Upcoming Events

Wed 10/14

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

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 - 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.

Image - Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer: When to Cooperate, When to Compete

Adam Galinsky and Maurice Schweitzer: When to Cooperate, When to Compete

Date: Thu, October 15, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
How to get the most out of any relationship

Adam Galinsky, Vikram S. Pandit Professor of Business, Columbia University School of Business; Co-Author, Friend and Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both
Maurice Schweitzer, Cecilia Yen Koo Professor of Operations and Information Management, University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business; Co-Author, Friend and Foe: When to Cooperate, When to Compete, and How to Succeed at Both

What does it take to be successful? Galinsky and Schweitzer, two of the most respected scholars on success, highlight how to get the most out of any relationship through the science of cooperation and competition.

Drawing on original research from their labs and across the social sciences, they examine how to strike the right balance to maximize professional and personal happiness and improve relationships with family, friends and co-workers.

Galinsky and Schweitzer recommend ways to negotiate the best outcomes by learning when to cooperate as a friend and when to compete as a foe—and more important, how to be better at both.

Mon 10/19

Image - Chinese Medicine and Managing Diabetes

Chinese Medicine and Managing Diabetes

Date: Mon, October 19, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

John Nieters, Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine; Licensed Acupuncturist, Xin Hua Hospital

Dr. John Nieters will share his experience in treating diabetes, drawing on both ancient and modern solutions intended to control diabetes or reduce the risk of becoming diabetic. Learn about his method of implementing tools from five branches of traditional Chinese medicine with technological advances of Western medicine. Also discover early warning signs and how to turn around a pre-diabetic condition through case studies that illustrate the impact of these treatment protocols.

Image - Adam Johnson: Pulitzer Prize Winning Author

Adam Johnson: Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author

Date: Mon, October 19, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Adam Johnson, Associate Professor, Stanford University; Author, The Orphan Master’s Son and Fortune Smiles

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

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his acclaimed and bestselling novel The Orphan Master’s Son, Johnson is one of America’s most provocative and powerful authors. In his latest novel, Fortune Smiles, he continues to give voice to characters rarely heard from while offering something we all seek from fiction: a new way of looking at our world. In six masterly stories, Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal. Unnerving, riveting and written with a timeless quality, these stories confirm Johnson as one of America's greatest writers and serves as an indispensable guide to our new century.

Longevity Explorers Discussion Group: Better Aging. You. Your Parents.

Date: Mon, October 19, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

This regular discussion group will be exploring new and emerging solutions to the challenges of growing older. Not only will we be uncovering interesting new products at the intersection of aging and technology, we will also be conducting a series of ongoing deep dive discussions into topics like brain health, apps for seniors, hearing and wearables for seniors. The results of our discussions will be shared with a larger community of older adults interested in improving their quality of life through our partner in this initiative, Tech-enhanced Life, PBC. The discussions will be facilitated by Dr. Richard Caro, whom many of you have heard speak at prior grownups forum events.
Image - Seth Siegel: Let There Be Water

Seth Siegel: Let There Be Water

Date: Mon, October 19, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM
Possible solutions to overcome water scarcity

Seth Siegel, Author, Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution for a Water-Starved World
Lisa Krieger, Science and Medicine Reporter, San Jose Mercury News —Moderator

California faces one of its most severe droughts on record, as water scarcity is also continuing to worsen in the rest of the world. Siegel looks at some of the policies and cutting-edge water technology that have been embraced specifically in Israel, and he examines how a land that is made of 60 percent desert has become a leading world power in water technology.

As the imbalance between water supply and demand rapidly increases, the world could soon face a global crisis in energy shortages, surging food prices and economic instability. Siegel offers possible solutions for conservation development to overcome the problem of water scarcity.

Wed 10/21

The U.S. Imperative for Wellness: The Cleveland Clinic Experience – How to Make Yourself Younger

Date: Wed, October 21, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Michael Fredric Roizen, Anesthesiologist; Internist; Author; Chief Wellness Officer, Cleveland Clinic

Chronic medical disease management now accounts for more than 80 percent of the nation’s spending on medical care and is substantially increasing as the number of people with chronic disease rises. Roizen argues that these chronic disease costs are increasing income inequality and decreasing the standard of living. Yet, he says, some of these diseases may be largely lifestyle-preventable.

