Network Books


Ruskinland: How John Ruskin Shapes Our World, by Andrew Hill

Ruskinland: How John Ruskin Shapes Our World, by Andrew Hill


Hardback – 145 x 223 mm – 304 pages

£2 discount when ordered here (RRP £19.99)

When Andrew Hill discovered Ruskin’s social criticism in 2009, he immediately saw the parallels with the debate raging about the causes and consequences of the financial crisis and wrote in the Financial Times about the lessons found in Ruskin’s work.

In Ruskinland, he builds on Ruskin’s pin-sharp appreciation of art and architecture, his extraordinary draughtsmanship, and his insistence that to see and draw the world is the best way to understand it better. This vision has new relevance in the age of YouTube and Instagram, while Ruskin’s radical ideas have fresh relevance to how we run our lives, our governments, our museums, our galleries and our companies.

Ruskin was the Victorian age's best-known and most controversial intellectual. He was an art critic, a social activist, an early environmentalist; he was also a painter, writer, and determined tastemaker in the fields of architecture and design. His ideas, which poured from his pen in the second half of the 19th century, sowed the seeds of the modern welfare state, universal state education and healthcare free at the point of delivery. His acute appreciation of natural beauty underpinned the National Trust, while his sensitivity to environmental change, decades before it was considered other than a local phenomenon, fuelled the modern green movement. His violent critique of free market economics, Unto This Last, has a claim to being one of the most influential political pamphlets ever written.

William Morris and Mahatma Gandhi were just some of the many figures whose lives were changed radically by reading Ruskin, and who went on to change the world with their own ideas and actions. Yet within a few years of his death, Ruskin’s legacy seemed to disappear.

In Ruskinland, part travelogue, part quest, part unconventional biography, Hill retraces Ruskin's steps, telling his exceptional and tragic life story, unearthing his influence, talking to people and visiting places – from Venice to Florida’s Gulf coast – where Ruskin’s foresighted ideas are, sometimes unexpectedly, still alive today.

Andrew Hill is an Associate Editor and Management Editor of the Financial Times. He writes a weekly column on business, strategy and leadership, as well as contributing longer features, videos and podcasts and appearing regularly at conferences and on panels. He was named Business Commentator of the Year 2016 in the Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards. He is also the author of Leadership in the Headlines (2016).

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