Was I disappointed? Well, yes and no. It's a readable account of Guest's experiences of virtual living, alongside an exploration of the wider industry, with the main focus on the website, Second Life. Guest looks at the way in which users engage with virtual communities, interviewing a range of different people. He spends time with a physically disabled group who find their voice via the internet, chats with the ruler of an entire virtual world and finds out how one woman made in excess of $1 million through virtual acquisitions. His writing style is easy to follow, and insightful. He's always trying to probe beneath the surface, to find out why people prefer to live imaginary lives and he succeeds...to a certain extent.
Unfortunately, the book fails on two counts. The first concerns the relevance of the subject. The book was written in 2006 so it's already 4 years out of date - a long time in IT. Sadly, this could never have been more than a historical record.
The second problem wasn't as serious, but it irked me. The structure was rambling and choppy. It was as if Guest had tried to stuff extra material in at the back, glossing over several topics at once. He also kept changing his approach - sometimes taking an emotional stance, and other times, maintaining a textbook style. I suppose that I would have liked one or the other.
Overall, though, Second Lives, did give me the insight that I was looking for, and I think it's a shame that Guest's writing career was cut so short. He had the potential to be a fine non-fiction author.