Upcoming Events

Mon 7/6

Book Discussion: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Date: Mon, July 06, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM

Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of the locks. When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that ultimately makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of the Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure. Doerr’s gorgeous combination of soaring imagination with observation is electric. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

Wed 7/8

Image - Output: Body & Mind – Lowering the Risk for Alzheimer's Disease

Output: Body & Mind – Lowering the Risk for Alzheimer's Disease

Date: Wed, July 08, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
Second in a series of three scientific talks.

Patricia Renaut Spilman, M.S., Senior Scientist, Buck Institute

Assisting Organization: The Buck Institute

In this second in a series of three scientific talks, Spilman will discuss the ability of exercise, social interaction, continuing intellectual and spiritual growth, and sensory stimulation to lower the risk or delay onset of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease. A person’s engagement in the surrounding world is vital! The impact of sleep disturbances and stress – and how to address them – will be presented, as well as the science behind recent findings. Spilman is a scientist working on Alzheimer's disease drug discovery.

Image - Kiva Co-Founder Jessica Jackley

Kiva Co-Founder Jessica Jackley: Entrepreneurship that Can Change the World

Date: Wed, July 08, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Jessica Jackley, Co-founder, Kiva; Author, Clay Water Brick: Finding Inspiration from Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most with the Least
Sally Osberg, President and CEO, Skoll Foundation - Moderator

This program is underwritten by Bank of the West.

In the tradition of Kabul Beauty School and Start Something That Matters comes an inspiring story of social entrepreneurship from the co-founder of Kiva, the first online microlending platform for the working poor. Featuring lessons learned from successful businesses in the world’s poorest countries, Jessica Jackley’s Clay Water Brick will motivate readers to more deeply appreciate the incredible entrepreneurial potential that exists in every human being on this planet — especially themselves.

Join Jackley as she challenges all of us to embrace entrepreneurship as a powerful force for change in the world. 

Image - Alzheimer’s: New Insights and the Search for a Cure

Alzheimer’s: New Insights and the Search for a Cure

Date: Wed, July 08, 2015
Time: 7:45 PM
With Geoffrey Kerchner and Lennart Mucke

Geoffrey Kerchner, M.D., Ph.D., Behavioral Neurologist and Associate Medical Director, Genentech, Inc.; Consulting Associate Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University
Lennart Mucke, M.D., Founding Director, Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease and Joseph B. Martin Distinguished Professor of Neuroscience and Neurology, UCSF
Brian Kennedy, Ph.D., CEO and President, The Buck Institute for Research on Aging – Moderator

Sponsored by Relevant Wealth Advisors

Everyone has high hopes that a cure for Alzheimer’s will be found soon. Two of our country’s prominent researchers and physicians will share their thoughts about the most promising discoveries, new diagnostic tools, what we can do to keep our memories stable, and what’s ahead.

Thu 7/9

Image - Chuck Palahniuk and Lidia Yuknavitch: A Night of Mayhem

Chuck Palahniuk and Lidia Yuknavitch: A Night of Mayhem

Date: Thu, July 09, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
"Contests, prizes, disturbing bedtimes stories and mayhem..."
Chuck Palahniuk, Author, Fight Club
Lidia Yuknavitch, Author, The Small Backs of Children
In conversation with Stuart Schuffman, Editor-in-Cheap, Broke-Ass Stuart
In the words of Chuck Palahniuk:
“Join Chuck Palahniuk at the Castro Theater July 9th, where the air will be filled with color, noise and candy. It's a party to celebrate the release of Lidia Yuknavitch's newest novel, The Small Backs of Children, a major step forward from one of our most avidly watched writers – a masterful exploration of the treacherous, often violent borders between war and sex, love and art. Contests, prizes, disturbing bedtimes stories and mayhem will reign. As always, the wearing of sexy sleepwear is encouraged.”

Mon 7/13

Image - Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve

Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve

Date: Mon, July 13, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Professor Ian Morris

Ian Morris, Jean and Rebecca Willard Professor of Classics and Professor of History, Stanford University; Author, Foragers, Farmers, and Fossil Fuels: How Human Values Evolve

Monday Night Philosophy explains why most people in the world today think democracy and gender equality are good, and violence and wealth inequality are bad, even though most people who lived before the 19th century thought just the opposite. Professor Morris argues that fundamental long-term changes in values are driven by the pursuit of energy, which humans have drawn from foraging, farming and fossil fuels. In forager bands, people who value equality, but are ready to settle problems violently do better. In farming societies, people who value hierarchy but are less willing to use violence do better. In fossil-fuel societies, equality is back but violence remains unacceptable. However, our ongoing revolution in energy capture could mean that our most cherished values could fundamentally change once again.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 7/13/15

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 7/13/15

Date: Mon, July 13, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Expert commentary that is smart, civil and humorous

Melissa Griffin Caen, Contributor, CBS SF (“Mornings with Melissa”) and San Francisco Magazine; Attorney; Twitter @melgriffincaen
C.W. Nevius, Columnist, San Francisco Chronicle; Twitter @cwnevius
Doug Sovern, Political and Investigative Reporter, KCBS Radio; Twitter @sovernnation

Join us 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 7/14

Image - Nob Hill Walking Tour

Nob Hill Walking Tour

Date: Tue, July 14, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure with Rick Evans

Explore one of San Francisco’s 44 hills, and one of its original “Seven Hills”. Because of great views and its central position, Nob Hill became an exclusive enclave of the rich and famous on the west coast who built large mansions in the neighborhood. This included prominent tycoons such as Leland Stanford, and other members of the Big Four. Highlights include the history of four landmark hotels: The Fairmont, Mark Hopkins, Stanford Court, and Huntington Hotel. Visit the city’s largest house of worship, Grace Cathedral, and discover architectural tidbits and anecdotes about the railroad barons and silver kings. A true San Francisco experience of elegance, urbanity, scandals and fabulous views.

Laura Ackley at The Commonwealth Club of California

San Francisco's Jewel City

Date: Tue, July 14, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Laura Ackley, Architectural Historian; Author, San Francisco's Jewel City

San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition opened its doors to much acclaim a century ago. The fantastic goings-on in each of the 11 neoclassical palaces that transformed the Presidio found their way into many of the pages of the Commonwealth Club’s reports during that summer of 1915. The exposition, which attracted such renowned American figures as Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Edison, served as a poignant symbol for both San Francisco’s resurgence from the catastrophic 1906 earthquake and its irrepressible spirit of innovation that continues through today. Come celebrate this remarkable centennial with Laura Ackley, the author of San Francisco's Jewel City, which details the history of one of the most elaborate fairs ever held in our city.

Image - Pat Wadors: SVP of Global Talent at LinkedIn

Pat Wadors: SVP of Global Talent at LinkedIn

Date: Tue, July 14, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
Everyone Deserves a Great Leader

Pat Wadors, Senior Vice President of Global Talent, LinkedIn; Twitter @wadors
In conversation with Venesa Klein, Partner, Calibre One; Twitter @Venesak

“Everyone Deserves a Great Leader”

Wadors will share her reflections on workplace diversity in technology and the steps LinkedIn is taking to address the challenge, as well as what it takes to create amazing, inclusive places to work. She will also highlight hard-earned leadership lessons she’s learned along the way from her work with Yahoo, Twitter, Plantronics and other notable organizations.

Wed 7/15

Image - Working Stiff

Working Stiff

Date: Wed, July 15, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With co-authors Judy Melinek and T.J. Mitchell

Judy Melinek, Forensic Pathologist and Associate Clinical Professor, UCSF Medical Center; Co-author, Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner

T.J. Mitchell, Co-author, Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner

Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband T.J. and their toddler Daniel holding down the home front, Melinek threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation – performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, counseling grieving relatives. Melinek offers a firsthand account of daily life in one of America’s most arduous professions, and the unexpected challenges of shuttling between the domains of the living and the dead. The body never lies – and through the murders, accidents, and suicides that land on her table, Melinek lays bare the truth behind the glamorized depictions of autopsy work on shows like “CSI” and “Law & Order” to reveal the secret story of the real morgue.

Image - Design Think Your Life

Design Think Your Life

Date: Wed, July 15, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Find fulfillment in your life and work.

