I totally agree with your high estimate of Gould's writing talents: along with Steve Jones and Richard Fortey, he is one of the great popularizers of our time. His early death was truly a sad loss to us all.
However, you should be aware that his central point in Wonderful Life, about multiple body plans evolving and then dying out in the Cambrian, is no longer accepted by scientists. The turn-around came as a result of work by Simon Conway Morris, much praised in Gould's book, who showed later on that the "new" body plans were simply versions of things we already knew. Morris wrote his own popular account of this, The Crucible of Creation. Fortey covers the acrimonious controversy that resulted in his excellent book "Trilobite!" (yes, complete with exclamation mark: I blame the publisher).
It is hardly fair to criticize Gould for getting this wrong, since these conclusions were only arrived at after he had written his own book, though he was perhaps a little to blame for being so dogmatic about his views. But that was often part of his charm: at least you knew where you stood with Gould. Personally I think Gould will in the long run be appreciated not mainly for his theoretical contributions (all too often mistaken) but for his excellence as a historian of science. His account in Wonderful Life of the discovery - and rediscovery - of the Burgess shales is quite brilliant.
I just wish someone would now write an updated version of this book. For as long as it continues to be published without any critical commentary, people who haven't heard of the new findings will continue to be persuaded of what is basically a complete misinterpretation of the evidence from the Burgess shales. That is in itself a kind of back-handed tribute to Gould: few other people could write so persuasively in support of an error.