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The Every

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From the award-winning, bestselling author of The Circle comes an exciting new follow-up. When the world's largest search engine/social media company, the Circle, merges with the planet's dominant ecommerce site, it creates the richest and most dangerous--and, oddly enough, most beloved--monopoly ever known: the Every. Delaney Wells is an unlikely new hire at the Every. A f From the award-winning, bestselling author of The Circle comes an exciting new follow-up. When the world's largest search engine/social media company, the Circle, merges with the planet's dominant ecommerce site, it creates the richest and most dangerous--and, oddly enough, most beloved--monopoly ever known: the Every. Delaney Wells is an unlikely new hire at the Every. A former forest ranger and unwavering tech skeptic, she charms her way into an entry-level job with one goal in mind: to take down the company from within. With her compatriot, the not-at-all-ambitious Wes Makazian, they look for the Every's weaknesses, hoping to free humanity from all-encompassing surveillance and the emoji-driven infantilization of the species. But does anyone want what Delaney is fighting to save? Does humanity truly want to be free? Studded with unforgettable characters, outrageous outfits, and lacerating set-pieces, this companion to The Circle blends absurdity and terror, satire and suspense, while keeping the reader in apprehensive excitement about the fate of the company--and the human animal.


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From the award-winning, bestselling author of The Circle comes an exciting new follow-up. When the world's largest search engine/social media company, the Circle, merges with the planet's dominant ecommerce site, it creates the richest and most dangerous--and, oddly enough, most beloved--monopoly ever known: the Every. Delaney Wells is an unlikely new hire at the Every. A f From the award-winning, bestselling author of The Circle comes an exciting new follow-up. When the world's largest search engine/social media company, the Circle, merges with the planet's dominant ecommerce site, it creates the richest and most dangerous--and, oddly enough, most beloved--monopoly ever known: the Every. Delaney Wells is an unlikely new hire at the Every. A former forest ranger and unwavering tech skeptic, she charms her way into an entry-level job with one goal in mind: to take down the company from within. With her compatriot, the not-at-all-ambitious Wes Makazian, they look for the Every's weaknesses, hoping to free humanity from all-encompassing surveillance and the emoji-driven infantilization of the species. But does anyone want what Delaney is fighting to save? Does humanity truly want to be free? Studded with unforgettable characters, outrageous outfits, and lacerating set-pieces, this companion to The Circle blends absurdity and terror, satire and suspense, while keeping the reader in apprehensive excitement about the fate of the company--and the human animal.

