Upcoming Events

Tue 10/6

Image - Can we stop Alzheimer’s Disease?

Can We Stop Alzheimer’s Disease?

Date: Tue, October 06, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With Nutritional Biochemist Steve Blake

Steve Blake, Sc.D., Nutritional Biochemist; Author, A Nutritional Approach to Alzheimer’s Disease; Faculty, Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience

What if there was a way to delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease by up to seven years? With both wise food choices and scientifically based supplementation, Steve Blake thinks it just might be possible. Find out the importance of vitamin D, antioxidants and polyphenols from food when it comes to lowering your risk of dementia, while Blake explains how you can implement these helpful techniques for yourself.

Image - Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature

Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature

Date: Tue, October 06, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With professor Alva Noë

Alva Noë, Professor of Philosophy, UC Berkeley; Author, Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature

What is art? Why do we value art as we do? What does art reveal about our nature? Alva Noë offers new answers to these questions through his book Strange Tools, which makes provocative use of examples in philosophy, art history and cognitive science. Listen to Noë explain why recent efforts to frame questions about art in terms of neuroscience and evolutionary biology alone have been, and will continue to be, unsuccessful.

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 10/6/15

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 10/6/15

Date: Tue, October 06, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Political insight and discussion — and a social hour

Bill Whalen, Hoover Institution Research Fellow
Carson Bruno, Hoover Institution Research Fellow
Bruce Cain, Director, Stanford University’s Bill Lane Center for the American West
John Zipperer, Vice President of Media and Editorial, The Commonwealth Club—Host

Join us as for a special edition of Week to Week, 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, an inside look at what Californians think, 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).

Image - Celebrating the San Jose Sharks 25th Anniversary Season
This event is Postponed

Celebrating the San Jose Sharks 25th Anniversary Season

Date: Tue, October 06, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
A quarter century of NHL's Bay Area team

Doug Wilson, General Manager, San Jose Sharks
Randy Hahn, TV Commentator
Matt Levine, President, SourceUSA — Moderator

Sponsored by Wells Fargo.

Twenty-five years ago, the Bay Area was taken by storm with the arrival of the National Hockey League’s San Jose Sharks. During that span, the team has been one of the most innovative and successful professional sports franchises on and off the ice.

On the eve of its 25th anniversary season, here is your opportunity to relive the history of the San Jose Sharks and hear about what lies ahead for Silicon Valley’s team with original team captain and General Manager Doug Wilson and long-time TV play-by-play commentator Randy Hahn, who was an integral member of the grass-roots movement to bring an NHL team to the Bay Area. The discussion will be moderated by original Sharks employee and Bay Area sports marketing professional Matt Levine.

Wed 10/7

Image - Ruth Reichl

Ruth Reichl

Date: Wed, October 07, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Ruth Reichl, Former Editor-in-Chief, Gourmet; Author, My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life; Twitter:
Margo True, Food Editor, Sunset Magazine — Moderator

A Food Lit event underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Reichl was stunned when Gourmet magazine, for which she was then editor-in-chief, was abruptly closed in 2009. Filled with uncertainty about her professional future, she turned to the one place that had always comforted her: the kitchen. Reichl reflects on that difficult emotional period and describes how cooking helped her heal and once more find joy in everyday pleasures. She shares her newest collection of recipes that follows her journey and embraces her passion for food. 

Image -  The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine W

The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World

Date: Wed, October 07, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Professor Pedro Domingos

Pedro Domingos, Professor, University of Washington; Co-founder, International Machine Learning Society

Machine learning is the automation of discovery – the scientific method on steroids – that enables intelligent robots and computers to program themselves. No field of science today is more important yet more shrouded in mystery. Pedro Domingos gives us a peek inside the learning machines that power giants like Google all the way down to the smartphone in your pocket. These programs are already helping us fight the war on cancer and predict the movements of the stock market, and they are making great headway with instant language translation and discovering new laws of nature.

Leading us through machine learning’s five major schools of thought (neuroscience, evolution, psychology, physics, and statistics) Domingos assembles a blueprint for the future universal learner – the Master Algorithm – and discusses what it means for you and for the future of business, science and society.

Image - The Way of Wanderlust with Travel Writer Don George

The Way of Wanderlust with Travel Writer Don George

Date: Wed, October 07, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Don George, Travel Writer; Author, The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George
In conversation with Laurie McAndish King, Travel Writer

A professional travel writer and editor for the past four decades, Don George has explored the farthest corners of the world. In his new book, The Way of Wanderlust, George’s adventurous tales over the last 40 years—climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, ascending Yosemite’s Half Dome, a moving homestay experience in Cambodia—come together in one inspiring volume. The former travel editor for the San Francisco Examiner and SF Chronicle, George founded the Wanderlust section of Salon.com and was recently the global travel editor for Lonely Planet Publications. George’s work has appeared in numerous publications around the globe, and he is a frequent guest on NPR and CNN, among many other TV and radio outlets.

