Upcoming Events: San Francisco

Wed 6/1

Image - Jan Ellison

A Small Indiscretion

Date: Wed, June 01, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Jan Ellison, Author, A Small Indiscretion

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Jan Ellison's debut novel, A Small Indiscretion, was a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2015. A graduate of Stanford, Jan left college for a year at 19 to study French in Paris, work in an office in London, and try her hand at writing. Twenty years later, her notes from that year became the germ of her acclaimed debut. She will discuss that journey, along with the long and winding road — paved with rejection and revision — to publishing her first short story, which went on to win an O. Henry Prize.

Thu 6/2

Image - Sherry Turkle

Managing the Impact of Technology on Our Lives

Date: Thu, June 02, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Sherry Turkle, Ph.D, Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology, Program in Science, Technology and Society; MIT; Founder and Director, MIT Initiative on Technology and Self; Harvard Centennial Medalist; Ms. Magazine Woman of the Year; Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Sherry Turkle, M.I.T. professor, researcher, consultant and author, will discuss the timely topic of digital influences on our personal lives, from how we relate to our family, friends, and lovers, plus how technology affects how we think, conduct our business, our productivity, creativity and innovation. The emphasis will be on the strategies to reintroduce conversation and put technology in a supporting, not default, mode of communication.

Referred to by many as the "Margaret Mead of digital culture," Professor Turkle has 30 years of experience researching the psychology of people’s relationship with technology. She is the author of Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age and Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other. She has a long list of awards and honors, has delighted audiences on all the major networks, and has been featured in The New York Times, Scientific American, and many other publications.

A Perfect Brew: Blue Bottle Coffee and Japan's Culture

Date: Thu, June 02, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

James Freeman, Founder and CEO, Blue Bottle Coffee; Author, The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee

The Bay Area’s own Blue Bottle Coffee is known for its delicious coffee, clean, modern spaces and rapid expansion. Entering the Japanese market had been a longtime dream for Blue Bottle Coffee founder James Freeman, an enthusiastic fan of Japanese culture. Blue Bottle uses Japanese equipment and embraces the Japanese tradition of kodawari, or pursuit of perfection in one’s craft. Freeman has made numerous visits to Japan, and recently celebrated the opening of a Blue Bottle outlet in Tokyo.

Join us as Freeman shares the story of Blue Bottle’s Japan market entry, from adjustments the company made to Japanese culture (and what they didn’t change), to its most interesting and surprising Japan experiences, as well as the inspiration he draws from Japan’s traditions.

Fri 6/3

Image - Robert Heller

The Unlikely Governor: From the Caves to the Federal Reserve

Date: Fri, June 03, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Robert Heller, Former Governor of the Federal Reserve Board; Former President, VISA U.S.A.; Author, The Unlikely Governor

This event is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Robert Heller chronicles his journey from the caves and cellars of war-ravaged Germany to the United States and his eventual rise to be a governor of the Federal Reserve Board and president and CEO of VISA USA. Accompanied by never-ending disasters, his career takes him through academia, business and government service as he witnesses the collapse of the international monetary system, the near failure of Bank of America and the most monumental banking crisis in U.S. history. 

Mon 6/6

Image - Annastacia Palaszczuk

Queensland, Australia Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk

Date: Mon, June 06, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Queensland as the gateway to Asia-Pacific investment.

Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk, MP, Premier of Queensland, Australia
Jeffrey Bleich, Former U.S. Ambassador to Australia—Moderator
Introduction by Dr. Jaleh Daie, Member, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors

Queensland is Australia’s second largest state and the third most populous, with more than 4.5 million inhabitants. The Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk MP, premier of Queensland, is one of her country’s leading political figures.

She will outline how her state is diversifying its economy from a traditional reliance on natural resources to innovation and ideas, and the potential that Queensland has as a launchpad for investment in the Asia-Pacific. She will also discuss the strategic importance of Australia to the world economy and international security. Ms Palaszczuk holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland, Master of Arts (Hons) from the University of London, Bachelor of Laws from the University of Queensland, and a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the Australian National University.

