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The Circle [Paperback]

Dave Eggers
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 May 2014
When Mae 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. Run out of a sprawling California campus, the Circle links users' personal emails, social media, and finances with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of transparency. Mae can't believe her great fortune to work for them - 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 ...

Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (1 May 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0241970377
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241970379
  • Product Dimensions: 18.2 x 11 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 828,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dave Eggers is the author of six previous books, including "Zeitoun," a nonfiction account a Syrian-American immigrant and his extraordinary experience during Hurricane Katrina and "What Is the What," a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award. That book, about Valentino Achak Deng, a survivor of the civil war in southern Sudan, gave birth to the Valentino Achak Deng Foundation, run by Mr. Deng and dedicated to building secondary schools in southern Sudan. Eggers is the founder and editor of McSweeney's, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco that produces a quarterly journal, a monthly magazine ("The Believer"), and "Wholphin," a quarterly DVD of short films and documentaries. In 2002, with Nínive Calegari he co-founded 826 Valencia, a nonprofit writing and tutoring center for youth in the Mission District of San Francisco. Local communities have since opened sister 826 centers in Chicago, Los Angeles, Brooklyn, Ann Arbor, Seattle, and Boston. In 2004, Eggers taught at the University of California-Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, and there, with Dr. Lola Vollen, he co-founded Voice of Witness, a series of books using oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. A native of Chicago, Eggers graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in journalism. He now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children.

Product Description


A stunning work of terrifying plausability ... a worthy and entertaining read (Publisher's Weekly)

Eggers has set his style and pace to technothriller: the writing is brisk, spare and efficient ... it works (Time)

Prescient, important and enjoyable ... a deft modern synthesis of Swiftian wit with Orwellian prognostication' (Guardian)

The Circle is 'Brave New World' for our brave new world ... fast, witty and troubling (Washington Post)

An elegantly told, compulsively readable parable for the 21st Century (Vanity Fair)

Immensley readable and very timely (Metro)

A gripping and highly unsettling read (Sunday Times)

Unputdownable (Times)

Eggers's writing is so fluent, his ventriloquism of tech-world dialect so light, his denouement so enjoyably inevitable (Observer)

Tremendous novel ... inventive, big hearted and very funny. Prepare to be addicted (Daily Mail)

Compelling and deeply contemporary (L.A Times)

Eggers brilliantly depicts the Internet binges, torrents of information and endless loops of feedback that increasingly characterize modern life (Booklist)

About the Author

Dave Eggers is the founder and editor of McSweeney's, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco. He is the author of seven previous books, including A Hologram for the King (finalist for the National Book Award 2012), Zeitoun (winner of the American Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize) and What is the What, which was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award and won France's Prix Médicis.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Privacy is Theft' 21 Dec 2013
By Eleanor TOP 500 REVIEWER
It's strange posting a review for this particular book on Amazon. Here others can vote on whether your reviews are 'helpful' or 'unhelpful', every reviewer is ranked with a number, and anyone who enters the top ten becomes a 'Hall of Fame Reviewer'. Once you've written a review Amazon gives you the option of broadcasting the fact on Facebook or Twitter. Elsewhere there are forums on any number of topics and Amazon suggests items of interest based your own past purchases and browsing choices. All this reviewing and commentating takes place on a website whose primary purpose is to make you buy its products.

"The Circle" takes elements of this business model, borrowing also from those of Facebook, Google, and Twitter to create a dystopia (or utopia for some) in which big data is fetishized to the exclusion of all that makes life meaningful. We see the ambitions of the Circle, the company at the novel's centre, through the eyes of Mae, an ambitious new employee. Mae is a believably flawed character and the reader is drawn into her new world so gradually, that its increasingly totalitarian nature is chillingly plausible. The result is an absorbing and thoroughly enjoyable novel which has pertinent things to say about our increasingly connected world.

[I was given a free download of this book by the publishers for review.]
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Will The Circle Be Unbroken? 29 Oct 2013
By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The Circle is a book that will appeal to readers who like a novel to have a message. A message written in such unambiguous terms that even the most unobservant reader couldn't miss it. It will appeal to readers who like to be beaten around the head with the message until it hurts.

The Circle is an internet service provider that joins people's records together.

