Upcoming Events: Silicon Valley

Sat 9/10

Image - Wine barrels

September Soiree: Judgment of Paris 40th Anniversary

Date: Sat, September 10, 2016
Time: 5:00 PM

Join The Commonwealth Club for our first annual September Soirée, hosted at the historic Green Gables estate in Woodside, celebrating the 40-year anniversary of the Judgment of Paris.

Sip, swirl and taste world-renowned wines from the winning Judgment of Paris wineries while supporting The Commonwealth Club at this benefit tasting event. You will have the opportunity to speak one-on-one with the winemakers, winery owners and vineyard specialists who crafted the wines that put California wines on the map 40 years ago. Take in the breathtaking scenery of the Santa Cruz Mountains from the extravagant Green Gables estate, which is recognized as a National Historic Place and was built by the famed architects Greene and Greene. As you stroll through the eloquent gardens you will make your way from one winery’s tasting station to the next and experience wines from Chalone, Veedercrest, Spring Mountain Vineyard's 2012 Elivette, and a 2000 Monte Bello from Ridge, among others, all paired with gourmet small plates carefully chosen to accentuate these defining wines of California.

The Commonwealth Club chooses to celebrate this momentous event on its 40th anniversary year to offer the winemakers and winery owners a chance to tell their stories behind the triumph at the Judgment of Paris and the wines that started a renaissance in the Napa Valley, making it one of the premier wine regions of the world.

Join us and these pioneers of California wine in a toast to the Judgment of Paris and support The Commonwealth Club by purchasing a tax-deductible ticket to our September Soirée.

Tue 9/13

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social

Election 2016 Political Roundtable: A Week to Week Special

Date: Tue, September 13, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
A special South Bay edition of our popular politics roundtable

Lanhee J. Chen, David and Diane Steffy Research Fellow, Hoover Institution; Former Policy Director, 2012 Romney-Ryan Presidential Campaign
Larry Gerston, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, San Jose State University; Political Analyst, NBC Bay Area; Author, Reviving Citizen Engagement, and The Road to Hana; Twitter
Barbara Marshman, Editorial Page Editor, Mercury News; Twitter

This program is sponsored by the Applied Materials Foundation.

It's a special edition of our political roundtable. We'll gather local experts for commentary on the candidates, referenda and issues of concern to the South Bay, and we'll take a look at statewide and national campaigns.

We'll 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 refreshments at our member social (open to all attendees). 

Tue 9/20

Image - Susan David

Susan David: Understanding Emotional Agility

Date: Tue, September 20, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Navigating life's twists and turns

Susan David, Psychologist, Harvard Medical School; Author, Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life
Jenny Dearborn, Chief Learning Officer, SAP—Moderator

Why is understanding emotional agility so important? With more than 20 years of research, David found that no matter how intelligent, resilient or creative people are, when they ignore how situations make them feel, they miss opportunities to reach their full potential.

By understanding emotional agility, she says, individuals learn how to adapt and thrive in stressful situations. Learn how to navigate life’s twists and turns with an open mind for success.

Thu 9/29

Image - Rorke Denver

Rorke Denver: U.S. Navy SEAL Commander

Date: Thu, September 29, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
What does it mean to be a hero?

Rorke Denver, Navy SEAL Commander; Mentor, "American Grit"; Author, Worth Dying For: A Navy Seal’s Call to a Nation; Twitter:

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

Denver has run every phase of training for the U.S. Navy SEALs and led special-forces missions in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. He starred in the 2012 hit film Act of Valor, based on real-life SEAL missions, and most recently served as a mentor coach on Fox’s "American Grit."

Denver shares his insights and experiences and addresses what it means to be a hero, why we fight and what can be learned from the battlefield.

Mon 10/10

Image - Larry Brilliant

Larry Brilliant: Sometimes Brilliant

Date: Mon, October 10, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
The inspiring life and journey of a local hero.

Larry Brilliant, Chairman, Skoll Global Threats; Former Executive Director, Google.org; Author, Sometimes Brilliant: The Impossible Adventure of a Spiritual Seeker and Visionary Physician Who Helped Conquer the Worst Disease in History; Twitter:

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

Brilliant’s life has taken him across continents and countercultural movements. He is responsible for some of the most significant medical, spiritual and social achievements of the past century, working with leaders and icons including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, Wavy Gravy, the Dalai Lama, and President Barack Obama.

Brilliant was the executive director of Google.org and chaired the Presidential Advisory Committee on Bio-Surveillance. He lived in India for more than 10 years working as a United Nations medical officer, where he played a key role in the World Health Organization smallpox eradication program in South Asia. He also co-founded The Seva Foundation, an international NGO whose programs and grantees have given back sight to more than 3.5 million blind people in more than 20 countries.

Learn more about Brilliant’s inspiring life and journey.

Tue 10/18

Image - Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek: Author and Optimist

Date: Tue, October 18, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Embrace working together to overcome challenges

Simon Sinek, Author, Start with Why and Together is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration; Twitter

Sinek's newest book, Together is Better, is a celebration of that simple human idea that we are better when we help each other than we are when we work alone.

Too often, we avoid asking for help when we need it or refuse to accept it when it’s offered for fear that it will make us look weak or put us or our job at risk. We often keep self-doubt to ourselves instead of turning to someone we trust for inspiration.

Together is Better has combined some of Sinek’s favorite quotes, amazing illustrations, storytelling and commentary. In the simplest way possible, Sinek reminds us what it means to be a leader, the courage it takes to ask for help and the value of working together. It is a story that illustrates the need for leaders to foster environments in which trust and cooperation can thrive.

Sinek, the best selling author of Start with Why and Leaders Eat Last, has taught companies and employees around the world how to inspire people. He is known for popularizing the concept of “Why,” and his TED talk is the third most-watched presentation with more than 27 million views.

Wed 10/19

Image - Pascal Lee and Andy Weir

Pascal Lee and Andy Weir: Exploring Mars

Date: Wed, October 19, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
How to turn the Earthling into the Martian.

Dr. Pascal Lee, Co-founder, Mars Institute; Planetary Scientist, SETI Institute; Principal Investigator of the Haughton-Mars Project, NASA Ames Research Center; Author, Mission: Mars
Andy Weir, Author, The Martian

Sooner or later, humans will walk on the Red Planet. Weir and Lee want it to be “sooner,” and they have deep insights—both physical and psychological—about how to make it happen. Join Lee and Weir for a spirited conversation on the promise and peril of humanity’s first in-person exploration of an alien planet.

Thu 10/20

Image - Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader: Fighting for Democracy

Date: Thu, October 20, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Of the people, by the people

Ralph Nader, Activist; Author, Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think; Twitter:

In this unprecedented election year, Nader makes an inspired case about how he thinks our country can—and must—be democratically managed by communities guided by the U.S. Constitution, not by big business or the wealthy few.

Nader has fought for decades to give Americans back their political voice. He draws from his own experiences and shares his core political beliefs on how we can protect our rights to ensure democracy for all.

Wed 10/26

Image - Origami

Robert Lang: Origami — Between the Folds of Art and Technology

Date: Wed, October 26, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Science meets art

Roberg Lang, Origami Artist; Physicist

Origami is the centuries-old Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures. Lang, a world-renowned origami artist, has taken this traditional art form one step further.

Lang is one of the pioneers of cross-disciplinary origami that combines mathematics, science, technology, engineering and design with origami. His applications have been used on medical devices, air bag designs and expandable space telescopes.

With 50 patents awarded and pending on semiconductor lasers, optics and integrated optoelectronics, Lang has more than 500 designs catalogued and diagrammed and his artwork has been shown around the world in exhibits at the MoMA in New York, Carrousel du Louvre in Paris and the Nippon Museum of Origami in Japan.

Hear more about the blending of art and technology what drives him to create such inspirational masterpieces.

Tue 11/1

Image - Frances Dinkelspiel

Frances Dinkelspiel: Greed, Murder, and Arson in California's Vineyards

Date: Tue, November 01, 2016
Time: 7:00 PM
Time for wine crime

Frances Dinkelspiel, Author, Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession, and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California

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

In 2005 a massive warehouse fire broke out in Vallejo, destroying 4.5 million bottles of California’s finest wine. The damage came out to be $250 million, making it the largest destruction of wine in history, and it included priceless bottles of Port and Angelica made by Dinkelspiel’s great-great grandfather. An investigation revealed that the fire was deliberately set by Mark Anderson, a skilled con man and thief. What’s even harder to believe is this wasn’t the first time wine was at the center of crime and destruction.

Dinkelspiel traces the history of California wine and unravels this story of greed, violence and obsession.