30 review for The Every

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    Thank you ahead of time if anyone reads this - or even skims it… Absolutely not necessary— I wouldn’t blame anyone for skipping it. I couldn’t seem to write this review any shorter….working thoughts out here for myself. “The Circle” merges with the planet’s dominate e-commerce site….and becomes the wealthiest, most dangerous, most addictive mega corporation platform, in the world. The digital monopoly is known as “The Every”. Following “The Circle”….where the protagonist Mae Holland wanted to be th Thank you ahead of time if anyone reads this - or even skims it… Absolutely not necessary— I wouldn’t blame anyone for skipping it. I couldn’t seem to write this review any shorter….working thoughts out here for myself. “The Circle” merges with the planet’s dominate e-commerce site….and becomes the wealthiest, most dangerous, most addictive mega corporation platform, in the world. The digital monopoly is known as “The Every”. Following “The Circle”….where the protagonist Mae Holland wanted to be the best employee possible…. “The Every” takes place in the near future—about a decade later…..where protagonist Delaney Wells wants to take down the company from the inside. “The Every” encompasses all major search, social media and online shopping….[think Facebook plus Google plus Amazon]. Before even reading “The Every”….the novel has an interesting anti-corporate aura about itself….fitting with the fate of capitalism, and freedom….reflecting on some of the questions posed within the novel. Dave Eggers is not shy to say that he’s a techno-skeptic. He uses an old school flip phone. Products like Ring and Alexa gives him nightmares. The Hardcopy was released for purchased ‘only’ at independent book stores. There are 32 different book cover jackets. So much of what all of us purchase is algorithm-driven. Offering an array of covers gives everyone-from booksellers to the media to readers - a moment to think differently. Readers interested in the purchasing the ebook or paper book needed to wait six weeks longer than the independent release of the hardcopies. The Hardcopy won’t ever be sold on Amazon. “The Every” is both hilarious and horrifying: satire-realism! When I read “The Circle”, I remember laughing often. The invented terminology was ‘funny’….”Sharing-is-Caring” hypocrisy….[privacy was suddenly under no circumstances honorable]….Transparency was in - generous - kind - and expected at ‘The Circle’ I admit - I read “The Circle”….as fun satire ‘more’ than a profoundly frightening cautionary tale. I was laughing at the little spy lollipop camers while drooling over the delux-employee-fully stocked apartments on campus (clothes, food, entertainment gifted to ‘The Circle’ employees)..etc. In “The Every” …..( the apartment: PODS , in ‘The Every’ are a kick too)… But/and… …..although still written with plenty of brilliant humorous charm…I found myself contemplating the deeper - seriousness - disturbing—inescapable present and future, ‘more’ this time around. For one thing— ‘already’ since the publishing “The Circle” - [2013] - I’ve experienced increase technology madness. Being almost 600 pages….there is a lot one could ‘share’ about its content …. so… in order for this review not to be pages long - nor too short - as to short change it….I’ve been contemplating on how to strike a good balance — not say too much — [not spoil the humor fun] — yet say enough to describe the books flavor. (all flavors actually: lime, cherry, orange, grape, lemon, etc.). As we follow Delaney Wells….(undercover rebel/technoskeptical), she knew she had to be careful not to get found out. When her old professor discovered that Delaney was working for the Every…she was flabbergasted and disappointed. The Professor started sending Delaney letters. Here are two of the letters: From Professor Agarwal to Delaney 1- “You thought about things. You seemed in touch with the ways that humanity was being fundamentally changed—how we were moving from idiosyncratic species that coveted our independence to one that wanted, more than anything, to shrink to obey in exchange for free stuff”. “My heart hurts to picture you there, to think they’ve swallowed another rebel soul”. “Please leave”. “Yours, Agarwal Delaney’s heart felt broken too — she couldn’t risk writing the professor back….respond or confide with her - it would be too risky. 2- “Dear Delaney, I don’t expect you to return these letters. But I do hope you’re reading them, even if only to flatter an old lady. I thought of an analogy the other day and wanted to share with you. The Every offers the world the fruit of a poisoned tree. The early monopolies of the industrial age polluted rivers, lakes, and groundwater because the government was too afraid to regulate them and the money was coming in too quickly. Tens of thousands of people died. The Every is the same. There is too much money and too little regulation. Move fast and break things indeed. They have broken three generations now. Your generation entered my classroom presenting every symptom of addiction. No one is sleeping. Half of my students are asleep during class. Each night, in bed, they’re on their phones or EarPods till they pass out. You know this. I wonder if you too are overwhelmed. All of my students are overwhelmed. It is not because the workload has changed, because it has not. The students are now taking a normal college course load, which has been stressful enough for hundreds of years, but they have added thousands messages to read, write, send, process. It is too much”. “They take drugs to stay awake. They drink and get stoned to get to sleep. All of this will get far, far worse. There is simply too much. A student told me recently she’d written twelve thousand and six messages in the last twenty-four hours. She communicates daily with at least forty-nine people. That is manifestly a form of madness, of monomania. And yet this level of contact and availability is seen as a prerequisite to participating in society”. “I know your employer does everything it can to counter common sense and has buried many unflattering medical studies, but the inexorable rise in suicide these last twenty years is so obviously a result of two entwined products of the digital age—the catastrophic health effects of manic (and largely meaningless) mental activity, and the lack of real purpose. No one is resting, and no one is accomplishing anything of real worth. It is, instead, the endless churning of middlebrow nonsense, of smiles, frowns, Popeyes, How U/Me fine, that keeps us from meaningful contemplation, or any hope of a new idea. Again, please leave Agarwal “ Delaney’s heart was broken every time - sad that she couldn’t explain why she was working for The Every. It was too big of a risk (in an environment where everything is recorded) Delaney Wells waited years for the chance to work with ‘The Every’ to enter the system with the intent of destroying it. The interview process at the beginning was a kick. Dan Faraday was impressed with her resume. He appreciated that she had been a libarts major. They didn’t only hire engineers. Delaney’s college paper had been the beginning of her on-again, off-again subterfuge. Even then she knew she’d need to appear to the Every company an ally, a confrere they could welcome inside the gates. Once inside, Delaney planned to examine the machine, test for weaknesses, and blow the place up. Delaney lived in San Francisco by the Pacific in a tiny Sea Shed. The Bay Area had become a comically unaffordable place, with landlords throwing ludicrous rent numbers. Occasionally, old vestiges of the old San Francisco could still be found—odd attic units, covered garages, windswept cottages in the backyards of aging hippies refusing to gouge young tenants. Delaney had found such a place deep in the Outer Sunset. Near the Doelger Fish Co. and smelling profoundly, the cottage came complete with furniture, a washer-dryer, and a thirty-six-year-old-man named Wes Makazian, and his dog, Hurricane. The main house ( his two moms), was owned by Wes’s mother and her wife Ursula. Eventually Wes gets hired at ‘The Every’, too……which was both horrifying and oddly comforting. Delaney felt the risk of her nefarious intention being discovered tenfold with Wes on campus. “He was at once guileless and forgetful. It seemed quite possible he would mention her subterfuge just as casually as he’d order a poke bowl” Wes is funny. His sudden fame’ with the company was hilarious. One day at breakfast he wondered why bananas and tropical fruit was being served when they were out of season. California was three thousand miles from Guatemala. So….Wes’s puzzlement— was sent to the EVERY ONLINE COMMUNITY. They debated about what the campus’s recreational and decorative tomato and lemon and limes could be growing on campus. Studies were planned, nearby farmland was bought and a sign hung over the eatery: WE HAVE NO BANANAS Everyone was proud…… Any fruit not ground in California was accused stand found guilty: Adding…to Bananaskam, was pineappleskam, and papayaskam. I haven’t even touched the surface on both - many hilarious tidbits- Death app? An app that listens to your conversations? HappyNow apps, and Eggers-creative-terminology throughout - (funny environmental rules of extremes: finger eating foods only - why waste paper - plates - or silverware?) …..to the real seriousness of mega corporation control — along with the suspense tale-tension of what happens to Delaney - Wes- and the dozens other characters I haven’t mentioned at the end. Some crazy things take place in the later part of the book. But I was left with sincere questions about my own online participation. “The Every” continued to control the flow of information for most people. Think FACEBOOK… or GOODREADS….AMAZON…GOOGLE….don’t they do the same? Add emails….texting…(online daily lifestyle)…are we exhausted spent online ushers? If people spend most of their time on these platforms…we might only see what they promote. How many of us live in a state of ‘aggressive’ truth seeking? Scary to realize the world is undergoing a movement toward authoritarianism. And what about ‘our’ basic needs? Hasn’t everybody experience some amount of psychological, or physical health issues? Upsets, depression, loss of purpose, distractions, brain fog, and other negatives associated with our online life? And how bad is limitless choices killing our world? So….in closing….because I could share a lot more about this book — which by the way THE HARDCOPY is beautifully designed with an interesting as-can-be- inside-flap write-up. It felt like it took me forever to finish it. …partly due to it being a heavy-weight physical book and my vision (I guess 69 years with no glasses is coming to an end). “The Every” — at times — felt as much like a live presentation documentary as much as apocalyptic. I’m glad I read it — but I’m spent from it. “The Circle” was more - haha - fun for me —- but this had a few more serious aspects that I can honestly relate to ‘now’ with serious concerns)…. ….I did liked enjoy the characters — (but there wasn’t anything super special about any of them overall….which wasn’t the purpose of this book anyway) — So I have mixed feelings. I enjoyed most of the storytelling, the technological innovations, and the moral questions were worth contemplating…. And - I’m a big fan of Dave Eggers. I admire him as a human being - love his humanity — but this novel took some effort on my part to muddle through at times. I’m glad I read it - I’m always happy to read anything Dave Eggers writes. (but I’m spent!):> my brain is tired! A SINCERE TAKE-A WAY though….. How might I feel if I removed myself from all social media? What might the advantages be? What might be the disadvantage? 3.5 rating up …

  2. 5 out of 5

    Meike

    Talking about limited worldviews, you can currently read everywhere that Eggers' new book about a digital empire streamlining behaviors and centralizing perspectives is not available on Amazon. This, ladies and gentlemen, is not true; the ENGLISH edition might not be available on there, but there are other languages, and you can easily purchase translations on Amazon. Damn, I even got my ARC sent to kindle! Which brings us to the impossibility of avoiding the online retail giant, and thus to "Th Talking about limited worldviews, you can currently read everywhere that Eggers' new book about a digital empire streamlining behaviors and centralizing perspectives is not available on Amazon. This, ladies and gentlemen, is not true; the ENGLISH edition might not be available on there, but there are other languages, and you can easily purchase translations on Amazon. Damn, I even got my ARC sent to kindle! Which brings us to the impossibility of avoiding the online retail giant, and thus to "The Every". The Circle's protagonist Mae Holland is now the head of a digital company that has swallowed all big players in the fields of online retail, social media, and data tracking. Enter Delaney Wells, who infiltrates the organization aiming to dismantle it from the inside. With her partner-in-arms Wes, she tries to spy out the biggest spy of all, saving humanity from total surveillance and thus unfreedom... Eggers has written a novel of ideas set in the very near future that almost completey consists of expositions, descriptions and explanations. Delaney conveniently enters a job rotation program, so Eggers can show his readers all the evil projects of The Every, the characters are mere tools to illustrate the dystopia's main aspects which, as in every dystopia, aren't about the future, but about the present. The story gets lost, the pacing is off, there's a dramatic peak at around 80 % that evaporates into nothing. But the novel isn't even about Delaney or Mae (who remain mere cyphers), it's about... ...The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power and The Society of Singularities. Zuboff defines surveillance capitalism as „[a] parasite economic logic in which the production of goods and services is subordinated to a new global architecture of behavioral modification” - Dave Eggers, we know you read that book. Both Zuboff's and Reckwitz' books illustrate the future of digital surveillance (which has already begun in China, but also in the West) and our wish to be special like everyone else, and Eggers melts these concepts into a story. The clue: He imagines the effects of digital surveillance and behavior control to be a future that resembles the GDR, and as I know that we will get that misconception a lot, let me point out that the GDR had real existierender Sozialismus, which is not the same as Marxism or Communism or Stalinism. In the GDR, options for consumers were limited, the economic system was a centralized planned economy, the Stasi was surveilling people and justifying it by claiming to expose the enemies of the people, and the whole thing served the people at the top of the food chain who were talking about the collective good - and how Eggers parallels that with the goals of The Every, that's pretty interesting. There's even a gag containing bananas: People should be ashamed to eat those imported fruits, as it hurts their CO2 footprint. In West Germany, the banana was traditionally a symbol for the products the people in the GDR were deprived of. In The Every, not providing bananas becomes a symbol of virtue. Reading this with a fitbit on my arm and now reviewing in on GR, the app that gamifies reading itself, it's weird to follow Delaney when she finds out how The Every fights for the environment and woke causes by surveillance and public shaming. Tracking can be a convenient organizing tool, but where's the line, and how much freedom are we willing to give up in the name of convenience? Another potentially provoking idea: Do we rely on gamefication and control because we wish for a higher power to guide us, like, you know, God? When ambiguity is abolished, art gets abolished, and the social impact of taking away the option to freely choose your behavior was already explored in books like A Clockwork Orange: Dehumanization. So while nothing in this book is new, and as a novel, it doesn't work (try H(A)PPY instead, which has a very similar theme, but is much more artful and challenging), it's a debate book and will reach people who will never tackle academic tomes. I'm also curious how they might turn this into a film after having changed the ending of The Circle siginificantly, so that with the film ending, Mae in The Every basically makes no sense. But if you want to learn more and think deeper of surveillance and consumption as distinction, read Zuboff and Reckwitz.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ron Charles

