Upcoming Events

Mon 2/2

Image - New Member Reception
This event is Postponed

New Member Reception

Date: Mon, February 02, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Come take a peek!

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 first-hand how The Commonwealth Club has become the nation’s leading public forum. Bring a friend and explore the Club together!

Tue 2/3

Image - Healthy Aging: Lowering the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease

Healthy Aging: Lowering the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease

Date: Tue, February 03, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
Patricia Renaut Spilman, M.S., Senior Scientist, Buck Institute 

Patricia Renaut Spilman, M.S., Senior Scientist, Buck Institute

As a growing portion of the American population ages into its golden years, there will inevitably be a greater number of those suffering from Alzheimer's, a degenerative disease for which there is currently no effective reversing treatment. At the forefront of the effort to find a breakthrough cure is the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, CA, a facility dedicated to confronting Alzheimer’s and other chronic age-related illnesses. While researchers continue to press for a reversing process, all of us can make health and lifestyle changes that greatly reduce the chance of developing this devastating disease. Spilman, a senior scientist at the Buck Institute, will share with us proactive "healthstyle" choices that encourage a healthy mind and body far into one’s later years.

Image - William Ury: Getting to Yes with Yourself

William Ury: Getting to Yes with Yourself

Date: Tue, February 03, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Co-founder of Harvard University’s Program on Negotiation 

William Ury, Co-founder of Harvard University’s Program on Negotiation; Author, Getting to Yes with Yourself and Other Worthy Opponents

William Ury, coauthor of the international bestseller Getting to Yes, returns with another groundbreaking book, this time asking, How can we expect to get to yes with others if we haven’t first gotten to yes with ourselves? Ury has taught tens of thousands of people from all walks of life how to become better negotiators. Over the years, Ury has discovered that the greatest obstacle to successful agreements and satisfying relationships is actually our own selves and the natural tendency to react in ways that do not serve our true interests. But this obstacle can also become our biggest opportunity, Ury argues. Join this discussion about learning to understand and influence our own selves first.

Wed 2/4

Image - San Francisco Giants’ Bruce Bochy and Larry Baer
This event is Sold Out

San Francisco Giants’ Bruce Bochy and Larry Baer

Date: Wed, February 04, 2015
Time: 4:30 PM
Celebrate and relive the Giants’ amazing World Series!

This program is sold out

Bruce Bochy, Manager, San Francisco Giants
Larry Baer, President and CEO, San Francisco Giants; Key Strategist, Giants’ Baseball and Business Transactions
In conversation with Roy Eisenhardt, Former President, Oakland Athletics

Larry Baer has stated that hiring three-time World Series champion and two-time National League manager of the year Bruce Bochy was "probably the best move [Giants management] ever made.” Here’s a chance to celebrate and relive the Giants’ amazing 2014 World Series victory. Go behind the scenes and into the dugout with Manager Bochy and Team President Baer to find out who's in, who's out and what strategies will keep the Giants at the peak of their game.

Image - Humanities West Book Discussion: Two Lives of Charlemagne

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

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.

Image - Dodging Extinction: Power, Food, Money, and the Future of Life on Earth

Dodging Extinction: Power, Food, Money and the Future of Life on Earth

Date: Wed, February 04, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
A practical, hopeful plan for avoiding yet another mass extinction. 

Anthony D. Barnosky, Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, UC Berkeley; Cox Visiting Professor, Department of Environmental Earth System Science, Stanford University

Paleobiologist Barnosky weaves together evidence from the deep past and the present to offer a practical, hopeful plan for avoiding yet another mass extinction. His compelling evidence suggests that unless we rethink how we generate power, where we get our food, and how we make our money, we will trigger the sixth great extinction on Earth. Optimistic that we can change this ominous forecast, Barnosky provides clear-cut strategies to guide the planet away from global catastrophe using existing technology and know-how.

Image - SV Reads 2015: Homeland & Home – The Immigrant Experience

SV Reads 2015: Homeland & Home – The Immigrant Experience

Date: Wed, February 04, 2015
Time: 7:30 PM

NoViolet Bulawayo, Author, We Need New Names
Cristina Henriquez, Author, The Book of Unknown Americans
Bich Minh Nguyen, Author, Stealing Buddha’s Dinner: A Memoir
Sal Pizarro, Columnist, The San Jose Mercury News – Moderator

Santa Clara County is made up of a multitude of different ethnicities with more than one-third of residents born outside of the U.S. Hear this year’s selected authors as they share their stories of immigrating and the balance of maintaining connections to the culture and heritage of their homelands.

