How to Do What I Want

As soon as he dies, Juan found himself in a very beautiful place surrounded by all the comforts and beauty he had ever dreamed of. Someone dressed in white came up to him:

You are entitled to whatever you wish: any food, pleasure, entertainment, he said.

Enchanted, Juan did everything he had dreamed of during his life. After many years filled with pleasure, he sought out the person in white:

I’ve already tried everything I wished for. Now I need a job so that I can feel useful.

I’m so sorry, said the person in white. But that is the only thing that I cannot manage for you; there is no work here.

How terrible! said Juan in irritation. I shall spend eternity dying of tedium! I’d prefer a thousand times to be in hell!

The creature in white came over to him and said in a low voice:

And where do you think you are?

Paulo Coelho is a Brazilian author who has sold more than 100 million books, which include 14 short story collections and the novel “The Alchemist.” He has been a fan of the Internet since the early 1990s. He spends at least three hours a day online, writing e-mails back and forth with his readers and posting photos on Flickr, MySpace and a blog.

Coelho’s online activities also include promoting pirated copies of his own books. Since 2005 he’s been directing his readers to an online site where they can download his books, in languages from German to Japanese, for free. “I always thought that when, at the beginning of your career, you strive to be read, you can’t change your mind later and become greedy about it.”

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