    Dave Eggers’s new novel, “The Every,” isn’t just an emphatic satire of monopoly power. The book’s sales plan is itself a performance piece, an act of resistance against what Eggers calls “an ecommerce behemoth named after a South American jungle.” In short: You can’t buy a hardcover edition of “The Every” from Amazon. Ever. McSweeney’s, the publishing house that Eggers founded in 1998, released a statement about “The Every” saying, “As a quixotic blow against monopolies, the hardcover edition wil Dave Eggers’s new novel, “The Every,” isn’t just an emphatic satire of monopoly power. The book’s sales plan is itself a performance piece, an act of resistance against what Eggers calls “an ecommerce behemoth named after a South American jungle.” In short: You can’t buy a hardcover edition of “The Every” from Amazon. Ever. McSweeney’s, the publishing house that Eggers founded in 1998, released a statement about “The Every” saying, “As a quixotic blow against monopolies, the hardcover edition will be sold exclusively at independent bookstores nationwide and at store.mcsweeneys.net.” Amazon customers will have to wait till Nov. 16 just to get a paperback copy. That little squeak of retail opposition may not bring the online merchant to its knees, but it’s the most interesting thing about “The Every.” In this unnecessary sequel to “The Circle,” Eggers goes around again, banging on about the corrosive effects of the Internet, social media and especially Silicon Valley’s hegemony. It’s no better for being entirely right. And at 577 pages, “The Every” suffers from the Web’s worst quality: unlimited space. It’s like a 27-hour TED Talk by some clever guy who thinks smoking is bad for your health. . . . To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/entert...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    The Every is the biggest tech company in the world, controlling more and more of people’s everyday lives. But two young idealists, Delaney and Wes, believe things have gone too far and plan to join the company to bring it down from the inside... The Every is the sequel to Dave Eggers’ 2013 novel The Circle and, like the previous book, it’s a mix of elements that succeed and fail to make for another ok dystopian novel. Like too many sequels, The Every is very similar to the previous story with li The Every is the biggest tech company in the world, controlling more and more of people’s everyday lives. But two young idealists, Delaney and Wes, believe things have gone too far and plan to join the company to bring it down from the inside... The Every is the sequel to Dave Eggers’ 2013 novel The Circle and, like the previous book, it’s a mix of elements that succeed and fail to make for another ok dystopian novel. Like too many sequels, The Every is very similar to the previous story with little variation, though there are of course some new features added. The Circle (a company like Apple/Google/Facebook) has now gobbled up and merged with the other giant tech firms, including Amazon (referred to only as “the jungle”), and rebranded as The Every to become the biggest company in human history. Mae Holland, the protagonist of the first book (the Emma Watson character if you just saw the Netflix movie), is now head of the company with former leader Bailey (the Tim Honks character) edged out. And that’s really it in terms of how far things have progressed since the end of the first book. There’s obviously been a lot of advances in tech since 2013 with smart devices now pervading most people’s homes, so details like that are worked into the Every’s insidious reach (ie. “Ovals” = Apple Watches/FitBits). The message of the first book remains - privacy good, social media bad - with a heavier focus on personal freedoms and how much people are willing to sacrifice for the sake of convenience, which some of the leaps might be convincing or not, depending on your view of humanity and where we’re headed. Like Mercer in The Circle, there’s another lecturing anti-tech voice in the form of Agarwal, Delaney’s college professor. The Every also has the same problem I had with The Circle in that the ideas Delaney and Wes pitch (designed to enrage people and bring the company down) become adopted far too quickly and easily with no nuance in the reactions around the world. Every single idea is a masterstroke without any setbacks which is crazy. They’re new hires - and nobody else at The Every, all of them geniuses, had already come up with these ideas? The reactions of people to these new ideas is also vastly simplistic. Online behaviour is not real world behaviour - just because some people may not like a company or person and will say as much on social media doesn’t mean they’ll stop buying a product by that company or boycott that person’s output. I mean, banning travel and pets - and people just go along with it? That’s just not convincing. The reality is that though there is a lot of outrage on sites like Twitter, most people in real life are reasonable and wouldn’t behave like the minority of loud voices online. But I get it - like The Circle, Eggers is writing a sort of parable and needs for these things to just be. He’s not shooting for realism. Still, I don’t find his core message of gloom and doom towards big tech that remarkable or persuasive. While you could argue we’re already there, I just don’t think we’re headed towards this authoritarian nightmare that Eggers is portraying and the views he’s presenting are a bit silly and myopic - all humans being controlled like mindless puppets? Please. Look at how many people in our world are refusing to take a life-saving vaccine from a horrendous disease. We don’t behave as one as a species. The story is interesting - up to a point. It’s fun to see Delaney “rotate” (spend a week or two) through the Every’s many departments and Eggers has done a remarkable job of imagining a convincing tech corporation. The effect is like reading an Orwellian Alice in Wonderland/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with more than an air of The Prisoner about it. But it gets repetitive after a while and a bit dull once you realise this is basically the rest of the novel. Because the plot is nebulous and naively futile too, the ending is somewhat anticlimactic and underwhelming. Some episodes felt unnecessary, like the whole homeless people living outside the campus thing and Delaney’s group decide to give them free tech, but I liked the sub-plot of a covert resistance in the company - of others with the mindset of Delaney and Wes - and whether or not it was real or a ploy to weed out actual dissenters. Delaney’s interrogation by someone who may or may not be an ally was very compelling, as was Mae’s Darth Vader-esque transformation from the character we saw in the first book and the person she is now. Other aspects of the story were very clever. Like how, when in the Every cafeteria, Delaney and Wes have to speak in an extremely basic, almost pidgin-like language, to fool the AI, and Everys like Kiki who misuse multisyllabic words they don’t understand in sentences to hit absurd arbitrary vocabulary quotas for their Ovals. The commentary of how AI/algorithms have made us all talk gibberish instead of communicating clearly is brilliant. Some points are banal though, like how cult-like these companies can seem, and how too much constant information leads to poor sleep, burn-out and stress - duh. There’s a lot in this novel that’s very imaginative, but, like the first book, The Every left me underwhelmed and unconvinced as to its overall message. I haven’t given up that many personal freedoms and I don’t expect people in general would be willing to give up as much as the people in the book’s world have. And this idea that companies like The Every will only lead to Orwellian futures - eh… I don’t know. I think Eggers is a bit too hung up on an either/or dichotomy and can’t see the myriad variations on where we go from here - which is fine, he’s not a soothsayer, it just makes his story less powerful. The Every is essentially an updated version of The Circle. If you liked that, you’ll probably like this and for those who haven’t read The Circle, you don’t really need to read it first to pick up The Every. It’s a bit too long and repetitive in places and isn’t as powerful as I think it wants to be, but I found it to be a sometimes intriguing and compelling read - a decent, if forgettable, dystopian fiction.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Henk