Image - Adrianna Quintero

Environment and Climate Action: Priority for Latinos

Date: Mon, June 06, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Adrianna Quintero, Director and Founder, Voces Verdes; Director, Partner Engagement, Natural Resources Defense Council

The Hispanic Public Policy Agenda, of the National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), has designated environment and climate action as a priority for Latinos. The NHLA emphasizes the importance of Hispanic leadership on critical environmental and sustainable issues to their communities and neighborhoods.

Latinos face some of the most serious environmental problems. They disproportionately suffer the effects of environmental harm and climate change. Latinos are among the most concerned about climate impacts and some of the most committed to calling for action to address and move toward a clean energy future. For Latino families and communities, environmental issues are real and personal not just for now but for earth's future.

Join us for this important discussion about the bold policy agreements among Hispanic leaders to create and maintain healthy, safe and sustainable environments locally and worldwide.

Thu 6/9

Image - Anja Manuel

Anja Manuel: The New Superpowers

Date: Thu, June 09, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Can the United States be partners and not opponents of China and India?

Anja Manuel, Co-founder and Partner, RiceHadleyGates LLC; Author, This Brave New World: India, China, and the United States; Twitter

In the next decade and a half, China and India will become two of the world’s indispensable powers—whether they rise peacefully or not. During that time, Asia will surpass the combined strength of North America and Europe in economic might, population size, and military spending. India and China will have vetoes over many international decisions, from climate change to global trade, human rights, and business standards.

From her front row view of this colossal shift, first at the State Department and now as an advisor to American business leaders, Anja Manuel will take us on an intimate tour of the corridors of power in Delhi and Beijing. We wring our hands about China, Manuel writes, while we underestimate India, which will be the most important country outside the West to shape China’s rise. Manuel shows us that a different path is possible: We can bring China and India along as partners rather than alienating one or both, and thus extend our own leadership in the world.

Fri 6/10

Jordan

Date: Fri, June 10, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM
Report from a visit to the strategically and historically important Middle Eastern land.

Maher Kalaji, Ph.D.
Celia Menczel, Chair, Middle East Member-Led Forum

Jordan, a strong American ally, is one of the most strategically important countries in the Middle East. It is also one of the most welcoming. However, tourists to Jordan were markedly fewer this March when Menczel toured Jordanian archeological sites, including Petra, one of the seven new wonders of the world. She will show images and discuss her wonderful experience with Professor Kalaji (and one other Jordanian to be named.)

Mon 6/13

Image - 85th Annual California Book Awards

85th Annual California Book Awards

Date: Mon, June 13, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

The California Book Awards is sponsored by Bank of the West.

Since 1931, The Commonwealth Club has honored the Golden State’s literary giants at the California Book Awards. At our special awards ceremony, we will bestow gold and silver medals in several categories, including fiction, non-fiction, first fiction, poetry, young adult and juvenile.

Come hear from some of California’s most gifted writers. See you at the ceremony!

The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence

Date: Mon, June 13, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Dacher Keltner, Professor of Psychology, UC Berkeley; Co-Director, Greater Good Science Center; Author, The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence

Monday Night Philosophy investigates a revolutionary reconsideration of power. It is taken for granted that power corrupts. This is reinforced culturally by everything from Machiavelli to contemporary politics. But enduring power only comes from empathy and giving, because power is given to us by other people.

This is the crux of the power paradox: by fundamentally misunderstanding the behaviors that helped us to gain power in the first place, we set ourselves up to fall from power. We can't retain it because we've never understood it correctly. Dr. Keltner lays out exactly—in 20 original "Power Principles"—how to retain power, why power can be a demonstrably good thing, and the terrible consequences of letting those around us languish in powerlessness.

