Upcoming Events

Wed 11/19

Image - Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2: The Difficulty of Speaking the Tr

Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2: The Difficulty of Speaking the Truth

Date: Wed, November 19, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Harriet Elinor Smith, Editor

Mark Twain wanted to write a completely candid autobiography, without "shirkings of the truth," so he decided to speak from the grave 100 years after his death. The Mark Twain Papers Project at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley has fulfilled that desire. Editor Smith will discuss Twain's numerous observations about the difficulty of speaking the truth, and the strategies he adopted to remove his inhibitions, illustrating her talk with passages he suppressed during his lifetime. Come hear Mark Twain's "whole, frank mind" highlighted by his characteristic blend of humor and ire.

Image - Waterfront Walk

Waterfront Walk

Date: Wed, November 19, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
Explore the neighborhood surrounding 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.

Go to Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Wed, November 19, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues

The Humanities Forum brings Socrates Café to The Commonwealth Club. It will be held every third Wednesday evening for the discussion of philosophical issues. At each monthly meeting the group's facilitator, Bob Enteen, will invite participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic will briefly explain why she or he considers the subject interesting and important. An open discussion will follow, ending with a summary. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Image - Increased Patient Communication Improves Health

Increased Patient Communication Improves Health

Date: Wed, November 19, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Technologies to allow people to take an active role in their health-care journey.

Michael O’Neil, Jr., Founder & Chief Executive Officer, GetWellNetwork

In any relationship, communication is key. This applies to all sorts of relationships, especially those between doctors and patients. Michael O’Neil, Jr., founder and CEO of GetWellNetwork, focuses on the role of communication in providing better patient health care. After his experience as a patient, O’Neil was motivated to create an easy-to-use technology to improve the patient experience and introduce a new approach to health care. Founded on the idea that a person should never be on the outside looking in when it comes to their own health, GetWellNetwork builds technologies to connect patients, families and providers and allow people to take an active role in their health-care journey – whether they’re sick or well.

Thu 11/20

Image - A Toast to the 2014 Wine Harvest, Sustainable Practices and Pairings in

A Toast to the 2014 Wine Harvest, Sustainable Practices and Pairings in California Wine

Date: Thu, November 20, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
A discussion with California vintners.

Steve Lohr, Chairman & CEO, J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines
Karl Wente, Winemaker, Wente Vineyards
Allison Jordan, Executive Director, California Sustainable Wine Growing Alliance
Janet Fletcher, Journalist; Author, Down to Earth, A Seasonable Tour of Sustainable Winegrowing in California – Moderator

California vintners and growers have broadly embraced sustainable and other green wine-growing practices to protect and preserve our signature Golden State industry. Plans and decisions made throughout the wine-growing year reflect a deep commitment to environmental stewardship, social responsibility and the desire to pass land businesses on to future generations.

Join Janet Fletcher and a distinguished panel of vintners and experts as they discuss sustainable wine growing and examine the stories of California vintners and growers across the state. After the program, join the panel to enjoy wine tasting and conversation featuring wines discussed by the panel and in Down to Earth.

Fri 11/21

Go to Transforming California's State Parks: A Blueprint for a Sustainable Future

Transforming California's State Parks: A Blueprint for a Sustainable Future

Date: Fri, November 21, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
California's 280-unit park system faces challenges.

Lance Conn, Co-Chair, Parks Forward Commission

California's magnificent 280-unit park system faces significant challenges. Declining budgets have led to scaled-back services and a long list of maintenance needs, while outdated administrative systems, technology and processes impede park staff’s ability to effectively manage and protect the parks’ natural and cultural resources. Hear about a just-released report by the Parks Forward Commission that recommends sweeping changes to tackle these issues and ensure the sustainability of our state parks for future generations.

Conn is a Bay Area businessman and conservationist. He serves on the boards of directors for Charter Communications and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and serves as a member of the advisory council for Truckee Donner Land Trust.

