Born in Edmonton, North London, Anthony Giddens was the first member of his family to go to university. He was educated at the University of Hull and the London School of Economics and went on to teach at the University of Leicester and at Cambridge as Professor of Sociology.
From 1999 to 2003 Lord Giddens was Director of the LSE. He is currently a Life Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and was made a Life Peer in May 2004.
Lord Giddens is a Fellow of the American Academy of Science and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and has sat on the board of various public organisations, including the Institute of Public Policy Research.
His books – of which there are at least 40 - have been translated into some 40 different languages.
As one of the most prominent figures in modern sociology, Giddens is best known for his theory of structuration and his holistic view of modern societies. In 2007 he was the fifth most-referenced author of books across the humanities.
Major works include Capitalism and Modern Social Theory (1971), The Constitution of Society (1984), and his more recent critiques of postmodernity and discussion of “third way” politics, including The Consequences of Modernity (1990) and The Third Way: The Renewal of Social Democracy (1998). His most recent work is Turbulent and Mighty Continent: What Future for Europe? (2014).
Lord Giddens’ impact upon politics has been profound. His advice has been sought by political leaders from Asia, Latin America and Australia, as well as from the US and Europe.
Quotes from Lord Gidden's speech at his graduation ceremony on 14th July 2016
"You come to university and you think, God there’s three years, I’m going to be here, it’s like an eternity stretching here for ever. And then on graduation day you ask yourself where the hell did it all go? Unfortunately I can tell you that’s a metaphor for life itself. Where on earth did it all go?"
"I would implore you to do one thing. Please stand up for cosmopolitan values. We live in a world which is fractured and divided - the return of national division - but this is the most interdependent world ever, ever, ever. We have to live alongside people who think differently to ourselves."
"I leave you with one or two of the sayings of one of history’s greatest thinkers, Woody Allen. He said something I recommend as a formula for every student here: 80% of success is turning up....
“...You may not get what that means but it will now lodge in your minds forever. What that means is you don’t have success without commitment, you don’t have success without drive, you don’t have success in life without will power to get there....”
“...I would say of the remaining 20 per cent, 10 per cent is hazard and contingency. I couldn’t even get into university in the beginning, I sneaked in through a back door to a university I’d never even heard of. Only about 5% is what I’d define as talent. 80% of success is showing up.”