SAFI BAHCALL on Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries


Catherine Sanderson on The Positive Shift: Mastering Mindset for Happiness, Health, and Longevity


Annie Duke on Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts



James Corbett on Orbiting the Hairball and Innovating Health

Dr. David Ludwig and Chef Dawn Ludwig on Always Hungry? and Always Delicious

Drawing on the science of phase transitions, Bahcall shows why teams, companies, or any group with a mission will suddenly change from embracing wild new ideas to rigidly rejecting them, just as flowing water will suddenly change into brittle ice. Mountains of print have been written about culture. Loonshots identifies the small shifts in structure that control this transition, the same way that temperature controls the change from water to ice.

Safi regularly speaks with senior leadership teams in technology, healthcare, media, entertainment, finance, consumer goods, and the US military about implementing the ideas in Loonshots: how to balance the core and the new, and lessons in transformation and reinvention.


Professor Sanderson speaks regularly for public and corporate audiences on topics such as the science of happiness, the power of emotional intelligence, the mind-body connection, and the psychology of good and evil. These talks have been featured in numerous mainstream media outlets, including The Washington PostThe Boston GlobeThe AtlanticCNN, and CBS Sunday Morning with Jane Pauley.

She received a bachelor's degree in psychology, with a specialization in Health and Development, from Stanford University, and received both masters and doctoral degrees in psychology from Princeton University.

She is currently working on a book (coming in 2020 from Harvard University Press) on why good people so often stay silent or do nothing in the face of wrongdoing.

In The Positive Shift: Mastering Mindset for Happiness, Health, and Longevity, Dr. Catherine Sanderson breaks down the science of thought and shows how our mindset or thought pattern exerts a substantial influence on our psychological and physical health.


Annie Duke is an author, and experienced corporate speaker and consultant on the behavior of decision making.

As a former professional poker player, she has won more than $4 million in tournament poker. During her career, Annie won a World Series of Poker bracelet, and is the only women to have won the World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions, and the NBC National Poker Heads-Up Championship. Annie is a mom of four who has written five books. She is a cofounder of, a member of the National Board of After-School All-Stars and a member of the NationSwell Council. In 2016 she joined the board of directors of the Franklin Institute, one of America’s oldest and greatest science museums. She has also won a televised championship in rock-paper-scissors.

In Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Facts, Annie Duke reveals to readers the lessons she regularly shares with her corporate audiences, which have been cultivated by combining her academic studies in cognitive psychology with real-life decision making experiences at the poker table.


Gretchen Rubin is one of today’s most influential and thought-provoking observers of happiness and human nature. She’s known for her ability to distill and convey complex ideas with humor and clarity, in a way that’s accessible to a wide audience. 

She’s the author of many books, including the blockbuster New York Times bestsellers The Four TendenciesBetter Than Before, and The Happiness ProjectShe has an enormous readership, both in print and online, and her books have sold almost three million copies worldwide, in more than thirty languages. (The Happiness Project spent two years on the bestseller list.)

Gretchen Rubin started her career in law and was clerking for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she realized she wanted to be a writer.

OUTER ORDER, INNER CALM, is where Gretchen Rubin illuminated one of her key realizations about happiness: For most of us, outer order contributes to inner calm. And for most of us, a rigid, one-size-fits-all solution doesn't work. The fact is, when we tailor our approach to suit our own particular challenges and habits, we're far more likely to be able to create the order that will make our lives happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative. With a sense of fun, and also a clear idea of what's realistic for most people, Gretchen Rubin suggests dozens of manageable steps for creating a more serene, orderly environment- one that helps us to create the lives we yearn for. 

