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The Circle Audiobook

The Circle

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Publisher's Summary

The Circle is the exhilarating new audiobook from Dave Eggers, bestselling author of A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award.

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.

©2013 Dave Eggers (P)2013 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

“Eggers's novel begins with an almost giddy tone, re-created perfectly by narrator Dion Graham. Pulling every tool from his kit, Graham describes the inner workings of the world's largest Internet company as it develops a new identity operating system that will allow even easier access by users across different platforms…But--as the listener hears in Graham's increasingly horrified tone--this Google-like utopia quickly becomes a dystopia when Mae realizes what the Circle really has in mind. Listeners will be reminded of Orwell's 1984." (AudioFile)

“A vivid, roaring dissent to the companies that have coaxed us to disgorge every thought and action onto the Web . . . Carries the potential to change how the world views its addicted, compliant thrall to all things digital. If you work in Silicon Valley, or just care about what goes on there, you need to pay attention.” (The Wall Street Journal)

“Page-turning. . . . The social message of the novel is clear, but Eggers expertly weaves it into an elegantly told, compulsively readable parable for the 21st century. . . . What may be the most haunting discovery about The Circle, however, is readers’ recognition that they share the same technology-driven mentality that brings the novel’s characters to the brink of dysfunction. We too want to know everything by watching, monitoring, commenting, and interacting, and the force of Eggers’s richly allusive prose lies in his ability to expose the potential hazards of that impulse.” (Vanity Fair)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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  •  
    Cheimon New York, NY USA 01-10-14
    Cheimon New York, NY USA 01-10-14 Member Since 2007
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    "Terrifying picture of Now."

    If you've ever taken a picture without immediately thinking about the caption you'll post it with, if you've ever taken a step back from Facebook and thought "haven't I seen this post before?", if you've ever decided not to tweet something wonderful that has happened to you - read this book. It's scary, but you'll also feel refreshingly understood and empowered.

    In literary terms, this is no 1984 or Brave New World. As a story, this is passable - the protagonist a bit annoying, her choices a bit predictable.

    BUT as a statement on social media, The Circle is as poignant as it is terrifying. There will be a lot of "OMG!" moments when you realize, this is not the future. This is a slightly exaggerated version of Now. At its core lies the creeping, painfully positive social pressure to give more and more of yourself to a system that, in the end, feeds on itself alone. It is obviously not quite where we are today - but it's close enough for this commentary to hit a nerve.

    Plus, it's incredibly well narrated. The story is told from a female narrator's perspective, but the voice of Dion Graham delivers beautifully. He captures the perfect nuances of naive, annoying, outrageous and vulnerable in this 20-something girl - not an easy feat.

    An important book to have read (and an excellent conversation starter).

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S Grams Ellicott City, MD 12-04-13
    S Grams Ellicott City, MD 12-04-13 Member Since 2011

    “Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings, so that you shall gain easily what others have labored hard for.” -Socrates

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    "Read this book if you use social media like me"
    What did you like best about this story?

    The Circle begins with good intentions that address major social problems like crime and political corruption but eventually leads to a dark place reminiscent of George Orwell's book 1984. You are left wondering which step toward complete transparency was the one too far?


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    No, but it did make me think hard. Most will notice the similarities to Orwell's "1984" but this book might be more disturbing because it's easy to imagine this plot happening today in the United States. 1984 on the other hand seems foreign and easier to dismiss because it could never happen in our country... could it?

    We know the path to hell is paved with good intentions, and the Circle will leave you wondering what direction we are headed.


    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dr. Flower 12-04-13
    Dr. Flower 12-04-13

    LJF

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    "Never closes the loop..."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Only for Facebook fanatics to tell them to back off...


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Make it go somewhere unexpected...this was really an extended short story...with a long lead up and went nowhere.


    What about Dion Graham’s performance did you like?

    Initially the voice gravitas reminded me of "In A World" which I had just seen and it was distracting but after awhile it didn't bug me.


    Did The Circle inspire you to do anything?

    Appreciate Dave Eggars early books more... when he had something to say.


    Any additional comments?

    I guess my expectations for Mr. Eggars was higher to approach the "societal dive into globalization of personal experience" with a new perspective. Social media will be around a while...he should have taken the time to flesh out a more complex or at least exciting story line.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura McNamara Edgewood, NM USA 11-15-13
    Laura McNamara Edgewood, NM USA 11-15-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Whoa!"

