Upcoming Events

Tue 1/17

A Neurologist's Insightful and Compassionate Look into the Misunderstood World of Psychosomatic Disorders

Date: Tue, January 17, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Is it all in your head?

Suzanne O'Sullivan, M.D., Consultant, Clinical Neurophysiology and Neurology, The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery; Former Consultant, Neurology, The Royal London Hospital

It's happened to all of us: our cheeks flush red when we say the wrong thing, or our hearts skip a beat when a certain someone walks by. But few of us realize how much more dramatic and extreme our bodies' reactions to emotions can be. Many people who see their doctors have medically unexplained symptoms, and in the vast majority of these cases, a psychosomatic cause is suspected. And yet the diagnosis of a psychosomatic disorder can make a patient feel dismissed as a hypochondriac, a faker or just plain crazy.

In Is It All in Your Head?, neurologist Dr. Suzanne O'Sullivan takes us on a journey through the world of psychosomatic illness, where we meet patients such as Rachel, a promising young dancer now housebound by chronic fatigue syndrome, and Mary, whose memory loss may be her mind's way of protecting her from remembering her husband's abuse. O'Sullivan reveals the hidden stresses behind their mysterious symptoms, approaching a sensitive topic with patience and understanding. She addresses the taboos surrounding psychosomatic disorders, teaching us that "it's all in your head" doesn't mean that something isn't real, as the body is often the stand-in for the mind when the latter doesn't possess the tools to put words to its sorrow. She encourages us to look with compassion at the ways in which our brains act out, and to question our failure to credit the intimate connection between mind and body.

Image - Jerry Kaplan
This event is Sold Out

Artificial Intelligence: What Everyone Needs to Know

Date: Tue, January 17, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
The future of AI

Jerry Kaplan, Entrepreneur; Author, Artificial Intelligence: What Everyone Needs to Know 
In conversation with John MarkoffNew York Times Technology Reporter

This program is generously supported by Accenture.

Over the coming decades, artificial intelligence will profoundly impact the way we live, work, wage war, play, seek a mate, educate our young and care for our elderly. It is likely to greatly increase our aggregate wealth, but it will also upend our labor markets, reshuffle our social order, and strain our private and public institutions. Eventually it may alter how we see our place in the universe, as machines pursue goals independent of their creators and outperform us in domains previously believed to be the sole dominion of humans. Jerry Kaplan is widely known as an artificial intelligence expert, serial entrepreneur, technical innovator, educator, bestselling author and futurist. He co-founded four Silicon Valley startups, two of which became publicly traded companies, and teaches at Stanford University.

Join Kaplan for an illuminating conversation about the future of artificial intelligence and how much humans should entrust to machines.

Wed 1/18

Image - Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen
This event is Sold Out

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen

Date: Wed, January 18, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Economic assessment from the Fed chief

Janet L. Yellen, Ph.D., Chair, Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System; Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley
George Scalise, Member, Commonwealth Club Board of Governors (Chair)
Edward Wasserman, Ph.D., Dean, University of Californnia Berkeley Journalism School; Former Executive Business Editor, Miami Herald; Ph.D., London School of Economics—Moderator

Two days before the new U.S. president is sworn in, join us for a rare opportunity to hear an economic assessment from the head of the Fed.

Dr. Janet Yellen took office as chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in 2014, for a four-year term ending February 3, 2018. Dr. Yellen also serves as chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee, the country's principal monetary policymaking body. Prior to her appointment as chair, Dr. Yellen served as vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, while simultaneously beginning a 14-year term as a member of the board that will expire January 31, 2024. Dr. Yellen is professor emeritus of business and economics at the University of California, Berkeley, where she has been a faculty member since 1980. From 2004 through 2010 she served as president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and previously chaired President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. Dr. Yellen holds a Ph.D. in economics from Yale University and has written on a wide variety of macroeconomic issues, specializing in the causes, mechanisms and implications of unemployment.

Thu 1/19

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, January 19, 2017
Time: 2:00 PM
Walking tour

Explore San Francisco’s Financial District with historian Rick Evans and learn the history and stories behind some of our city’s remarkable structures, streets and public squares. Hear about the famous architects who influenced the building of San Francisco after the 1906 earthquake. Discover hard-to-find rooftop gardens, Art Deco lobbies, unique open spaces and historic landmarks. This is a tour for locals, with hidden gems you can only find on foot!

