Tag Archives: reading

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.

View all my reviews

Information Overload

31 Oct

Journeying through my twenties, I realize I know absolutely nothing.  Honestly, the more time I spend on this planet, the more I feel like I have so much more to learn and experience.  For example, I recently decided I should invest some money in the stock market (partly for fun and partly because I thought that that is what grown-ups do), and then I realized I don’t know what the hell I am doing.  And like all the things I know little to nothing about, I research pod-casts, books, blogs and news articles to learn more and to make educated decisions and opinions.  But what usually happens is I get bogged down in all this information, and never take action or make an opinion.  I get paralyzed by all of this information.  I decided I wanted to invest in individual stocks back in March of 2013, it’s October 2014 now.

In Tim Ferriss’s The 4 Hour Work Week, Ferriss talks about limiting yourself to one nonfiction and one fiction book at a time and abstaining from reading, watching or listening to the news.  Basically his premise is that there is far too much knowledge for anyone to consume, assimilate, and act upon and we must be picky in what information we decide to consume.  I remember when I came across Ferriss’s idea and thought that it was interesting and valid, but I did not heed it. I want any and all information.  I want to be up-to-date on all of the current events and I want to always be reading articles to improve myself.  In addition, I have a list of about ten online courses I want to take to enhance my skill set, but like almost all Millennials, I have too many choices – in life, information to read, and otherwise.

With apps like Circa and Flipboard, news and information is catered to your interests and condensed for easier consumption.  With features to save articles you find interesting, or are interested in reading later, the information piles up inside your mind and in storage.  I find myself saving more and more articles, recipes and webpages to Pocket, and more often than not, never reading them again.  I am just too plain busy.  And that’s annoying.

So, I have resorted to lists.  Lists of articles to read, lists of webpages to look up, lists of things to do, and lists of books to read.  There is so much information that I want to store in my brain for later use, but what ends up happening is it simply gets shelved away for later reading, which almost never happens.  Instead, I waste time on Buzzfeed, reading through lists that require less brain power to assimilate, never getting around to all the information I have stored away and actually want to read.

P.S. Take a look at my review of The Circle here.  A parable about the perils of a too-connected life, and perhaps a foretelling of a future ensconced in Big Data? Hope you enjoy it!