Thu 2/5

Image - Waterfront Walk

Waterfront Walk

Date: Thu, February 05, 2015
Time: 1:45 PM

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 - Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death

Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death

Date: Thu, February 05, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Katy Butler, Author, Knocking on Heaven's Door

When does death cease to be a curse and start to become a blessing? Where is the line between saving a life and prolonging a dying? When is the right time to say to a doctor, “Let my loved one go”? Science writer and essayist Katy Butler explores these questions through a blend of investigative reporting and memoir. When doctors refused to disable her aged, very ill father’s pacemaker, sentencing him to a protracted and agonizing death, Butler set out to understand why. Her quest had barely begun when her mother faced her own illness, refused open-heart surgery, and instead met death head-on. This story is the fruit of her family’s journey.

Image - Janet Napolitano and Mark Yudof: A Conversation on the Future of Higher

Janet Napolitano and Mark Yudof: A Conversation on the Future of Higher Education

Date: Thu, February 05, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

Janet Napolitano, President, University of California; Former Secretary of Homeland Security; Former Governor of Arizona
Mark Yudof, President Emeritus, University of California; Former Chancellor of the University of Texas System

From rising tuition costs to public concern over sexual assaults on college campuses, higher education faces a growing number of issues as 2015 begins. The University of California, with 10 campuses across the state, is no exception. The system is currently grappling with proposed tuition hikes, student protests and a statewide drop in funding. Join Napolitano and Yudof as they discuss the challenges currently facing America’s higher education system and, in particular, the University of California.

Mon 2/9

Image - Sexual Intelligence: A New View of Sexual Function and Satisfaction

Sexual Intelligence: A New View of Sexual Function and Satisfaction

Date: Mon, February 09, 2015
Time: 5:15 PM
What do most people want from sex? 

Marty Klein, Ph.D., Marriage & Family Therapist; Sex Therapist; Author, Sexual Intelligence: What We Really Want from Sex, and How to Get It

What do most people want from sex? A combination of pleasure and closeness; but during the act, that’s not always the focus. Instead, we worry about how we look, smell, sound and perform; distracted thoughts and feelings can lead to what so many people are afraid of – sexual “dysfunction” and dissatisfaction. Trying to improve "function" and friction doesn't give people what they really want from sex. After all, sex is much more than an activity; it's an idea.

Dr. Klein is an internationally recognized expert in human sexuality. He has been a marriage and family therapist and sex therapist in Palo Alto for 34 years, and he has written seven books on sexuality. Join Dr. Klein as he discusses ways in which we can improve our sex lives and connect with our partners.

Image - Book Discussion: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (MLF)

Book Discussion: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (MLF)

Date: Mon, February 09, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
The freedom of the spirit in an unfree world.

The Master and Margarita is woven around a visit by the devil to the fervently atheistic Soviet Union. In part, it is angled against a suffocatingly bureaucratic social order. The novel alternates between two settings. The first is 1930s Moscow, and the second setting is the Jerusalem of Pontius Pilate. Ultimately, the novel deals with the interplay of good and evil, innocence and guilt, courage and cowardice, love and sensuality, exploring such issues as the responsibility toward truth when authority would deny it, and the freedom of the spirit in an unfree world.

We’ll be discussing Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.

Image - A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California's Indians by the Spanis

A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California's Indians by the Spanish Missions

Date: Mon, February 09, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author Elias Castillo 

Elias Castillo, Author, A Cross of Thorns: The Enslavement of California's Indians by the Spanish Missions

Monday Night Philosophy refutes the myth that the 21 Franciscan missions in California were idyllic sites where Franciscan padres and Native Americans lovingly commingled. In reality, the missions were death camps in which the Catholic missionaries, guided by mission founder Junípero Serra’s direction that the “savage” Indians be controlled through "blows,” practiced unremitting violence against their charges. Drawing on exhaustive archival research, Castillo details the dark secrets that the missions have tried to keep under wraps for over 100 years. 

Tue 2/10

Image - Transforming California's State Parks: A Blueprint for a Sustainable Fut

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

Date: Tue, February 10, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Christine Kehoe of the California Parks Forward Commission 

Christine Kehoe, Co-Chair, California 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, which recommends sweeping changes to tackle these issues and ensure the sustainability of our state parks for future generations.

Kehoe is the executive director of the California Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative. During 25 years of public service, including 19 years in elected office, Kehoe has focused on developing policies and programs over a range of issues at the city and state level. From 2000 to 2012, Ms. Kehoe served in the California state legislature as a member of the Assembly and the state Senate, where she distinguished herself as a consensus-minded leader and an advocate for strong energy and environmental policy.

Image - Half the Sky: China's Women Prisoners

Half the Sky: China's Women Prisoners

Date: Tue, February 10, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
John Kamm, Executive Director of the Dui Hua Foundation 

John Kamm, Founder and Executive Director, Dui Hua Foundation

Ever since 1997, the number of women in China’s prisons has risen at a rate far outstripping the increase in its general population. This recent surge in the prison population has necessitated a critical look at issues ranging from why it is happening (women’s helplessness in cases of domestic violence plays a large role) to how to better manage and care for the incarcerated. The Chinese government itself has begun addressing the problem and is considering adopting United Nations-mandated protocols for women prisoners. Kamm, of San Francisco’s humanitarian Dui Hau Foundation, lends us his considerable understanding and experience in exploring this burgeoning human rights issue.

