David Runciman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Hon. David Walter Runciman (born 1967) is a British political scientist who teaches political theory at Cambridge University, where he is Head of the Department of Politics and International Studies, Professor of Politics, and a fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge.[1] He was educated at Eton College, where he won the Newcastle Scholarship, and Trinity College, Cambridge.[2]

Runciman has worked as a columnist for The Guardian newspaper and written for many other publications.[3] He currently writes about politics for the London Review of Books.[4] His monograph, The Politics of Good Intentions, was adapted in part from his LRB articles.[5] His book, Political Hypocrisy (2008), explores the political uses of hypocrisy from a historical perspective.[6] His latest book, The Confidence Trap: A History of Democracy in Crisis from World War I to the Present (2013), lays out his theory of the threat of democratic overconfidence.[7]

Runciman is heir to his family's Viscountcy.[8]


He is the great nephew of the historian, Sir Steven Runciman, and his father, Viscount Runciman, Garry Runciman, is a noted political scientist and academic,[9] who has also written for the LRB. He specialises in the development of the theory of the modern state and on aspects of contemporary politics.[10]


After a book review in The Guardian of Antifragility by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, that author referred to Runciman as the "second most stupid reviewer" of his works, arguing that Runciman had missed the concept of convexity, the theme of Taleb's book. "There are 607 references to convexity", Taleb wrote.[11][12]

Personal life[edit]

David Runciman is married to the food writer Bee Wilson.

Titles and styles[edit]

  • David Walter Runciman 01 March 1967 - 01 September 1989
  • Honourable David Walter Runciman 01 September 1989 -


  1. ^ "David Runciman". Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), University of Cambridge. Retrieved 6 March 2016. 
  2. ^ O'Reilly, Judith (1 September 2008). "David Cameron's reading list made me the dinner guest from Hell". The Times. 
  3. ^ "The Politics of Good Intentions". Barnes and Noble. 
  4. ^ "LRB: David Runciman". London Review of Books. Retrieved 8 February 2010. 
  5. ^ Rowat, Alison (18 February 2006). "From Berlin to Baghdad David Runciman argues that there is little we haven't seen before in the new world order". The Herald. 
  6. ^ Dunne, Tim (17 July 2008). "Political Hypocrisy: The Mask of Power, from Hobbes to Orwell and Beyond". Times Higher Education. 
  7. ^ Bogdanor, Vernon (14 November 2013). "The Confidence Trap by David Runciman: Are we too complacent about democracy?". New Statesman. 
  8. ^ Crick, Michael (9 January 2008). "Happy families". BBC Newsnight blog. 
  9. ^ "Woman behind "soft" policy on cannabis has addict relative". Daily Mail. 15 July 2007. 
  10. ^ "David Runciman". University of Cambridge POLIS department. Archived from the original on 11 February 2010. Retrieved 8 February 2010. 
  11. ^ Antifragile: How to Live in a World We Don't Understand by Nassim Nicholas Taleb – review by David Runciman The Guardian 21 November 2012
  12. ^ Response by Taleb

External links[edit]