This is basically a fairy tale, in a sense that it is entirely symbolic and linear. And even though we all have good memories of fairy tales, they are fairly hard to pull off when targeted at adults. The most notable example is probably [b:The Little Prince|157993|The Little Prince|Antoine de Saint-Exupéry|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1367545443s/157993.jpg|2180358] by [a:Antoine de Saint-Exupéry|1020792|Antoine de Saint-Exupéry|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/authors/1330853515p2/1020792.jpg]. Coelho's 'The Alchemist' tries to do something similar, but it's just not very gripping.
The main philosophy is quite interesting, but has been discussed at length already in other media. The basic idea is that one should fulfill his or her own legend, by listening to the signs that come from Above and by becoming one with The Soul Of The World. 'The Alchemist' is really too short to go into this at length, which results in a rather vague philosophy. This is, of course, a remark one could make about most philosophical movements. The problem with 'The Alchemist' is that it's just presented in a rather stale manner. I'm sure this book would have been a lot more interesting ten to twenty years ago.
Which doesn't mean this book is absolute rubbish. It's really quite lovely (if you like moralising stories about how to live your life) and interesting (if you haven't ever considered the idea that all things might be connected). Perhaps this book serves best as a reminder. Of what, I'm not particularly sure, but I'm sure it has something to do with God and fatalism. Oh well. Onwards with my own Legend.