We follow new recruit, Mae Holland, as she starts work in the futuristic offices of The Circle, somewhere in the greater San Francisco area. The offices have every amenity an employee could want; free food, free drink, free clothes, free accommodation. There's really no reason to leave. And the emphasis is on community, on fun and participation. Being a Circler is not just a job, it is a way of life. In return for all the free stuff, Circlers are expected to "zing" every second thought that pops into their heads; to respond to surveys; to go to parties; and to join networks.

Mae finds herself drawn into the power centre of the organisation, piloting new technologies and "transparency". She feels fierce loyalty to the organisation, partly because she feels indebted to her personal friend Annie, one of the senior managers who got her the job, and partly because of the support that The Circle has offered to her in her personal life. But she also has to deal with the lack of enthusiasm of her parents and her former partner Mercer. And then there's the mysterious Kalden, a wraith like man who pops out of the office shadows to plant seeds of doubt into Mae's mind.

The Circle's objective is to remove all privacy, open all secrets. Secrets are lies. The goal is to record everything anyone does, from cradle to grave. Of course, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to be afraid of.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Realistic 21 Oct 2013
By Jonny
The Circle is one of the most intriguing books I've ever read. Set in the idealistic surroundings of Northern California, the Circle is a company like no other. Think Google meets Facebook meets Twitter. The book's main character, Mae Holland leaves behind a dead-end job in small town America, and finds herself a job at The Circle. What she encounters may as well be light years away from the life she once knew. Mae's life changes beyond recognition.

The description of The Circle's headquarters reminded me a lot of the Google HQ - an idealistic environment where the technology is state of the art, the buildings are beyond belief and the people are almost too friendly. This made the book feel very realistic.

This novel reminded me a lot of 1984. Through the promotion of its social networking tools, The Circle and its founders are on a campaign against all forms privacy. Although their methods seem innocent enough, you feel as though The Circle is on hell bent mission to rule the planet.

The book makes you question how much of your own information is on the Internet. It makes you think about who is watching you and why. It makes you think twice about what you post on Twitter, and the advertisements that show up on your Facebook page after you've purchased an item from Amazon.

The Circle has made me somewhat paranoid, but in a good way. It has also made me think about how technology has had an impact on the personal relationships I have with my family and friends. Although I believe social networks, emails and Skype are wonderful ways of connecting with your loved ones, I realise that the Earth is becoming a smaller and smaller place, and privacy is something Mankind needs to hold on to in this ever changing world.

Buy this book. You won't put it down!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frown 21 May 2014
A good idea very poorly delivered. As others have pointed out, the message of the book is blindingly obvious and the book could have been edited down to half the length. The scene with the ex-boyfriend on the bridge was laughable, and could have come from a B Movie. Pity, because the premise itself was good.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Over long and boring
The premise of the story is promising and rings true, but the remainder of the contents are completely unbelievable. not one single likeable character emerges. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Arbed Yelnag
4.0 out of 5 stars Not revolutionary, just circular
This is a very readable book despite it not being the best written book I've read.

The plot comes frighteningly close to my worst fears for our connected world. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Henry Minute
5.0 out of 5 stars Our Future Awaits....
One of the most remarkable things about Dave Eggers’ dystopian novel The Circle is that it hadn’t been written already. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Keith M
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 9 days ago by samuel burton
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book - thought provoking
Great book - thought provoking. Agree with other reviews saying that the characters feel a bit one-dimensional and the ending feels abrupt. Read more
Published 13 days ago by Audiophile
5.0 out of 5 stars Another exceptional novel from Dave Eggers
A more modern 1984 but a prequel. Frightening and thought provoking stabbing at social media. I look forward to his next book. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Fingers
2.0 out of 5 stars Missed opportunity -- how would Orwell or Huxley done this?
The Circle is a great idea poorly executed. The annoying invasiveness of the internet is captured by describing a descent into the hellishly obsessive world of the employees of its... Read more
Published 16 days ago by Tom Doyle
5.0 out of 5 stars buy it!!!!
This book is brilliant, very interesting, and when reading it you cant help but think that there is a darker world behind technology and social media, its quite scary really when... Read more
Published 17 days ago by Katie v
4.0 out of 5 stars -) and the author would spend an infinite amount of time wondering why...
Well written and readable, if I were Mae I'd say 8/10 and :-) :-) :-) :-) and the author would spend an infinite amount of time wondering why I hated him..... Read more
Published 19 days ago by K. Foster
5.0 out of 5 stars Too true for satire
I suppose this is a satire but this story of the internet invading every part of a person's life, relationships and thoughts seem creepily too true. Read more
Published 21 days ago by scrummymummy
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