James Corbett, M.Div., J.D. is a seasoned healthcare executive and bioethicist bringing over a decade of c-level leadership experience from both the for-profit and the non-profit sectors of the industry. James has served as a fellow at Harvard Medical School Department of Global Health and Social Medicine as well as Harvard’s Safra Center for Ethics and recently completed a fellowship at the Nashville Healthcare Council. In addition, he was appointed  a 4-year term on the National Institutes of Health’s National Advisory Council for Nursing Research by former Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebellius. He has worked in four health systems, in this capacity his focus has been providing strategic and operational leadership for innovation, behavioral health, population health, research operations, global health, advocacy, and bioethics.  Corbett has also lectured at Harvard Medical School, Harvard’s School of Public Health and numerous other universities across the country. James has been published in multiple books and journals. Mr. Corbett earned his B.S. in International Relations from Syracuse University, followed by his Juris Doctorate from St. Johns University, and a Master of Divinity from Duke University.


ALWAYS HUNGRY? rewrites the rules on weight loss, diet, and health in this bestselling book. Forget everything you’ve been taught about dieting. Dr. Ludwig has been at the forefront of research into weight control, and to guide you, he brings more than 25 years of research and state-of-the-art science as well as more than 75 delicious recipes and a 3-week menu plan. His groundbreaking studies show that overeating doesn’t make you fat; the process of getting fat makes you overeat.

ALWAYS DELICIOUS, another groundbreaking book, shows us why traditional diets don’t work, and how to lose weight without hunger, improve your health, and feel great. Dr. Ludwig and Chef Dawn Ludwig have created more than 175 easy-to-make and tasty recipes that ignore calories and target fat cells directly. 

About David:

David S. Ludwig, MD, PhD, is an endocrinologist, researcher, and professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Ludwig also co-directs the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. His research focuses on how food affects hormones, metabolism, body weight, and well-being.

Described as an “obesity warrior” by Time magazine, Dr. Ludwig has fought for fundamental policy changes to restrict junk food advertising directed at young children, improve the quality of national nutrition programs, and increase insurance reimbursement for obesity prevention and treatment.

He has received numerous grants from the National Institutes of Health and published over 175 scientific articles and was a Contributing Writer for the medical journal JAMA.

About Dawn:

Dawn Ludwig has devoted her career to helping people discover the fun, beauty, and delicious taste of natural foods. For 15 years, she owned and directed The Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts of Austin, Texas, recognized as a one of the top “Cutting Edge Cuisine” cooking schools in the U.S., according to Vegetarian Times (December 2000).

Dawn has now teamed up with her husband, Dr. David Ludwig on his new book Always Hungry? Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently and the new companion cookbook Always Delicious. She helped translate his science and years of research into comprehensive recipes, menu plans, and tips for applying the principles to everyday life.

She has written on nutrition and health for a variety of publications including Whole Health Magazine, Natural Home, Austin Monthly, Austin Fit, and other health journals.

Wanda Holland Greene, Deborah Santana, Maria Ramos-Chertok, Marti Paschal, Camille Hayes, and Want Chyi on All the Women in My Family Sing

All The Women in My Family Sing is monumental and timely as human rights and justice are being challenged around the world. Both written and published entirely by women of color, including the editing, cover design, and promotions, the book empowers underrepresented voices and endeavors to impact the world of book publishing in America — particularly important in an industry that considerably lacks diversity.

Wanda M. Holland Greene is Head of School at The Hamlin School in San Francisco, a mission-driven institution dedicated to best practices and innovation in the education of girls and young women. Prior to her tenure at Hamlin, which began in 2008, Wanda served for eleven years as a senior administrator at The Park School in Brookline, MA. 

An experienced leader in education with a powerful voice and presence, Wanda focuses careful attention on academic and ethical excellence, gender equity, performance evaluation, diversity and inclusion, health and wellness, and global citizenship. As a faculty member of the National Association of Independent School’s Aspiring Heads Fellowship, Wanda is an advocate and sponsor for women and people of color who seek leadership positions in education.

Deborah Santana is an author, business manager, and activist for peace and social justice. Her non-profit, Do A Little, serves women and girls in the areas of health, education, and happiness. With a passion to provide educational opportunities for girls and women, Ms. Santana collaborates with organizations that work to prevent and heal relationship and sexual violence, improve the lives of America's abused and neglected children, and a worldwide community of artists and allies who work for empowerment, opportunity, and visibility for women artists.  

