In JEFF BEZO’s last annual letter to shareholders as Amazon’s CEO, published in March, he encouraged his company, other companies and people to pay attention to a fundamental fact of biology explained by Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist. That said, living things have to work hard to distinguish themselves from their surroundings just to ward off death. “The world wants you to be typical,” wrote Mr Bezos. “Don’t let it happen.”

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The story of Amazon is far from typical. Thanks to Mr. Bezos’ request that the company’s employees act every day as if it were “day one” at a young startup, revenues have continued to rise, past the point where most companies are on balance, stagnation and head for decline.

Mr Bezos’ first strange idea of ​​selling books through a new medium called the web has been followed by others. It was after Amazon launched the fancy …

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