Colm Holland, who back in 1993 while working as a marketing boss for a major publisher, was faced with a pile of manuscripts to review for its fledgling New Age section. His job was to choose which to distribute.
He noticed the striking cover of The Alchemist, by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. Popping it into his briefcase, he took it home to read and knew, immediately, that he had a best-seller on his hands.
The Alchemist went on to sell more than 86 million copies in 70 different languages. It remains a text for life for millions including TV star Oprah Winfrey and actor Will Smith.
Twenty-seven years on, Colm – who has studied and lived by the principles in the text – is now spelling out its “secret” in what could be one of the most courageous, powerful and important self-help books of our time, "The Secret of the Alchemist".
“I just knew that he was tapping into something so much deeper within the unconscious, but I couldn’t put my finger on exactly why.”
Colm, quit his life in marketing to launch what became one of the most successful companies of its kind in Australia, believes he is living proof of The Alchemist’s philosophy.
“People say The Alchemist enabled them to believe in their dreams. But if you ask if they believed enough to follow those dreams, the response is sometimes, ‘Ah well, I had a family and a mortgage, so no.’
“But I did follow my dream. I risked everything and I have had the most amazing transformed life as a result. My book is about what I learned.”
Colm shares a home near Glastonbury, England with his artist wife Valerie – a descendant of celebrated Victorian Scottish Colourist George Leslie Hunter.
BOOKS: The Secret of The Alchemist by Colm Holland