Maria Ramos-Chertok grew up in Hackensack, New Jersey, in a purple house that her mother opened as a shelter for battered women and children in the 1970s. Her early life was filled with political activism and exposure to social justice issues.

An avid writer, she published her first article for teens on dating violence in 1993 and continues to write and publish in a variety of genres, including fiction, nonfiction and poetry. She leads The Butterfly Series, a writing and creative arts workshop for women who want to explore what’s next in their lives.

Marti Paschal is a longtime member of Temescal Writers, a Voices of Our Nations alumna and a recipient of residencies at Hedgebrook and Blue Mountain Center. Her writing reflects her Southern upbringing and fascination with conflicts in urban settings and between cultures. A graduate of Stanford Law School, she works in local government and is currently writing her first novel.

Camille Hayes is a communications professional, social change advocate, author, and blogger, covering politics and women’s issues on her blog, Lady Troubles. Her writing has been featured by The Good Men Project, Bitch magazine, and the Ms. Magazine blog, and she’s a former columnist for The Sacramento Bee. Camille holds a B.S. in psychology and a M.A. in English. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and her poodle.

Want Chyi has taught composition and creative writing across the United States and in Singapore. She has an M.F.A. in fiction from Arizona State University and was the international fiction editor of Hayden’s Ferry Review. Originally from the Midwest, she now lives in the Bay Area and currently reads for Zoetrope: All-Story.

A wise person once told Matt why she likes to be creative: "When I’m creative, I don’t have to be perfect."

When you create your own thing, there's no bar to measure against. So why not go for it! A Pulitzer Prize winning reporter for the New York Times, Matt has written the paper’s step-by-step guide on How To Be Creative. Matt and Matt collaborate on writing original songs with story-telling at the core. They will play their songs and use the music as a jumping off point for a discussion and dialogue about how we can all tap into our inner creativity, take creative risk and give voice to the muse.

Matt Richtel is a San Francisco-based bestselling novelist and narrative non-fiction writer, former syndicated cartoonist, occasional song-writer, and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter for the New York Times. Matt was joined by his good friend, songwriter and guitarist Matthew Wrobel.

matt richtel and matt wrobel play american muse

In her fearless new memoir, beloved and bestselling How to Raise an Adult author Julie Lythcott-Haims pulls no punches in her recollections of growing up a black woman in America.

Julie Lythcott-Haims believes in humans, and she is deeply interested in what prevents us from thriving. She is the New York Times bestselling author of How to Raise an Adult, an anti-helicopter parenting manifesto which gave rise to one of the top TED Talks of 2016, and now has over 3 million views. Her second book is the prose poetry memoir Real American, which illustrates her experience with racism and her journey toward self-acceptance. She is a former corporate lawyer and Stanford dean, and she holds a BA from Stanford, a JD from Harvard, and an MFA from California College of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her partner of thirty years, their teenagers, and her mother.

julie lythcott-haims on real american

Daniel pink on When

When is the best time to start something new? Change jobs? Schedule a class? Get married? In answering these questions, Daniel Pink has written a book that in its first week of publication has already reached No. 2 on The New York Times bestsellers list. In that book, When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing, Dan shows us that timing is everything. He challenges the popular assumption that timing is an art and demonstrates how we can use it as a science. Using an impressive body of psychological, economic, and biological research, he provides us with insight into using time to our advantage. Dan also offers tips that emphasize timing as a vehicle to a successful and enjoyable life.

In addition to being an editor at Wired and Fast Company, Dan works at The Sunday Telegraph as a business columnist. He is the author of numerous, award-winning books and often appears on the PBS Newshour, NPR’s Hidden Brain, and other TV and radio networks. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The New Republic, Harvard Business Review, and Slate. He has been honored by Thinkers 50 as one of the world’s best (top 15) business thinkers for the past six years, and his TED Talk on the scientific principles underlying motivation is one of 10 talks to receive the most views of all time. From 1995 to 1997, Dan was the chief speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Northwestern University, he received a JD from Yale Law School and honorary doctorates from the Pratt Institute, Georgetown University, the Ringling College of Art and Design, and Westfield State University. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and 3 children.

nancy koehn on forged in crisis

What do polar explorer Ernest Shackleton, President Abraham Lincoln, legendary abolitionist Frederick Douglass, Nazi-resisting clergyman Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and environmental crusader Rachel Carson have in common? In answering that question, Nancy Koehn offers remarkable insights into leadership in a time of crisis – insights that are as resonant today as they were in the eras in which these five inspirational figures lived.