Don’t miss the chance to hear this award-winning travel expert reflect upon his global expeditions and reignite your wanderlust.

Image - Anne Marie Slaughter

Anne Marie Slaughter

Date: Wed, October 07, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Author of Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family

Women Can’t Have It All: Women Men Work Family

Anne Marie Slaughter, President and CEO of New America
In conversation with Clara Jeffrey, Co-Editor, Mother Jones Magazine

With the publication of her 2012 Atlantic article “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” Anne Marie Slaughter initiated a flood of discussions surrounding the wage gap, the role of family in the workplace, and the challenge of balancing career success with a fulfilling home life. Writing openly about her decision to leave her job as the director of policy planning under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Slaughter prompted a rich conversation about how men and women define success in the 21st century, and she broke the record for unique page reads on the Atlantic’s website. Slaughter’s newest book, Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family, expands upon this topic and offers a vision of true equality for working men and women. In Unfinished Business, Slaughter combines well-researched social theory, candid personal anecdotes and bold action steps to combat gender inequality in the workplace and at home. Join us as we unpack it all.

Thu 10/8

Image - San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

San Francisco Architecture Walking Tour

Date: Thu, October 08, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
A neighborhood adventure with Rick Evans
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 that 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 - New Member Reception

New Member Reception

Date: Thu, October 08, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Bring a friend and explore the Club together!

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!

Fri 10/9

Image - Scott Shane: National Security Reporter for The New York Times

Scott Shane: National Security Reporter for The New York Times

Date: Fri, October 09, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Scott Shane, National Security Reporter, The New York Times; Author, Objective Troy: A Terrorist, a President, and the Rise of the Drone; Twitter
Philip W. Yun, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, Ploughshares Fund—Moderator

Objective Troy tells the gripping and unsettling story of Anwar al-Awlaki, the once-celebrated American imam who called for moderation after 9/11 but ultimately directed his outsized talents to the mass murder of his fellow citizens. Awlaki, who devised a plot that almost derailed Obama’s presidency, and then taunted him from his desert hideouts, will go down in history as the first U.S. citizen deliberately hunted and assassinated by his own government without trial. But his eloquent calls to jihad, amplified by YouTube, continue to lure young Westerners into terrorism—resulting in tragedies from the Boston marathon bombing to the murder of cartoonists at a Paris weekly. Hear Scott Shane discuss the years of reporting that went into this masterful chronicle of our times.

Mon 10/12

Image - David Brock

David Brock

Date: Mon, October 12, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Inside his Democratic war rooms

David Brock, Founder, Media Matters; Author, Killing the Messenger: The Right-Wing Plot to Derail Hillary and Hijack Your Government

With the acumen of a seasoned Democratic activist, Brock takes readers inside his Democratic war rooms and their constant struggle with Republican candidates for control of the story lines and messages that will decide the 2016 election. He’ll provide a no-holds-barred playbook for what he says the new right-wing elite will do in this election cycle and what engaged and informed citizens who oppose them can do.

Living in the Material World

Living in the Material World: The Future of the Humanities

Date: Mon, October 12, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Professor Caroline Winterer

Caroline Winterer, Director and Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities, Stanford Humanities Center; Professor of History and of Classics at Stanford University
Russell Hancock, Pianist, Saint Michael Trio, and President and CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley
Judy Salter, Board Member, Cal Humanities, and former President and CEO of Turtle Bay Exploration Park

The runaway success of material culture in the last two centuries has often overshadowed the pursuit of subtler, more humane forms of happiness and understanding. Recently even the great universities, the last strongholds of liberal education, have been struggling to define the value of critical thinking next to career building. How will these subtler pursuits survive the cultural onslaught of materialism? Join us for another panel discussion of how to live humanely in the 21st century.

Inside Political Campaigns: Money, Ethics and the Future

Date: Mon, October 12, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Can you be both ethical and victorious?

Ann Ravel, Chair, Federal Election Commission; Former Chair, California Fair Political Practices Commission
Ace Smith, Veteran Campaign Manager, Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, Jerry Brown; Veteran Campaign Strategist
Ben Ginsberg, Veteran Campaign Strategist; National Counsel, Romney for President 2008, and Bush-Cheney Campaigns of 2000, 2004 
Kirk Hanson, Executive Director, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University – Moderator

When it comes to political campaigns, it’s all about the money from various special interests. What monetary rules actually govern campaigns, and how often are they broken? What role will campaign finance laws play in 2016 and beyond? Meet the government official who oversees the financing of federal elections along with two long-time strategists from both sides of the aisle for an inside look at the way political campaigns actually work and a discussion about whether or not it’s possible to be both ethical and victorious.