Bernard Roth, Professor of Engineering; Author
Sarah Stein Greenberg, Executive Director, d.school, Stanford University

How can you apply the power of design thinking to achieve your goals that you never imagined possible? Bernard Roth, co-founder of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (the d.school) at Stanford University, will discuss how design thinking, previously used to solve large-scale projects, can bring out our ability to create positive change in our everyday lives. Join us with Professor Bernie Roth in conversation with d.school Executive Director Sarah Stein Greenberg for an evening of creative engagement as he shares valuable tips on how to tackle tough situations with imagination and the power of design thinking to find fulfillment in your life and work.

Thu 7/16

Image - Why and How to Get Better Sleep

Why and How to Get Better Sleep

Date: Thu, July 16, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Roger A. Sramek.

Roger A. Sramek, BA, MBA, Inventor; Entrepreneur; Founder, Promise, LLC; Author, Your Sleep: Wake up Refreshed! How to Reduce Pain, Lose Weight, Stop Snoring, and Get Healthy from the Promise of a Better Night’s Sleep

Sramek is an inventor, innovator and entrepreneur who came by his career as a farm boy who had to learn how to operate equipment and tools, to fix, mend, predict, nurture, listen, focus and get things done. He has numerous pending and issued patents in fields as diverse as stem cell harvesting devices, consumer products, oil production, urban farming and sleep enhancement. If you’re having sleep issues, such as insomnia, chronic pain or sleep disorders, Sramek can offer you new insights and techniques to get you sleeping in normal, refreshing and healthy ways.

Image - Greening Asia

Greening Asia

Date: Thu, July 16, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
With two of Asia’s most respected journalists

Mark Clifford, Executive Director, Asia Business Council; Author, The Greening of Asia
Stella Li, Senior Vice President, BYD Company Ltd.
Orville Schell, Director, Center on U.S.-China Relations, Asia Society New York; Former Dean, Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley

Asia’s booming economies have thrived following the well-trodden path of “industrialize now and clean up later.” Citizens and companies realize that the time to clean up is now. Dirty air, foul water and hellishly overcrowded cities are threatening to choke the continent's impressive prosperity. From solar and wind power to green buildings and electric cars, Asian companies have the cash, technology and government support to disrupt markets and solve social problems, ranging from local air and water pollution to climate change.

Join us for a conversation about the future of sustainable business in the world’s most vibrant economies.

Mon 7/20

Image - Julie Lythcott Haims: How to Raise an Adult

Julie Lythcott-Haims: How to Raise an Adult

Date: Mon, July 20, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Julie Lythcott-Haims, Former Dean of Freshmen and Undergraduate Advising, Stanford University; Author, How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success

In her new book, Lythcott-Haims has delivered a provocative manifesto that exposes the detrimental effects of helicopter parenting and puts forth an alternative philosophy for raising self-sufficient young adults. She draws on research, conversations with educators and employers, and her own insights as a mother and student dean to highlight the ways in which over-parenting harms children and their stressed-out parents. While empathizing with parents' universal worries, she offers practical alternative strategies that underline the importance of allowing children to make their own mistakes and develop the resilience, resourcefulness, and inner determination necessary for success.

Relevant to parents of toddlers as well as of twentysomethings, come hear a rallying cry for those who wish to ensure that the next generation can take charge of their own lives with competence and confidence.

Image - 15 Mind-Blowing Success Secrets for Small Businesses

15 Mind-Blowing Success Secrets for Small Businesses

Date: Mon, July 20, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Come and learn some uncommon wisdom!

Rick Gilbert, Founder, PowerSpeaking, Inc; Author, Speaking Up: Surviving Executive Presentations

After starting his business from scratch – literally, a rolodex and telephone in the bedroom – Rick Gilbert and his partner, Mary McGlynn, built PowerSpeaking, Inc., into a Silicon Valley legend with 30 employees and a worldwide footprint. Along the way, he found that the standard motivational slogans like "winners never quit" and "have a positive mental attitude" were not helpful. These success tips were learned by screwing up a lot. Be forewarned, this is not advice you will read in The Harvard Business Review.

Working for or running a small business? Come and learn the uncommon wisdom of why being a quitter and a pessimist is good for business, why "work/life balance" is nonsense; why you should be more like a jazz musician than a classical musician. And why you should fire the consultants.

MLF: Business & Leadership
Location: 555 Post Street, San Francisco
Time: 5:30 p.m. networking reception, 6 p.m. program
Program organizer: Kevin O’Malley

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, July 20, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

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 7/21

Image - Reinventing Water

Reinventing Water

Date: Tue, July 21, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
A two part program on solutions for a parched state

Anna M. Michalak, Carnegie Institution for Science
Abrahm Lustgarten, Reporter, Pro Publica
Tamin Pechet, CEO, Banyan Water; Chairman, Imagine H2O
David Sedlak, Professor of Mineral Engineering and Co-director of Berkeley Water Center, UC Berkeley

The drought in the American west is making people painfully aware of the food-water-energy nexus. Will this crisis finally drive fundamental change in the understanding and use of water? Stories from the Central Valley and insights from academia.

In the second half of the program, we will discuss how the drought is changing the way money flows in California’s water system. Investors see opportunity in scarcity and advocate for more active water markets. What are the urban and rural changes the state needs to make to slake the thirst of a growing population and economy? What is the future of water in California?

Climate One Connect: Audience members are invited to engage in breakout group conversations led by the speakers for 20 minutes following the program. We hope you’ll take part in this unique opportunity to delve deeper into solutions for sustainable living!

Wed 7/22

Image - Radical Remission of Cancer: Surviving Against All Odds

Radical Remission of Cancer: Surviving Against All Odds

Date: Wed, July 22, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author Kelly Turner.

Kelly Turner, PhD., Author, Radical Remission: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds

Turner, a researcher and lecturer in integrative oncology, was the first to delve deeply into studying “radical remission” from cancer – that is, when someone recovers from cancer without the help of conventional medicine, or after conventional medicine has failed. Join her as she describes the nine most common healing factors that emerged from her research and shares more from her New York Times bestseller.

Image - A Debate on Treating Mental Illness: Should We Bring Back Asylums?

A Debate on Treating Mental Illness: Should We Bring Back Asylums?

Date: Wed, July 22, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Should mentally ill people be integrated within the community?

Dominic Sisti, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics/Health Policy and Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania; Principal Author, “Improving Long-term Psychiatric Care: Bring Back the Asylum,” Journal of the American Medical Association
Renee Binder, M.D., Psychiatrist, University of California, San Francisco; Incoming President, American Psychiatric Association

Approximately 10 million Americans suffer from serious mental illness. Over the past 60 years, various social, political and economic forces have resulted in the closing of publicly funded psychiatric institutions in favor of community treatment, in which outpatient options and the ability to live independently seemed promising and in many cases less expensive than inpatient care.

Should severely mentally ill people be integrated within the community? Or should asylums be revisited? How would individuals come to be placed in such asylums? What civil rights issues come into play? How would such institutions be funded? Who would staff them and how would training and management ensure humane care? How could modern psychopharmacology and neuromedicine be applied? How could such institutions be structured to perhaps have different levels of institutionalization, from semi-independent living to more comprehensive care? How could they be made into places where people want to be, because their lives would be better than on their own?

Critics such as Dr. Dominic Sisti, principal author of a new report from The University of Pennsylvania, argue that comprehensive, accessible and fully integrated community-based mental health care continues to be an unmet promise. Dr. Sisti’s report further argues that deinstitutionalization has really been “transinstitutionalization,” resulting in a vicious cycle whereby mentally ill patients move between crisis hospitalization, homelessness and incarceration. Most disturbing, the report argues, U.S. jails and prisons have become the nation’s largest mental health-care facilities. The report cites recent studies that show that prisoners with a serious mental illness are two to three times more likely than prisoners without serious mental illness to be reincarcerated, that half of all inmates have a mental illness or substance abuse disorder, and that 15 percent of state inmates are diagnosed with a psychotic disorder.

Dr. Sisti says that new models of fully integrated, patient-centered long-term psychiatric care now exist in the United States and that such facilities are needed to provide 21st-century care to patients with chronic, serious mental illness.

Advocates for community treatment, such as Dr. Renee Binder, president of the American Psychiatric Association, argue that the answer to better treatment lies not in the fact that asylums have been closed but that they have not been replaced with adequate funding.

Join an important discussion about one of the most pressing issues impacting society at large.