Image - Carole Bayer Sager

Carole Bayer Sager: A Star-Studded Musical Journey

Date: Thu, January 19, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
A legendary singer dishes

Carole Bayer Sager, Grammy and Academy Award-winning Songwriter; Author, They’re Playing Our Song; Twitter
In conversation with Brad Rosenstein, Program Producer, The Presidio Trust; Former Curator of Exhibitions and Programs, Museum of Performance and Design

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

For five decades, Carol Bayer Sager has been among the most admired and successful songwriters. Her recognizable hits have included, “Nobody Does It Better,” “A Groovy Kind of Love,” “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” and the theme from the movie Arthur, “The Best That You Can Do” (about getting lost between the moon and New York City). Get ready to hear stories about such celebrites as Peter Allen, Ray Charles, Celine Dion, Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Clint Eastwood, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Carole King, Bette Midler, Dolly Parton, Carly Simon, Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand.

Ms. Sager’s long relationship with composer Marvin Hamlisch was also the basis of the long-running hit musical, They’re Playing Our Song, for which she wrote the lyrics. And her work with composer Burt Bacharach, to whom she was also married for 10 years, produced pop standards such as “On My Own” and “That’s What Friends Are For” (inspired by her friendship with Elizabeth Taylor), which raised over $2 million for AIDS research.

Join us for an inside look at the dark and funny side of music and a personal story of inspiration.

Mon 1/23

Image - Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, January 23, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion group

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 1/24

Doubt, Deny or Defend: Republicans on Climate Change

Date: Tue, January 24, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
The GOP and the planet's climate

John Hofmeister, Former President, Shell Oil Company; Chairman, Erin Energy Corp.
Bob Inglis, Executive Director, RepublicEn; Former U.S. Representative (R-SC)

President-elect Donald Trump is giving plum jobs to Republicans who deny or downplay the risks of climate disruption. That's a big shift from the time of President George W. Bush, when U.S. Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham pursued climate-fixing legislation.

Bob Inglis, former Republican congressman and executive director of RepublicEn, says Republicans should not doubt or deny the science. Rather, they should defend it because their party has the best solutions, ones based on markets and not mandates. He will join John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil Company, to discuss the tensions and challenges between climate science, America's energy needs and the Republican party in the coming years. 

Image - Walter Alvarez

Walter Alvarez: A Most Improbable Journey

Date: Tue, January 24, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Big history and you

Walter Alvarez, Professor, Earth and Planetary Science Department, University of California, Berkeley; Author, A Most Improbable Journey: A Big History of Our Planet and Ourselves
Lisa Krieger, Science and Research Reporter, San Jose Mercury News—Moderator

One in a million doesn’t even come close.

Not when we’re talking about the odds that you would happen to be alive today, on this particular planet, hurtling through space. Almost 14 billion years of cosmic history, more than 4 billion years of Earth history, and a couple million years of human history, has led to you.

This panoramic viewpoint has captured the imagination of historians and scientists alike, and together they’ve created a new field—big history—that studies the entire known past of our universe to give context to our very existence.

Famed geologist Alvarez is best known for the impact theory explaining dinosaur extinction. His unique expertise and infectious curiosity gives us a new appreciation for the incredible occurrences—from the Big Bang and beyond—that have led to our improbable place in the universe.

Wed 1/25

Image - Brian Fishman

Terrorism Expert Brian Fishman: How Can ISIS Be Defeated?

Date: Wed, January 25, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
To defeat ISIS, you need to understand ISIS

Brian Fishman, Counterterrorism Research Fellow, New America; Fellow, Combating Terrorism Center, West Point; Author, The Master Plan: ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Jihadi Strategy for Final Victory 
In conversation with Kori Schake, Research fellow, Hoover Institution; Former Deputy Director, Policy Planning, U.S. State Department; Former Director, Defense Strategy and Requirements, National Security Council

To defeat ISIS, you need to understand ISIS.

Brian Fishman is a leading expert on ISIS. He served as the director of research at the United States Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center and began studying the progenitors of ISIS in 2005. He predicted the rise of the Islamic State in early 2011, prior to the Syrian civil war. Fishman says that the rise of ISIS was neither an accident of history nor an unpredictable product of chaos in Syria, but rather the fulfillment of a vision to capitalize on Syria’s demographic and geopolitical frailty, detailed in a plan that runs through 2020. He says that "master plan" offers important insight into how ISIS might now evolve. Fishman says that only by learning the Islamic State’s full history and the strategy that drove it can we understand the forces that could ultimately tear it apart. 

Fishman is a graduate of the University of California Los Angeles and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

Thu 1/26

Arts Forum Planning Meeting

Date: Thu, January 26, 2017
Time: 5:30 PM
Planning meeting

For those of you with a passion for the visual and performing arts, please join us in discussion as we explore ideas for future Club programs and exhibitions. The planning meeting is open to all Club members. Come with your ideas, and your willingness to take an active role in producing our 2017 calendar of events.

