looking for some way to start this here in Brazil learning from you because i trust this feeling,so i woul like to know how can we make this happen? how can i learn from you ,from beggining step by step…I know we can do from internet but i am also motivated to go to america for a period and work and learn in a intesnive way,also because i have many friends and other mentors there like Silvia from Vox Mundi,Yoga of voice…dr vasant Lad ayurveda master and etc
    So Jef,thank you and i hope to hear from you soon

    p.s. Osho`s book changed my like in 2005..”tantra-the supreme consciousness”

    enjoy

    and big hug

    Abhiru

  • Hi Jeff,
    Your life circumstances are just like mine. Though, I’m not wildly successful as you are :)
    I’m also in this period in life where I’m thinking, should I quit my job and follow my dreams or should I stay at my cushy 9 to 5 job? I would love to emulate your success.

    Cheers,
    Clarentino

  • Jeff,

    First of all I love PLF Live in Arizona! You Rock my friend! You recommended I read the Alchemist, I am one who always wants to take action ASAP during/after a conference. I downloaded the book and read it on the car ride back to Utah. It was completely and utterly mind altering for me. I couldn’t wait to get home and tell my wife and kids about this book. Instead I decided to read the book to them. They have been totally engrossed in the content and it was fantastic for me to read it a second time! Thank you so much for the recommendation!

    Darin

  • Joe Adams says:

    You are just so damn good.

  • Kay says:

    Jeff – reading Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad transformed the way I thought about money and Stuart Wilde’s The Trick to Money is Having Some [the original version] jolted me out of my povery mindset. Working with you, Cuzin Andy and Eban [among others] has me in action – but not massive action yet, but action I am proud of..
    I am immensely grateful to all the people in my journey who have jolted me out of my old rat race mentality.
    And I am now a massive believer in when the time is right, the right thing will happen to take me on the next step in my journey
    Awesome!
    Heartfelt thanks

  • Julia says:

    Hi, Jeff, thanks for an excellent and clear explanation! I acquired my experience in offline marketing mostly and i executed several announces prior the launch just because it was the “market practice”. Now i get the insights why does the market do so. And what could be improved. Eager to see next lessons, thank you.

  • france says:

    Hello Jeff, thank you for your confidence, it is a real gift!

    In reciprocity the books which influence my life are : Freud: les Essais ( pulsion de vie et pulsion de mort), l’evangile selon St Jean, and all the books of Castaneda.All of them open events and discoveries.

    the last one was Brendon : the charge. From Brendon i came to you.

    thanks again Jeff

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