    More thoughts and a review to follow since this is one of the science fiction contestants in our book tournament next month

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alwynne

    The sequel to The Circle treads much of the same ground, although it seems blunter and more blatantly polemical than its predecessor. Set in the not-too-distant future, America’s well on the way to becoming a full-on surveillance society, homes that aren’t connected to the network, individuals who shun social media, are all treated with suspicion, increasingly grouped together in outsider communities. Independent media has died out, investigative journalism’s a relic of the past and untaxed, bar The sequel to The Circle treads much of the same ground, although it seems blunter and more blatantly polemical than its predecessor. Set in the not-too-distant future, America’s well on the way to becoming a full-on surveillance society, homes that aren’t connected to the network, individuals who shun social media, are all treated with suspicion, increasingly grouped together in outsider communities. Independent media has died out, investigative journalism’s a relic of the past and untaxed, barely-policed corporations rule. After the turbulent time of pandemics and other, unnamed, crises, social media company The Circle has bought up a behemoth, e-commerce site - referred to only as ‘the jungle’ - and rebranded as The Every, with its headquarters sited in San Francisco Bay. It’s here that new employee Delaney Wells is working on her plan to dismantle the organisation from within, something she’s been anticipating for years. Eggers follows Delaney’s infiltration of The Every, her progress and her thwarted attempts to undermine its machinations. But Delaney’s plan to stir up public opposition to The Every’s operations by proposing ever more extreme programmes’s greeted with indifference at best, it seems the more preposterous her proposal, the more likely people are to adopt it without question, from algorithms that test their friends’ loyalties onwards. Eggers rehashes many of the points he raised in The Circle although there are additional prongs in terms of world-building. But his arguments are hard to follow and often surprisingly muddled. He spends more time enumerating the benefits of The Every’s supposedly insidious products than making a case for their destructive qualities, particularly when it comes to apps that limit carbon footprints, seek to halt climate change and encourage less wasteful forms of consumption. He takes his belief in the sacred nature of concepts like privacy and the right to be off-grid as a given but it’s clear this is a society in which these are the concern of the few and not the many. Nor does he present alternatives that challenge the Every’s sinister vision. The future he dreads is strikingly close to the present, one in which the tech, or the potential for it, already exists and it’s really not clear what he wants to do about that. He doesn’t seem to be taking a Luddite stance so presumably what he wants is to set limits and boundaries but it’s not evident what these might be, how they might be achieved and policed or by what institutions. And although he offers up characters, like Delaney’s former tutor Professor Agarwal, as dissenting voices in his all-too-compliant society, they’re marginal at best, faint and uncertain. It doesn’t help that Eggers presents people as the greatest problem here, happy to be ordered and organised, desperate to rate and be rated. It’s not clear what findings support his conclusions about behaviour, and for someone like me who lives in a country where even the fairly mild-mannered have proved remarkably resistant to reasonable measures like mask-wearing or adopting apps that track Covid infections, I’d like to know why he feels that resistance to overarching control’s unlikely or likely to be futile? There are also a number of pressing issues that aren’t addressed, digital poverty for example, a major problem globally yet miraculously insignificant in this future America, even though lack of corporate tax revenues has intensified, already rampant, social inequality. Eggers poses important questions, and many of his concerns are ones I share, but they demand a more considered, coherent response than this one. There are some hilarious satirical, inventive elements in Eggers’s portrait of a tech-driven dystopia but the wealth of detailing around the various apps and programmes that dominate this brave new world frequently overwhelm his slender plot and overshadow his sketchily-drawn characters. It’s an awkward piece overall, fairly readable despite its flaws but as a narrative it doesn’t really work, I didn't hate it but there were times when it felt remarkably close to the experience of being held captive on a street corner by a well-meaning but long-winded, obsessive. Thanks to Netgalley and publisher Hamish Hamilton/Penguin Rating: 2.5

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nilguen

    Explosive 🧨 Highly Controversial! Deeply contentious! 💭 The lightning progression to „The Circle“, Dave Egger‘d debut novel, emphasises all controversial thought patterns on digitalisation beyond corporate environments. Yet, as an employer myself of a corporate environment, are we all going to be as visible and transparent as possible to expose not only individual data, but the ones of family and friends? Data staging, data protection, data privacy are pivotal topics of our current societal issu Explosive 🧨 Highly Controversial! Deeply contentious! 💭 The lightning progression to „The Circle“, Dave Egger‘d debut novel, emphasises all controversial thought patterns on digitalisation beyond corporate environments. Yet, as an employer myself of a corporate environment, are we all going to be as visible and transparent as possible to expose not only individual data, but the ones of family and friends? Data staging, data protection, data privacy are pivotal topics of our current societal issues, yet we lack of a plausible governance model. The “Every” is a perfect stage setting of what is possible and incompatible in case of complete data transparency and thought controlling by means of ostensible submission of “Everyone’s”. Corporate environments are going to be “heavenly safe places” to graduates who seek for jobs and will have to be more submissive than ever compared to today’s work practices in the midst of the pandemic. Dave Eggers has yet again motivated his readers to contemplate over the consequences of the technology with his thought-provoking lecture. Working in the field of digitisation, I am overly sensitive to the topics Dave is touching upon in his book and would love to see everyone formulate his / her opinion over future work places controlling complete data sets of individuals. Great read. Welcomed criticism. Current agenda. Happy thinking 💭 💭.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tom Mooney

