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The Circle

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  47,935 ratings  ·  7,785 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, First edition, 508 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Knopf (first published 2013)
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Bas Korpershoek I'd say it was about the beauty of not being connected with the internet; the beauty of being connected with nature. Mae found she could be herself,…moreI'd say it was about the beauty of not being connected with the internet; the beauty of being connected with nature. Mae found she could be herself, relax, and enjoy herself while she was at the water; the tear was also absent there. The water passages are written to show the beauty of nature, and I also found my antipathy for Mae disappeared when reading those passages: she became human again.

Maybe that's why the champagne was hidden by the water also; a Romantic symbol that the true beauty is in nature.

Then again, who am I... These are just my observations!(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Brad
A 491 page soap box. Here's what's wrong with it, in no particular order:

(1) Not offering anything new to the conversation. I imagine I will not be the only fan of dystopian literature who will be bored and feel this is retreading old territory already covered in books written long before the age of the internet. As a human being living in a first world country, the comparisons one can draw between real-life companies and the Circle are second nature: Facebook's ever-changing privacy policies, t
...more
MJ Nicholls
Liking this review will send a zing direct to Dave Eggers, who will enter the names of all those who liked at once into the McSweeney’s Assimilation Programme (MAP), an underground writing movement devoted to the extinction of all non-clear-cut, accessible, socially conscious, lyrical and harmlessly amusing prose. Eggers will also have access to your Facebook profiles and email addresses, and will friend you as JONAS BENZINE, a plucky Mexican stripper interested in your wit and bank account. Jus ...more
Stephanie Sun
A Review of Dave Eggers' The Circle by Google

Transparency is...


Surveillance is...


Society is...


Kayaking is...


Cults are...


Everything in moderation, including...


Cynicism is...


Can I...


On a more serious note, yes, this is The Fountainhead for Big Data. If Sonny Mehta had called up Dave Eggers and offered him 100,000 shares of Facebook to write a The Fountainhead for Big Data it couldn't have turned out much differently from this book. The Circle is as manipulative, intellectually bankrupt, and cardbo
...more
Jaclyn Day
I really wanted to like this.

The idea of a dystopian novel centered around the perils of the Internet (or the company/companies that control it) is a really appealing and relevant theme. There are parts of the book—the main character’s addiction to crowd-sourcing or sharing minute details about what’s happening around her—that absolutely feel like 50 Shades of Creepy.

The big problem with The Circle is that the main character is completely flat. I didn’t understand her, her connections with oth
...more
Julie Ehlers
Not long ago, one of the founders of Goodreads posted this on the site's blog:
Picture it: You're curled up on the couch, lost in a fantastic story on your new Kindle Paperwhite, when you come across the most amazing passage. It sends shivers down your spine... or it makes you laugh... or it captures something important to you. And you can't wait to see if your friends feel the same way. Now there's no need to put down your new Kindle Paperwhite to jump on Goodreads and share it with your friends
...more
brian
as zeitgeisty as they come and just as flawed. eggers' prose is a bit too ordinary, his characters seem just smart or clueless enough to conform to plot machinations, and the masses appear as neo-marxist caricatures of 'the masses' with only a select few white-hat-wearing good guys able to catch a glimpse outside the ol' cave. the riches contained within (and they are aplenty) deserve a more thorough and complete treatment. the circle probably deserves 3.5, but i round up as this is just an incr ...more
Benjamin
Realistically, The Circle probably deserves just four out of five stars - the writing is simple and the characters don't have much depth. In any other book, shortcomings like these would definitely play a much bigger role in the rating. But despite these issues, for me The Circle was an extremely exciting and interesting story to read.

There's been plenty of conversation and scrutinizing of Dave Eggers and his approach to the story. Plenty has been said about how he neglected to do any research a
...more
Mohamed
Once upon a time, we used to think about the future and the many wonderful things we would be able to do online, and we used to say 'one day we'll be able to do this.' and now we live in a time period where the mentality's changed from 'one day we'll do it' to 'now we can do it, and we should.' And we mostly do that without pausing to wonder what the repercussions may be. The Circle explores this idea with stomach-churning gusto.

The Circle is a disturbing book, not only because of the troubling
...more
Ron Charles
Dave Eggers is having a Klout moment: He’s just published a dystopian satire about social media called “The Circle.” On Sunday, the New York Times Magazine touted an excerpt on its cover. The blogosphere has lit up like the aurora borealis.

At 500 pages, this relentless broadside against the corrosive effects of the connected life is as subtle as a sponsored tweet. Make no mistake: Eggers has seen the Facebook effect, and he does not “like” it. His parable of technological madness reads like a Bu
...more
Ron S
A deft and timely novel that reads like modern day Orwell, to make Christopher Hitchens or Walker Percy proud. Eggers tells the story of Mae, newly employed by the Circle, a tech monopoly that seems to neatly encapsulate Google, Microsoft, Linked In, Facebook and Scientology all in one. While the ending seemed anti-climactic and rushed, this is a near perfect mirror held up to, and satire of, our current social media and digital obsessions, monopolies like Amazon and Apple and our willingness to ...more
Fred Fenimore
Basically a campfire tale for introverts.

