Like a Flowing River – Book Review by Asha Seth

Review Available on: InstagramGoodreads | Amazon

Author: Paulo Coelho| Genre: Philosophy, Non-fiction, Memoirs | Pages: 496

The Blurb:

Like the Flowing River is an intimate collection of Paulo Coelho’s reflections and short stories. These are powerful tales of living and dying, of destiny and choice, of love lost and found.

paulo coelho book like a flowing river book review asha seth badbookthief
Image Copyright: Asha Seth

The Review:

I have read almost all of Paulo Coelho’s books in my college days. That was a time when I was so floored by his books that I went after them for months and finished reading most. I guess The Alchemist cast that spell. But it was years that I hadn’t read anything from him because honestly speaking ‘Adultery’ broke that spell for me. This year however, I picked up a Coelho again. With ‘Like a Flowing River’. And although I had read this one before, it felt like a good start for 2020.

Like a Flowing River is a simple book of the author’s most personal reflections on incidents that left a mark on him. The stories; more like essays, are really crisp with about 500 words tops for most of them. Essay after essay, you are reminded of tales you were told in your childhood. Those stories that ended with, ‘And the moral of the story is…’

In an easily decipherable language with deep insights on human behavior, this book is a classic Coelho novel that starts you questioning the way you react, behave, talk, analyse, and accept situations, and life on the whole. These moral tales will nudge you to look at the positive side of things and start believing in the timeless philosophy that everything happens for a reason.

“Now and then, I have to stop writing and use a sharpener. That makes the pencil suffer a little, but afterwards, he’s much sharper. So you, too must learn to bear certain pains and sorrows, because the will make you a better person.” 

Let me give you a taste of what I am talking about:

I vividly remember this story of a king who had a favorite falcon. The king goes hunting in the woods and the falcon always brings him the game. This one time the king ventures into the forest. He is thirsty and comes upon a narrow stream of water. Every time the king fills his cup with water, his falcon would attack and him and drop his cup. Angry by now, the king strikes his sword and kills the bird. Going a little ahead, the king spots the pool and sees a dead snake dead in it. He realises how in vain he killed his loved falcon when it was only trying to save his life.

In a similar thoughtful fashion, Coelho has smartly penned down stories and observations that will provoke your conscience to see good in all. He also reveals incidents of his near-death experiences and how he came out loving life more dearly and living it more fully. It is not difficult to grasp that author is keen on driving his readers’ to a similar conclusion on life, and thus changing their perspectives by instilling the sense of positivity in their outlook.

“It is part of the human nature always to judge others very severely and, when the wind turns against us, always to find an excuse for our own misdeeds, or to blame someone else for our mistakes.”

At 245 pages, this is a fairly easy read except that some essays feel dreary due to the recurring thoughts and inferences heavy with philosophy. Also the spiritual bend in some stories feel bit too dense, but the language being simple, it doesn’t mar the overall reading experience.

“Because a warrior of light knows that he has duties and responsibilities…” 

All in all, this is a good attempt at self-help by inspiring minds to think good and do good, no matter what. Anytime that one feels a lack of motivation, needing a philosophical push; irrespective of age, this is the book for them. You will certainly feel empowered.

You can buy your copy of ‘Like A Flowing River’ by clicking on this link.

Have you read ‘Like a Flowing River’? How did you like it? Share your thoughts in comments below.

Happy reading till we meet next.

Until then, carpe diem! 🙂


© Asha Seth

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9 thoughts on “Like a Flowing River – Book Review by Asha Seth

Add yours

    1. It is really good if you are someone who enjoys quick witty tales without too much prose around it. Most of the entries are only half a page. If you wish to get one, you only have to follow the link in the review.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. There was a time I was only reading Coelho. That was back in college days. I’ve read most of his earlier books. It’s his recent ones I didn’t like much. Zahir, The Winner Stands Alone, Alchemist, By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, are some of his favorites of mine. Including Like a Flowing River. Manuscript Found in Accra was okay too but lately his books have lost the charm. Sadly. Have you read any other of his books that you liked, Shaloo?


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