Mon 11/24

Image - Middle East Discussion Group

Middle East Discussion Group

Date: Mon, November 24, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM

Make your voice heard in an enriching, provocative and fun discussion with fellow Club members as you weigh in on events shaping the face of the Middle East. 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. 

Tue 11/25

Image - Mark Schapiro: Carbon Shock – A Tale of Risk and Calculus on the Front L

Mark Schapiro: Carbon Shock – A Tale of Risk and Calculus on the Front Lines of the Disrupted Global Economy

Date: Tue, November 25, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Climate change is profoundly shifting the economic ground.

Mark Schapiro, Author; Former Senior Correspondent, Center for Investigative Reporting; Adjunct Professor, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

Schapiro will take us a journey to the financial frontlines of climate change, where the same chaotic forces reshaping our weather are disrupting our economy. From the agricultural fields of California to the Amazon rainforest, from the export powerhouses of China to the bizarre world of carbon traders, Schapiro tells the story of how profoundly climate change is shifting the economic ground beneath our feet. His tales have a global range to the places where climate change is altering the economic status quo. He explores how some new powers are rising and others are falling as the world struggles to contend with the fundamental economic fact of our time: the rising price of carbon.

Mon 12/1

Image - Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 12/1/14

Week to Week Political Roundtable and Member Social 12/1/14

Date: Mon, December 01, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
Informative and engaging commentary on political and other major news.

Panelists TBA

At Week to Week, we explore the biggest, most controversial, and sometimes the oddest 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 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).

Thu 12/4

Image - John A. Amster: Patents in the Boardroom – The Truth Behind the Headline

John A. Amster: Patents in the Boardroom – The Truth Behind the Headlines

Date: Thu, December 04, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

John A. AmsterCEO and Co-founder, RPX Corporation

Patents have been big news in recent years. Large electronics rivals have made headlines by waging high-stakes legal battles over infringement of smartphone patents. Bankrupt companies have auctioned off their patent portfolios for hundreds of millions – or even billions – of dollars. The most significant development affecting patents, however, has been the rise of non-practicing entities (NPEs), also known as “patent trolls.” NPEs acquire patents and litigate them to extract license payments or legal settlements from an allegedly infringing company. Operating companies spent nearly $11 billion dealing with NPE litigation in 2012 alone.

RPX CEO and Co-founder Amster will describe how patents have been transformed from legal protection of a novel invention into a major source of operating risk. Today, owners of patents are monetizing their value through costly and inefficient legal processes. The discussion will focus on a different perspective: how patents can and should be transacted using market mechanisms instead, and in the process, save operating companies billions of dollars every year.

Tue 12/9

Image - An Evening with Jared Diamond

An Evening with Jared Diamond

Date: Tue, December 09, 2014
Time: 6:30 PM
Join a discussion with one of the world's most celebrated polymaths.

Jared Diamond, Professor, UCLA; Author, Guns, Germs and Steel, Collapse and The World Until Yesterday

Jared Diamond is a scientist known for drawing from a variety of fields, from anthropology to evolutionary biology. He has published several popular science books, including Pulitzer Prize-winning Guns, Germs and Steel and, most recently, The World Until Yesterday. Diamond’s conclusions are critical and provocative, exploring concepts like how humans evolved to be so different from animals, despite sharing over 98 percent of our DNA with chimpanzees, and why Eurasian peoples conquered Native Americans and Africans instead of vice versa. Diamond yet again challenges the way our brains think in The World Until Yesterday as he chronicles tribal peoples and what they can teach us about the shortcomings of modern society. Join us for a night of intellectual stimulation with one of the world’s most celebrated polymaths.

Thu 12/11

Image - Waterfront Walk

Waterfront Walk

Date: Thu, December 11, 2014
Time: 1:45 PM
Explore the neighborhood surrounding 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.

Mon 12/15

Go to Middle East Discussion Group

Middle East Discussion Group

Date: Mon, December 15, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM

Make your voice heard in an enriching, provocative and fun discussion with fellow Club members as you weigh in on events shaping the face of the Middle East. 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.

