David Runciman

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The Hon. David Walter Runciman (born 1967) is a British academic who teaches politics and history 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 written and reviewed for The Guardian and for many other publications,[3] including the London Review of Books,[4] for whom he writes regularly about contemporary politics. His monograph, The Politics of Good Intentions, was adapted in part from his LRB articles.[5] Runciman has published six books. An adaptation of his PhD thesis was published in 1997 as Pluralism and the Personality of the State. His book Political Hypocrisy (2008), explores the political uses of hypocrisy from a historical perspective.[6] 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] In 2014, Profile Books published his book Politics: Ideas in Profile. Since 2015, Runciman has hosted a politics podcast called Talking Politics.


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, who has also written for the LRB.


After a book review in The Guardian of Antifragility by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Taleb referred to Runciman as the "second most stupid reviewer" of his works, arguing that Runciman had missed the concept of convexity, the theme of his book. "There are 607 references to convexity", Taleb wrote.[8][9]

Personal life[edit]

David Runciman is heir to his family's Viscountcy.[10] He is married to the food writer Bee Wilson.


  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. ^ Antifragile: How to Live in a World We Don't Understand by Nassim Nicholas Taleb – review by David Runciman The Guardian 21 November 2012
  9. ^ Response by Taleb
  10. ^ Crick, Michael (9 January 2008). "Happy families". BBC Newsnight blog. 

External links[edit]