I first saw this book reviewed on New Scientist and being a believer in UFO/alien stories I convinced myself to buy it. I must say this book completely shattered my views on extraterrestial life. In the space of two weeks I turned from a alien/UFO half-believer to a complete skeptic when it comes to alien visitations. The author, aside from being a top scientist is also a very good writer and makes a very powerful case for the possibility of alien life in the universe while at the same time rubbishing conspiracy theories and alien abductions and related such. What Dr Shostak argues made a lot of sense to me since his ideas are based on solid scientific methods and not pie-in-the-sky stuff.
A thoroughly enjoyable read and would wholeheartedly recommend it.
I have read a lot of Seth Shotaks articles from the SETI Institute for a number of years, and always found them really thought provoking. The book is even better. Once I picked it up - I couldn't put it down. His logic seems impeccable, the book not only contains the work of a first class scientist, it is written with feeling and humour. Buy it
Dr Seth Shostack is the senior astronomer at SETI in California, and having spent his life searching, scientifically, for 'little green guys' as he likes to call them, he knows his stuff. He's optimistic about SETI's search, despite it's lack of success so far, and this book retells the history of the institute and it's future prospects and hopes. It's very well written, and Seth's enthusiasm and love of science and astronomy runs throughout. It's also pretty non technical, meaning amateur science nerds will be able to enjoy the big picture without getting too bogged down with the actual astrophysics and quantum theory behind it all.
I listened to this book in audio form, and while the reader did a good job I was disappointed it wasn't Seth himself behind the mic. Seth has a regular radio show/podcast and is fantastic to listen to, so it's a real shame he didn't read his own book.
I would also recommend reading another book on SETI which came out at much the same time as Seth's. It's called The Eerie Silence: Are We Alone in the Universe? and is by another top SETI scientist - Paul Davies. The contrast between Seth's outlook and Paul's is stark, as Davies takes a far more pessimistic view on our chances of making contact. Both are very interesting however and to my eyes, equally valid viewpoints. I just hope that Seth's view turns out to be right in the end.