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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking
This book has so much potential and I enjoyed reading it but it only half realises its ideas. There is a delicious irony that when you finish it you are guided to Twitter, Facebook and other websites. For those who don't know the book is a dystopia which explores the ramifications of our social media information obsession so it's a bit strange to be now conforming to The...
Published 4 months ago by sharona27

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great...
Captures some of the self-involved mania among the digital pathfinders quite well but marries that uneasily with a very 80's notion of corporate greed. Too many of the characters just don't act like real people (conveniently) and not all devs/ coders (ie. the majority of employees in any org like the circle) are rabid participators... The novel proposes a (relatively...
Published 4 months ago by C. Ferguson


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-provoking, 30 July 2014
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This review is from: The Circle (Kindle Edition)
This book has so much potential and I enjoyed reading it but it only half realises its ideas. There is a delicious irony that when you finish it you are guided to Twitter, Facebook and other websites. For those who don't know the book is a dystopia which explores the ramifications of our social media information obsession so it's a bit strange to be now conforming to The Circle by rating the book on Amazon.

Strengths: the book has a good idea as all good dystopia fiction should and it poses some important questions about what would happen to our notion of truth, privacy and community especially if one company owned Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter and every other social media site and app.

Weaknesses: the main character and the story. Mae is irritating. She's an anti-hero who is just too dumb. Also these stories require conflict - section 1 is all exposition much of which is repeated as if we didn't pick up the mantra about privacy and truth in the first conversation between the same two characters. Then, shockingly and I'll try to avoid spoilers, the most important moment of the book isn't there! Also Eggers just seems to get bored with characters like Annie and Mae's parents.

Had this been edited properly and developed it would have rightfully taken its place beside other great dystopias that have challenged the way we think about society and control. A thought-provoking novel that has certainly affected the way and how often I've used technology today alone.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly Realistic, 21 Oct 2013
This review is from: The Circle (Hardcover)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great..., 10 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Circle (Kindle Edition)
Captures some of the self-involved mania among the digital pathfinders quite well but marries that uneasily with a very 80's notion of corporate greed. Too many of the characters just don't act like real people (conveniently) and not all devs/ coders (ie. the majority of employees in any org like the circle) are rabid participators... The novel proposes a (relatively attractive) future where current friction in online dealings (caused by crude or clumsy payment, identity and personalisation tools) has been reduced dramatically for users but then resorts to extreme outliers of behaviour and events to make a case for this being "bad".

The logical conclusions the author draws the reader to (which I won't spoil) are not all that logical and, interestingly, the whole concept of pay and reward in The Circle is not in any way looked at. Perhaps because, if it were, some of the key characters would have to be rapidly elevated to levels of such wealth that they'd be able to transcend the daily issues that tie them to the company, leave and start their own thing... It's also not made clear how the visionary genius behind The Circle has been so successfully marginalised. It feels like the extreme events used by the author to illustrate the "out of control" nature of things could (would) have been prevented by his simply saying "no thanks" in a board meeting that happened six months before the book starts...

A fun read but ultimately a bit silly rather than a studied commentary on the pitfalls of transparency and openness when driven to extremes by corporate greed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Barely believable and there's not even a twirst at the end, 22 Sep 2014
By 
Caterkiller (Darlington, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Circle (Paperback)
The Circle starts off in an intriguing fashion but then, like an narcissistic Dot-com billionaire gradually loses the plot. Mae starts her role, as anyone would in a global corporation, keen, enthusiastic and trying to fit in to the corporate "family". From this beginning, with a few appropriately creepy touches, the story then accelerates in to a barely comprehensible parallel universe where everyone exists only on-line, huge global corporations control surveillance cameras everywhere and even control the electoral process. Mae just accepts this: we get no internal conflict, at least not in any depth, despite The Circle being involved in murder, extortion and probably tax-dodging too. Despite losing touch with her family and friends and being warned about the dangers to the future of humanity Mae just goes on pedalling the corporate line. Given the amount of uproar about the sharing of data by FB, Google and Twitter and the Snowdon/Wikileaks disclosures it seems bizarre that anyone would go from zero to zealot that quickly. To echo the vastly superior 1984 by the end Mae has learnt to love Big Brother.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A frighteningly possible view of the future, 12 May 2014
By 
M. Bevan (Dorset, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Circle (Kindle Edition)
Well-written and compelling. I couldn't stop reading. It's a nightmare vision of what might happen in our society if we pursue absolute transparency.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Will The Circle Be Unbroken?, 29 Oct 2013
By 
MisterHobgoblin (Melbourne) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Circle (Kindle Edition)
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. People would no longer do things they felt they should hide - an end to crime. And even the recording of the most intimate moments would lose their capacity to embarrass once everyone's intimate moments were captured and made available to everyone else (though observant readers will spot the gaping inconsistency in the plot as bathroom breaks are conveniently allowed to be taken in silence).

