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The Circle (2013)

by Dave Eggers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Circle (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,0683891,714 (3.37)10 / 228
"The Circle is the exhilarating new novel from Dave Eggers, best-selling 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"--… (more)
  1. 100
    Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (sparemethecensor)
    sparemethecensor: The Circle could easily have ended with the line, "Mae loved Big Brother."
  2. 81
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Die totale Überwachung: einmal unfreiwillig, das andere Mal völlig freiwillig
  3. 21
    Mr Penumbra's 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (conceptDawg)
    conceptDawg: Similar content and themes
  4. 10
    Feed by M. T. Anderson (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: The insidiousness of the internet, corporations and being constantly online.
  5. 10
    The Language of the Third Reich: LTI -- Lingua Tertii Imperii: A Philologist's Notebook by Victor Klemperer (Jozefus)
    Jozefus: Voor de opmerkelijke overeenkomst tussen de kretologie van de IT-wereld en de retoriek van het Derde Rijk
  6. 10
    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot by David Shafer (BeckyJG)
  7. 00
    The Business by Iain Banks (djryan)
  8. 00
    Paradise City by Zoe Beck (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Spannende Romane, die in der nahen Zukunft spielen. Gesundheitsüberwachung ist in beiden wichtiges, aber nicht das einzige Thema.
  9. 00
    Blind Faith by Ben Elton (isabelx)
    isabelx: both are set in societies where privacy is becoming a thing of the past
  10. 11
    The Dinner by Herman Koch (akblanchard)
    akblanchard: Both of these are novels of ideas.
  11. 00
    NSA - Nationales Sicherheits-Amt: Roman by Andreas Eschbach (Florian_Brennstoff)
    Florian_Brennstoff: Dataism becoming Totalitarism and vice versa. The Circle adresses the totalitarian threat, rising from a corporation that openly promotes total transparency. NSA shows what happened when a totalitarian regime gets hold of the vital data of all the citizens.… (more)
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English (369)  Dutch (8)  German (6)  French (3)  Italian (3)  Swedish (1)  Croatian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (392)
Showing 1-5 of 369 (next | show all)
Did not finish - was just not interesting enough. ( )
  kathp | Jun 10, 2022 |
The notion of a singularity, as popularized by Ray Kurzweil, refers to an accelerating process of technologies building upon one another until we reach a point where we cannot humanly understand or control the outcome. This usually refers to an "explosion" of intelligence, facilitated by computers, that greatly surpasses what humans possess.

Dave Eggers' novel The Circle depicts a world, uncomfortably similar to our own, which rapidly, and with good intentions, is headed toward a singularity of knowledge that precludes, and even outlaws, privacy. This is a world where the tools for gathering and manipulating information become increasingly powerful, causing an "explosion" of control that threatens to eradicate the concept of the "individual."

The main character in this story, a young woman named Mae, is a new employee of a Silicon Valley company known as the Circle. The Circle is a company with a global reach whose pioneering vision is to improve society through the gleaning and analysis of information so everyone can make better decisions on anything from a personal level to an international level. Anyone who has visited some of the large companies in Silicon Valley will easily recognize in the Circle the excitement and energy that flows through a campus of idealistic young people working on the edge of technology in a lucrative industry, where the barriers between personal and professional life blur and disappear as all sorts of perks help feed the employees the emotional energy they need to pour into their work.

Mae had hardly begun her first day at work in the Circle when I realized where her future was headed. Employee indoctrination in the Circle mirrors that of a cult. Like any cult, you enter the cult by being sponsored. You are presented with grand visions of the future, rewarded for working to bring about that future, and threatened with ostracism or excommunication for failing to adhere to and promote the purpose of the cult. You are shepherded into the cult, gain recognition within the cult, and come to adopt the cult's values as your own. In the Circle, the personal need for privacy becomes subsumed by the greater good of sharing. "Sharing is Caring" and "Privacy is Theft" are recurring mantras.

Mae's weakness -- the tragic flaw of many who wind up in cults -- is a need for validation. Eggers suggests that the need for validation is the weakness of many who worship the consumption of information and social media. In the end we face the danger -- symbolized in The Circle by a shark -- of being consumed by both the information and social media we thought to consume. The Circle comes as a fable, a warning that the power that comes with tools for gleaning and analyzing information on a massive scale puts us on a slippery slope which -- if we're not careful -- could carry us, even with all the right motives, into a totalitarian future where an individual's needs are deemed insignificant compared to the needs of society.
( )
  MarkLacy | May 29, 2022 |
Book had great potential. Unfortunately it was wrapped up very quickly and unsatisfactorily ( )
  Sunandsand | Apr 30, 2022 |
Very well written and an interesting take on the topic. The criticism in this book is not very subtle at any point, but becomes more and more heavy handed with each new section. That's a bit unfortunate, because I felt the story had the biggest emotional impact when it was simply describing the environment and the reaction of Mae, exaggerating todays social networking to different degrees, and sometimes not at all. The 'teacher moments' in between were a bit ungainly. Still, good book! ( )
  Sue_Z | Mar 22, 2022 |
Very nice read. Of course it oversimplifies some matters, but I like the way the author shows how good intentions can lead to horrifying decisions. This is no 1984 or Brave New World, but still an interesting and necessary commentary on some matters of our time. ( )
  TomZil | Mar 5, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 369 (next | show all)
Van alle romans die ik dit jaar las, is De Cirkel van Dave Eggers het meest blijven na-ijlen. Niet omdat het literair het beste boek is, maar vanwege de verontrustende beelden die het oproept, beelden die na de laatste bladzijde niet langzaam wegebben, maar hinderlijk blijven doorspoken. De Cirkel is het 1984 van het internettijdperk genoemd, maar beschrijft een werkelijkheid die veel nabijer lijkt en daardoor dreigender voelt dan Orwells tijdloze boek.
added by sneuper | editde Volkskrant, Hans Bouman (Dec 18, 2013)
 