    3.5 This is a thoroughly enjoyable follow-up to The Circle. It follows a similar path in that it is a book of wild, exciting ideas that spark hilarity and horror in equal measure. This time we have a central character, Delaney, attempting to bring the company (renamed The Every after buying out Amazon) down from the inside after securing a job there. I would go as far as to argue that the ideas this time are even better, even more hideously likely to happen. And they come like a torrent. For the f 3.5 This is a thoroughly enjoyable follow-up to The Circle. It follows a similar path in that it is a book of wild, exciting ideas that spark hilarity and horror in equal measure. This time we have a central character, Delaney, attempting to bring the company (renamed The Every after buying out Amazon) down from the inside after securing a job there. I would go as far as to argue that the ideas this time are even better, even more hideously likely to happen. And they come like a torrent. For the first 350 pages or so there's little by way of plot, more a slew of new apps and plans for humanity as Delaney attempts to push The Every off a cliff by coming up with every more insane and intrusive ideas - all of which are embraced by the conformist sheeples of the world's population. This is all so enjoyable to read and pick apart. The satire is rich and funny and, as with the best dystopian fiction, says more about where we are now than where we are going. Then some kind of plot kicks in. If I'm being honest, this part wasn't that great. It was kind of predictable and not that novel. But I think I felt similarly about The Circle, too. Still, a really fun read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    Full disclosure – I didn’t finish this book and I only award one star to books that fail to engage me enough to get me to the end. This book is a sequel to The Circle a tale focussed on ‘the world’s most powerful internet company’. Well, now that company been swallowed up by an even bigger concern and Delaney Wells is on a mission to destroy this big-tech behemoth from the inside. I got through the part where she’d been through a tortuous recruitment process and she was now undergoing her induct Full disclosure – I didn’t finish this book and I only award one star to books that fail to engage me enough to get me to the end. This book is a sequel to The Circle a tale focussed on ‘the world’s most powerful internet company’. Well, now that company been swallowed up by an even bigger concern and Delaney Wells is on a mission to destroy this big-tech behemoth from the inside. I got through the part where she’d been through a tortuous recruitment process and she was now undergoing her induction, and it’s here that I pulled the plug. In fact I rested it for a bit and tried to pick up again but got little further before setting it aside once more. The introduction seemed interesting enough, if not eerily familiar from the first book. But the next section just seemed to consist of lists of required behavioural compliances for employees and details of the comprehensive surveillance they would be subjected to. Mainly, I was put off by a mix of the awkward humour employed and the sense that just about every vaguely controversial element currently doing the rounds had been thrown into the pot: from overt wokeism to big-tech seeking to monopolise the marketplace - and all stops in between. I’m concerned about these things, of course I am, but I didn’t like the tone of the story and didn’t fancy working through a further 15 hours of audio with a group of characters I already disliked. Sorry Mr Eggers, a worthy and clever tome this might well be but it’s not my cup of tea.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chris Haak

    Interesting & horrifying in a good way. But a bit simplistic and too long as well I’m afraid. Thank you Penguin Random House UK and Netgalley for the ARC.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Zach

    there's something ironic about tracking this book on this particular website 🤷 there's something ironic about tracking this book on this particular website 🤷

  12. 4 out of 5

    Karen’s Library

    The thing I found most interesting about The Every was that the hardback (offered in 32 different covers) would only be available in independent stores. I have to say, I loved this marketing idea. Also, the hardback would be released six weeks before the paperback version, and the paperbacks would be the only print copies available on Amazon, in large chain bookstores, etc. Well, this stunt worked on me and I ran off to my local independent bookshop and bought two different copies for my bookshe The thing I found most interesting about The Every was that the hardback (offered in 32 different covers) would only be available in independent stores. I have to say, I loved this marketing idea. Also, the hardback would be released six weeks before the paperback version, and the paperbacks would be the only print copies available on Amazon, in large chain bookstores, etc. Well, this stunt worked on me and I ran off to my local independent bookshop and bought two different copies for my bookshelf. While reading this dystopian sci-fi tech sequel to The Circle, by the end I had chills of a modern 1984. In The Every, which is meant to be satirical but still felt scary nonetheless, the protagonist from The Circle continues with the “sharing is caring” theme but takes it to the gazillionth degree and creates The Every. Enter Delaney who comes into the Every with the plan to sabotage it all. I was laughing out loud at the craziness of the ideas that were being spewed out and embraced by the Everyones. I throughly enjoyed this book and still love my 2 pretty hardcopies! They’re pretty chonky at just less than 600 pages so my arms got a great workout.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nilguen

    Explosive 🧨 Highly Controversial! Deeply contentious! The lightning progression to „The Circle“, Dave Egger‘s debut novel, „Every“ emphasises all controversial thought patterns on digitalisation beyond corporate environments. Yet, as an employer of a corporate environment, are we all going to be as visible and as transparent as possible to expose not only individual data, but the ones of family and friends? Data staging, data protection, data privacy are pivotal topics of our current societal iss Explosive 🧨 Highly Controversial! Deeply contentious! The lightning progression to „The Circle“, Dave Egger‘s debut novel, „Every“ emphasises all controversial thought patterns on digitalisation beyond corporate environments. Yet, as an employer of a corporate environment, are we all going to be as visible and as transparent as possible to expose not only individual data, but the ones of family and friends? Data staging, data protection, data privacy are pivotal topics of our current societal issues, and yet we lack of a plausible governance model. The “Every” is a perfect stage setting of what is possible and incompatible in case of complete data transparency and thought controlling by means of ostensible submission of “Everyone’s”. Corporate environments are going to be “heavenly safe places” to graduates who seek for jobs and will have to be more submissive than ever compared to today’s work practices in the midst of the pandemic. Dave Eggers has yet again motivated his readers to contemplate over the consequences of the technology with his thought-provoking lecture. Working in the field of digitisation, I am overly sensitive to the topics Dave is touching upon in his book and would love to see everyone formulate his / her opinion over future work places controlling complete data sets of individuals. Great read. Welcomed criticism. Current agenda. Happy thinking 💭 💭.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ema

    Oh my gosh, Dave Eggers. This book is slightly too long and bloated to get five stars from me, but the egregious ideas, the outlandish premises, the terrifyingly realistic world... Take my five stars, Dave Eggers, you deserve them. It's been so long since I read THE CIRCLE and I honestly can't remember much except that it terrified me, so this totally works as a standalone. The note that stood out to me here though was climate change, and how everything became justified. Only a thread of philoso Oh my gosh, Dave Eggers. This book is slightly too long and bloated to get five stars from me, but the egregious ideas, the outlandish premises, the terrifyingly realistic world... Take my five stars, Dave Eggers, you deserve them. It's been so long since I read THE CIRCLE and I honestly can't remember much except that it terrified me, so this totally works as a standalone. The note that stood out to me here though was climate change, and how everything became justified. Only a thread of philosophical thinking, but a lot of not-so-subtle critique on monopolies and monoliths. I think my favourite moment was eye tracking taking down a political figure. Deeply unsettling but I loved reading it, so...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    I found this book to be clever, witty and very very depressing. It makes 1984 seem like a light read in comparison. Delaney tries to infiltrate a global authoritarian regime and is predictably doomed to failure because it sees everything. I didn't need this book to hammer home how many corners of my life are already commodified. I found this book to be clever, witty and very very depressing. It makes 1984 seem like a light read in comparison. Delaney tries to infiltrate a global authoritarian regime and is predictably doomed to failure because it sees everything. I didn't need this book to hammer home how many corners of my life are already commodified.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    Manages to be so spot on its both hilarious and terrifying