The message, of course, is that total transparency is not a good thing and that people need some personal space. But this is a message delivered through staged, set piece speeches and presentations in meetings and seminars. Some characters exist to be nothing more than mouthpieces for these arguments - but of course, the arguments for sharing are grotesque and the arguments against are unanswerable. There is no real prospect of allowing the reader to weigh up arguments and come to his or her own conclusion - the message is so obvious and driven home so relentlessly. The novel would have benefited from allowing shades of grey; from incorporating real moral dilemmas.

The Circle is not all dreadful. The "fantasy office" is created well although it has been done before (e.g. Iain Banks: The Business) and the sense of surveillance is compelling, although owing a debt to The Truman Show. There is a good illustration of "groupthink" at play. But the characterisation is thin and the plot is predictable. The ending - and any of various moments of revelation - feel like they have been telegraphed and floodlit far in advance. Dave Eggers can do better than this...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frown, 21 May 2014
By 
A. Robinson (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Circle (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Circle Strikes a Chord, 11 Aug 2014
This review is from: The Circle (Kindle Edition)
The Circle has been described as a prescient commentary on the internet age, but many of the both interesting and disturbing ideas examined by Dave Eggers in his novel may already be with us.
We enter The Circle, a cutting edge social media company based in California through the eyes of Mae Holland, a twenty something from small town America. From her initially minor role, Mae is imbued into the all embracing ethos of the company which exerts a sect like hold over the campus. She proceeds to zing her way through the ranks of the company. A zing being The Circle's method of instant communication of one's feelings about everything, with maximum engagement encouraged at all times. Such is her assimilation that she becomes a living example of the ideal circler. Seechange, a concept which uses lollipop sized cameras to allow it users to see everything always is taken a step further by Mae allowing her entire life to viewed on a day to day basis. She also proposes TruYou, one button for the rest of your life online, which again is taken further as a means of enforcing voting in elections.
As many of the reviewers have mentioned there are weaker elements in the book such as the absurd scene involving Mae's ex-boyfriend, Mercer and the denouement concerning Mae's mysterious lover, Kalden which was somewhat anticlimactic. However, the real strength of the book is in highlighting the way corporations and even governments want access to all of our lives. They need to know our inner feelings, as The Circle's tagline proclaims, privacy is theft. Luckily for them the allure of their products aligned with the addictive nature of their users allows them to achieve this. The Circle is a riveting and though provoking read and will certainly strike a chord with those wary of the manipulation of our lives.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The prequel of Orwell's 1984, 2 April 2014
By 
Denis Vukosav - See all my reviews
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"The Circle" by Dave Eggers is an exciting story that in many ways brings the memories of the cult novel "1984" by George Orwell.

The book's main character is young woman Mae who finished college and plan to start her career. With the help of her friend, she will start working at the company named "The Circle" that provides everything anyone can need for a comfortable and relaxed work.

Although she cannot believe how fortunate she was to start working there, she will quickly realize that the success on her work position is associated with activities that are anything but voluntary, like attending events and sharing everything with the Circle community, about each and every minute of her life, or just like company motto is saying: "Sharing is Caring".

Slowly she began to be obsessed with her job that leads to conflicts with her family and friends who can no longer recognize her.
And when "The Circle" will release some new programs in order to find out every detail of everyone's life, little by little it becomes clear that the company's objectives are far different and more serious than what can be seen on the surface...

"The Circle" is a book with a bit predictable plot but still it will keep you to turn the pages until its end that is probably the weakest (at least for me) or the best part of the book. But this is a matter of taste and I don't want you to spoil the thrill of reading by disclosing any details.

Nevertheless, it's exciting, fun to read although somehow creepy due to above-mentioned similarity to some other actual companies and their products. Similarity that can lead human society to the world of total transparency, where people don't have any secrets, but don't have any life and privacy either. The world of Orwell's "1984" that makes this book in some way the prequel of what Orwell wrote.

Therefore, this is the book you will remember for some time, not so much for its literary value as much because a lot of things described inside are similar to the events that are happening or might happen around us.

Due to that, I recommend you to read this book, and of course to share your opinion afterwards, just like I did, because by sharing you will show you are caring...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars fascinating subject...less than gripping story, 21 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Circle (Kindle Edition)
There's no doubt that this is a fascinating book and, in my experience, quite unique. There can be few adults in the developed world who won't draw a parallel with the Circle and a company or companies in the world today. And as a warning to us all, this book does a remarkably good job. The totalitarian future that the book slowly creates is, given the pace of technology, not tremendously far fetched. However, as a STORY, this just didn't grab me. I thought, time and time again, that finally things were going to get interesting...but this just did not happen. It felt as if the author became so transfixed with creating and describing the terrifying future ahead of us, that the story itself was left far behind.
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The Circle by Dave Eggers
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