In her CPS lecture, Nancy discussed her new book, Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times. Fortune has already listed Forged in Crisis as one of “The Top 10 Books to Read This Fall,” and it has been recently featured in The Washington Post and on Charlie RoseBloomberg RadioFox and Friends, and CBS This Morning.

Nancy is a historian at the Harvard Business School, where she holds the James E. Robison chair of Business Administration. Nancy’s research focuses on how leaders, past and present, craft lives or purpose, worth, and impact. She is the author of numerous books, articles, and Harvard Business School cases. She writes frequently for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Harvard Business Review Online. She is also a weekly commentator on National Public Radio and has appeared on many national television programs. She has spoken at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Aspen Ideas Festival, and in many other venues. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Stanford University, Koehn earned a Master of Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government before receiving her MA and PhD in History from Harvard. She lives outside Boston and is a dedicated equestrian.

Adam Brown on Bright SPots and Landmines

In his CPS lecture, Adam discussed his new book, Bright Spots & Landmines: The Diabetes Guide I Wish Someone Had Handed Me

Even if you don’t have diabetes, we promise you’ll learn something from this book and this lecture – whether you want to be healthier personally or want to help create a healthier nation and world. (Said one early reader without diabetes, “If I took your advice, I would be 25 lbs lighter!”). Adam talked strategies to navigate breakfast, grocery shopping, cooking, and restaurants; how to conquer stress, guilt, and low motivation; how to fit activity into a busy life and actually enjoy exercise; and how to get better rest and optimize bedtime routines. Throughout this amazing guide, Adam also argues that the usual focus on the problems and mistakes we’re making (“Landmines”) misses the bigger opportunity: “Bright Spots.” By identifying what’s working and finding ways to do those things more often, we can all live healthier, happier, and more hopeful lives.

Adam Brown is the author of Bright Spots and Landmines: The Diabetes Guide I Wish Someone Had Handed Me. He was diagnosed with diabetes in 2001 and serves as Senior Editor and columnist at diaTribe and Head of Diabetes Technology & Digital Health at Close Concerns. He writes an acclaimed column for diaTribe, Adam's Corner, which has brought actionable diabetes tips to over 600,000 people since 2013. Adam speaks extensively about diabetes and chronic disease and has shared a patient perspective at local, national, and international conferences. He writes extensively about diabetes technology, and at age 28, is widely recognized as a leading expert in the field. Adam’s work in diaTribe is informed by reporting on hundreds of diabetes conferences around the world, strong relationships with the field’s leading thinkers, and over 50,000 hours using continuous glucose monitoring.

emily esfahani smith on the power of meaning: crafting a life that matters

In a culture that is obsessed with happiness, how do we find meaning amidst the relentless pursuit of happiness? In her CPS Lecture, Emily Esfahani Smith will discuss the difference between meaning and happiness, and the human desire to make life worth living. Typical ideas about a meaningful life typically involve something “big” – a Purpose or Passion in life. In her writing her book, The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters, however, Emily has found that most people spend their time engaged in more ordinary pursuits. “Even if we all don’t find a calling life, that doesn’t mean we won’t find meaning life,” Emily writes. Based off of extensive research in positive psychology and insights from George Eliot, Victor Frankl, Aristotle, the Buddha, and other great minds, Emily’s book encourages readers to begin building a culture of meaning in the circles that surround us – whether our schools, workplaces, or communities. Emily will also talk about the different “pillars” of meaning – or the primary sources of meaning in life that she has pinpointed through interviews with seekers of meaning. Take the quiz: What’s your pillar of meaning? to find out what pillar you lean on to find meaning in your life.