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mina Haven

    I have really mixed feelings about this book. I liked the basic idea and setting of it - similar to The Circle. But Every is quite fast paced during the middle part & felt very implausible to me. The ending made the gut feeling, I had while reading the whole book, come true. Anyways it's a good reminder to keep a concerning eye on the development of the big tech companies & social media. I have really mixed feelings about this book. I liked the basic idea and setting of it - similar to The Circle. But Every is quite fast paced during the middle part & felt very implausible to me. The ending made the gut feeling, I had while reading the whole book, come true. Anyways it's a good reminder to keep a concerning eye on the development of the big tech companies & social media.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Julian

    Apparently the bookstore I got this from (buy indie!*) put this on the floor a couple weeks too early, but I’m glad they did. At times this book — about the successor company to The Circle — was hilarious, at times meta**, at times absurd, but really, it just filled me with dread. Even as a satire, not since On the Beach did I feel so nervous to turn certain pages, worried about what invasive feature might be introduced next. Especially because the Easter egg on the copyright page (the friggin co Apparently the bookstore I got this from (buy indie!*) put this on the floor a couple weeks too early, but I’m glad they did. At times this book — about the successor company to The Circle — was hilarious, at times meta**, at times absurd, but really, it just filled me with dread. Even as a satire, not since On the Beach did I feel so nervous to turn certain pages, worried about what invasive feature might be introduced next. Especially because the Easter egg on the copyright page (the friggin copyright page!) is probably right: “This is a work of fiction. Nothing described herein actually happened, though much of it likely will. At that point, this will be a work of nonfiction.” Buy this book***. At your local bookstore. Then go stand on a beach and wait for the digital nuclear radiation to envelop you. The tech companies are coming for us all. * because it’s the only way you can get this book right now ** Excerpt, to wit: “There had been a movie made about The Circle—when it was still called that name—by a talented director and starring actors of consummate skill and renown, and yet the movie, despite its pedigree, was considered unsuccessful and seen by few.” *** or maybe don’t. You don’t want us to see that your Personal Carbon Impact spiked, ya reckless, wasteful goon.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Dave Eggers’ follow up to The Circle does not disappoint. At times funny but also a sobering look at where our society is in terms of its reliance on modern technology and need for constant validation of everything. Is this the best shampoo? Best car? I admit that I spend time on Facebook and Instagram and make comments and send hearts. The main character in this novel is a young woman named Delaney who is determined to bring down the huge entity known as The Every by working from the inside. Th Dave Eggers’ follow up to The Circle does not disappoint. At times funny but also a sobering look at where our society is in terms of its reliance on modern technology and need for constant validation of everything. Is this the best shampoo? Best car? I admit that I spend time on Facebook and Instagram and make comments and send hearts. The main character in this novel is a young woman named Delaney who is determined to bring down the huge entity known as The Every by working from the inside. The unusual thing about Delaney is that for a woman her age she is not concerned with finding a relationship with a partner. It is never mentioned. She seems immune to the lure of romance that drives young people. But Delaney’s best laid plans don’t work out as she plans and the novel ends in an expected way. Highly entertaining!

  20. 4 out of 5

    roosmarijn

    oh my god i want to read this

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tuti

    intelligent and pertinent exploration of the (inescapable?) digital surveillance and complete control of all aspects of life - set in the « near future » fast-paced and very readable, it is an easily imaginable extrapolation of many things already in place.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Adams

    Enjoyable reading from Dave. Always has a pulse on the “now” in his novels. It was fun. Incredibly readable and I laughed out loud and some of the preposterous people in this book. Sometimes a little laughter goes a long way. Not necessary to have read The Circle but if you did, great.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mark Maddrey

    “But there was no more nuance, no more give, no more gray. Only absolutes.” I know a book is speaking to me when it has an observation like that, and “The Every” is aimed squarely at me in 2021. It manages to be simultaneously completely insane and prophetically on target. Let’s see an algorithm capture that! This is a follow up to “The Circle” and it finds the company, now called The Every, bigger and more controlling that ever. This is a funny book while also being quite scary. I laughed heart “But there was no more nuance, no more give, no more gray. Only absolutes.” I know a book is speaking to me when it has an observation like that, and “The Every” is aimed squarely at me in 2021. It manages to be simultaneously completely insane and prophetically on target. Let’s see an algorithm capture that! This is a follow up to “The Circle” and it finds the company, now called The Every, bigger and more controlling that ever. This is a funny book while also being quite scary. I laughed heartily at the app for The Every rewarding people for using “big words” even though they were used completely incorrectly. Given the current trend to just ignore misuse like “my head literally exploded” and “I could care less” (you do realize that saying it that way means you DO care about the thing you are intended to assign no value to…sorry, I guess I’m the grammar police now…), this is totally believable. Let’s make people feel good at the expense of the language. There is another funny at first but then horrifying program initiated called FictFix which, of course, works to “fix” existing works of fiction to remove anything that might make anyone feel even the smallest bit of discomfort. They also work to make sure new books only give readers what they want. Shudder. It even calculates the maximum length for a book, 577 pages, which happens to be the length of “The Every.” In our TLDR world how can anyone be expected to actually read a long book! I laughed then worried about when it will be implemented to protect our current crop of students. The two chapters covering the field trip to see Elephant Seals mating on the beach may be the best example of hilarity combined with biting satire in the book. Suffice it to say the field trippers are TRAUMATIZED by every part of the outing, including seeing animals in animal jail! Or as well adjusted people might say, on a farm. The reality of the Elephant Seals is just too much. The second chapter is the aftermath with the ritual shaming of Delaney for organizing it and exposing every one to such TRAUMA. Funny but so close to reality. There is a college professor who provides some needed insight into what is happening, coming up with the wonderful set of lines, “We seek nothing, We invent nothing, We forgive nothing.” Amen. All we are creating in 2021 is people sitting around searching for something to be outraged about so they can hashtag it to death. So productive. The story in “The Every” felt very similar to the plot in “The Circle” and I was not thrilled by the end of the book. But I wasn’t meant to be. Wait, it caused me discomfort? MAKE HIM CHANGE IT NOW! #changetheevery I appreciated that Mr. Eggers made this an independent book store exclusive for the first month so I bought my copy at my wonderful local store One More Page Books. We all need more discomfort, friction, and oppositon to our ideas. Our algorithms are making that less likely. As I have said before, I like to be right but I really being shown when I’m wrong. The leads to learning. That is the best.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Erika Russell

    Horrifying. Brilliant. Terrifying in its similarities to our current lives - a modern day 1984.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sebastian

