Saul Perlmutter: How To Make Smarter Judgments & Wiser Decisions


Saul Perlmutter, Nobel Laureate 2011 for Physics, in his office.

There’s a lot that’s remarkable about the new book, Third Millennium Thinking: Creating Sense in a World of Nonsense, starting with the fact that one of its three co-authors is a Nobel laureate who earned the Nobel prize in physics for discovering the accelerating expansion of the universe.

One might imagine that UC Berkeley professor, Saul Perlmutter could have written this book on his own, but instead, he intentionally collaborated with two people way outside of his own discipline: John Campbell – a philosophy professor at Berkeley – and Robert MacCoun – a social psychologist and law professor Stanford University.

Before working together on their book, the authors teamed up in developing a wildly popular UC Berkeley course, designed to teach students how to better understand the world and make informed decisions in an era of uncertainty and overwhelming data. It emphasizes how processes used in the practice of science can provide widely-applicable tools for approaching individual and collective decision-making.

One of Perlmutter’s gifts is his ability to simplify complex ideas and, in this conversation, he explains why every decision we make as leaders is really a bet – we’re rarely guaranteed that our choices will be the right ones – and why despite the fact that uncertainty makes us all really nervous and uncomfortable, we can use it in a way that allows us to have strong confidence in what we’re doing.

Yes, that’s a paradox – but what did you expect from a guest like this?

Saul Perlmutter is brilliant and relatable – and he shares some wonderful disciplines you can put to immediate use.

By Mark C. Crowley

Mark C. Crowley is the author of Lead From The Heart: Transformational Leadership For The 21st Century which has been taught in 11 American universities. He is a global speaker, leadership consultant and thought leader on the topics of workplace culture and employee engagement.