Tue 12/16

Image - The Rise and Fall of a Jewish American Princess

The Rise and Fall of a Jewish American Princess

Date: Tue, December 16, 2014
Time: 5:15 PM
Barbara Rose Brooker, Author; Columnist; Performer; Teacher

Barbara Rose Brooker, Author; Columnist; Performer; Teacher

This talented author will speak from her latest book in which a woman rises above all obstacles to live a life on her own terms as a successful artist. The book focuses on deception and redemption. It is a novel about Dianne Roseman, a woman programmed to be a “Jewish American Princess” and define herself by a successful marriage. The reader is invited into the brutal art world through Roseman’s disastrous affair with a famous dealer of contemporary art and her persevering effort to become a known artist. The novel explores women of all cultures who are inhibited by old generations and fight to thrive.

Wed 12/17

Go to Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Wed, December 17, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

The Humanities Forum brings Socrates Café to The Commonwealth Club. It will be held every third Wednesday evening for the discussion of philosophical issues. At each monthly meeting the group's facilitator, Bob Enteen, will invite participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic will briefly explain why she or he considers the subject interesting and important. An open discussion will follow, ending with a summary. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Wed 1/21

Go to Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Wed, January 21, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

The Humanities Forum brings Socrates Café to The Commonwealth Club. It will be held every third Wednesday evening for the discussion of philosophical issues. At each monthly meeting the group's facilitator, Bob Enteen, will invite participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic will briefly explain why she or he considers the subject interesting and important. An open discussion will follow, ending with a summary. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Mon 1/26

Image - Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden

Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden

Date: Mon, January 26, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Join the filmmakers to discuss their new murder mystery movie.

Dayna Goldfine, Emmy-award winning filmmaker; Co-creator, Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden
Dan Geller, Emmy-award winning filmmaker; Co-creator, Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden

“The most irresistible film of 2014,” is what the San Francisco Chronicle calls Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden. The documentary presents a cache of home movies made by settlers who go off to live on a remote Galapagos Island in search of Eden. Their search for paradise turns dark when one of their own is killed. Come hear how Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller became interested in producing this engaging, Hitchcock-meets-Darwin mystery.

Wed 2/4

Go to Humanities West Book Discussion: Two Lives of Charlemagne, by Einhard and the Monk of St. Gall (MLF)

Humanities West Book Discussion: Two Lives of Charlemagne, by Einhard and the Monk of St. Gall (MLF)

Date: Wed, February 04, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
The Holy Roman emperor and “father of Europe.”

Join us to discuss the life of Charlemagne, the Holy Roman emperor and “father of Europe.” One biography we’ll look at is by Einhard, who joined the royal court in 791 to serve as an epic poet, mathematician and architect. His work is believed to be the most accurate portrayal of Charlemagne and the finest biography of its time. This edition also contains the highly anecdotal "life" of Charlemagne, penned by the Monk of Saint Gall, whose accuracy is scorned but whose witty tales keep popping up in modern biographies. Lynn Harris will lead the discussion.

Wed 2/18

Go to Socrates Café

Socrates Café

Date: Wed, February 18, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

The Humanities Forum brings Socrates Café to The Commonwealth Club. It will be held every third Wednesday evening for the discussion of philosophical issues. At each monthly meeting the group's facilitator, Bob Enteen, will invite participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic will briefly explain why she or he considers the subject interesting and important. An open discussion will follow, ending with a summary. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Wed 3/4

Go to Humanities West Book Discussion - The Song of Roland

Humanities West Book Discussion - The Song of Roland

Date: Wed, March 04, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
A Classical epic that glorifies the heroism of Charlemagne.

Join us to discuss The Song of Roland, the anonymous classical epic that glorifies the heroism of Charlemagne in the 778 battle between the Franks and the Moors. Lynn Harris will lead the discussion.