This book appears to owe its existence to Amazon, surely one of the world’s greatest monuments to capitalism. At a conference in Seattle in the autumn of 2018, Martin Vander Weyer was offered a choice of recreational trips and plumped for a visit to Amazon’s headquarters. After all, he relished the astonishing convenience the company provided and admired the way it allowed third-party vendors to use it as a platform, but felt it displayed many of the traits he most loathed in big brash firms: a determination to pay as little tax as possible, ‘hollowed-out employment practices’ and a ‘secretive and authoritarian internal culture’.
Arriving at Amazon’s headquarters in the hope of learning more, however, he was unceremoniously kicked out of the group. His name, it transpired, had been blacklisted by the PR folk. This made him reflect more broadly on a business that had brought so much convenience, made its owner