Archive | December, 2014

Book Review: The Circle by David Eggers

17 Dec

The CircleThe Circle by Dave Eggers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I ate this book up during the Thanksgiving Holiday break, and I still cannot stop talking about it or finding things in the Bay Area that make this book seem like a narrative about the present, rather than just a Science Fiction novel a la 1984.

Eggers’ The Circle should be read by everyone in the Bay Area, especially those that work at Google. In the book, Eggers questions Big Data and how the Circle, a Google-like” corporation,¬†uses it to close the gap between our lives in the tangible world and our lives on the Interwebs. He explores the benefits and drawbacks this poses through Mae, the main character of the novel, and her experiences working at the Circle and interacting with her family and friends inside and outside of the company. Through Mae, Eggers explores the value our society places on privacy versus transparency. Mae has to decide if the ability to lead an honest life can coincide with one that deems that some parts of life are best kept private. Granted, some of the scenarios in the book are extreme, but it definitely got me thinking about all the online accounts I have linked to Facebook (which is the main reason I have not deleted my account).

More than once, I thought of Thich Nhat Hanh’s book, You Are Here: Discovering the Magic of the Present Moment while reading The Circle. I thought about mindfulness, how I am pursuing it, like so many of my friends, and how being mindful can and cannot coexist in a world where our lives have become ensconced within our devices. I just hope we don’t become like the walking corpses Thich Nhat Hanh talks about in his book. (And I’m glad I got a physical copy of both books so that I wasn’t reading either of them on a device.)

I don’t want to give too much away, so I will stop here. I guess you will just have to read it for yourself and decide if what Eggers describes is science fiction or reality.

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