Sonny Figueroa/The New York Times

Has anyone out there read the book – “The Circle” by Dave Eggers?

I read this book after I had decided to sign up for COETAIL – a few months ago, but I can assure you the path the protagonist takes led me to wonder about my decision.  Would I become a Mae Holland? Tied to tweets, connected to 6 screens and to no one at the same time? Falling asleep clutching my smartphone?

Reading through an interview with the author a particular line seemed lay hanging in my mind – granted it was the last sentence I read….

“But in general, I tried to write a book that wasn’t so much about the technology itself, but more about its implications for our sense of humanity and balance.” Dave Eggers, from

Connecting through some of the early readings and through many of the posts of fellow COETAILers; balance, seems to be an incredibly important element to our use of technology.  In fact our school is in the midst of speaking about a balanced online presence in our Advisory program.

This “balance” is promoted through our tech integrator’s initiatives.  Paradoxically, I find myself wondering about the need of a “humanity” integrator?

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 1.11.54 PM
Created by Matthew McGrady – words by Dave Eggers

Perhaps too much?

The dystopian world that Dave Eggers pictures is probably not that far off, if not already here.

Two very interesting concepts from the book that I also keep returning too are these totems of “The Circle” – SECRETS ARE LIES and PRIVACY IS THEFT.

Screen Shot 2014-02-11 at 1.12.30 PM
Created by Matthew McGrady – words by Dave Eggers

 Anyone have any thoughts about these statements?  I find every time I read them I need to re – read them to have them sink in.


4 thoughts on “COETAIL Thinking about the "Circle"

  1. Matt,

    I love your post. Unfortunately, I haven’t read The Circle, although your post has piqued my interest. Another recent book that you reminded me of was A Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart.

    Balance—what a great way of distilling some of the issues that I have been grappling with. Those posters that you made instantly reminded me of Orwell’s appendix to 1984. Orwell’s basic point, there and elsewhere (one thinks of Politics and The English Language) is that how we speak affects how we thing. I think that you and Eggers push that into the idea that how we interact with the latest connective technology deeply impacts our connections and thoughts.
    Thanks so much for the post.


    1. Philip – the book is very Owelian – frightening – I’ll have to check out the book you mention. Dave Eggers is one of my favorite authors. I’m just finishing up another of his books “A Hologram for the King” – stellar read as well, about a troubled business trying to find redemption and other things in Saudi Arabia selling holographic technology.


  2. Balance is such an important topic in every school these days. I’m curious to know what sorts of initiatives you have going to help promote this?

    And thanks for the book recommendation. If/when I have a free minute (balance???) I’d love to check it out!


    1. Clint, my first rule to balance is work on COETAIL when my wife is working on COETAIL. Working with my spouse is the greatest thing in the world, taking the COETAIL journey together is an added excitement. We have a rule to read the articles individually drafting our ideas and then bounce our ideas off each other. Talk about a tight network. Our upcoming arrival of the new McGrady will mean our network will jump to 3 – I wonder if SUNY could give the little one a few credits on osmotic principles?


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