Emily Esfahani Smith is the author of The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters (Crown). She writes about psychology, culture, and relationships. Her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Time, The Atlantic, and other publications. Emily is also a columnist for The New Criterion, as well as an editor at the Stanford University's Hoover Institution, where she manages the Ben Franklin Circles project, a collaboration with the 92nd Street Y and Citizen University to build meaning in local communities. Born in Zurich, Switzerland, Emily grew up in Montreal, Canada. She graduated from Dartmouth College and earned a master of applied positive psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Bruce Feiler on The First Love Story: What Adam and Eve Can Teach Us About Relationships

We are so excited to announce a special lunch-time CPS Lecture with renowned author, traveler, television series host, and New York Times Columnist Bruce Feiler. A respected voice on religion, politics, and family matters – as well as what the Atlanta Journal-Constitution calls “a real life-Indiana Jones” – Bruce Feiler has journeyed across continents to explore some of the world’s most influential stories. In his PBS mini-series, Sacred Journeys and Walking the Bible, Feiler travels on six historic pilgrimages around the world and retraces the Five Books of Moses, respectively. In his latest book, The First Love Story: Adam, Eve, and Us, Feiler travels from the Garden of Eden in Iraq to the Sistine Chapel in Rome, from London to Hollywood, exploring how the story of Adam and Eve has shaped modern conceptions about love, relationships, togetherness, and social cohesion. We hope you will be able to join us on your lunch break for what is sure to be a memorable conversation on the impact of Adam and Eve on modern love. If you are unable to attend during the day but would still love to get a signed book, please email us and we’ll be sure to make it happen!

Bruce Feiler is a columnist for the New York Times and is the author of six consecutive New York Times bestsellers, including Walking the BibleAbraham, and The Secrets of Happy Families. He’s also the host of the PBS series “Walking the Bible” and “Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler” TV Series – a journey by land through the five books of Moses. Bruce’s New York Times column, “This Life,” explores various aspects of contemporary life, whether on the influence of technology on family life, expressing sympathy, or how best to ask for forgiveness. His writing on family provide support and inspiration for modern families, including The Stories that Bind Us (watch Bruce’s TED talk on family stories here) as well as a personal memoir on parenthood and his battle with cancer, The Council of Dads. Bruce has also written for a number of other publications, including The New Yorker, and is a frequent contributor to National Public Radio, CNN, and Fox News.

Salman Ahmed on US National Security Strategy and Decision-Making in a Turbulent World

Salman Ahmed outgoing Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Strategic Planning on the National Security Council (NSC) staff, offered reflections on President Obama’s national security strategy and the challenges now facing the new Administration. Under Salman's leadership, the Strategic Planning Directorate: led preparation of the 2015 National Security Strategy; contributed to the rightsizing and reform of the NSC staff; helped prepare the transition to the President-elect’s incoming NSC team; facilitated inter-agency deliberations on long-term trends shaping the international order; and partnered with NSC colleagues on the development of policies and strategies related to Russia, the Rebalance to Asia, Countering ISIL, Technology and National Security, Fragile States, International Peace Operations, and Diversity in the National Security Workforce. And, at critical moments between 2013 and 2016, Salman directly supported the Secretary of State’s negotiations with Russia on Syria, including standing up and co-chairing the International Ceasefire Task Force in Geneva.

For the past 25 years, Salman has been managing complex peace and security challenges on behalf of the White House, the Department of State, and the United Nations.

Prior to assuming his duties on the National Security Council Staff in July 2013, Salman was Chief of Staff of the United States Mission to the United Nations and Senior Policy Advisor to the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations (USUN). In that capacity, he supported the Cabinet-ranked Ambassador on a broad range of policy issues, and served as a key member of the Mission's senior management team. Before joining the U.S. Department of State in 2009, Salman served as a Visiting Professor and Research Scholar at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where he taught graduate-level courses on peacekeeping and post-conflict reconstruction. Prior to teaching at Princeton, he worked for almost 15 years at the United Nations, including as: Chief of Staff for the Head of UN Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), when the Department was managing over 100,000 personnel in dozens of conflict zones, with an annual budget over $6 billion; the Secretary of the Panel on UN Peace Operations (“the Brahimi Report”) that put forward sweeping reforms for overhauling the way the UN conceived, planned, directed, managed and logistically supported multi-billion dollar peace operations; co-drafter of the UN Secretary-General’s Report on the Fall of Srebrenica that candidly exposed deep failings in the UN's "Safe Area" policy; and in various other capacities planning and serving in field missions in Iraq (2003, 2004), Afghanistan (2001-2), Bosnia and Herzegovina (1996-1998), South Africa (1994), and Cambodia (1992-3).

