Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review: The Circle

The Circle, by Dave Eggers, is a cautionary tale about Mae Holland, a recent college graduate who lands her dream job at The Circle, a Googlesque technology company.  She begins her job at the bottom, in Customer Experience, and quickly rises through the ranks.  She reaches the pinnacle of her importance at the company when she volunteers to broadcast her life for all of her followers to witness, rate, and comment upon.

The Circle, is a tale about what happens when everything in a person's life becomes watchable, searchable, commentable, and we essentially volunteer to give up all privacy so that we can share everything with others.  Is is a worse case scenario of social networking run-amok, and taken to the worst extreme.

It is about a runaway company, that to the outsider seems like the greatest place to work, and live.  As long as you are not critical of the company.  Something fairly incriminating will be found on your hard drive if you even utter the world "monopoly."  And once you're part of The Circle, it is a constant struggle to be the one who shares the most, rates the most, and interacts the most.  You are encouraged to participate in company events, and any slight, intentional or unintentional, can turn into an incredible emotional overreaction by the slighted party.

I loved this book, and read the over 500 pages in just a few days.  It was easy rooting for Mae to figure out what was going on, and use her incredible influence among her followers to put a stop to it.  It also makes you think about how much time we spend in front of one screen or another in our lives, and that we should probably endeavor to spend less time interacting on line, and more in person.

The Circle, comes out in paperback on April 22nd.  We will have a few copies here if you want to check it out.  I loved it.

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