After graduating from London University (Birkbeck College) at the age of 17, and then from Christ Church, Oxford (with Firsts from both), Theodore Zeldin helped to build up St Antony's College, Oxford as the university's postgraduate centre for international studies, and was its Dean for thirteen years.
His history books have focused on the role of the individual and of the emotions in every aspect of life. His 2000 page History of French Passions, in five volumes: Ambition and Love, Intellect and Pride, Taste and Corruption, Anxiety and Hypocrisy, Politics and Anger, won Britain's top historical award, the Wolfson Prize. It also gave him a unique status as "the most popular Englishman in France" (Le Point). He is frequently invited to speak on French radio and television, and to French business and public authorities. He was president of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais Planning Commission in 1993-5, adviser to the French Millennium Commission, and presenter of the Prime Minister's web site. He has been made a Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters of France and called "the world's foremost authority on Frenchness" by Time Magazine.
His book on Happiness, his Intimate History of Humanity and his BBC lectures on Conversation marked the expansion of his research to the art of living. His writings have been translated into 24 languages. He became a member of the BBC Brains Trust and made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
His project on The Future of Work, initiated with support from the European Commission, inaugurated his development of a new model for business. Picked as an international thought leader by Fast Company, and as "one of Britain's leading intellects" by Management Today's New Guru Guide, he has been active in the executive leadership programmes of Templeton College Oxford and been made a Professor honoris causa of HEC, the Paris Business School, and a Fellow of the World Economic Forum. He has been invited to address and advise top decision-makers in finance, law, medicine, IT, consulting, transport, manufacturing, design, arts, advertising, government, and international organisations. The Independent on Sunday named him as one of the forty world figures whose ideas could have "a lasting relevance in the new millennium".
He is a Patron of the new National Academy of Writing, on the Management Committee of the Society of Authors, a Trustee of the Wytham Hall Medical Charity for the Homeless and the Amar International Appeal for refugees, co-founder and chairman of the Oxford Food Symposium for the study of international gastronomy. He has been a visiting professor at Harvard and the University of Southern California, and has lectured in 15 countries.
He is married to Deirdre Wilson, the co-inventor of the Theory of Relevance. They live in an Art Deco House outside Oxford. His hobbies are painting, gardening and mending things.