The Cleveland Clinic used its 43,000 employees and 58,000 dependents as test cases. As Cleveland Clinic’s chief wellness officer and chair of its Wellness Institute, Dr. Roizen will talk about the Wellness Institute’s programs to help clinic employees collectively lose 455,000 pounds, reduce smoking rates from 15.4 to 5.2 percent, improve reversal and prevention of chronic diseases, and flatten the cost curve.

Join us to talk about the mechanisms of aging processes that Roizen argues we can control and actions one can take.

Image - The Redwoods League and 21st-century Land Conservation

The Redwoods League and 21st-century Land Conservation

Date: Wed, October 21, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Sam Hodder from the Save the Redwoods League

Sam Hodder, President and CEO, Save the Redwoods League

Come hear Sam Hodder, president and CEO of Save the Redwoods League, explain how the iconic California redwoods catalyzed the nation's conservation movement, a century ago, and are now redefining our 21st century relationship with nature. He will discuss how a century of redwood conservation and research has demonstrated how these ancient trees could help us respond to modern day challenges. He says it's not just about how we can save the redwoods, but how the redwoods are saving us.

Image - David Talbot: The Rise of America's Secret Government

David Talbot: The Rise of America's Secret Government

Date: Wed, October 21, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
One of America’s great hidden stories

David Talbot, Founder, Salon.com; Author, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government
Barry Eisler, Former CIA Directorate of Operations; Creator, John Rain series – Moderator

Author and journalist David Talbot presents an explosive portrait of Allen Welsh Dulles, the man he says transformed the CIA into the most powerful and secretive colossus in Washington. He tells one of America’s great hidden stories: the part played in the United States’ rise to world dominance in the early 20th century by the guile of Dulles, the longest-serving director of the CIA.

Drawing on revelatory new materials, including newly discovered U.S. government documents, U.S. and European intelligence sources, personal correspondence and journals, and exclusive interviews with the children of prominent CIA officials, Talbot argues that Dulles manipulated and subverted presidents and the law to further his personal interests and those of the wealthy elite whom he held as friends.

Talbot will discuss his exposé of American power in the story of the rise of the national security state.

Thu 10/22

Image - Civil Saints and Civic Pride in the Renaissance City-State

Civil Saints and Civic Pride in the Renaissance City-State

Date: Thu, October 22, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With assistant professor Mary Doyno

Mary Harvey Doyno, Assistant Professor, Humanities and Religious Studies, CSU Sacramento

Campanilismo is the Italian term for civic pride, something that was a quintessential part of life in Italian city-states during the Renaissance. During this time, the city-state provided a crucial piece of identity: a person was a Sienese, Florentine or Venetian above all else, and the veneration of a city’s patron saint was key when creating this all-encompassing civic identity. Join us as Doyno explains how the Italian Renaissance society was championing a return to an ancient, pre-Christian worldview, while at the same time creating complex civil religions steeped in devotion to Christian saints.

Image - The Food Lab: Cooking with Science

The Food Lab: Cooking with Science

Date: Thu, October 22, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, Managing Culinary Director, Serious Eats; Author, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science

Food Lit event underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Ever wondered how to pan-fry the perfect medium-rare steak, or roast a succulent, moist turkey? In The Food Lab, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt explores the science of cooking, delving into the interactions between heat, energy and molecules that create the dishes we all know and love. The managing culinary director of Serious Eats and author of the James Beard Award-nominated column “The Food Lab,” Kenji shows how to achieve better food using new, simple techniques in hundreds of easy-to-make recipes. Join Kenji as he reveals his best tricks and tips in the kitchen and become the master of the two-minute Hollandaise sauce, the creamiest potato casserole and much more.

China and The U.S.: Can Conflict Be Avoided?

Date: Thu, October 22, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
The world is watching

Zhang Weiwei, Professor and Director, Centre for China Development Model Research, Fudan University; Director, SASS Institute of China Studies
Gary Roughead, Admiral USN (Ret.), Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution; Former Commander, U.S. Pacific and Atlantic Fleets

News headlines frequently present China in a less than positive light, with reports of government-sponsored computer hacking, worsening bilateral trade and an unprecedented military buildup. The world is watching to see if China and the U.S. can avoid falling into Thucydides’ trap, a popular empirical observation from history that a rising power and a reigning power inevitably end up in bitter conflict. Join us to hear nuanced Chinese and American perspectives on what each side needs to do to avoid a disastrous war.

