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
“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)
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.
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.
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.
SECRETS ARE LIES
SHARING IS CARING
PRIVACY IS THEFT
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.
As good as it gets. Eggers is witty and insightful. If you have children, it will make you want to take them camping or take them someplace away from technology. Is the world he describes possible - absolutely. This is not scifi, just look around. Are you reading this on your phone? I want to send this book to my children's English teacher.
The narration is exceptional. The reader speeds up at times, giving you the frenetic, overwhelming sense that the main character feels, that you feel.
A well-written book which provides a window into a possible future of the world, one that most people would not choose to inhabit.
I am a parent that likes to know what my kids are reading!! Simply don't have the time to read and have a 2 hour commute everyday.
I love when a writer thinks totally outside the box. Good story, likable characters. The end left some questions. Thanks
I'd recommend "The Circle" b/c it's a good, timely listen and it's an engrossing story. Especially in Silicon Valley, where I live, it has great relevance. The parallels to Google and Facebook are worth considering. Every time I open the newspaper and read a story about yet another new innovation on the Google or Facebook campuses, I realize just how prescient this novel was. (And yes, I still read the paper version of "the paper." So indeed, I do "open the newspaper.")
Books, especially audiobooks, are my escape during my commute to and from work.
The thing I love best about The Circle is how it presents a possible future of social media that is both believable and scary.
I liked how the story showed the evolution of the main character, Mae Holland, evolved from being hesitant about social media to being completely enveloped by it. That said there were some moments where the story felt predicable.
Mae Holland, the performer (Dion Graham) did an excellent job of conveying the emotions of the main character.
Privacy is theft
Professional Game Designer | Professor | Creative | I alternate between reading for knowledge and pleasure.
The idea that a massive cult-like technology corporation could sustain itself by perpetuating a set of self serving values is not exactly an outlandish work of fiction.
This book presents a good series of points to ponder about how we use technology and social media to share and live our private lives. Where does the line get drawn between authenticity, disclosure, privacy and publicity. How can the double edged blade of rapidly advancing technology cut off our values and most human moments before we can stop it. I'm no Luddite, quite the contrary- and this story does a good job of making me question my affinity for new and online tech and services. Where does it all lead? Complete the Circle?
This book offers a most enlightening perspective into a least one possible future of our Connected World of the present. There is no Utopia without a dystopia…
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