The Circle

The Circle

by Dave Eggers
3.7 126

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Overview

The Circle by Dave Eggers

Now a Major Motion Picture starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks. A bestselling dystopian novel that tackles surveillance, privacy and the frightening intrusions of technology in our lives.

When Mae Holland is hired to work for the Circle, the world’s most powerful internet company, she feels she’s been given the opportunity of a lifetime. The Circle, run out of a sprawling California campus, links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. As Mae tours the open-plan office spaces, the towering glass dining facilities, the cozy dorms for those who spend nights at work, she is thrilled with the company’s modernity and activity. There are parties that last through the night, there are famous musicians playing on the lawn, there are athletic activities and clubs and brunches, and even an aquarium of rare fish retrieved from the Marianas Trench by the CEO. Mae can’t believe her luck, her great fortune to work for the most influential company in the world—even as life beyond the campus grows distant, even as a strange encounter with a colleague leaves her shaken, even as her role at the Circle becomes increasingly public. What begins as the captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385351409
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/08/2013
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 504
Sales rank: 2,121
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Dave Eggers grew up near Chicago and graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is the founder of McSweeney’s, an independent publishing house in San Francisco that produces books, a quarterly journal of new writing (McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern), and a monthly magazine, The Believer. McSweeney’s publishes Voice of Witness, a nonprofit book series that uses oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. In 2002, he cofounded 826 Valencia, a nonprofit youth writing and tutoring center in San Francisco’s Mission District. Sister centers have since opened in seven other American cities under the umbrella of 826 National, and like-minded centers have opened in Dublin, London, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Birmingham, Alabama, among other locations. His work has been nominated for the National Book Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and has won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, France’s Prix Médicis, Germany’s Albatross Prize, the National Magazine Award, and the American Book Award. Eggers lives in Northern California with his family.