A great setup in the first couple of dozen chapters then nothing really happens until the end of the book. Straw men are setup, then methodically sliced back into straw. Lectures are delivered, lessons are learned or not depending on what point was being made in the most recent or next upcoming lecture. Sort of like Ayn Rand writes a Michael Crichton type thriller but without any action or plot.

One time I heard art described as something that causes a rea
...more
Bonnie
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
I received this book free from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

In the world introduced in ‘The Circle’, individuals become completely transparent and are stripped of their anonymity even when performing menial tasks. Mae Holland has just secured a position with The Circle thanks to her friend Annie, a high-ranking employee at The Circle. Mae’s involvement in the company slowly begins ove
...more
Dee
Unfortunately, despite an intriguing premise and my high hopes, I feel obliged to give THE CIRCLE more frowns than smiles. In Mae's extreme/bizarre opinion, my "dislike" may as well equate to murder, or hatred at least. Really it's just disappointment.

"Smiles":

--The ending. Mae (view spoiler) was the perfect outcome. Any sort of (view spoiler) would have lost the book entirely to lameness.

--The exploration of an interes
...more
Liane
The Circle, a commentary on transparency and a person's "online life" vs. "real life", follows the most naive college graduate in history as she effortlessly navigates herself from a bottom-rung customer service position at the world's leading "technology company" into its inner, ahem, circle, in what seems like just a few weeks. Mae is yet another faceless main character in a book that serves to allow the reader to insert his- or herself into the narrative, a current trend which unsurprisingly ...more
Snotchocheez


I'd be the first to admit that Dave Eggers' writing can be quite facile (The Circle is certainly evidence of that), but love him or hate him, he sure can tell a story. His long (500 page) yet breezy reimagination of a Google-esque company controlling every aspect of our lives provided probably the most fun I had reading fiction this year (2013).

Watch as protagonist Mae gets hired at "The Circle", quickly works her way up the ranks, and loses her mind trying to amass as many "smiles" and 100s as
...more
Rose Symotiuk
Having read the reviews by critics stumbling over each other to praise how "edgy" and "prophetic" this book was, I borrowed it from the library (if I'd paid the ridiculous $17 for this book, I probably would have sat down and cried).

The only thing good about this book is David Eggers writing ability. He's clearly an extremely skilled writer and it's a credit to him that I managed to finish this to the end. He could write about going to the bank and make it readable and interesting (and would pro
...more
Jonathan
I would characterize the Circle as a modern re-telling of 1984, set within the context of a tech company in the present day. The picture he paints is every bit as harrowing as Orwell's, and the ever-present surveillance his book poses is no less menacing than Big Brother. In fact, there may be slightly less hyperbole in Eggers' tale than Orwell's, which for me made it all the more scary.

There is something patently ironic about reviewing such a book in an online social forum, for it is just such
...more
Gail Strickland
I read King, Koontz, and a dozen other authors; scary works. This one creeped me out. I suggest we all turn off our IPhones, tablets, computers, TV, and any other digital devise you have and go outside and play.
Otis Chandler
The Circle is a new bay area company, but is really Google+Facebook. It dominates search and social media, has a huge sprawling campus in the south bay, and is full of intelligent, ambitious young employees. This story is I think a take on where the connected nature of the internet might be taking us. It's essentially a discussion about privacy vs openness, and I think a serious 1984-esque warning about being too open.

I thought a lot of the book was kind of shallow and unrealistic. The character
...more
Krok Zero
I'm torn between rolling my eyes at Eggers' inflated paranoia and nodding my head at his thorough diagnosis of digital trends.

It should probably be accepted upfront that as a literary work The Circle is basically worthless. Protagonist Mae rarely behaves like a recognizable human being, let alone an interesting one; the prose, dialogue, and symbolism (a shark!) rarely rise above YA level; and in case you aren't able to draw your own conclusions about the implications of social media run absurdly
...more
Hadrian


PRIVACY IS THEFT

Now here is a fascinating piece of social commentary. Eggers is not solely a writer here, but a preacher or a prophet of doom.