    It's a combination of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" with "1984" set in a sunny high-tech campus where everyone is happily contributing to the betterment of the world. Alternately hilarious and frightening, this is one of the best stories I've encountered this year. The performance is excellent; Dion Graham has the vocal talent to convey the complex personality changes that occur as each of Eggers' characters come to grips with the new reality of The Circle. I've been off Facebook since I finished this book and I can't bring myself to look at Twitter. In fact, as I write this, I'm realizing the irony of writing an online rave review for a satirical tale about the dark potential of our bright, shiny, hyperconnected society… Gotta go, time to live in the real world, bye!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    matthew 11-01-13
    matthew 11-01-13 Listener Since 2008

    I am an English teacher in China and can now read and write some Chinese.I have been to 13 countries on 4 continents.I am an avid audiophile

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    "Visit the near future and its possible implicatio"

    I had already listened to The Facebook Effect, Steve Jobs bio and Always On recently. This one really grabbed me, since it was billed as a modern day 1984. That it is. In the book there is a lot of talk about transparency and even the floors of this future empirical company, The Circle, are made of glass. The heroine, Mae, is a recent college graduate whose friend helps her get a job at the latest internet company that is kind of the future Facebook with its convergence of internet platforms. She is hooked up to a headset which speaks to her in her own voice;asking her opinions and preferences on various products. She need only to nod up and down or left and right to answer as she multi-tasked with her various Ipad like devices starting out in what they called customer experience. She soon moves up and becomes what they call clear. She wears a camera, known as a see change camera, and due to her extraordinary social ability gains a huge following. She has several love interest throughout the book and it all culminates in a viewing of a vast fish tank where a shark, an octopus and some sea horses are placed. I don't want to give away the ending, if that was what it was, but it made me want to go back and try to understand the symbolism the author had in mind. It was so chillingly close to our modern mobile society that I would love to find somewhere on the internet where we could discuss the impact this book could have on how we interact with the internet.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 10-24-13
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 10-24-13 Member Since 2017

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

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    "Interesting look at social media"

    In reading “The Circle” by Dave Eggers I feel as if I stepped into a modern day Orwellian novel. In this novel the Big Brother is a futuristic amalgam of a social media and search engine tech company instead of big government. The book is told in the first person by Mae Holland as she arrives for her first day of work at “The Circle.” She is a new college graduate sort of an eager beaver believing that the company is the greatest. As she works at the company, the company is growing into more and more areas such as placing camera’s all over the world. The company encourages politicians and their staffs wear a camera at all times (except in the bathroom and sleeping at night) Mae is asked to be the first person at the Circle to become transparent and wear a camera at all times. Everyone can watch Mae at all times work and play. As the story goes along more and more programs are developed that takes more and more privacy away from the individual. It is an interesting subject to think about and the story demonstrates issues in an interesting manner. I will not give the story away nor the ending you must read it to find out what happens. Dion Graham does a good job narrating the book. This is a dystopian science fiction novel.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah 10-13-13
    Sarah 10-13-13
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    "The Stepford Tech Company"
    Any additional comments?

    I enjoyed this book. Sure, it alternated between fairly clever and kind of dumb, but the story moved fast enough that I never felt bored or tempted to stop listening. As others have pointed out, it's a social networking variation on works like 1984 and The Stepford Wives. Except for a few sex scenes, it seemed very YA (not that that's a bad thing...). The narration is fantastic.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    PC 10-18-13
    PC 10-18-13
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    "A most insightful book, the "1984" of this century"
    What did you love best about The Circle?

    The insights into the purposes and harm being caused by the big internet companies (Google, Facebook, etc) are nothing short of profound and are very moving.

    The author's insights into how big companies work also remind me of the book "The Organization Man" from the 1950s, and his fiction-based warnings of where we're so rapidly heading are both shocking and very well-written.

    As someone who worked in R&D for a major multi-national company for his whole career, I found this books' insights to be very compelling and nearly overwhelming in both their accuracy and depth. Google is different from other companies, but not *that* different.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Mae Holland, the central character, is very convincing and illustrates how a big company can take a new employee and remake him/her in their own image. This process is similar in many respects to my own development working for my corporate employer - I retired a few years ago after a successful career.


    What does Dion Graham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The narration was very effective in developing a better understanding of the book's content, much more so than a traditional text-based book format.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    SECRETS ARE LIES

    SHARING IS CARING

    PRIVACY IS THEFT


    Any additional comments?

    I can't recommend this book highly enough - it is must reading for everyone in these rapidly changing times. But where do we go from here, and how would we get there? It may already be too late to change direction.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brock DONOSTIA-SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain 10-10-13
    Brock DONOSTIA-SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain 10-10-13 Member Since 2015

    So much to learn, and so little time to sit down and read. Thanks Audible.

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    "A fresh, past-paced story"

    As I listen to a lot of books, many of them begin to run together in my mind. I really enjoyed The Circle because it was a fresh, unique story. I know many people will compare it to Orwell's 1984, but to me there is a big difference. Orwell's book, published in 1949, described a futuristic setting 35 years down the road. In The Circle Eggers describes "futuristic" events that could happen very, very soon.

    Eggers writes a fast-paced story that really pulled me in. Unlike most crime novels, where I have a pretty good sense of how things are going to end up, I eagerly listened to see where the author was taking us. I give this book two thumbs up.

    13 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    keVin 01-07-17
    keVin 01-07-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Good book, familiar topic"

    Interesting book. Interesting protagonist. Unfortunately, it's not a new topic of discussion. Still a great story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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