Sir Anthony Seldon

Sir Anthony Seldon served as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Buckingham from 2015 to 2020, and is one of Britain’s leading contemporary historians, educationalists, commentators and political authors.

For 20 years he was a transformative headmaster, first at Brighton College and then Wellington College, one of the country’s leading independent schools. He is the author or editor of over 35 books on contemporary history, including ‘insider’ accounts on the last four prime ministers.

Anthony is a leading authority on contemporary British history and education, and the honorary historian of 10 Downing Street.

He was co-founder and first director of the Institute of Contemporary British History, and co-founder of Action for Happiness. He is the UK Special Representative for Saudi Education, a member of the government’s First World War Culture Committee, and is a former chair of the Comment Awards. He is a director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, the President of IPEN (International Positive Education Network), and patron or on the board of several charities. He is the founder of the Via Sacra Western Front Walk, and was executive producer of the film Journey’s End.

Sir Anthony appears regularly on TV and radio and in the press, and writes for several national newspapers. His views are regularly sought by the government and political parties. For the last 15 years he has given all the profits from his writing and lecturing to charity.


The Impossible Office?: The History of the British Prime Minister

Sir Anthony Seldon with Jonathan Meakin and Illias Thoms

Marking the third centenary of the office of Prime Minister, this book tells its extraordinary story, explaining how and why it has endured longer than any other democratic political office in world history. Sir Anthony Seldon, historian of Number 10 Downing Street, explores the lives and careers, loves and scandals, successes and failures, of all our great Prime Ministers. From Robert Walpole and William Pitt the Younger, to Clement Attlee and Margaret Thatcher, Seldon discusses which of our Prime Ministers have been most effective and why. He reveals the changing relationship between the Monarchy and the office of the Prime Minister in intimate detail, describing how the increasing power of the Prime Minister in becoming leader of Britain coincided with the steadily falling influence of the Monarchy. This book celebrates the humanity and frailty, work and achievement, of these 55 remarkable individuals, who averted revolution and civil war, leading the country through times of peace, crisis and war.

‘With a rich knowledge of our prime ministers and the eye of an expert historian, Anthony Seldon has produced a stimulating and enjoyable study of the unceasing development of their power and role.’

— William Hague

‘A tremendous, magisterial book, informed and underpinned by brilliant historical and political insight. A triumph.’

— William Boyd

‘a brilliant, panoramic survey […] a must read.’

— Andrew Adonis

‘Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand both how Downing Street works and the extraordinary characters of those who have lived there. ‘

— Rachel Sylvester

May at 10

Sir Anthony Seldon with Raymond Newell

Theresa May has presided over the most dramatic and historic peacetime premiership for a century. May at 10 tells the compelling inside story of the most turbulent period in modern British politics for 100 years.

Written by one of Britain’s leading political and social commentators, May at 10 describes how Theresa May arrived in 10 Downing Street in 2016 with the clearest, yet toughest, agenda of any Prime Minister since the Second World War: delivering Brexit. What follows defies belief or historical precedent. This story has never been told.

Including a comprehensive series of interviews with May’s closest aides and allies, and with unparalleled access to the advisers who shaped her premiership, Downing Street’s official historian Anthony Seldon decodes the enigma of the Prime Minister’s tenure. Drawing on all his authorial experience, he unpacks what is the most intriguing government and Prime Minister of the modern era.

“absorbing and revelatory”

— Andrew Rawnsley

“Seldon has done the nation and historians a service by digging deep into what went wrong inside May’s No 10”

— Julian Glover


— Tim Shipman


— Quentin Letts

“A treasure trove”

— Stephen Bush

The Fourth Education Revolution: How Artificial Intelligence is Changing the Face of Education

Sir Anthony Seldon with Oladimeji Abidoye

Four Propositions in the Fourth Education Revolution:

‘Schools and universities in the developed world are doing a good job overall at preparing students…for the 20th century’

‘We have schools 180 degrees wrong: we are educating our young to become more like machines, like robots; but digital technology and AI machines will always outperform us. Instead, we need to be educating our young to become more fully human.’

‘Our politicians, educators and administrators the world over are asleep to the fourth education revolution hurtling towards us…’

‘AI is the biggest change to education since the printing press… If we can take the right decisions, we will see the biggest enhancement of human fulfilment and happiness the world has seen. Get it wrong and the quality of our life will suffer a catastrophic loss.’

The conclusion…

‘Nothing matters more than education if we are to see AI liberate, not infantalise, humanity.’

Cameron at 10

Sir Anthony Seldon & Peter Snowdon

Six years in the making, Cameron at 10 is the gripping inside story of the Cameron premiership, based on over 300 in-depth interviews with senior figures in 10 Downing Street, including the Prime Minister himself.