Image - Particle Fever: A Special Film Screening

Particle Fever: A Special Film Screening

Date: Tue, February 10, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM

David Kaplan Producer, Physicist, Co-Star

Imagine being able to watch as Edison turned on the first light bulb, or as Franklin received his first jolt of electricity. Particle Fever follows six brilliant scientists during the launch of the Large Hadron Collider, marking the start-up of the biggest and most expensive experiment in the history of the planet, pushing the edge of human innovation.

As they seek to unravel the mysteries of the universe, 10,000 scientists from over 100 countries joined forces in pursuit of a single goal: to recreate conditions that existed just moments after the Big Bang and find the Higgs boson, potentially completing our understanding of ordinary matter. Join producer David Kaplan for a discussion of this far-reaching work.

Wed 2/11

Image - Scoble on Startups 2015: Context, Cloud and Bleeding-Edge Tech

Scoble on Startups 2015: Context, Cloud and Bleeding Edge Tech

Date: Wed, February 11, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Robert Scoble, Author and Chief Startup Liaison at Rackspace 

Robert Scoble, Chief Startup Liaison, Rackspace; Author, Age of Context: Mobile, Sensors, Data and the Future of Privacy
In conversation with Kevin O’Malley, President TechTalk / Studio

Top tech evangelist Robert Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology. He's interviewed thousands of executives and innovators, and continues to report on what he learns in books like The Age of Context and through social media, where he has a huge following. Join Scoble to learn about the latest and greatest startups, trends and devices he’s uncovering for 2015 and beyond.

Image - Living Planet Report 2014: Global Footprint Network

Living Planet Report 2014: Global Footprint Network

Date: Wed, February 11, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Mathis Wackernagel, Ph.D., President, Global Footprint Network 

Mathis Wackernagel, Ph.D., President, Global Footprint Network

Dr. Wackernagel will discuss the Living Planet Report, 2014 and the Global Footprint Network's ecological footprint. The Living Planet Report is a science-based analysis of the health of our planet and the impact of human activity. Wackernagel has worked on sustainability on six continents and lectured at more than 100 universities. Join us as he speaks about current science and the health of our planet and the serious challenges ahead to ensure healthy, safe environments worldwide at the global, national and local levels. Dr. Wackernagel is co-creator of the concept of the ecological footprint. His awards include the 2013 Prix Nature Swisscanto, the 2012 Blue Planet Award and the 2011 Zayed International Prize for the Environment.

Image - Cli-Fi 2015

Cli-Fi 2015

Date: Wed, February 11, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Join us for a conversation about literature and film that explores what may be ahead.

Jason Mark, Editor, Earth Island Journal
Kim Stanley Robinson, Author, 2312  

The notion that humans can fundamentally alter the biochemistry of something as big as the Earth’s atmosphere is science fiction to some people. While politicians debate whether climate change is real, authors and filmmakers are tackling the far out notions in a new genre called Climate Fiction or Cli-Fi. How wild could a hot and crowded world get?

Films conveying a post-apocolyptic world include InterstellarWaterworldWallE and of course The Day After Tomorrow. Literature peering into a eco-dystopian future includes Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl and Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312.

The New Yorker called Kim Stanley Robinson “one of the greatest living science fiction writers.” Jason Mark recently penned an op-ed in The New York Times about Cli-Fi.

Join us for a conversation about literature and film that explores what may be ahead.

Thu 2/12

Image - The Patient Will See You Now; The Future of Medicine is in Your Hands

The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands

Date: Thu, February 12, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
With author Eric Topol 

Eric Topol, MD, Scripps Health Chief Academic Officer, Scripps Clinic; Author, The Patient Will See You Now: The Future of Medicine Is in Your Hands

In The Patient Will See You Now, Eric Topol, one of the nation’s top physicians, examines what he calls medicine’s “Gutenberg moment.” Much as the printing press liberated knowledge from the control of an elite class, new technology – from the smartphone to machine learning – is poised to democratize medicine.

In this new era, patients will control their data and be emancipated from a paternalistic medical regime in which “the doctor knows best.” Mobile phones, apps, and attachments would figuratively put the lab and the ICU in our pockets. Computers will replace physicians for many diagnostic tasks, and enormous data sets will give us new means to attack conditions that have long been incurable. In spite of these benefits, the path forward will be complicated: Some in the medical establishment will resist these changes, and digitized medicine will raise serious issues surrounding privacy. Nevertheless, the result – better, cheaper, and more humane health care for all – could be worth it. The Patient Will See You Now is essential reading for anyone who thinks they deserve better health care. That is, for all of us.