Salman holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the University of Cambridge, UK, and a Bachelor's of Science in Economics from New York University's Stern School of Business. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Salman lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife and two daughters.

Lisa Kay Solomon on Designing Better Futures

You don’t have to be in business to learn from Lisa Kay Solomon’s comprehensive new guide to the tools, skills, and mindsets required to master ambiguity and create value from uncertainty. In fact, any field that you’re in will benefit from learning from designers – people who live with uncertainty and turn it into an ally. In her CPS Lecture, Lisa shared key lessons from her guide, Design a Better Business, with our audience – including information about the double loop design process, a practical approach to creating and growing value using collaborative and generative practices that anyone can learn and immediately try with any organization they are involved in. At this lecture, you'll learn personal insights from thought leaders such as Steve Blank on innovation, Alex Osterwalder on business models, Nancy Duarte on storytelling, and Rob Fitzpatrick on questioning, among others. The book includes detailed visual guides to over 20 strategic tools and 48 case studies. 

Lisa Kay Solomon is a well-known thought leader in design innovation with a focus on helping leaders learn how to be more creative, flexible and resilient in the face of constant change. Lisa is Managing Director of Transformational Practices and Leadership at Singularity University a global community of smart, passionate, action-oriented leaders who want to use exponential technologies to positively impact the world.  She coauthored the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations that Accelerate Change, and, more recently, Design a Better Business: New Tools, Skills and Mindset for Strategy and Innovation.  Lisa is a frequent keynote speaker on innovation, design thinking and leadership at global conferences. A passionate educator, Lisa has taught at the revolutionary Design MBA program at California College of the Arts and has developed and led popular classes for Stanford d. School such as Networking By Design and Design With the Brain in Mind.  She is also the Executive Producer of the annual Inspired4Schools conference, a design leadership program for educators, and is on the leadership committee for The Nueva School’s Innovative Learning Conference, a biennial gathering for trends related to the future of education.

stephen satterfield on power food

Stephen Satterfield – an Oakland-based writer covering food origin, culture, and equity – joined us very first CPS Lecture of the New Year! Stephen has worked at fine restaurants and wineries throughout Oregon, South Africa, in and around Atlanta, Georgia, and in our very own San Francisco Bay Area as the restaurant manager of the beloved San Francisco restaurant, Nopa. During his time at Nopa, he began writing a blog about the restaurant’s local food culture and community called Nopalize. This blog launched into a multimedia platform, with hundreds of stories, podcasts and videos about local eating. Through Nopalize, he also launched a series of interactive farm tours and lunches for Bay area residents, aiming to engage people with the food in their communities. Stephen left Nopa(lize) in late 2015 and he has continued his work in local food culture and food justice. In March 2016, he was named a Food Writing Fellow by the IACP’s “The Culture Trust,” and he now writes on the food policy cite, Civil Eats. At this CPS Lecture, Stephen will be discussing how his extensive culinary experiences have informed his food activism and his belief in the power of local eating. This lecture will be open to adolescents and teens 10 years+!

