Upcoming Events

Wed 10/1

Image - Meet the Artist Reception for Laurie Regan Chase

Meet the Artist Reception for Laurie Regan Chase

Date: Wed, October 01, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM

You are invited to meet our featured artist, Laurie Regan Chase, whose exhibition, “Coastal Reflections,” is currently on view in the Gold Room. Chase is a contemporary realist and a signature member of the American Society of Marine Artists. Her paintings capture the distinctive countryside and coastal communities of her world travels. She has personally sailed throughout the Mediterranean, Aegean and Black Seas; the Caribbean; and the coastal regions of the U.S., Mexico and South America. Chase will be available for your questions about her work during this informal gathering.

Image - Humanities West Book Discussion
This event is Rescheduled

Humanities West Book Discussion - Livy's The Dawn of the Roman Empire, Books 31-40

Date: Wed, October 01, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
This program is rescheduled for October 9, 2014.

The Roman commander T.Q. Flamininus proclaimed the freedom of Greece at the Isthmian games near Corinth in 196 BC. Half a century later, Greece was annexed as a province by the Romans, who burned the ancient city of Corinth to the ground. Join us to discuss Books 31 to 40 of Livy's history, which charts Rome's emergence as an imperial nation and the Romans' tempestuous involvement with Greece, Macedonia and the near East. Lynn Harris will lead the discussion.

Image - New Member Reception 10/01/2014

New Member Reception 10/01/2014

Date: Wed, October 01, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
 Come take a peek!

Are you new to the Club? Just want to explore and check it out? Come take a peek, meet other members and staff and learn about all The Commonwealth Club offers. Experience firsthand how The Commonwealth Club has become the nation’s leading public forum. Bring a friend and explore the Club together!

Thu 10/2

Image - Chinatown Walking Tour
This event is Sold Out

Chinatown Walking Tour

Date: Thu, October 02, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
Discover the history and mysteries!

Enjoy a Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure. Join Rick Evans for a memorable midday 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 - An Evening with Jacques Pépin
This event is Sold Out

An Evening with Jacques Pépin

Date: Thu, October 02, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
A culinary genius shares his lifetime of secrets.

Jacques Pépin, Chef; Author, Essential Pépin
Emily Luchetti, Chef - Moderator

World-renowned chef Jacques Pépin is a gifted culinary artist. He has hosted 13 popular cooking series on public television and written dozens of cookbooks. Pépin was born in Bourg-en-Bresse, near Lyon. His first exposure to cooking was as a child in his parents’ restaurant, Le Pelican. From 1956 to 1958, Pépin was the personal chef to three French heads of state, including Charles de Gaulle. After moving to the United States in 1959, Pépin served for ten years as director of research and new development for the Howard Johnson Company, a position that taught him about mass production, marketing, food chemistry and American food tastes.

Enjoy an evening with internationally renowned French chef, author, and television personality Jacques Pépin, as he discusses his upcoming 14th cooking series, “Jacques Pépin: Heart and Soul.”

After the interview, a small number of lucky guests can join us for an intimate meal with the speakers. Dinner tickets include priority seating tickets to the interview and the pre-program reception, as well as a deluxe meal with wine pairings at nearby Prospect Restaurant at 300 Spear Street, San Francisco. Tickets are limited and will sell out soon, so be sure to get your Early Bird Dinner Package quickly!

Image - The Commonwealth Club of California
This event is Postponed

Technological Unemployment: Software Revolution or Job Extinction?

Date: Thu, October 02, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
An expert panel discussion.

Jim Clark, Founder and CEO, World Technology Network and World Technology Awards; Author, Manifesto for a New Civilization; Former Faculty Member, Harvard; Former Bill Clinton Presidential Campaign Director for Non-Profit Sector and National Service
Vivek Wadhwa, Research Director, Singularity University; Professor, Stanford; Author, The Immigrant Exodus: Why America Is Losing the Global Race to Capture Entrepreneurial Talent; Time Magazine 40 Most Influential Minds in Tech

Is a looming crisis of technological unemployment one of the greatest challenges facing humanity? Our newest technologies could have clear potential to eliminate many more jobs than they create. Critics fear that robotics, disintermediation, 3D printing, A.I. – to name just a few – may eliminate billions of jobs just when we need to find work for billions more people. What, if anything, can or should be done – from a “guaranteed basic income” to new strategies of job creation?

Image - Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg: How Google Works

Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg: How Google Works

Date: Thu, October 02, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg

Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman and Former CEO, Google; Co-Author, How Google Works
Jonathan Rosenberg, Google Advisor; Co-Author, How Google Works

In conversation with Sal Khan, Founder of the Khan Academy

Everyday millions of people use Google to email, work, search, network and shop. What started as a research project by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin has expanded to become a company well known for its unique philosophy, culture and innovative spirit. From wearable devices to self-driving cars, Google continues to push the boundaries of what is possible with technology. Join Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg as they reflect on the opportunities and challenges facing the company and the lessons they have learned along the way.

Fri 10/3

Image - Oil on Rails

Oil on Rails

Date: Fri, October 03, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
How will more oil transported on railcars impact the Bay Area economy and environment?

John Avalos, Member, Bay Area Air Quality Management District
Jess Dervin-Ackerman, Sierra Club San Francisco Bay Chapter
Molly Samuel, Reporter, KQED Science
Tupper Hull, Vice President, Strategic Communications, Western States Petroleum Association

In the next two years, the number of rail cars carrying oil into the Bay Area is forecast to increase 20-fold to 200,000. Three refineries in the East Bay process heavy crude oil and some are planning to bring in oil from the Canadian tar sands. That oil is dirtier han conventional crude and poses less of a concern about exploding rail cars. Oil from North Dakota, which is also coming into the Bay Area, has a smaller carbon impact. It also combusts more easily and raises safety worries in communities along the railways.
 
How will more oil transported on railcars impact the Bay Area economy and environment? Can California be a climate leader while bringing in more heavy crude and possibly exporting it? Is it hypocritical of Bay Area residents to use fossil fuels but not want them transported or processed in their backyards?
 
Join us for a conversation about rail and climate safety.
Image - China Today, China Tomorrow
This event is Postponed

China Today, China Tomorrow

Date: Fri, October 03, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
China's impact on a growing global economy.

Barbara Finamore, Senior Attorney and Asia Director, Natural Resources Defense Council, China Program Director

In 1996, following her work with the United Nations on China's first sustainability plan, Barbara Finamore undertook the challenge of establishing the Natural Resources Defense Council's first international office in Beijing. Barbara and her colleagues will discuss where China is today and what they see for China tomorrow. There are challenges ahead that must be faced – not only for China, but also for the future environmental, economic, conservation and sustainable impact that China has on the world. China’s decisions will have an effect on international health, safety and survival as we become more globally interconnected and interdependent.

Image - Cornel West

Cornel West

Date: Fri, October 03, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
On fire for justice.

Cornel West, Ph.D.; Professor, Union Theological Seminary; Author, Black Prophetic Fire
Julie Chang, Associate Chair and Associate Professor of English, Santa Clara University – Moderator

“Have we forgotten how beautiful it is to be on fire for justice?” Dr. West – activist, author and philosopher – will discuss his latest work and offer his thoughts on the intersection between leadership, faith and social justice.

Mon 10/6

Image - The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meanin

The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning

Date: Mon, October 06, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Marcelo Gleiser, Author, The Island of Knowledge; Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College

To be human is to want to know, but what we are able to observe is only a tiny portion of what’s “out there.” Brazilian theoretical physicist Marcelo Gleiser traces our search for answers to the most fundamental questions of our existence and reaches a provocative conclusion: science, the main tool we use to find answers, is fundamentally limited. Our tools of exploration limit the precision of our perceptions, and the nature of physical reality (the speed of light, the uncertainty principle, the impossibility of seeing beyond the cosmic horizon, the incompleteness theorem) just adds to our own limitations as an intelligent species. These limitations, though, constitute neither a deterrent to progress nor a surrender to religion. Rather, they free us to question the meaning and nature of the universe while affirming the central role of life and ourselves in it.

Image - Book Discussion: Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

Book Discussion: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Date: Mon, October 06, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM

Thought by many to be the best thriller novel of 2012, this book was a wildly successful tale and considered by culture writer Dave Itzkoff to be the biggest literary phenomenon of 2012, excluding the Fifty Shades of Grey series. A thrilling crime novel, it is also a story of the unknown that goes on behind closed doors. This book is a story filled with intrigue and suspense, painting a portrait of a marriage that delves deep into the true nature of the person on the other side of the bed. An adaptation of the novel by award-winning director David Fincher will soon be released as a major motion picture in October 2014.

Image - The Business Solution to Poverty

The Business Solution to Poverty

Date: Mon, October 06, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Mal Warwick, Co-author, The Business Solution to Poverty: Designing Products and Services for Three Billion New Customers

More than 60 years after the rich nations of the world began acting to end poverty, and after the expenditure of more than $2.5 trillion, more people today are living on $2 a day or less than the total population of the planet in 1950. Despite continuing optimism from the World Bank and the United Nations that they’re on track to eradicate poverty, Mal Warwick argues that traditional methods have failed and that only the private sector possesses the resources and the incentives to do the job. This lively presentation will explain how entrepreneurs and existing businesses can design, produce and market income-generating products that will enable 2.7 billion $2-a-day customers to lift themselves out of poverty.

Image - Joshua Wolf Shenk: The Power of Two

Joshua Wolf Shenk: The Power of Two

Date: Mon, October 06, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM

Joshua Wolf Shenk, Curator, The Moth; Author, Lincoln’s Melancholy and Powers of Two: Seeking the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs; Twitter: @joshuawolfshenk

What drives creative success? According to Shenk, the magic number is two. Even when we’re alone, we are “collaborating” with the voice inside our head. Shenk examines dynamic duos in all fields of business, entertainment, social activism, etc., and unveils the “electrified space” of a partnership. He also identifies some of the core qualities of creativity and reveals six essential states in which he sees it unfold. Hear more about the genesis of creative innovation and the collaborative process.

Image - Thomas McNaughton

Flour + Water’s Chef Thomas McNaughton in Conversation with Adam Savage

Date: Mon, October 06, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
Chef and Partner, flour + water

Thomas McNaughton, Chef and Partner, flour + water, central kitchen and salumeria; Author, flour + water: pasta
In conversation with Adam Savage, Host, “Mythbusters”

All tickets include a pre-program cocktail reception with our speakers, courtesy of the Sonoma County Distilling Company

In 2009, Chef Thomas McNaughton started his San Francisco solo career with only a $500 stove and a fairly traditional concept. Just five short years later, flour + water has a cult-like local following and an award-driven national reputation, and McNaughton is on every short list of rising star chefs to watch. With a passion for artisanship and community agriculture, his handmade pasta dishes and creative regional Italian combinations have blown away diners and critics, inspiring McNaughton to launch other successful eateries such as central kitchen and salumeria. Now his new book, flour + water: pasta, takes you behind the scenes of San Francisco’s hottest Italian restaurant and shows all of you weekend warriors how to make the perfect bowl of pasta.

Image - John Lahr, New Yorker Drama Critic

John Lahr, New Yorker Drama Critic

Date: Mon, October 06, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM
The first Tony award-winning critic

John Lahr, Author, Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh; Drama critic, The New Yorker
In conversation with Carey Perloff, Artistic Director, A.C.T.

John Lahr will discuss his new book on Tennessee Williams, which provides intimate access to the mind of the writer whose plays reshaped the American theater and our nation’s sense of self.