Even as satire, The Circle is disappointing as a novel: the plot is too easy, the prose simple, the characters flat and undistinguishable. Due to these same qualities, however, The Circle succeeds as commentary on the era of big data and transparency. The scary part is that the Silicon Valley of The Circle barely seems like a caricature. The easiest comparison of the Circle is to Google — whose Mountain View campus keeps its employees fed, fit, massaged, and, well, kept. The Circle’s mottos and mantras are the same buzzwords already posted on billboards and batted around in cafes and bars.
 
Some will call The Circle a “dystopia,” but there’s no sadistic slave-whipping tyranny on view in this imaginary America: indeed, much energy is expended on world betterment by its earnest denizens. Plagues are not raging, nor is the planet blowing up or even warming noticeably. Instead we are in the green and pleasant land of a satirical utopia for our times, where recycling and organics abound, people keep saying how much they like each another, and the brave new world of virtual sharing and caring breeds monsters.
 
Het onrecht dat in The Circle bestreden wordt, is de expansiedrift van Silicon Valley, zoveel is vanaf de eerste pagina duidelijk. En Eggers gebruikt daarvoor de meest absurde metaforen: drones uitgerust met camera’s die mensen zonder Circle-account achtervolgen en ‘ik wil gewoon vrienden worden’ scanderen, of een transparante haai die een heel aquarium leegeet. Het punt is gemaakt, Dave Eggers.
Toch verdient Eggers een like. Zijn versie van de wereld is bewust extreem: hoe het wordt als we allemaal zulke schapen worden als Mae Holland, die kritiekloos Silicon Valley achternalopen. Hij verzint een wereld die – veel maar net niet helemaal – op de onze lijkt, waarin mensen hun vrijheid inleveren, betoverd door quasifilosofische toespraken, moderne bedrijfsvoering en onbeperkt aandacht van een miljoenenpubliek. Eggers vraagt zich niet af welke wereld er is, maar welke kan komen. En zoals in The Circle heeft hij het duidelijk liever niet.
added by sneuper | editVN, Tim de Gier (Nov 5, 2013)
 
This potential dystopia should sound familiar. Books and tweets and blogs are already debating the issues Eggers raises: the tyranny of transparency, personhood defined as perpetual presence in social networks, our strange drive to display ourselves, the voracious information appetites of Google and Facebook, our lives under the constant surveillance of our own government.

“The Circle” adds little of substance to the debate. Eggers reframes the discussion as a fable, a tale meant to be instructive. His instructors include a Gang of 40, a Transparent Man, a shadowy figure who may be a hero or a villain, a Wise Man with a secret chamber and a smiling legion of true-believing company employees. The novel has the flavor of a comic book: light, entertaining, undemanding.
 

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Eggers, Daveprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baardman, GerdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Biekmann, LidwienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Graham, DionNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hische, JessicaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mantovani, VincenzoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mudde, BrendaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tukker, EllesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
There wasn't any limit, no boundary at all, to the future. And it would be so a man wouldn't have room to store his happiness.
John Steinbeck
East of Eden
Dedication
First words
My God, Mae thought. It's heaven.
Quotations
Overnight, all comment boards became civil, all posters held accountable. The trolls, who had more or less overtaken the internet, were driven back into the darkness.
Outside the walls of the Circle, all was noise and struggle, failure and filth. But here, all had been perfected. The best people had made the best systems and the best systems had reaped funds, unlimited funds, that made possible this, the best place to work. And it was natural that it was so, Mae thought. Who else but utopians could make utopia?
"We will become all-seeing, all-knowing." The audience was standing now. The applause thundered through the room. Mae rested her head on Annie's shoulder. "All that happens will be known," Annie whispered.
Having a matrix of preferences presented as your essence, the whole you? Maybe that was it. It was some kind of mirror, but it was incomplete, distorted.
"You're always looking at me through a hundred other people's eyes."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

"The Circle is the exhilarating new novel from Dave Eggers, best-selling 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"--

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