Over the last 13-years, Stephen has enjoyed a unique and diverse career in food and beverage working as a sommelier, restaurant manager, urban gardener and social entrepreneur. His array of experiences includes everything from founding the International Society for Africans and Wine, a nonprofit which helped black South Africans break into the winemaking market, to serving as the garden manager for the Ida B. Wells High School garden, to living on a farm in the Sierra Foothills. After five years of managing the internationally acclaimed Nopa restaurant, he’s become a notable food writer and local food expert and activist in the Bay Area.

miriam horn on rancher, farmer, fisherman

Miriam Horn, a veteran at the Environmental Defense Fund and New York Times bestselling author of Earth: The Sequel, joined us for a CPS Lectures reading and discussion on the unrecognized American “conservation heroes” who are actively defending the environment through sustainable practices. In Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman: Conservation Heroes of the American Heartland, Horn challenges the commonly-held misconceptions that America’s traditional farmers, fishers, and ranchers are antagonistic towards the environment. Her book profiles five individuals who prove the opposite – who work to defend and preserve the land that they, their families, and the rest of America rely on. Unfolding as a journey down the Mississippi, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman tells the stories of five representatives of this stewardship movement: a Montana rancher, a Kansas farmer, a Mississippi riverman, a Louisiana shrimper, and a Gulf fisherman.Miriam spent THREE years (!) traveling and writing this book; come hear her speak first-hand about her extensive journeys and the incredible people she met. Did we mention that a Discovery Channel documentary on Miriam’s book will air in Summer 2017?!

During her travels from the Montana headwaters of the Missouri River through the Great Plains and out into the Mississippi Delta and Gulf of Mexico, Miriam Horn met men and women unexpectedly leading a movement to conserve the environment and save America’s natural resources. In Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman: Conservation Heroes of the American Heartland, Horn profiles five of these “conservation heroes” who are willing to stand up for change and conservation of their lands. Although they may not seem like typical “green” activists, they, as Miriam says, “have more at stake, a more seasoned love for these lands, than anybody.” In this book, Miriam showcases the outstanding initiatives and groundbreaking experiments spearheaded by these individuals who aim to restore a healthy relationship between humans and the land. As Publishers Weekly put it: “Horn's intimate profiles reveal undervalued environmental change makers while countering popular notions of what it means to be a conservationist.”

Miriam Horn worked for the U.S. Forest Service and spent 15 years writing for U.S. News and World Report, The New York Times, Smithsonian, and other publications before joining the Environmental Defense Fund. She is the author of three books, including Earth: the Sequel: The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming, a NY Times bestseller and also a Discovery documentary, co-authored with EDF president Fred Krupp, and Rebels in White Gloves: Coming of Age with Hillary’s Class – Wellesley ‘69. Ms. Horn holds a BA, magna cum laude, from Harvard University and did two years of post-baccalaureate study in Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University. She was a Japan Society Media Fellow and in 2012 her EDF team won the Zayed Future Energy Prize.

jim hirsch on good vibrations: my life as a beach boy

Jim Hirsch – prolific non-fiction author, journalist, and long-time contributor to Close Concerns and diaTribe – joined us to discuss his experiences working and writing with Mike Love, the lead singer and principal lyricist of the most successful American rock band in history – the Beach Boys. When Mike wanted to write his memoir, he reached out to Jim Hirsch to see if Jim would be his collaborator. The result is Good Vibrations: My Life as a Beach Boy. Released on September 13, the book became an immediate New York Times’ bestseller. As Sarah Rodman of the LA Times Book Review writes, Good Vibrations will “send fans back to their stereos to crank up ‘Surfin’ U.S.A.’ and ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ and ‘The Warmth of the Sun’ whether they have an ocean handy or not” (luckily we’ve got ocean beach just twenty minutes away :>).

The memoir describes the stories behind such pop classics as “California Girls,” “Surfin’ USA,” “Good Vibrations,” and “Kokomo;” profiles the remarkable individuals whom Mike has befriended over the years (from Marvin Gaye to Marlon Brando, from George Harrison to Muhammad Ali); and traces the extraordinary 55-year history of this band. The book also offers vivid portraits of the turbulent lives of Mike’s three gifted cousins, Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, and describes Mike’s musical partnership with Brian, which has few equals in American pop music. With Mike Love as the lead singer, the Beach Boys are still performing 170 concerts a year.

Jim Hirsch, a former reporter for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, is the author of eight nonfiction books. They include bestselling biographies of Rubin “Hurricane” