And so did the river flow..


Its been a while since I read this book, and have been waiting to do the book review of this one. Paulo Coelho has extremes in terms of following, I have seen people get really impressed with his writing and some being horribly disappointed and opining that he is very overrated writer.

I read his book titled “Like the flowing river”, A collection of short passages written by him, and I did like many of his ideas. So here is a collection of why I liked the book. If I wanted to, I could write a post about each of these, which may happen unconsciously later, but for now, these are just few lines from the book which I liked a lot.

Talking about the internet Paulo writes . “I resist as long as I can, but the moment arrives, my finger presses the on-switch here I am connected to the world. ………. I switch the computer off again and the world goes back to being the countryside….I ask myself how I can exist in two such different worlds in one day.” Isn’t this exciting, how much the internet opens us to, we keep living lives across the world, share a personal thought with some totally across the world in Canada, or just across few suburbs in other place in Bangalore, or some in a remote state in India. Get to live so many lives. Just love the opportunity the internet provides.

Speaking about the qualities of a pencil, he says,

  • You are capable of great things but you must never forget that there is a hand that guides you.
  • Pencil suffers a little when it needs sharpening, but afterwards he is much sharper, so one must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows because they will make you a better person,
  • The pencil always allows us to use an eraser to rub out any mistakes/ This means that correcting something we did is not necessarily a bad thing.
  • What really matters in a pencil is not its wooden exterior but the graphite interior
  • It always leaves a mark.

This is what always excites me with Paulo Coelho, with something as small as a pencil he can make such profound statements.

Just like the pencil he also makes a similar analogy with climbing a mountain. He says.. Be prepared to go the extra mile, be joyful when you reach the top, make a promise, tell your story. Just think about this, how much sense it makes about the mountains we climb everyday.

Sometimes we are so attached to our way of life that we turn down a wonderful opportunity simply because we don’t know what to do with it.” Paulo says this in context of a neighbor turning down his meaningful offer. This struck me, so many times we are so used to our way of life, we tend to not give change a chance.

Paulo quotes the Japanese wife of the author Henry Miller, “There was no point in squabbling over the inheritance: love was enough”. I wonder, did she really mean money when she says inheritance, just think it over, a definite food for thought.

Paulo talking about one of the stories about Genghis khan, well known for all bad reasons, says that the Genghis has this inscribed on the wings of a gold statue of bird.
Even when a friend does something you do not like, he continues to be your friend

Speaking about a news item from Tokyo, Paulo says, “I can conclude that worst than hunger or thirst, worst than being unemployed, unhappy in love or defeater, and in despair, far worse than any or all of those things, is feeling that no one, absolutely no one cares about us“. I have thought about this many a times after reading, and every time I could not agree more on this one.

Talking about a pianist playing at a mall, Paulo says “It doesn’t matter if other people support us, criticize us, or ignore us, or put up with us – we are doing it because that is our destiny on this earth, and the fount of all the joy”. Does this spark a thought in your mind?

Paulo talks about a Moroccan tribal belief “A return to paradise is guaranteed to anyone who recognizes his or her reflection in water and feels no fear”. So very true, can you leave upto yourself? A big question.

Here’s a extract from one of the prayers written by Paulo “Lord, protect our doubts, because doubt is a way of praying, it is doubt that makes you grow because it forces us to look fearlessly at many answers that exist to one question

Another lovely quote, which specifically I need to understand, “The happiness of one does not mean to unhappiness of the others”, I am not sure why I felt this is the book speaking directly to me.

Yet another lovely quote “Love creates bridges where it would seem they were impossible”, some days I would dismiss the quote as being one of those phony ones, but on days I would surely love the quote.

This has to be the best quote from the lot, Paulo quotes the lord Jesus, “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth.”,

A book certainly worth reading.

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8 responses »

  1. I love all these quotes. I remember to read that pencil story in my flight to delhi and for all the time I was thinking about this. How imaginative! But I lost that book in the airport! 😦 There was also one story in which his wife says something like this,”this is not going to stop me helping anyone” and there was also something in that “we can only offer what we have”! nice one na…..the other story that I liked was about the man who distributed roses to everyone in the plane for his girlfriend. So Romantic 🙂

    ~Bless You~ Namaste

    lost the book?..that does not sound good.
    ha ha roses one was a little cheesy I thought 🙂

  2. Paulo Coelho is certainly amazing with words or better his pearls of wisdom. I had a diary with many of his quotes (in Dutch) and loved it haven’t read this one yet but it will go on my list

    you should share some quotes from your would be fun to read them

  3. It is strange that whomsoever I come across I find them reading Paulo, I don’t about others, but I really feel that he is excellent writer and his thoughts are very inspiring as well..I really liked a way in which he has described quality of pencil…its simply beautiful…

    Rambler, to b frank enough m nt much of a book-worm but still after those illustrations and your narration I feel I must read this book and I’ll surely read it.

    Priti, I have many people also tell me that he is a very over rated author as well.
    If you do read this book..please let me how you liked it

  4. whenever i have turned to him, I have found myself inspired….

    DC…so which all of his books have you read?
    btw did you check the automatic picture wordpress generated for you? 😀

  5. Paul Coehlo has this way of framing profound insight in simple words that extend beyond their potential to trigger reflections. Alchemist- Still stays the best I have read in my life..

    You know I have ready many of his books, but not Alchemist 🙂
    may be I will read it at the end.

  6. its a lovely book. if u like reading his quotations, you might like ‘manual of the warrior of light’ too…

    Priya. thanks for the suggestion..I might pick it up soon

  7. the first paolo coelho book i read was the witch of portobello and thought it was really good. a week after i got veronika must die but was sort of disappointed with the ending. but im definitely getting more of his books soon.

    Havent read that witch of portobello book..should read soon 🙂

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