    First of all, I did not finish the book. I tried for as long as I could and then decided to stop after around 80 pages. So this review is rather limited. I did not like what I read so far. It felt like "dystopia porn", a black-and-white world where digital things (social media, phones, chats) are bad and analogue things (nature, hiking, human connections) are good. It's a very simple tale of evil corporations enslaving good humans. And since Eggers makes his world very similar to ours, I think I First of all, I did not finish the book. I tried for as long as I could and then decided to stop after around 80 pages. So this review is rather limited. I did not like what I read so far. It felt like "dystopia porn", a black-and-white world where digital things (social media, phones, chats) are bad and analogue things (nature, hiking, human connections) are good. It's a very simple tale of evil corporations enslaving good humans. And since Eggers makes his world very similar to ours, I think I can say that it is much too simplified. I do agree in general with a fearful view of where corporate power, digital technology and social media has brought us and will bring us. But I don't think it's the simplistic "digital dictatorship" that Eggers describes. There are more nuances and there are a lot of different powers involved. You shouldn't dumb it down like that, and it makes me sad that Eggers seems to have such a limited view of humanity. Yes, social media has issues; yes, kids using smartphones is problematic; yes, the way Amazon is treating some of its workers should be punished. The way Eggers describes theses issues is just not worth reading in my opinion, it doesn't care about the actual people and life stories involved. The last chapter I read, in which the childhood and teenage years of the protagonist are described, really made me angry. Humans are not as simple as that. Life is not as simple as that. Addiction is not as simple as that - and how do you define "online addiction" anyway? How can you compress a life's story into 20 pages? By leaving out a lot of gray areas, by painting with a thick brush and using only two colors. Eggers describes the use of emoji as infantilising, and that upset me deeply. It goes against everything that sociologists and linguists know about humans and language. I used emoji and gifs in private life and at work every day and it can enhance language and community. It doesn't degrade situations in my experience. He also seems to have a very limited view of social media memes (the popeye photos characters keep making). Memes strengthen community, communicate shared culture. Yes, they are also used to monetize and "get clicks", but it's not only that. All the other characters beside the protagonist I found very stereotypical, "tropey". The CEO and employees of the Circle seem like a bland amalgamation of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, and people who work at Facebook, Amazon and Google. They don't stand on their own. There are much better books if you want to read about the dangers of digital technology and social media, ones with better, more interesting stories. I don't know how "The Every" sold so well.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Yoly

    By chapter 5 I was ready for this book to be over. I really enjoyed The Circle, which in 2013 delivered what I thought to be a very good satire of Google? Facebook? So I was very hyped for this sequel, but it felt like the author decided to write the same book again but, in this case, wanted to attack Amazon, but for some reason it still felt like an attack on a social media company. I don’t need to like a protagonist to enjoy a story, but Delaney Wells, the main character in this book even with By chapter 5 I was ready for this book to be over. I really enjoyed The Circle, which in 2013 delivered what I thought to be a very good satire of Google? Facebook? So I was very hyped for this sequel, but it felt like the author decided to write the same book again but, in this case, wanted to attack Amazon, but for some reason it still felt like an attack on a social media company. I don’t need to like a protagonist to enjoy a story, but Delaney Wells, the main character in this book even with a motivation and somewhat of a backstory felt flat, and for some reason she has this obsession with men’s crotches. Every time this was mentioned reminded me of “she breasted boobily”. At 600 pages, this book is almost 400 pages too long, it was at times entertaining and others very boring. It felt like a disjointed series of vignettes put together to try to make a novel. I wanted to finish the book to see where the story would go, but by the last few chapters, it’s obvious that the author either had no idea how he wanted to end it, or just ran out of time. The story starts falling apart and feels like lazy writing. While the book had some interesting ideas, I personally don’t think there was enough in there to make an engaging 600+ page book. Maybe a collection of short stories would have been a better delivery method for this.

  27. 5 out of 5

    drowningmermaid

    I read this because of a Cory Doctorow endorsement. I have no regrets. This… is near-term at its finest. Dystopia in pastel, organic, fair-trade horror. I found myself reminded of “The Grand Inquisitor” and this book asks all the same questions Dostoevsky did, but in the easily envisioned future. And also. strangely, of Auel’s work— where people showed politeness by not staring where their eyes weren’t asked for. What are the social norms of politeness when every thought is available to everyone? I w I read this because of a Cory Doctorow endorsement. I have no regrets. This… is near-term at its finest. Dystopia in pastel, organic, fair-trade horror. I found myself reminded of “The Grand Inquisitor” and this book asks all the same questions Dostoevsky did, but in the easily envisioned future. And also. strangely, of Auel’s work— where people showed politeness by not staring where their eyes weren’t asked for. What are the social norms of politeness when every thought is available to everyone? I want everyone to read this.

  28. 4 out of 5

    G.W.