Tue 10/13

Image - Lethal Generosity: Contextual Technology and the Competitive Edge

Lethal Generosity: Contextual Technology and the Competitive Edge

Date: Tue, October 13, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author Shel Israel

Shel Israel, Author, Lethal Generosity: Contextual Technology and the Competitive Edge
Robert Scoble, Chief Startup Liaison, Rackspace; Author, Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy
Kevin O’Malley, President, TechTalk / Studio — Moderator

"Lethal generosity" is the concept that says by treating your customers with kindness and giving them highly personalized experience, companies will absolutely trump competitive efforts to hijack them. Joined by frequent collaborator Robert Scoble, Shel Israel will present a digital landscape where power has shifted from sellers and brand efforts to buyers who use social media to influence each other — and where he says contextual technologies such as mobile, IoT, data and location allow merchants to treat customers to unprecedentedly positive experiences.

Image - Drilling in the Amazon and Arctic

Drilling in the Amazon and Arctic

Date: Tue, October 13, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Lou Allstadt, Former Executive Vice President, Mobil Oil Co.
Andy Behar, Executive Director, As You Sow
Rene G. Ortiz, Former Ecuador Oil Minister; Former OPEC Secretary General
Leila Salazar-Lopez, Executive Director, Amazon Watch

With oil companies calling for a price on carbon emissions, is the energy industry finally changing its tune on pollution? Oil and coal have fueled economies and lifted people out of poverty. They also have fouled the air, land and water, especially in developing countries where governments are weak or corrupt. How fast will the world transition away from fossils to cleaner fuels? How can individual investors use their retirement accounts to vote for an oil change? How can the fossil fuel sector become cleaner as it evolves toward renewables? Join a conversation about powering the 21st-century economy while still using 20th-century fuels.

Wed 10/14

Dr. Alan Wu
This event is Postponed

Taking Ownership of Your Clinical Laboratory Test Results

Date: Wed, October 14, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
An informed individual makes the best patient

Alan Wu, Ph.D., Director, Clinical Chemistry, Toxicology and Pharmacogenomics Laboratories, San Francisco General Hospital; Professor, Laboratory Medicine, UCSF; Author, Toxicology! Because What You Don't Know Can Kill You and The Hidden Assassin: When Clinical Lab Tests Go Awry

While we’ve changed what we put into our bodies, we have not been engaged with what is being done to our bodies. Roughly 70 percent of all medical decisions are based on clinical lab test results, yet we don’t know what medical tests are ordered or how results are interpreted. For 30 years, Dr. Alan Wu has conducted blood tests for patients and has written four paperbacks based on real cases, and he believes that an informed individual makes the best patient.

Image - Ben Bernanke: Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve

Ben Bernanke: Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve

Date: Wed, October 14, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
An unequaled perspective on the American economy

Ben Bernanke, Former Chairman, Federal Reserve; Author, The Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath
In conversation with Michael Moritz, Managing Partner, Sequoia Capital

Part of the Club’s Series on Ethics and Accountability, underwritten by the Charles Travers Family Foundation.

Bernanke was appointed chair of the Federal Reserve in 2006, capping a meteoric trajectory from a rural South Carolina childhood to professorships at Stanford and Princeton, to public service in Washington. There would be no time to celebrate, however – the bursting of the housing bubble in 2007 set off a domino effect that would bring the global financial system to the brink of meltdown.

Now, Bernanke pulls back the curtain on the tireless and ultimately successful efforts to prevent a mass economic collapse. Working with two U.S. presidents and two Treasury secretaries, Bernanke and his colleagues used every federal capability to keep the U.S. economy afloat.

From his arrival in Washington in 2002 to the intense days and weeks of the crisis, and through the Great Recession that followed, Bernanke presents an unequaled perspective on the American economy. For the first time, he reveals how the creativity and decisiveness of a few key leaders prevented an economic collapse of unimaginable scale.

Thu 10/15

Image - Russian Hill Walking Tour

Russian Hill Walking Tour

Date: Thu, October 15, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM
An active neighborhood adventure!

Join a more active Commonwealth Club Neighborhood Adventure! Russian Hill is a magical area with secret gardens and amazing views. Join Rick Evans for a two-hour hike up hills and staircases and learn about the history of this neighborhood. See where great artists and architects lived and worked, and walk down residential streets where some of the most historically significant houses in the Bay Area are located.

Image - Charging Ahead: PG&E CEO Tony Earley

Charging Ahead: PG&E CEO Tony Earley

Date: Thu, October 15, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Tony Earley, Chairman & CEO, PG&E Corporation

California creates more wealth per puff of carbon pollution than anywhere else on the planet, and its largest electric utility, PG&E, has become one of the cleanest power providers in the country. Now the state has laid out ambitious new goals for generating an even greener and smarter economy. That means higher standards for renewable energy, mandates for new ways of storing electricity, a concerted push toward electric vehicles and new approaches to pricing the power that runs our connected lives.

The transition will mean big changes for two industries with a historic reliance on fossil fuels: investor-owned power utilities and traditional automakers. What role will these century-old pillars of commerce play in the new energy ecosystem? With a host of start-ups and big names in high-tech challenging old business models and vying for pieces of the clean energy market, can they prove innovative enough to adapt and succeed in a carbon-free future?

In the run-up to the United Nations climate conference in Paris, join us for a conversation about powering the California of tomorrow.