The short course of the novel is that a technology conglomerate, Circle, has connected all social interaction, and possibly all human activity, to the Internet. not just as a means of social interaction, but instead of total social control. Our protagonist, Mae, is first enchanted by the lures of a pleasant and aggressively accommodating job offer, but bec
...more
Lee
Transparent prose in part about the hazards and hallelujahs of political and personal transparency. Often felt like a dramatized series of techie Ted Talks. Loved how the dystopian/utopian complexities effortlessly unraveled. Ideas for new programs engaged me and provided profluence for characters animated by the Circle's progression toward completion, although all characters seemed more animated than "real" -- more like profiles than 3D people, which is fine since this isn't really character-dr ...more
Ryan Smith
There's a lot being said about Dave Eggers' latest novel, including a fair amount of criticism about it's flawed posturing as a kind of parable meant to terrify and jostle the reader out of social media complacency -- essentially, that is, an Orwellian caution story for the time of millenials, Big Brother taking selfies.

Much of the criticism seems justified to me; as a story The Circle hits a few flat notes, with almost cartoonishly one-dimensional characters that too often show their hand as b
...more
Amantha
Imagine a character named Mark Holland. He's easily manipulated, does anything anyone tells him, is constantly worried how others see him, constantly thinks he's going to be fired even though he meets the company's expectations, and when he gets 97% approval rating he becomes convinced that the 3% expressing disapproval obviously want him dead and are plotting to murder him. He listens to people spout off distorted, uncomfortable bullshit, takes it all in, and says with wide-eyed wonder "You are ...more
Darwin8u
(***1/2) A solid, just not great social network dystopia. Imagine FB::Google::Amazon take over the world. There is nowhere left to hide. No secrets. No privacy. No down time. In fact, "SECRETS ARE LIES, SHARING IS CARING, PRIVACY IS THEFT." While it is interesting, and does seem to mimic some of the warnings of Brave New World, 1984, Neuromancer and even elements of Ghostwritten. In the end, it just isn't Eggers' best work. It is at once more superficial, more clean, more predictable than I woul ...more
Anne Kelly
Oh dear. I'm a big fan of Eggers' [Zeitoun] and enjoyed [A Hologram for the King] -- but this novel fails.
Unbelievably naive Mae, in her mid-20s, signs on with the most wonderful company existing and buys every one of the demands and perks of her employment. The goal of The Circle is to make everyone on the planet "transparent" -- because why would you do anything that you have to hide? Anything that's hidden, secret, must be bad, immoral, illegal. Mae is immediately seduced and never questions
...more
Vivian
Not sure of my opinion of this book; in the lingo of "The Circle," my review would probably be a "meh." The premise was promising: take a company which is a kind of a near future merging of Facebook-Google-Twitter-Amazon, which controls 90% of internet searches, and forces users to use their "real" selves (no anonymity in "The Circle") to post social media ("zings," video, photos), make contacts, purchase almost anything...basically share anything and everything about their lives. Our tour guide ...more
Random House of Canada
This was an unbelievable novel! It was so well paced and absolutely thrilling to read. Eggers is making a real commentary on social media, the internet and the role of technology in our lives. It made me think and it made very leery of the future. Everything he imagines seems so possible. I couldn't put it down and it kept me on the edge of my seat until the very last page! ~ Jess
Scott Rhee
I am a Luddite. For those unfamiliar with the term, it refers to anyone with an antipathy toward and fear of technological advances. While no one knows for sure, the term probably gets its name from a young man named Ned Ludd, who, in the late-18th century, was caught sabotaging industrial machinery as a means of protesting the replacement of human workers with machines that could do the work faster. An entire movement was built around this anti-machine sentiment, and today, the term still refer ...more
Blair
Review originally published at Learn This Phrase.

In this story, set in what could easily be today, or the very near future, perhaps two or three years into the future, the Circle is an all-powerful internet and technology company - a bit like Google, Apple and Facebook combined - which is exerting an increasingly hegemonic influence over society. The protagonist, Mae Holland, is a new hire at the company who has secured a customer service position through a much higher-ranking friend. In this ve
...more
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Approval 10 62 Jan 23, 2015 03:26AM  
YA, MG, Seriously: Is this really YA? 18 64 Dec 28, 2014 09:22AM  
LeClaire Communit...: Jan. 2015 Book Club Discussion 1 6 Dec 03, 2014 01:38PM  
HurdAudio Book Club: Book Cover for The Circle 2 7 Nov 24, 2014 08:53AM  
HurdAudio Book Club: My Review of The Circle 1 3 Nov 24, 2014 12:06AM  
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Dave Eggers is the author of seven previous books, including his most recent, The Circle, a captivating story of one woman’s ambition and idealism that soon becomes a heart-racing novel of suspense, raising questions about memory, history, privacy, democracy, and the limits of human knowledge.

Eggers is the founder and editor of McSweeney's, an independent publishing house based in San Francisco th
...more
More about Dave Eggers...
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius What is the What Zeitoun You Shall Know Our Velocity! A Hologram for the King

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“You know how you finish a bag of chips and you hate yourself? You know you’ve done nothing good for yourself. That’s the same feeling, and you know it is, after some digital binge. You feel wasted and hollow and diminished.” 46 likes
“Better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb than in the middle of some ladder you don’t, right?” 33 likes
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