    To start with, the summary on the book jacket is one of the most entertaining I’ve ever read, and it grabbed me from the start. This is Eggers’ modern day 1984, and it’s a tour-de-force. As a continuation from The Circle, Eggers imagines companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon (here the ‘Every,’ which seems to have aspects of all of them) taking the next step in product and application development in ostensibly beneficial ways, but abusing their concentrated wealth and power to control behav To start with, the summary on the book jacket is one of the most entertaining I’ve ever read, and it grabbed me from the start. This is Eggers’ modern day 1984, and it’s a tour-de-force. As a continuation from The Circle, Eggers imagines companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon (here the ‘Every,’ which seems to have aspects of all of them) taking the next step in product and application development in ostensibly beneficial ways, but abusing their concentrated wealth and power to control behavior, often through shaming individuals who don’t comply to expectations. Hand in hand with it are the well-intention but oversensitive in society who stifle dissenting views with no appreciation for nuance; Eggers is also satirizing cancel culture here. It’s a world where privacy has all but vanished, and citizens are no longer truly free. What’s fantastic about the book is that one can see possible benefits, e.g. lower crime, better personal behavior, lower greenhouse emissions, more exercise, less food waste, etc … but at the same time, be horrified by the creep of an authoritarian world that seems all too possible. On the one hand, “the end of freedom and free will,” and on the other hand, “the end of society of the self, and the birth of a more communitarian one.” Eggers writes: “What she had just described would surely mean the end of much of what makes a human free. It would be a doorway to far tighter restrictions on movement and choice. But it did have perhaps the best chance to slow the catastrophic warming of the planet. It would usher in a new, ever-more obedient era in the human procession, but our reckless freedoms and thoughtless whims were precisely what brought the planet to the brink. …. Maybe this was the only way – that only a monopoly could save the world.” However, this is a world where: - “Every message written by every human was assumed to be subject to exposure – to be permanently searchable and public.” - A product called OwnSelf automatically sets goals and a regimen for a person to improve, a situation which ends up having one’s own self practically owned by OwnSelf. - The selection of the bottom 10% to fire at a company is completely determined by machine algorithms with no human input, in order to remove “subjectivity.” - You may be locked in a bathroom by AI that detects when you haven’t washed your hands satisfactorily, and your visit to the stall itself may be accompanied by an animated graphic of a skunk talking to you. - Eye tracking software knows exactly what a person’s read, and not just in their leisure, but in user agreements and contracts, forcing them to read every word before being allowed to sign. - “Right to Know” laws make almost all aspects of a person’s life public, and conversely, allow one the right to know who is watching one’s searches, “creating a two-way mirror effect, which occurred a billion times a day, of a searcher searching while the searched watched the searcher searching.” It reminded me of Norway’s right to see people’s salaries, but also to see who is searching for your own. - There is no longer any real journalism and news reporting. “Starved of advertising and attacked as inherently exploitive and predatory – people no longer trusted filters, curators, observers and intermediaries – journalism had died quietly and alone.” - Voting is secure, but with a system in which “voters’ personal information and political choices completely private, unless a government or Every strategic partner wanted that information, in which case it was readily sold.” - Software is so sophisticated that it can give readings as to whether a person is telling the truth or holding something back, resulting in friends and family members getting scored for their interactions with one another. - Online maps display dots where anyone who has been convicted of a crime are located, a dramatic extension of the current sex offender registry, and include those who were arrested for a crime but not convicted because “we have a right to know where those people are, too.” - Devices ala Alexa listen in to all conversations in the home. “And for a while the users, though feeling wary and burned by the series of revelations, looked askance at their smart speakers, wondering if the tradeoff was actually worth it. On the one hand, their private family conversations were being recorded and stored offsite for unknown future use by a trillion-dollar private company with a limitless litany of privacy violations. On the other hand, they could find out the weather without having to look out the window.” - Books are not only translated using AI instead of a human translator, but its characters and plot are “improved” using an algorithm. - Everything is reduced to a numerical score, e.g. sonnets, artwork, people themselves. The concept of a Chinese social credit score for citizens has been developed to “include everything, cradle to grave. Grades in school, childhood behavioral issues, missed days, college records, test scores, any criminal behavior, workplace demerits, traffic tickets, suspicious travel, anomalous walk patters, TruVoice dings, HereMe revelations, PrefCom adherence…” Those with scores that aren’t in the upper echelon gave less access to medicine, housing, and jobs. It’s frightening because each of those things seem so readily possible in the near future, which is when Eggers sets the book. Along the way he skewers the income disparity that we see in the present, such as the imagery of the homeless living in makeshift camps at the periphery of Treasure Island adjacent to the company with the “greatest and most insidious concentration of power and wealth in human history” - “providing the starkest reminder of what happens when a society has a threadbare safety net and no plan for those who fall through it – and, more pointedly, what happens when the largest companies in the state and the nation and world somehow find ways to avoid paying taxes.” The satire of social justice warriors going overboard is also effective, especially in the chapter on a trip out to see elephant seals. Those who attend micro-examine every aspect, e.g. the nationality of the guy who made the sandwiches, the indiscretions in the lives of the rock stars on songs in a playlist they’re listening to, etc and get triggered by passing through farm land along the way, resulting in a real-time hailstorm of spiraling social media posts. Though a liberal and someone who undoubtedly sees the benefit of evil being called out and history re-examined, I loved how balanced Eggers was here in showing how this can also go wrong, and in fact be a part of creating an Orwellian environment. The book feels fantastical and exaggerated, and at the same time, horrifyingly realistic. The central paradox, the evil aspect of personal freedoms exercised in excess that destroy our world, vs. the evil aspect of authoritarianism taking away all freedom and dissent, feels incredibly relevant to our age. Quotes: On ambition and talent: “The Every did not hesitate to hire anyone exhibiting both talent and initiative, given the two were rarely found in the same person. The ambitious rarely had ideas, and the talented were often lazy or impossible to be near.” On freedom; the protagonist’s answer to the question, how is freedom best exercised? “Willfully. Irregularly. Through the refutation of custom. The breaking of patterns. The rational flouting of irrational rules. Keeping secrets. Being unseen. Solitude. Social indifference. Fighting ill-wrought power. Irreverence for authority. Moving without limit or schedule through the day and the world. Choosing when to participate and when to withdraw.” On the marketing changing the name of a device from HearMe to HereMe; I chuckled: “..just one of those unfortunate Every-isms that diminish the dignity of the species and shamed whomever had to type it.” On ratings: “So I see the movie, and afterward I walked out of the theater thinking I really enjoyed it. … Then I got on my phone to look at the aggregate score, and it was a 44! … So then I had to adjust my thinking … I mean, how is it that I liked this movie that was a 44? Clearly I’d missed some of its flaws an inflated what I did like about it. By the next day, I’d thought it through and knew where I’d erred. It was definitely a 44. That’s the last time I experience any kind of art before I have the numbers.” On social media and their obligation to publish the truth; I loved this takedown of the defense often used by companies like Facebook: “The idea that the Every is like a phone company, and is only carrying messages on wires with no obligation to the truth, is so dishonest it does not warrant a retort. They are publishers, for two reasons: one, the messages they send are seen by masses of people – sometimes billions – and two, they disseminate the printed word in a way that is permanent.” On tolerance: “A species that sits still, in a circle, staring at each other, cannot survive. We sit in constant judgment of each other, and thus are a species in decline. Nothing great can be created in such a climate. An authentic human life cannot be lived this way. We become more tame and fearful every year, every day, and every hour brings another thing we cannot do or cannot say, and in all cases, the penalty for violators is that they are thrown away – a kind of digital capital punishment. Every new generation purports to be more empathetic, and yet every new generation is less forgiving. And of course, with every coming year, technology ensures that no errors go unrecorded.”

  29. 5 out of 5

    Will Manuel

    Terrifying book. Puts our social media obsessions in perspective. Feels like it could happen soon. Eggers does a good job of creating a compelling, but scary tale of over obsession in many ways.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Evan

    Ok. Fuck this book and here's why. I liked The Circle. If I remember correctly it mostly came down to how an idealist can get seduced by power. The characters were all one-note and only really served as straw-men to come in for a scene to expouse their wrong ideas, which served as counterpoint to the protagonist/author's expressed point of view. But it was ultimately just a polemic, a philosophy expressed through stilted argument, like "The Fountainhead" but if Howard Roark decided to quit archit Ok. Fuck this book and here's why. I liked The Circle. If I remember correctly it mostly came down to how an idealist can get seduced by power. The characters were all one-note and only really served as straw-men to come in for a scene to expouse their wrong ideas, which served as counterpoint to the protagonist/author's expressed point of view. But it was ultimately just a polemic, a philosophy expressed through stilted argument, like "The Fountainhead" but if Howard Roark decided to quit architecture and just work as a real estate developer. At least the main character made a convincing heel turn, her early idealism curdled by money fame power etc. Thus a cautionary tale. The same basic narrative structure is intact here, though we never believe the protagonist has the smarts or guts to pull off her subversive mission, has no rational motivation for her actions, and is not seduced by The Every so much as convinces herself. When she meets her end in the final twist, we feel nothing as readers because her quest was always doomed, the stakes were never anything, The Every had already won (despite being staffed almost entirely by quiver-eyed imbeciles). Beyond The Circle retread, we get a littany of terrible tech ideas, each of which is so stupid and invasive that the world population immediately embraces each one with no reservations, so thirsty they are for objective, quantifiable truth. Eggers roots his dystopia in 2020 reality - does he really believe in 20 years humanity will turn wokeness and environmental activism into a global embrace of objectivity??? The author seems to fundamentally misread humanity at our current historical moment. Which, fine, but if you're building an eco-fascist cancel-culture-amok dystopia why even tie it to today's reality? Is Eggers afraid that we'll soon find ourselves in a leftist authoritarian nightmare, rather that the rising right-wing one? Expectations subverted, I guess! But my main criticism is that there are no interesting characters, few themes (sueveilance tech = bad), and a pervasive sense that the author is condescending to his readers, Eggersplaining the problems of the world while offering zero solutions, and cynically offering up every idealist to blood sacrafice, either subsumed by the system and mentally rattled, forced to suicide or outright murdered. The worst offense is the author's assumption that all humanity willingly accept the dictates of the eponymous global monopoly, when every single thing I know about human nature indicates that no totalizing schema for global society can ever be instituted, so long as there are internicine battles to be fought over inconsequential bullshit, eternally.

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