From the early heady days of the Rose Garden partnership with the Liberal Democrats to the momentous EU referendum, Cameron at 10 highlights all the most dramatic moments in an exceptionally turbulent period in British politics. The book contains all the highs and lows on the domestic front, from the London riots to the Scottish referendum,  and provides revealing insights into Cameron’s relationships with foreign leaders, particularly German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Barack Obama.

With unprecedented access to the inner circle of politicians and civil servants that surround the Prime Minister, including Chancellor George Osborne and former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg , this is the most intimate account of a serving prime minister ever published.

‘Explosive… authoritative yet uncompromisingly tough… a gripping and at times astonishing account of the people who rule us.’

— Mail on Sunday

‘These pages are a masterclass in so-called “tick-tock” narrative – a minute-by-minute account, studded with detailed recollections and observations… A formidable achievement…Magisterial… If I were Mr Corbyn, I’d get busy reading.’

— Matthew D’Ancona, Evening Standard

‘While Lord Ashcroft may have started a brief craze for pig jokes…the more interesting (and damaging) disclosures come in the other new book about him, Cameron at 10 by Anthony Seldon and Peter Snowdon.’

— Fraser Nelson, Telegraph

Beyond Happiness: How to Find Lasting Meaning and Joy in All That You Have

Sir Anthony Seldon

As Britain’s best-known headmaster, Anthony Seldon famously introduced happiness, or well-being, lessons at his school, Wellington College. In 2011, he co-founded Action for Happiness, a body to raise awareness of the discovery of happiness and reduction of depression, whose influence is growing rapidly in Britain and across the world.

In this book Sir Anthony distinguishes between pleasure, happiness and joy, and offers an original eight-step approach on how to make our lives far more meaningful and rewarding. The pursuit of happiness can all too easily become a trap which seduces us into thinking there is no more to life than being happy. In fact, the author is highly critical of ‘positive psychology’ and other dominant schools of thought.

He argues that we need to reach beyond this if we are to access the deepest levels of human experience open to us, and find our own unique path in life. He offers a further five steps, which point the way to accessing these deeper levels of experience, which alone result in the joyful life which is our birth right.

Paradoxically, as this book demonstrates, stepping off the happiness treadmill will ultimately make for a happier and more fulfilled life. It is time to go beyond happiness.

‘This book is simply brilliant. Informative, moving and comprehensive, a masterfully written exploration of the challenging road we all journey on as we seek a life of happiness.’

— Tanya Byron

‘A beyond brilliant and important book. Seldon’s exploration of how to move from superficial pleasure to happiness and ultimately joy gripped me from the first page. This is a book at once wise and passionate about making the most of your time on earth. I had a sense of peace and coming home when I finished: the book has been my constant companion since.’

— Rachel Kelly, author of Black Rainbow

‘A brilliant plea for a happiness that goes beyond the self.’

— Richard Layard

Brown at 10

Sir Anthony Seldon & Guy Lodge

Gordon Brown’s three years in power were among the most turbulent in Downing Street’s post-war history. Brown at 10 tells the compelling story of his hubris and downfall, and with it, the final demise of the New Labour project.

Containing an extraordinary breadth of previously unpublished material, Brown at 10 is a frank, penetrating portrait of a remarkable era, written by one of Britain’s leading political and social commentators.

Using unrivalled access to many of those at the centre of Brown’s government, and original material gleaned from hundreds of hours of interviews with many of its leading lights, Brown at 10 looks with greater depth and detail into the signal events and circumstances of Brown’s premiership than any other account published since the May 2010 general election.

It also relates, for the first time, the full extraordinary tale of the pivotal role played by Brown in persuading the world’s leaders to address the global banking crisis head-on.

The result is the definitive chronicle of Gordon Brown’s troubled period in Number 10, from the unique perspective of those who worked most closely with him.

‘The must-read account of Brown’s highly tempestuous premiership.’

— Nick Robinson, BBC

Blair Unbound

Sir Anthony Seldon

The first volume of Anthony Seldon’s riveting and definitive life of Tony Blair was published to great acclaim in 2004. Now, as the Labour Party and the country get used to the idea of a new leader and a new Prime Minister, Seldon delivers the most complete, authoritative and compelling account yet of the Blair premiership.

Picking up the story in dramatic fashion on 11 September 2001, Seldon recaps very briefly Blair’s trajectory to what may now be regarded as the high-point of his leadership, and then brings us right up-to-date as he hands over the reins to his arch-rival, Gordon Brown.

Based on hundreds of original interviews with key insiders, many of whose views have hitherto been kept private, Blair Unbound serves both as a fascinating ‘volume two’ of this masterclass in political biography and a highly revealing and compelling book in its own right.

‘One message is already clear, that modern government cannot work if its leadership is perpetually at odds with itself. In telling that tale, Seldon could not be bettered.’

— Simon Jenkins, Sunday Times

‘This is as fair a judgement on a Prime Minister as you’re going to get…frank and fascinating.’

— Mary Riddell, Observer