Tue 6/14

Image - Bruce Bochy

San Francisco Giants' Bruce Bochy: Insights on Baseball and Life

Date: Tue, June 14, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Bruce Bochy, Manager, San Francisco Giants; Three Time World Series Champion; Two Time National League Manager of the Year; Author, A Book of Walks 
In conversation with Roy Eisenhardt, Lecturer in Sports Law, UC Berkeley Law School; Former President, Oakland A's

Part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

San Francisco Giants CEO Larry Baer has stated that hiring Bruce Bochy was "probably the best move [Giants management] ever made.” Here’s a chance to get Bruce Bochy’s take on the Giants 2016 season and on his personal side as well. As a Major League manager, Bochy has one of the more stressful jobs imaginable. What does he do to relax? He goes for long walks as a way to clear his head, calm his soul and give his body a workout, all of which is the subject of his new book, A Book of Walks.

Here’s a rare chance to meet Bruce Bochy off the field. Bring your questions.

Wed 6/15

Image - Time to Choose

Time to Choose

Date: Wed, June 15, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM
Screening and filmmaker discussion.

Charles Ferguson, Oscar-Winning Director, Inside Job

This documentary from Academy Award winner Charles Ferguson examines the power of climate solutions already available. Through interviews with world-renowned entrepreneurs, innovators and brave individuals living on the front lines of climate change, Ferguson takes an In-depth look at the remarkable people working to save our economy and planet.

Post-screening conversation with Charles Ferguson and Climate One’s Greg Dalton.

Thu 6/16

Image - Dr Lucy Kalanithi

Dr. Lucy Kalanithi: When Breath Becomes Air

Date: Thu, June 16, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Lucy Kalanithi, M.D., Stanford Neurosurgery Resident; Widow of Dr. Paul Kalanithi, Author of When Breath Becomes Air
In conversation with Mark Zitter, Co-founder and Former Chairman, Vital Decisions

Underwritten by the Stupski Foundation. This program is also part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Stanford neurosurgery resident Paul Kalanithi was 36 years old when he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. A gifted writer, he spent the last two years of his life giving birth to both a baby and a book. When Breath Becomes Air describes his experience as a doctor facing a terminal illness. The book became an instant hit, reaching number one on The New York Times best-seller list. Paul Kalanithi’s widow, Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, shepherded the book through publication and wrote a moving epilogue. She will be interviewed by Mark Zitter as part of the Commonwealth Club’s ongoing series on end-of-life issues. The session will include readings from the book.

An internist on faculty at the Stanford School of Medicine, Dr. Kalanithi completed her medical degree at Yale, where she was inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha national medical honor society. She did her residency at the University of California San Francisco and postdoctoral fellowship training in health-care delivery innovation at Stanford’s Clinical Excellence Research Center. At the cross-section of her career as a medical professional and her personal experience standing alongside her husband during his life, diagnosis, treatment and death, Dr. Kalanithi has special interests in health-care value, meaning in medicine, patient-centered care and end-of-life care. She has appeared on "PBS NewsHour," "NPR Morning Edition," and "Yahoo News with Katie Couric," and has been interviewed by People and The New York Times. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her daughter, Elizabeth Acadia.

Mon 6/20

Image - Senator Barbara Boxer

Senator Barbara Boxer: The Art of Tough

Date: Mon, June 20, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator (D-California); Author, The Art of Tough: Fearlessly Facing Politics and Life; Twitter

This event is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

"One goal of this memoir is to inspire people to fight for change. It takes what I call the 'art of tough,' and I've had to do it all my life." —Senator Barbara Boxer

Barbara Boxer has made her mark, combining compassionate advocacy with outspokenness in a political career spanning more than three decades. Now, retiring from the U.S. Senate, she continues the work to which she's dedicated 30 years in Congress. She will share her provocative and touching recollections of service, and her commitment to the fight for women, families, quality, environmental protection—all in a peaceful world.

Sometimes lauded, sometimes vilified, but always standing tough, Boxer fought for her values even when her personal convictions conflicted with her party or the majority rule.

