Paulo Coelho "was born in 1947 in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Before dedicating his life completely to literature, he worked as theatre director and actor, lyricist and journalist...
"His fascination with the spiritual quest dates back to his hippie days, when he travelled the world learning about secret societies, oriental religions, etc.
"In 1982 Coelho published his first book, Hell Archives, which failed to make any kind of impact. In 1985 he contributed to the Practical Manual of Vampirism, although he later tried to take it off the shelves, since he considered it “of bad quality”. In 1986, PAULO COELHO did the pilgrimage to Saint James of Compostella, an experience later to be documented in his book The Pilgrimage.
"In the following year, COELHO published The Alchemist. Slow initial sales convinced his first publisher to drop the novel, but it went on to become one of the best selling Brazilian books of all time...
"To date, Coelho has sold a total of 100 million copies and, according to the magazine Publishing Trends; he was the most sold author in the world in 2003 with his book Eleven Minutes – even though at the time it hadn’t been released in the United States, Japan or 10 other countries!..
"PAULO COELHO is:
- Messenger of Peace for the UN
- Ambassador of European Union for Intercultural Dialogue for the year of 2008
- Member of the Board of the Shimon Peres Institute for Peace
- UNESCO special counsellor for “Intercultural Dialogues and Spiritual Convergences”
- Board Member of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship
- Member of the Brazilian Academy of Letters
- International Board of Governors, Peres Center for Peace 
"Many MBA courses, such as the one from The Graduate School of Business of the University of Chicago recommends the reading of The Alchemist to its students. This book has equally been adopted in schools in France, Italy, Portugal, Brazil, Taiwan, USA, Spain, etc...
"The World Economic Forum gave its most important prize to the author, the Crystal Award.
- Eduard ten Houten, "New Age Spirituality and Islamic Jihad: Paulo Coelho’s Manual of the Warrior of Light and Shamil Basayev’s Manual of the Mujahid," in Egil Asprem and Kennet Granholm (eds.), Contemporary Esotericism (2012).