Mon 1/30

Image - Middle East Forum Discussion

Middle East Forum Discussion

Date: Mon, January 30, 2017
Time: 5:30 PM
Discussion group

The Middle East Forum discussion group—which primarily covers the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan—has been meeting monthly for nine years. We are not a debate group; we exchange ideas and opinions. The group is a perk of Club membership, but others who are interested, especially students, are welcome to attend.

Image - S.C. Moatti

On the Go: The Business and Future of Connected Technology

Date: Mon, January 30, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Mobile technology insight

S.C. Moatti, Technology Visionary; Venture Capitalist; Bestselling Author, Mobilized: An Insider’s Guide to the Business and Future of Connected Technology
In conversation with Geoff Moore, Speaker; Advisor; Author, Crossing the Chasm

SC Moatti, in conversation with Geoff Moore, will address leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators about mobile technology and what it means for human nature and what we value as people. She makes the case for an all-encompassing formula that allows businesses to develop simple strategies to create successful mobile products. SC will discuss her three mobile rules about body, mind and spirit to showcase what mobile excellence looks like.

Moatti has served as an executive at mobile pioneers such as Facebook, Trulia and Nokia. She launched and monetized mobile products that are now used by billions of people and have received prestigious awards, including an Emmy nomination. Moatti is highly regarded in the tech industry, and has been called “a genius at making mobile products people love” by Andrew Chen, a top executive at Uber.

Geoffrey Moore is a best-selling author, speaker, and advisor who splits his consulting time between start-up companies in the Mohr Davidow Ventures portfolio and established high-tech enterprises, most recently including Salesforce, Microsoft, Intel, Box, Aruba, Cognizant, and Rackspace.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Social Hour logo

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Social Hour 1/30/17

Date: Mon, January 30, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
The administration and Congress are in office; let's talk!

Lanhee J. Chen, David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow, Hoover Institution; Former Policy Director, 2012 Romney-Ryan Presidential Campaign; Twitter
Joe Garofoli, Senior Politics Writer and Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle; Twitter
Barbara Marshman, Editorial Page Editor, The Mercury News; Twitter

We've got a new administration in the White House, a new Congress in the Capitol, and new down-ballot officeholders across the country, not to mention the impact of a raft of state and local propositions here in California.

So join us for our political roundtable as we explore the biggest, most controversial and sometimes the surprising political issues with expert commentary by panelists who are smart, are civil, and have a good sense of humor. Join our panelists for informative and engaging commentary on political and other major news, audience discussion of the week’s events, and our live news quiz!

And come early before the program to meet other smart and engaged individuals and discuss the news over snacks and wine at our member social (open to all attendees). 

Tue 1/31

Image - Tim Ferriss
This event is Sold Out

Tim Ferriss: Tools of Titans

Date: Tue, January 31, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
Secrets of success

Tim Ferriss, Entrepreneur; Public Speaker; Author, Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers

Whether you’re a millionaire-in-the-making or just trying to check off your to-do list every single day, you’re always on the hunt for how to do your best, but where do you even start? Enter Tim Ferris of Four-Hour Work Week, and his latest book Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers. Just for you, Tim picked the brains of 200+ of the most creative, successful leaders from around the world to help you do better every day, including Brene Brown, Malcolm Gladwell, Jamie Foxx, Reid Hoffman, and dozens of others. He asked them actionable questions (What does the first hour of their day look like? What do their workout routines look like and why? What are the biggest time wastes they avoid?) so that you can apply their philosophies to your own life. To quote Tim, who tried many of these tactics himself, “The lessons have made me millions of dollars and saved me years of wasted effort and frustration.” 

Come hear from Tim at INFORUM, and who knows—maybe you’ll end up featured in his next book!

Wed 2/1

Image - Steven Campbell

Blinding Flash of the Obvious: Changing Your Feelings with Your Beliefs

Date: Wed, February 01, 2017
Time: 5:15 PM
Change your feelings

Steven Campbell, M.S., Information Systems

Campbell presents an eye-opening look at the latest research on how our feelings do not come from what has happened to us, or past events in our lives, or the relationships we have. They come from our beliefs about what has happened to us, and the beliefs about those events, and our beliefs about those relationships. When you change those beliefs, your feelings follow.

When this was posited back in 1962 in one of the first books on cognitive psychology, A Guide to Rational Living, it changed psychology forever. It argued that we can affect how we feel about ourselves, and about our lives and loved ones by changing our beliefs. Campbell shows how.

