The Circle by Dave Eggers

There are two books that we are all supposed to finish before the holidays; The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and The Circle by Dave Eggers.  I finished them both.  I loved the Goldfinch.  I wrote about it.   I feel compelled to write about the Circle too because I keep referring to it.  

The Circle is set on the campus of the most powerful Internet companies.  We follow the main character Mae who has scored a job there.  She is beyond elated and so is her family.  Over time Mae begins to move up the ladder and we learn more about the products that are being developed and integrated in our world from the Circle. 

The story is captivating because the pace of the world that is lived through the Circle is not so far from the life many of us live today.  I remember reading Brave New World and 1984 as a kid thinking how out there the books were but with the Circle it isn't so out there.  The constant 24/7 communication happens today. 

In The Circle, Social media is mandatory as an employee.  You need to respond to every poke, every text, every email, every invitation, etc.  It is exhausting.  Soon transparency is everywhere.  Mae's life is being documented to the world as she watches her audience participation soar.  Small cameras are planted around the globe so we can see everything happening.  By sharing everything and having pure transparency the world can supposedly be the perfect utopia.  Quite frankly some of it seems compelling but most of it is scary.

We have been having many conversations these days around the need for more human touch, intimacy, talking and less texting and social media.  At one point we lose touch with our day to day lives.  That is what makes this book so relevant.  Eggers is exploring the speed at which technology is transforming our lives in a good way but also in perhaps a dangerous way too.  I believe that somethings are not meant to be shared.  Eggers obviously does too.

A worthy ready especially for anybody in the tech community. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. Susan Rubinsky

    Loved this book. Eggers nails how people are utilizing technology for self-alienation.

  2. Janet Hanson

    I listened to The Circle on audio book and found myself going for long rides in my car so I could find out what happened next. I thought the ending was brilliant! If you’re taking any long drives over the holidays, grab the audio book. The narrator is insanely good!

    1. Gotham Gal

      i have never done the audio book. i plan on doing that. i keep referring to the book. good tale of our times…kinda crazy.

  3. Erin Newkirk

    Yes, interesting convos for sure – made me sleepy though. All those screens and updates! Exhausting. 🙂 Also, didn’t think the writing was the best, but a worthy read. Surely will be a movie, right?

    1. Gotham Gal

      Surely a movie. Exhausting

  4. daryn

    Preparing for a long trip, will have to download this. My kids accidentally bought The Goldfinch on my kindle last week 🙂

  5. ShanaC

    I thought he could have argued his point so much more subtly. It would have made a better story. I felt as if he was banging a bad version of Discipline and Punish over my head. Similar argument, but foucault is much more subtle about the issue of living in a transparent society

    1. Gotham Gal

      this is no doubt this was no subtle

  6. Seth Gold

    Brave New World is my favorite book so I will definitely have to read The Circle