Just from your review I understood that it was not at all a "regular person" kind of book. Sounds rather interesting, but seems to require a lot of knowledge ahead of reading. I'm sure there are a few /.ers that are genetic specialists and microbiologists that can enjoy.
And high school biology teachers only a background in marine biology and no formal training in genetics, genomics, and molecular biology to the extent presented in the book...
When this book first came out on Amazon, it was free for a period, and I managed to nab it then. It is an outstanding book, but it IS a long, heavy read (I imagine so, even for the experts, but maybe not). It probably really helped that I had read several of Dr. Koonin's papers over the years and was familiar with his style of writing and some of his work (I may be a mere HS biology teacher, but I'm nerd enough to enjoy reading research papers for fun). It also helped that I am fascinated by the subject and have done my best to get caught up on the latest stuff happening, both for my own understanding and for teaching to my students so they will have some idea what is going on in the field *now* when they graduate.
Anyway, FWIW, I left a review on Amazon. Here is what I wrote:
This book is targeted at the experts but can be understood well enough by knowledgeable amateurs with some background in genomics (even unofficial; mine comes from my hobby of reading research papers because I am fascinated with biology). Having already read a good number of Dr. Koonin's papers as well as several others referenced in the book helped.
Anyway, this was a fascinating, thought-provoking read, though it was also rather difficult. Koonin's writing style, which serves him quite well in academic papers, doesn't translate extremely well to a full length book. For the sake of comparison, because both books seem to be targeted at a similar level crowd, it is not as readable as "The Extended Phenotype" by Richard Dawkins.
However, the ideas are fascinating, and this book seems to be an excellent overview of modern genomics research and what it tells us about what we understand and misunderstand about evolution. I certainly learned a lot about these topics as well as directions that future research will be taking. While I was less than impressed with some of the conclusions near the end (for example, the appeal to MWO and weak Anthropic Principal seemed to me to be a cop-out and at best should be a hypothesis of last resort).
However, I am not an expert, just an interested knowledgeable amateur, so I am not in the best position to judge Dr. Koonin's interpretations of the various data and research. But, whether his interpretations are spot on or not, they are certainly quite thought provoking, and will certainly serve science by creating discussion and lying groundwork for real testable hypotheses of all of the topics of genomics and evolution he discussed.
If you are very interested in biology, genetics, genomics, and evolution, you will want to read this book.
All in all, it's a good book. However, many will find that it isn't worth the $40 price tag unless they are actually people really interested in and fairly familiar with this field. It's definitely targeted at the scientists, not the general non-expert public.