That Man in the Cardboard Box

When Jeff Bezos came to lunch at TIME last month, the second most noticeable thing about him was his laugh, a loud rat-a-tat-tat that startled some of us at first and then became infectious. The most noticeable thing about Bezos, however, was his intelligent passion. He fervently believes that he and Amazon.com will change shopping forever and that it is only a matter of time before you buy just about everything you need, from toothpaste to Tiffany lamps, on the Web.

We don't know how right Bezos is, but as the driving force behind the striking growth in Internet commerce over...

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