Although the orthodox view is that evolution doesn't follow any predefined direction, it certainly looks as if it is progressing towards higher forms. In Life's solution:Inevitable Humans in a lonely universe
Simon Conway Morris argues that evolution does indeed have a direction of progress. The first part of the book examines the origin of life on earth, and indeed the origin of the Earth itself, and so poses the question of the uniqueness of the types living things we see around us - is life elsewhere in the universe likely to be similar to that here? Conway Morris thinks that if there are suitable planets then it will be, but that such planets may be rarer than we think.
In the second half of the book Conway Morris discusses convergent evolution, arguing that this is the norm rather than the exception, and giving plenty of fascinating examples along the way.
At times I felt the book was rather hard going - this is something I've found to be very common in books dealing with the origin of life on Earth. In this case it's rather a pity since the material isn't really that hard to understand, and the book has lots of material to interest the reader. So if you don't mind a few long words, and want to see a challenge to some of the orthodox views on evolution then you're likely to enjoy reading this book