A regular contributor to The New Yorker, Mr. Lahr has written 17 books and two novels. Previously, Lahr has written for the Nation, the Village Voice, and British Vogue. Some of his work has been included in volumes of The Best American Essays, and he is the first critic ever to win a Tony Award.

Tue 10/7

Image - An Evening with Nicholas Kristof

An Evening with Nicholas Kristof

Date: Tue, October 07, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM

Nicholas Kristof, Columnist, New York Times; Co-author, A Path Appears; Two-time Pulitzer Prize Winner
In conversation with Jessica Jackley, Co-Founder of Kiva

Nick is on tour for his latest book, A Path Appears

Kristof is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for The New York Times, awarded first in 1990 for his coverage of China’s Tiananmen Square democracy movement and later in 2006 for his reporting on genocide in Darfur. His columns unpack the hidden and often shocking side of global issues, from poverty to human trafficking. Nick’s latest book, A Path Appears, champions stories of individuals, organizations, and research breakthroughs that took small steps to make not-so-small differences in the world. A 9-year-old asked friends and family to donate to a charity: water campaign as her birthday present, raising $220 – six weeks later she tragically died, spurring $1.2 million in donations and providing clean water to 37,000 Ethiopians. Parasites in the bellies of schoolchildren account for a quarter of absenteeism in Africa—and deworming costs 2 cents at scale. Kristof reminds us that you don’t have to devote your life or give away millions to have a profound impact on the lives of the suffering.

Wed 10/8

Image - US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in Conversation with Sheryl Sandberg

Date: Wed, October 08, 2014
Time: 3:00 PM
In conversation with Sheryl Sandberg

Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Senator; Author, Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World; Twitter: @SenGillibrand
In conversation with Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer, Facebook; Author, Lean In

The senator recounts her personal journey in public service and aims to galvanize women to reach beyond their busy lives and make a meaningful difference in the world around them.

If women were fully represented in politics, Gillibrand says, national priorities would shift to issues that directly impact them: affordable daycare, paid family medical leave, and equal pay. Pulling back the curtain on Beltway politics, she speaks candidly about her legislative successes (securing federally funded medical care for 9/11 first responders, repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) and her crushing disappointments (failing by five votes to pass a bill protecting survivors of sexual assault in the military). Gillibrand also shares stories of growing up the daughter and granddaughter of two trailblazing feminists in a politically active family in Albany, New York, and retraces her nonlinear path to public office.

Image - Peace Corps in Ukraine

Peace Corps in Ukraine

Date: Wed, October 08, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Put a human face on the people living in a country facing an uncertain future.

Julia Lee, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Ukraine 2011-2013
Brooks Harrison, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Ukraine 2010-2012
David Masterson, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Ukraine 2005-2008
Morgan Roth, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Ukraine 2011-2013
Kayla Trunecek, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Ukraine 2013-2014

Five recently returned Peace Corps volunteers who served in diverse regions around Ukraine discuss the lives they shared with the people in their communities. In big cities and small towns, east and west, the daily interactions of these volunteers put a human face on the peoples, young and old, living in a country facing an uncertain future.

Image - Nick Carr: An Automated World

Nick Carr: An Automated World

Date: Wed, October 08, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
What is the deep psychological impact of technology?

Nicholas Carr, Author, The Glass Cage: Automation and Us
In conversation with Andrew Leonard, Staff Writer, Salon

Google Glass lets you take a picture with the blink of an eye. Your Fitbit wristband counts your calories and tracks your sleep. Soon even our cars will drive themselves. Technology is increasingly automating our lives, but is it for better or worse? In The Glass Cage, Nicholas Carr suggests that the transition to a technologically dependent and screen-dominated world makes people disengaged and unhappy. Join us and be faced with Carr’s thesis: Silicon Valley’s fascination with wearable technology and augmented reality will only serve to narrow our horizons instead of expand them.

Nicholas Carr, the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, is the former executive editor of the Harvard Business Review. He has written for The New York Times, Wired and famously for The Atlantic with his article “Is Google Making Us Stupid?