Image - San Francisco Foundation series logo
This event is Sold Out

Changemakers: Movement Leaders on Civil Rights in an Uncivil Time

Date: Wed, February 01, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Part of the People, Power, Place Series, which addresses access and equity in the Bay Area.

Lariza Dugan Cuadra, Executive Director, Carecen SF
Rashad Robinson, Executive Director, Color of Change
Abdi Soltani, Executive Director, ACLU of Northern California
Tom Steyer, Founder and President, NextGen Climate
Mina Kim, Anchor and Host, KQED—Moderator

Sponsored by the San Francisco Foundation as part of the People, Power, Place Series, which addresses access and equity in the Bay Area.

Black Lives Matter. Immigrant rights. Climate justice. Are demands for change leading to lasting change? Are we rewriting the rules, or just arguing about them? How do movements—their leaders and their members — successfully build power and spur lasting change? What can we learn from leaders of recent efforts and from history? At a time of great disruption, join us as we continue The San Francisco Foundation’s series People, Place and Power with a discussion with Movement Leaders on Building Power and Voice.

Ben Franklin Circles

Date: Wed, February 01, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion group

Join us monthly, every first Wednesday, for a 21st-century version of Ben Franklin’s mutual improvement club. One evening a week, for more than 40 years, the founding father discussed and debated with his friends the 13 virtues that he felt formed the basis for personal and civic improvement, a list he created when he was 20 years old. The virtues to which he aspired included justice, resolution and humility (but don't misunderstand Ben on that one—his explanation of humility was "imitate Jesus and Socrates").

Ben Franklin Circles bring people together to discuss the most pressing philosophical and ethical issues of our time with the goal of improving ourselves and our world. 

The Future of America's Political Parties

Date: Wed, February 01, 2017
Time: 7:00 PM
What's happening to American politics?

David Brady, Ph.D., Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution; Professor of Political Science, Stanford Graduate School of Business
Melissa Caen, Political Analyst, CBS San Francisco—Moderator

This program is sponsored by Relevant Wealth Advisors.

The 2016 election challenged what we know about traditional American politics. Both major political parties, Democratic and Republican, show fractures within their ranks. How will establishment politics move forward? Has gridlock politics left a vacuum for new parties and political movements to arise?

Dr. David Brady, known as one of the most astute political commentators in the country, joins us to discuss what's happening to American democracy. A political independent since 2003, Brady is an expert in the political history of the U.S. Congress, the history of U.S. election results and public policy processes. His recent research looks at how the transformation of the world economy (globalization) has shaken up Western politics and has led to political instability.

The program includes complimentary light hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar from 7:00-7:40. Conversation begins promptly at 7:45pm and ends at 9:00pm.

Thu 2/2

Image - Chinatown gate

Chinatown Walking Tour

Date: Thu, February 02, 2017
Time: 10:00 AM
Walking tour

Enjoy a Commonwealth Club neighborhood adventure. Join Rick Evans for a memorable mid-day walk and discover the history and mysteries of Chinatown. Explore colorful alleys and side streets. Visit a Taoist temple, an herbal store, the site of the first public school in the state and the famous Fortune Cookie Factory.

Image - Sallie Krawcheck
This event is Sold Out

Sallie Krawcheck: The Power of Women, Work and Wallet

Date: Thu, February 02, 2017
Time: 6:30 PM
Business help for women

Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and Co-founder, Ellevest; Author, Own It: The Power of Women at Work
Tina Sharkey, Co-Founder and CEO of Brandless, Entrepreneur; Investor; Advisor—Moderator

Are you ready to take charge of your career and financial destiny? Let Sallie Krawcheck show you how to harness your potential and fearlessly go after your goals.

Sallie Krawcheck has been called the most powerful woman on Wall Street, and she’s opening up her years of experience to create a playbook for women’s professional success in Own It: The Power of Women at Work—one that incorporates women’s strengths, allows for non-traditional career paths, and shapes women’s power to advance themselves creatively and courageously.

Sallie once held senior positions at Smith Barney, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and Citigroup. Now, she runs Ellevest, a digital platform focused on redefining investment tools, resources and strategies for women. "[Ellevest] isn’t ‘for women,’ ‘pink it and shrink it,’ ‘make it smaller,'” Sallie shared in a recent interview, reminding us that women often have different salary arcs, live longer on average, and often make decisions such as taking a few years off from career to raise children—all key components in investment strategies.

Sallie’s wide range of experiences—from reaching the top rung in the “boys’ club” of Wall Street to launching Ellevest—mean there are myriad stories, skills, and sage pieces of advice, and we can’t wait to hear from her. Spend an evening walking in Sallie’s high-powered heels with INFORUM, and get inspired to own your future.