I COMPLETED "THE CIRCLE" BY DAVE EGGERS - A REVIEW
Stop sharing and start reading this book. It's view is important and provides some useful insight to ListApp going public, the future of self and privacy, and has some major flaws that can't be ignored.
- •The premise of this novel is that a digital company has evolved to include Amazon's sales, Google's search and all the social platforms integrated into one space, mandating verifiable user data.Without giving much away, the concept is that with one place to do business online we can be ourselves.
- •Online life isn't real life.This point is driven home through the entire novel. Social media presents new ways to interact but not a substitute for real human interaction. We put on airs when listing, tweeting or anything else-ing online. We can't have a full or real experience behind the screen. It's important to remember as "everything changes" next Wednesday.
- •Privacy is under attack and we are complicit in the assault.Our sharing of geotagged photos, live-tweeting events, and real time updating real world relationships is taking away our ability to separate the "mysteries of night and clarity of day."
- •Preservation of the self is directly connected to preservation privacyThe book presents this ideal throughout. I wonder what Edward Snowden would say about this.
- •Governments must be supported by the people for the benefit of common good, not businessThis is not a central theme but without a strong and independent government, we will see the rise of corporate super powers well beyond what we see today.
- •My main critique: the female protagonist and her supporting female characters are presented as without agency.Sure we live in a man's world but the women in this book only find agency through the validation of men. Their power comes from access that is given to them, not justly earned by their talents. There are many very strong and divergent male characters who drive the story but the women are written as if they don't have any control over their actions or lives. It was somewhat surprising considering the depth Eggers went to present complex back stories for these women.
- •My second critique: we are hit with an extreme neo-Luddite dystopiaIt's a novel and that was the point but the line between science fiction and social commentary was blurry. Not always a problem, but I feel here a lighter touch would have done the narrative well, especially to support the major themes and prophetic mission.
- •My tertiary critique: I was nervous reading this bookThis is on me and I believe gets to the core of its message. While the neo-Luddite dystopia comment holds true, this third point diminishes some of its heavy-handedness. We could see a variation of what Eggers presents. And soon.