Upcoming Events

Tue 11/4

Image - Founders' Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln (MLF)

Founders' Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln

Date: Tue, November 04, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Lincoln's life as a struggle to carry on the work of the Founding Fathers.

Richard Brookhiser, Historian

Abraham Lincoln turned to Washington, Paine and Jefferson for knowledge, guidance, inspiration and purpose. He brought their vision to bear on the Civil War and the question of slavery. In Founders' Son, celebrated historian Richard Brookhiser presents Lincoln's life as a struggle to carry on the work of the Founding Fathers. From Lincoln’s humble origins in Kentucky to his assassination in D.C., Brookhiser shows us every side of the man: laborer, lawyer, congressman, president; storyteller, wit, lover of ribald jokes; depressive, poet, friend and visionary.

Image - Heather Burnett Gold: Empowering Communities with Gigabits to the Home
This event is Canceled

Heather Burnett Gold: Empowering Communities with Gigabits to the Home

Date: Tue, November 04, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
President, Fiber to the Home Council North America

Heather Burnett Gold, President, Fiber to the Home Council North America

Certain communities around the United States have recently coalesced around an idea: America needs a critical mass of communities with exceptional bandwidth so we can foster human capital that knows how to design, build, operate and, above all, innovate using the best networks in the world. The movement is nascent, but early examples are proving successful, such as the bond rating increase Kansas City received thanks in part to Google Fiber, and Tom Friedman reporting how Chattanooga has changed from “a slowly declining and deflating urban balloon, to one of the fastest-growing cities in Tennessee.” Heather Burnett Gold will discuss the process of becoming a “gigabit city.” She claims it’s not a matter of economics or engineering; it’s about organization.

Image - Adam Michnik, Polish Activist and Journalist

Adam Michnik, Polish Activist and Journalist

Date: Tue, November 04, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
The Trouble with Democracy After Communism

Adam Michnik, Polish Activist; Editor-in-Chief, Gazeta Wyborcza, Author, The Trouble with History: Morality, Revolution, and Counterrevolution

The Trouble with Democracy After Communism

Adam Michnik was a leader of the anti-Communist opposition in Poland in the 1970s and 1980s. He is the editor-in-chief of Gazeta Wyborcza, a daily newspaper often referred to as “The New York Times of Eastern Europe.” He is among Poland’s most prominent public figures, with a distinctive voice dedicated to dialogue, tolerance and freedom.

Michnik was a leading figure in the 1968 student movement in Warsaw, a co-founder of KOR (Committee for the Defense of Workers) in 1976, and a prominent Solidarity activist in the 1980s. In 1989, he participated in the Round Table Talks, which resulted in Poland’s nonviolent transition to democracy, and he served as a deputy in Poland’s first non-communist parliament. He is the author of several books and countless essays, analyses and interviews. Today, he regularly travels throughout the world, giving lectures on democracy, totalitarianism and the paradoxes and dilemmas of contemporary politics.

Wed 11/5

Image - Waterfront Walk

Waterfront Walk

Date: Wed, November 05, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
Explore the neighborhood near the Club's future home.

Join Rick Evans for his new walking tour exploring the historic sites of the waterfront neighborhood that surrounds the location of the future Commonwealth Club headquarters. Hear the dynamic stories of the entrepreneurs, controversial artists and labor organizers who created this recently revitalized neighborhood. This two-hour tour will give you a lively overview of the historic significance of this neighborhood and a close look at the ongoing development.

Image - Humanities West Book Discussion - A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich

Humanities West Book Discussion - A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich

Date: Wed, November 05, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
A lucid account of the abuse of history.

Join us to discuss Harvard classics professor Christopher Krebs' lucid account of the abuse of history. Germania, written in 98 C.E. by the Roman official Tacitus, was lost for centuries but resurfaced around 1500. It launched a primitivist myth of ancient Germans as freedom-loving warriors, uncultured but honorable, in contrast with decadent Romans. In fact, Tacitus probably never visited Germany. He wrote for a Roman audience that shared his romantic view of northern barbarians. But enthusiastic German readers from Luther to Himmler ignored Tacitus's disparaging comments and misread passages to confirm their prejudices. Krebs warns against this irresistible human yearning to find written proof of one's ideology. Lynn Harris will lead the discussion.

Image - How to Write Your Own Business Book: Starting, Finishing and Publishing

Write the Book About Your Business to Increase Profits and Clients

Date: Wed, November 05, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Francine Brevetti, Business Journalist

Francine Brevetti, Business Journalist, Formerly with the Oakland Tribune; Ghostwriter; Memoirist

You say you’re an expert, but who else knows? Publishing a book based on your business experience and expertise is a great way to establish your credentials and attract prospective clients. International business journalist and author Francine Brevetti sets out an easy-to-follow program for how to write your own book, with insider guidance on how to start writing, generate and structure content, and approach publishing your work. Francine will break down each element of the writing process using her clear, step-by-step methodology. You'll learn her process to write a book that has the potential to raise your business profile and expand your customer base.

Image - New Food Revolution

New Food Revolution

Date: Wed, November 05, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Feeding 9 billion people is a daunting challenge.

Karen Ross, California Secretary of Food and Agriculture; Former Deputy U.S. Secretary of Agriculture 
Jonathan Foley, Executive Director, California Academy of Sciences 
 

Feeding 9 billion people on a hot planet is a daunting challenge. California can play a leading role, but its searing drought is stressing its ability to be the world’s fruit basket and salad bowl.

Does the solution involve organic food, industrial monoculture, GMOs or all of the above? What can Americans do to make food choices that support change in the food system? 

A recent cover story in National Geographic outlined Jonathan Foley’s five-step plan to feed a hot and crowded world. We’ll discuss that plan for food security with Dr. Foley and two food leaders from the top levels of government and business.

Climate One Connect
Audience members are invited to engage in breakout group conversations led by 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.

Image - A History of the World According to Beer

A History of the World According to Beer

Date: Wed, November 05, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
William Bostwick, Beer Critic, Author

William Bostwick, Beer Critic; Author, The Brewer’s Tale: A History of the World According to Beer

Ever wonder when the first beer was brewed? Or, better yet, how it tasted? In his latest book, The Brewer’s Tale, home-brewer and beer critic William Bostwick uncovers the stories of brewers past – the unknown recipes, the odd ingredients, and the long-lost flavors – telling a history of the world through the eyes of brewers throughout the centuries. Join Bostwick as he celebrates the beers of ages past and raise a glass to the fermented magic we all know and love.

Following the interview, enjoy tastings provided by several of the best breweries in the Bay Areaincluding Black Diamond BrewingCalicraft BrewingMoonlight BrewingMagnolia Brewing and SF Mead.  Cheers!

Thu 11/6

Image - Betsy Andrews, Executive Editor, Saveur Magazine

Betsy Andrews, Executive Editor, Saveur Magazine

Date: Thu, November 06, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
How to Be a Top Chef at Home

Betsy Andrews, Executive Editor, Saveur Magazine; Author, Saveur: The New Classics Cookbook
In conversation with Jackie Burrell, Editor, Eat Drink Play, The Bay Area News Group

How to Be a Top Chef at Home

Andrews will highlight the world’s best recipes for the modern home kitchen, giving tips and detailing the stories behind the dishes. Her well-curated global dishes and authentic, from-the-source recipes provide a foundation for any home cook looking for inspiration.

Andrews is the former Deputy Editor of Saveur and editor of the new Saveur Drink. She is a former New York Times Food Critic and Zagat Editor. She has also written about food and drink for Chow, Eater, Arrive and other publications.

Image - Explore the World from The Commonwealth Club Planning Meeting

Explore the World from The Commonwealth Club Planning Meeting

Date: Thu, November 06, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM

All interested Club members are welcome to attend our bimonthly, one-hour planning meetings of the International Relations Member-Led Forum. We focus on Europe, Latin America, Africa and worldwide topics. Join us to discuss current international issues and plan programs for 2015.

Image - Zen's Chinese Heritage

Zen's Chinese Heritage

Date: Thu, November 06, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
A deep exploration of the spiritual and political origins of Chinese Chan.

Andy Ferguson, Chinese Language and Literature Expert; Author, Zen’s Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings

Chinese Chan (Zen) Buddhism occupies a unique position in Chinese society. The religion’s history is deeply intertwined with Chinese philosophy and politics. How has this ancient teaching survived China’s explosion of consumerism? Are existing Chinese Chan temples true repositories of an authentic tradition, or are they empty storefronts for a philosophy forgotten or misunderstood?

Andy Ferguson is the author of Zen’s Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings, a large compendium of the ancient teachings of more than a 150 ancient Chan masters from China’s “Golden Age” of Chan. His other book, Tracking Bodhidharma, is a deep exploration of the spiritual and political origins of Chinese Chan. In that text, Ferguson demonstrates that the religion’s philosophical origins are as surprising as its history of political influence, an influence with a bizarre relationship with some of the 20th century’s most tragic events.

Image - Abbas Milani: The Rise of ISIS and the Changing Landscape of the Middle East

Abbas Milani: The Rise of ISIS and the Changing Landscape of the Middle East

Date: Thu, November 06, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Abbas Milani, Director of Iranian Studies, Stanford University

Milani is one of the founding co-directors of the Iran Democracy Project and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. Until 1986, he taught at Tehran University’s Faculty of Law and Political Science, where he was also a member of the board of directors of the university’s Center for International Relations. For eight years, he was a visiting research fellow in University of California, Berkeley’s Middle East Center. Come hear one of the world’s top Middle East experts give his take on how ISIS will ultimately impact the region and the U.S.

Fri 11/7

Image - The Crusades of Cesar Chavez

The Crusades of Cesar Chavez

Date: Fri, November 07, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Miriam Pawel, Author, The Crusades of Cesar Chavez

On November 9, 1984, at the invitation of then-President Shirley Temple Black, Cesar Chavez gave a memorable lecture at the Club. To celebrate its 30th anniversary, Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Miriam Pawel will describe the details of the complex life of Chavez, one of the great iconic leaders of the 20th century, one of the most celebrated Latinos in U.S. history and one of the most effective labor organizers California has ever seen. Now that Chavez is once again the focus of public attention, a balanced view of his contributions and his difficulties is all the more valuable.

Mon 11/10

Image - 33 Artists in 3 Acts: Politics, Kinship and Craft

33 Artists in 3 Acts: Politics, Kinship and Craft

Date: Mon, November 10, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Sarah Thornton, Author  

Sarah Thornton is a sociologist of art and a regular contributor to The Economist, whose bestseller Seven Days in the Art World explored the cutthroat yet glamorous cultural phenomenon of the contemporary art market. She will report the stories resulting from worldwide interviews about “what is an artist?” from her latest book, 33 Artists in 3 Acts, concerning politics, kinship and craft. Thornton writes that those narratives “demarcate the ideological border that differentiates artists from non-artists, or ‘real artists’ from unimpressive ones.” Artists interviewed include Jeff Koons, Laurie Simmons and Carroll Dunham, and Cindy Sherman, among others from 14 countries on 5 continents.

Image - Umpire or Empire? The History and Future of American Leadership

Umpire or Empire? The History and Future of American Leadership

Date: Mon, November 10, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Monday Night Philosophy

Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman, Dwight Stanford Professor of American Foreign Relations, San Diego State University; National Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Monday Night Philosophy dives into the history of U.S. foreign policy. Most historians believe the U.S. is an empire; the past two presidents and most of the public disagree. What does it matter? Hoffman offers a challenging new interpretation of America's past with important implications for the way forward.

Tue 11/11

Image - Robert Baer

Robert Baer

Date: Tue, November 11, 2014
Time: 7:30 PM
Former CIA Operative

Robert Baer, Former CIA Operative; National Security Affairs Analyst, CNN; Author, See No Evil and The Perfect Kill: 21 Laws for Assassins

For over 20 years, Baer served as a CIA operative in the Middle East and Europe. His life and personal experiences inspired George Clooney’s Oscar-winning performance in the movie Syriana. Baer examines the historical and political context of assassinations and shares his foreign policy and security insights. He also reveals what it was like working as an agent in some of the most dangerous and volatile regions in the world.

Wed 11/12

Image - Jamie Metzl: Are China and the U.S. Headed for a Genetic Arms Race?

Jamie Metzl: The US-China Rivalry at the Genetic Frontier

Date: Wed, November 12, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Novelist; Former U.S. Security Official

Jamie Metzl, Novelist; Former U.S. Security Official

Novelist and Asia expert Jamie Metzl's new novel, Genesis Code, tells of a future genetic arms race between China and the United States. It is fiction – for now – but Metzl, who worked in the Clinton National Security Council and State Department and is the former executive vice president of the Global Asia Society, will discuss how the U.S.-China rivalry, marked by tensions in the South and East China Seas, in cyberspace, outer space and elsewhere, is heating up around the world. With the science of human genetic engineering rapidly advancing, there is a significant possibility that today's science fiction will be tomorrow's reality and that great power interests might soon dictate the course of genetically modified human evolution.

Image - The Power of Community - Senior Cohousing

The Power of Community - Senior Cohousing

Date: Wed, November 12, 2014
Time: 5:15 PM
 Charles Durrett, AIA; Architect; Author

Charles DurrettAIA; Architect; Author, The Senior Cohousing Handbook: A Community Approach to Independent Living; Co-author, A Contemporary Approach to Housing Ourselves

Today we can text our sibling to find out what they are having for lunch in Paris, but we don’t know the name of our next-door neighbor nor his or her birthday – unless you’ve looked up him or her on PoliceReport.com – because shouldn’t we know who our neighbor is? It’s only prudent to be precautious. Learn how seniors are countering the pathologies in our society today by affecting their personal lives and collective lives and affecting society positively by planning new cohousing communities. They bring environmental ethics, justice, village life – community to the table. A real work by real people with real values and real lives who make an environment that responds to their real needs. How romantic is community? Very; everyone is talking about it in the abstract. How realistic is community? Very; there are lots of folks around North America who have decided that this important complement in our lives – community – needs to be revived. Come learn about this momentous social movement from a prime mover.

 

Thu 11/13

Image - Leadership: The Power Behind the Throne

Leadership: The Power Behind the Throne

Date: Thu, November 13, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Richard Hytner, Author, Consiglieri: Leading from the Shadows

Richard Hytner, Deputy Chairman, Saatchi & Saatchi; Adjunct Associate Professor of Marketing, London Business School; Author, Consiglieri: Leading from the Shadows

The key to success lies in getting to the top, right? Wrong! It’s time to celebrate the second-in-command. These are the V.P’s, COOs, First Lieutenants and First Violins whose influence can determine the fate of countries and companies: Merlin to King Arthur, Al Gore to Bill Clinton, Rasputin to the Russian royal family. Learn how influence, authority and power can be found in much more interesting places than behind the CEO’s desk.

Fri 11/14

Image - Are Professional Athletes Underpaid? Money and the Culture of Profession

Are Professional Athletes Underpaid? Money and the Culture of Professional Sports

Date: Fri, November 14, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Discussion with Leland Faust and Duane Kuiper

Leland Faust, Founder and Chairman, CSI Capital Management; Member, Sporting News Top 100 Most Powerful People in Sports
Duane Kuiper, Emmy Award-winning Play-by-play Announcer, San Francisco Giants; Former Major League Baseball Player, Cleveland Indians, San Francisco Giants
Vida Blue, Former Pitcher, Oakland A's, SF Giants; Cy Young Award, MVP, Six-Time All Star
Kevin O’Malley, President, Tech Talk/Studio – Moderator

Get an inside look at how money shapes the culture of professional sports and influence decisions both on and off the field. Learn from the insiders how the mixture of entertainment and money results in today’s complex professional sports industry and the range of players’ salaries.