The Sake Revolution: Sequoia Sake

Date: Mon, June 20, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
Listen, learn and taste

Jake Myrick, Co-Founder, Sequoia Sake

Sequoia Sake, which produces the first artisan sake (pronounced sa-KEH) in San Francisco, is leading the next revolution in beverages. Sequoia blends the traditional art of making sake learned from Japan, where it has been brewed for more than 2,000 years, with the enterprising spirit and unique qualities of San Francisco. Sequoia produces small batches of hand-crafted, premium sake with full rich flavors. It is part of the new American “micro-sake” revolution. Myrick will help us understand how sake is made and how to enjoy its complex flavors and varieties. Come hear and taste!

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, June 20, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Tue 6/21

Image - Debbie Shore

End Childhood Hunger: What You Can Do to Help

Date: Tue, June 21, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Debbie Shore, Co-Founder, Share our Strength

Childhood hunger is a problem that threatens an entire generation of future leaders, innovators and problem-solvers. Share Our Strength's primary mission is "to end hunger and poverty in the United States and abroad by mobilizing industries and individuals, and creating community wealth to promote lasting change.

Educators, parents, and anyone involved with kids and interested in eliminating hunger can attend and come away with ideas and direction about what to do to help end childhood hunger.

Image - William Kristol

William Kristol: Where Is the Republican Party Headed?

Date: Tue, June 21, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

William Kristol, Editor, The Weekly Standard; Political Commentator and Columnist

William Kristol has been called “the godfather of neoconservativism.” Most recently, he has been outspoken in his concern over a Donald Trump presidency, having said, “Donald Trump winning the Republican nomination makes Hillary Clinton president for the next four years, probably.” He has also written, “Donald Trump has brought to light the rot of an ideological movement that many of us had thought was alive and reasonably well. He has revealed, to some degree, the degradation of a public for whom many of us had higher hopes and expectations.”

Kristol is the editor of The Weekly Standard, a regular on ABC’s "This Week" and on ABC’s special events and election coverage, and appears frequently on other leading political commentary shows. Before starting The Weekly Standard in 1995, he led the Project for the Republican Future, where he helped shape the strategy that produced the 1994 Republican congressional victory. Prior to that, Kristol served as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle during the first Bush Administration and to Education Secretary William Bennett under President Reagan. Before coming to Washington in 1985, Mr. Kristol was on the faculty of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the Department of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

Here’s chance to hear from one of the major voices of the Republican establishment on where the party and the country are headed.

Image - Emma Cline, courtesy of and copyright Emma Cline

An Evening with Emma Cline, Author of “The Girls”

Date: Tue, June 21, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

Emma Cline, Author, The Girls
Claire Bidwell Smith, Grief Therapist; Mother; Author, The Rules of Inheritance and After This: When Life is Over, Where Do We Go?—Moderator

This is a Good Lit event, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

The Girls, the forthcoming, highly anticipated debut novel by Emma Cline, tells the story of Evie, a young woman who gets drawn into the mysterious world of a gang of girls and quickly finds herself immersed in their world and in over her head.

Emma’s writing has been praised by everyone from Lena Dunham to Mark Haddon for her deeply insightful observations about girls and the women they become. Emma rose to prominence when she signed a three book deal in 2014, at the age of 25.

Join INFORUM at The Commonwealth Club of California for a riveting evening with Emma.

Wed 6/22

Image - Nancy Easton

Wellness in the Schools

Date: Wed, June 22, 2016
Time: 12:00 PM

Nancy E. Easton, Co-Founder/Executive Director, Wellness in the Schools

Wellness in the Schools inspires healthy eating, environmental awareness and fitness as a way of life for kids in public schools. Through meaningful public/private partnerships with school leadership, teachers, chefs, coaches, parents and kids, WITS develops and implements programs that provide healthy foods, healthy environments and opportunities for regular play to help kids learn and grow. Today WITS programs serve approximately 30,000 public school children across New York City, Kentucky, and Florida.

In an effort to combat childhood obesity and create healthier learning environments, Wellness in the Schools (WITS) developed Cook for Kids and Coach for Kids, hands-on food and fitness programs that are poised for replication nationwide. Cook for Kids has even received national accolades from First Lady Michelle Obama, and the WITS model served as inspiration for the Chefs Move to Schools Initiative.