Alchemist | Author | Mentor | Speaker | Adventurer | Grandfather


Colm Holland 

I have spent 25 years of my life in publishing and my great grandfather worked all his life at The Irish Times, so I guess it’s in the blood.

As a teenager, one of the most impactful books was Fahrenheit 451 and it filled me with horror that there could be a world with no books and ironically there are more books published now than at any other time in history – the question is which ones should we read! Thanks to Sandie’s efforts, her lists are a great place to start!

COLM HOLLAND spent twenty-five years working in sales and marketing in the publishing industry. He was a member of the Harper Collins team which published Paul Coelho’s The Alchemist in 1993. Colm teaches the art of spiritual alchemy in business and relationships. He is an experienced teacher and his interviews and articles are highly entertaining, full of humour and deep insights to help others find true empowerment through inner transformation. His latest book The Secret of The Alchemist is published August 1st 2020 and is already on Amazon’s bestseller lists.

My 10 Best

(In no order of suggested reading or importance)

The Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho


I was the Australian marketing director at HarperCollins in 1993 and was instrumental in predicting this fable would be a global bestseller. It has sold 85+ million copies in 70 languages and was on the NYT Bestseller list longer than any other living author. Paulo credited me with the book’s early success and the secret magic I discovered in it’s pages and the impact it has had on my life is the topic of my latest book: The Secret of The Alchemist. If I had to choose just one book to recommend – it would be The Alchemist because it resonates with most people’s souls like no other. Dreams come true through reading this book!

Reflections on the Art of Living
by Joseph Campbell


Joseph Campbell has been one of the single most influential thinkers in my life and this masterful anthology of his most important thoughts has rarely left my bedside since 1991. It came at a time in my life when I needed new mythological frameworks to help shape my personal spiritual journey and I have read and re-read the same insights into the workings of the human soul he so eloquently expresses from his deep fountain of study and personal truth. This book also covers his inside thoughts on The Hero’s Journey.

The Supreme Gift
by Paulo Coelho


This book is almost unknown by Paulo Coelho fans but it is probably one of the most important because it reveals what Paulo personally believes about the most important thing in life and the nature of what he considers to be the greatest force in the world. If you haven’t already guessed, it’s unconditional Love.

Owning Your Own Shadow
by Robert A. Johnson


One of the shortest, but most impactful books I have ever read. Johnson only passed recently at the great age of 97 and his legacy of books outlining his understanding of the Jungian principles of the human psyche are the best and easiest to access than any others. He wrote 14 short titles in total and they are all worth reading. This book explains simply and brilliantly the origins and solutions to owning the shadow self and how to transform your life in the process.

The Quantum Revelation
by Paul Levy


I am constantly drawn to read more and more about the mysteries of quantum physics and was looking for a book that eloquently unpacked the latest discoveries in a spiritual context – I am pleased so say this book does exactly that and I am most grateful to Paul Levy for writing a book that I was hoping I would not have to write myself. If you know nothing or something about the impact of the latest quantum theories, but want to know more, you will relish this deep dive into this mysterious scientific field.


The Road Less Travelled
by M. Scott. Peck


I hesitated about adding this book to my list because there are ideas in here that I know I have moved on from, but it was groundbreaking at a time when I needed some help in my journey toward greater self awareness. It’s a classic because it pinpoints the great truth that the path to true empowerment is certainly not the one most people choose. This book encouraged me to get on the lesser trodden harder way and I have never looked back.

Emotional Intelligence
by Daniel Goleman


I was drawn to this well-known classic when it was first released because I wanted validation for one of my personal theories that intelligence alone is not the secret to a successful life – and I pleased to say it did just that and more. I don’t agree with everything that he postulates, however I think this book contains an understanding of our behaviour where our emotions can trump our intelligence if we are unaware of their power.

Real Magic
by Wayne W. Dyer


All I have to say about this book is it needs to be read by everyone who wants to know the essence of the powerful and enigmatic man that was Wayne Dyer!

Contemplative Prayer
by Thomas Merton


The introduction to this book says it all: ‘Merton stresses that in meditation we should not look for a ‘method’ or ‘system’ but cultivate an ‘attitude’ or ‘outlook’: faith, openness, attention, reverence, expectation, trust, joy. God is found in the desert of surrender, in giving up any expectation of a particular message and ‘waiting on the Word of God in silence’. Merton insists on the humility of faith, which he argues ‘will do far more to launch us into the full current of historical reality than the pompous rationalisations of politicians who think they are somehow the directors and manipulators of history’. Amen to that!

Dark Night of the Soul
by Saint John of the Cross


Thomas Merton’s writings (See Contemplative Prayer) got me onto this timeless spiritual classic poem written by the 16th-century Spanish mystic and poet St. John of the Cross and it has been referenced by multiple famous literary writers, such as T.S. Elliot and F. Scott Fitzgerald in recent times. Why I personally chose to go into the Dark Night of The Soul as part of my life’s journey I have outlined in my book The Secret of The Alchemist. I would not have found wholeness and wellbeing without it – but it comes with a word of caution – if you decide to take that path I strongly recommend you get professional counselling help to guide you through it.