Like The Flowing River by Paulo Coelho
I am a member of Madurai Readers club and I got an opportunity to do a book review on Like the flowing river by Paulo Coelho on 20th Feb,2011.
When I shared with one of my friends, that I am going to do a book review, she forwarded me a literature review done on his famous work “The Alchemist” by a critic. The critic was very harsh and blamed that Paulo Coelho drew the inspiration for “The Alchemist” from the book “ One hundred years of Solitude By Gabriel Garcia Marquez ( did I spell him right) and the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Such criticisms are not uncommon to people who grow up in the ladder of success on a short span of time. There may be truth in what the critic says. However what I like more about Paulo Coelho is his narrative style which stays more close to our heart.
Coming to the book review on Like the Flowing river, I share now with the readers few articles that were of interest to me in the book. Like the flowing river is a collection of 102 articles in 227 pages published by Harper Collins and cost Rs295/ in Indian rupees. Each article run for just one to 3 pages and not more than that. It’s a collection of articles published in various newspapers around the world, based on author’s personal experience and stories he heard. Filled with values from Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism and Islam the book is a real delight to read. I used to complete any book that I found interesting in two to three days and this is one such book (I have many unread books in my book shelf)
Paulo Coelho under the title “Prepared to battle with few doubts “pens his thoughts which came up while weeding his garden. A weed is an unwanted plant which finds a place by itself to live. Coelho says that every living thing in this world has the right to live and who am I to kill those weeds. On the other hand if the weeds are not killed, they will out grow the garden plants. Finally, the advice of
Krishna to Arjuna in Bhagawat Gita, came to his rescue. Krishna says to Arjuna “Do you think that you can kill anyone? It is not you who actually kills and it is me who guides you into this. No one can kill anyone.
Paulo Coelho continues weeding without any hesitation.
There is an article comparing our actions with that of an ordinary pencil. Like a hand that guides the pencil, God guides all our actions, like sharpening the pencil, the problems and sufferings sharpens us to become a better person, we should “erase” our mistakes, the inner graphite (soul) is more important than the outside body and we should leave a mark of our life in this world. Good comparison.
Then there is a story of Genghis Khan, the Moghal emperor and his Falcon, whom the emperor killed out of rage, only to realize later that, the Falcon only tried to save his life. He makes a replica of the Falcon in gold and engraves in its wings that “Your friend will remain as your friend, even when he does harms to you” and “any action done out of rage and anger, is bound to cause destruction”
When he talks about books and libraries he says that he hardly maintain a collection of 400 books and gives the rest to others. Only the books which he has some sentimental attachment and those which he refers frequently, find a place in his book shelf. Even dresses, he have only a few, that too most of them in black color to avoid confusion “What to wear while going out?”
Then there are three articles about Manuel, the common man. While we read we can see ourselves in him.
He narrates a lovely incident that happened during his travel in flight from
New York to , where a youth requested the fellow passengers to volunteer themselves (12 of them) for a noble purpose. Read and find what it is. Chicago
The real story of a dead man wearing Pyjama’s says the plight of dying like a orphan.
Imagine the ashes of a dead women traveling to 141 different places, the offerings and prayers done for her by unknown people. The woman, who had the wish to travel different places when alive, made a will so that at least her wish be fulfilled after death.
How to climb a mountain? - is about setting a goal for ourselves and moving ahead with steps that required for climbing a mountain. Again, this is a wonderful comparison.
Looking into other Garden says that we should plant our own Garden of life and not others.
The story of cloud and sand dune, his letter to President Bush on waging war against Iraq, the song he wrote once, returning to him in a wonderful way etc also were good to read.
There is much more to those who seek a good living.
I have used my own words to describe what Paulo Coelho has written. His writing will be more lively and more close to heart.