Mon 10/26

Humanities West Book Discussion: Dante’s Divine Comedy (Book 3)

Date: Mon, October 26, 2015
Time: 5:00 PM

Join us to discuss paradise within Dante’s Divine Comedy with discussion leader Lynn Harris. The Clive James’s translation will be used, which took decades to finish and renders the entire epic as a coherent and compulsively readable lyric poem. The translation reproduces the same wonderful momentum of the original Italian, propelling the reader along the pilgrim’s path, from hell to heaven, from despair to revelation.

Middle East Discussion Group

Date: Mon, October 26, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM

Make your voice heard in an enriching, provocative and fun discussion with Club members as you weigh in on events shaping the face of the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan. Each month, the Middle East Member-Led Forum hosts an informal roundtable discussion on a topic frequently suggested by recent headlines. After a brief introduction, the floor will be open for discussion. All interested members are encouraged to attend. There will also be a brief planning session.

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, October 26, 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.
Image - Andrew Fraknoi: The Revenge of the Dwarf Planet

Andrew Fraknoi: The Revenge of the Dwarf Planet

Date: Mon, October 26, 2015
Time: 7:00 PM

Andrew Fraknoi, Chair of the Astronomy Department, Foothill College

“The Revenge of the Dwarf Planet: What Really Happened to Pluto and What We Are Now Learning about this Intriguing World”

Bay Area astronomer Fraknoi takes us behind the scenes of how Pluto got demoted and why its story might still turn out OK. In July, the New Horizons spacecraft flew by the double planet Pluto-Charon and gave us close-up views of both worlds (plus the smaller moons) for the first time. Though New Horizons data will keep coming to us for a whole year, Fraknoi will give an update on what we now know about these icy worlds at the outskirts of our solar system.

Tue 10/27

Image - The Most Famous Grizzly Bear: How Will She and Other Grizzlies Survive U.S. Trophy Shootings?

The Most Famous Grizzly Bear: How Will She and Other Grizzlies Survive U.S. Trophy Shootings?

Date: Tue, October 27, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Todd Wilkinson, Journalist; Author
Ted Mangelsen, American Wildlife Photographer
Bruce Hamilton, Deputy Executive Director, Sierra Club

Since 1975, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the grizzly bear as “threatened,” with the goal of recovering the animal’s range and helping populations recover. Today, the federal government may soon remove grizzly bears’ protection under the Endangered Species Act, allowing people again to trophy hunt grizzly bears across the United States. Join in a discussion with Wilkinson, Mangelsen and Hamilton about what will happen to the iconic animals if the destructive and threatening sport of trophy hunting is revived.

Wed 10/28

Image - Diana Nyad: Never Give Up

Diana Nyad: Never Give Up

Date: Wed, October 28, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM

Diana Nyad, Long Distance Swimmer; Author, Find a Way; Twitter @diananyad
Alison van Diggelen, Host, “Fresh Dialogues”; Contributor, BBC – Moderator

Good Lit event underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation

Never, ever give up. You’re never too old to chase your dreams. It takes a team. That became Nyad’s mantra after four failed attempts to swim from Cuba to Florida. Nyad finally accomplished her life-long dream in 2013, at the age of 64, welcomed by hundreds of people lining the beach at her destination in Key West.

How can repeated failures contribute to success? Nyad shares some of the important physical, spiritual, emotional and psychological lessons she learned when facing her fears and striving to live life with no regrets. Hear more about her inspiring story and record-breaking 110-mile swim. 

Image - Understanding Digital Video and the Future of Social Media

Understanding Digital Video and the Future of Social Media

Date: Wed, October 28, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Jon Leland, Founding Director of Creative Services, USA Network; Author, Internet Marketing: 8 Key Concepts Every Business MUST Know

Social media, mobile marketing and cloud-based computing are the most widely understood mega-trends that are revolutionizing online communications. In this eye-opening presentation, media innovator and pioneer Jon Leland goes a step further to illuminate how these new forms of multimedia—and digital video in particular—are creating revolutionary new channels that are democratizing media consumption and creation. Consumers are more empowered, but so are businesses and organizations as well as content creators. Anyone can now reach customers, audiences and constituencies in entirely new ways.

Surprisingly, in Leland's view, the real power is fueled by humanistic values, such as authentic engagement. Leland will explain the long-term implications of these fresh new digital video and social media ecosystems, including the veritable explosion in video-based pay-per-click advertising (via Facebook and YouTube), new content sponsorship trends (via Kickstarter and Patreon) and the latest music offering from Apple.