Customer Reviews

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The Circle 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 126 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
With all the discussions on privacy today, this book makes you squirm. It would be easy to dismiss the complications presented in the disguise of the story line but you would be doing a disservice to the intent of the novel. Every self rightous person thinks they understand privacy but it is too easy to ignore the complications. Mr.Eggers does not let you glibbly profess to be serious about the meaning of privacy. He keeps throwing fast balls directly at your biases, hitting you often as you scream foul. In fact, one should probably review Kant's discussions and definations of privacy pertaining to people and things. So if you read a review of this book which harps on shallowness of characters, remember the author knows what he is doing, it is a sophticated writing device. I give this book 5 stars because it makes you think , rethink, reposition, and review your view of privacy. A must read, but it is not a book you will walk away from saying you love it. rather you will admit we need it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Think George Orwell too frumpy or old? Then read this current and hip look at one possible reality. Excellent read that will challange you to carefully think about technology, the ethics around technology, and why- when we have so much evidence to the contrary - humans believe they can be God. Excellent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the concept of this book: technology is wonderful... up to a point. But the execution is ham-fisted at best. Everything is on the nose and predictable while at the same time, nothing is truly fleshed out enough to feel like a good story. We don't really get to know most of the characters and in many instances pivotal moments are skipped over only to be recounted in the past tense. Show don't tell, Mr. Eggers. I really expected more from this book. Again, very interesting concept, definitely thought-provoking. But ultimately disappointing as a novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book made me shiver in my skin. I fear this is where we are headed in our society and unfortunately I think many would like this life. A bit overdetailed in writing style, but overall painted a terrifying and accurate picture of a possible life 10-20 years down the road.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book tedious but I was still impressed with the technological concepts. All I can say is God help us if any part of this comes to fruition. The characters for the most part were poorly developed depriving you of really getting into the feel of the book.. Even the main character, Mae, was poorly developed preventing you from having any feelings or care about the character. The character of Annie, was just totally null and void, one dimensional.. The book rambled on page after page until you got to the point that if they added one more screen to Mae's desk you wanted to throw the book against the wall. For me its was a complete waste of my time. And yours too!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very engaging with realistic characters. It reminded me of Ayn Rand and Aldous Huxley in its story . Eggers was able to apply the concept of Atlas Shrugged and Brave New world to the modern social media age and explore what it might evolve into were it to happen today with the technology available.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Eggers take on both tech as a whole and social media specifically is brilliant in this novel. While some of it becomes far fetched it is never so much so that you can't see a least a percentage chance of this future becoming a reality. There are a few plot holes (alright, one gaping one) but they pale in comparison to the brilliant social commentary that shines through.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you want to get an idea of what sites like Google and Facebook could _really_ do if they tried, this is the book to read. Eggers does a good job pointing out the dangers in carrying too far the Google philosophy of transparency (e.g. the "must use real name" aspect of Google+).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book makes you think about just where all the social media stuff today will eventually lead us. Kind of scary! Enjoyed reading it though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A rare gem. Dave Eggers manages to spin a cautionary tale of technological dystopia and yet make it engagingly charming and even funny. And like all great parables set in the future, he is really commenting on the word today. And it will make you think twice about that next social media post you make.
Anonymous 2 days ago
Makes me glad I left Facebook a few years ago. Wish Mae had been less stupid, but it is probably more accurate than her having a sudden epiphany. Good book. Timely. Scary stuff.
Anonymous 16 days ago
Although The Circle by Dave Eggers initially appears utopian, readers will notice a strong dystopian aftertaste once they complete the novel. The anti-utopian novel begins by introducing the protagonist, Mae Holland, who feels unfulfilled in her current occupation. This feeling of untapped potential spurs her to obtain a job at an Apple-esque company known as the Circle. The Circle has four mottos “ALL THAT HAPPENS MUST BE KNOWN,” “SHARING IS CARING,” “PRIVACY IS THEFT,” and “SECRETS ARE LIES.” These slogans reflect the Circle’s invasive beliefs when it comes to ideas such as privacy and secrecy. Later on and throughout the novel a mysterious figure, known as Kalden, begins to lurk around Mae. He voices his concerns regarding the Circle’s boundaries, or lack thereof, to which Mae ignores. One significant theme throughout The Circle is transparency. Transparency is seen both physically and metaphorically. Many of the offices and buildings on campus are completely made of glass. There’s also a concept the Circle adopts with its employees called “going transparent.” When Mae’s natural impulses clash with the Circle’s expectations of her, the Circle sends fellow Circlers for a social media intervention in which they encourage her to engage the Circle community through social media. Eggers critiques how society has centralized social media to the point of obsession. Alistair Knight exemplifies this obsession when he gets completely offended when Mae doesn’t reply to his Portugal brunch. Another example of this obsession is when Annie messages Mae and completely freaks out when she doesn’t immediately respond to her messages. Although transparency is central to the Circle, Mae takes pleasure in separating herself from the Circle's buzz by kayaking and appreciating the surrounding nature. In addition to transparency and social media, Eggers critiques the notion of perfectibility. The Circle strives for perfection and the perfectibility of everything. Humans, technology, government, etc. are all perfectible in the Circle's mind, but in gaining perfection the society forfeits its freedom and privacy. Eggers asks the question: How much are people willing to give up in exchange for security? In many of the technological aspects of the novel a moral/ethical dilemma is broken or overlooked. SeeYou was proposed to the Circle as a technology that would immediately spot out any and all convicted criminals. Although this technology seems beneficial, the pitch takes a darker turn when someone suggests chipping the criminals. I can see how this technology can be helpful, but I can also see how quickly it could be weaponized. Also the act of chipping humans feels a bit dehumanizing to me. Lastly, I think it is important to mention that, similar to Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, those in power at the Circle do not have malicious intentions behind their decisions. Despite the occasional slow pacing plot, I truly enjoyed this novel. It made me reflect on how I use and think about my own social media. Sometimes I have even caught myself falling into unhealthy miniature psychotic mental rampages regarding comments and likes on my Instagram and Facebook. Overall, I believe Eggers tells his readers to beware “perfection,” form meaningful relationships over superficial ones, engage directly through human to human interactions, and live a cognizant life to avoid mob mentality.
juicedbooks 3 months ago
Maybe I've been watching too much Black Mirror lately, or maybe I'm just embarrassed by the fact that I sometimes use Facebook as my only news source, but The Circle really spoke to me. You may have heard about this book because Emma Watson stars in the movie adaptation that hit theaters in late April. The trailer makes it look like just another dystopian book to be lumped in with series like Divergent, but I assure that it's much more. Mae Holland, the protagonist, is a young college grad who begins working at The Circle, a powerful tech company that is eerily similar to Google and Facebook with a rolling campus, young people, and innovation at every turn. As Mae moves up the company ladder, she is asked to work on a project that will challenge her very values. Mae must decide if she is loyal to herself or to society, if privacy supersedes public knowledge, and if our humanity is threatened when we outsource our lives to the cloud. As Mae grapples with these choices, you'll notice subtle parallels to your own life. For a moment after finishing a chapter, I looked at my phone in shock, noting with horror that like Mae, I was obsessively checking the the likes that I had gotten on a photo. Mae's story grew much more outlandish, but sadly, it didn't seem all too far-fetched. This book is a must-read for any millennial who can't help but panic when they don't feel their phone in their pocket. It's been a week since I finished it, and I'm still a bit nervous when I think about how much I share online.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Thought-provoking. Scary. Definitely a read for the watchers...and those who feel they are being watched.
Anonymous 5 months ago
Fantastic polemic between pro and con of connected society and a potential future of it.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Truly scary,very thought provoking, could it really Happen? Scary!
Anonymous 10 months ago
A gripping, frightening read, made all the more frightening because the reader knows that it really could happen.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous 11 months ago
Pretty good book, but I didn't like the ending.
Anonymous 12 months ago
Left me feeling like something was left out or missing. Not as good as I anticipated.
Anonymous 12 months ago
Dumbest, most tedious read ever. A nightmare of millenial minutia. And they made a movie from this crap.? This would be boring even as a very short story.
Anonymous 12 months ago
Amazing look at some of the terrifying possibilities of the information age.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was hard to get into this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is thrilling in that nothing in it or terribly impossible, and is a good cautionary tale for the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book because I've been leading technological initiatives for nearly thirty years and thought that any story which ultimately became a cinematic vehicle for Tom Hanks had to be good. I was wrong. Eggers gets points for taking on a genuinely serious topic. The explosion of social media has triggered serious incursions into individual privacy and, as a threat to generally accepted social mores and ethics, needs to be discussed in a very serious manner. Unfortunately Eggers doesn't understand the technology that he's describing and so it - and by extension the characters who support it - wind up being caricatures, utterly unrelatable. It would have made for a better story if Eggers had taken the time, done the research, and portrayed the technology in a more realistic and truthful light. The first rule of creative writing is "write what you know" and in this case the author not only broke that rule, he tore it up and burned the pieces.