My friend, Nick, and I recently read “The Circle” together. Nick and I became very good friends in graduate school. We were both part of a small group of students completing the same program. Through that program we read books together, supervised each other in counseling sessions, and learned a lot about each other. When I moved to California six years ago we created our own little book club so we could continue our education together and stay in touch.
We take turns choosing the book and this time I chose: “The Circle” by Dave Eggers. My mother suggested that I read the book because, like all good science fiction, it reads like a commentary on society without reading like an op-ed piece in a newspaper.
That being said, you won’t find the book on the shelves of a bookstore or library in the “science fiction” section. While some of the science from the book may be a little ahead of our time, I’m fairly sure all of the science would be possible for today’s scientists and engineers.
The book is the story of a woman who gets a job with a company called “The Circle“. The Circle is a multi-dimensional company that functions like a conglomerate of Google, Facebook, Amazon, American Idol, and AT&T. It is a multi-platform, social media focused, panel of judges led, global company that employs many. Any job with The Circle is a prized position. The benefits that come with the position are the kind that will keep people in a company.
The main character gets a job and excels in the company. The book follows her career, her family life, and the relationships she develops at the company.
I don’t want to say too many specifics about the book – as I don’t want to take anything away from experiencing the plot line as the author intended. Therefore, I’ll just leave you with these teasers:
1) Have you ever worried about having too much of your information on the internet? Have you ever turned off your Facebook page because you felt you needed more privacy? Have you worried about the Google car mapping your house? If so … I don’t know if I should tell you to read this book to confirm some of your fears or not to read this book as it will further add to your concern. If not, I encourage you to read the book because you’ll find you’re well represented.
2) On NPR I have heard and read a variety of stories stemming from the ruling in the EU that individuals have the “right to be forgotten online”. At the end of one such article, the reporter said something like this: “Are you more comfortable in a world where you can control what can be found on the internet about yourself or in a world where other people cannot control what you can find about themselves?”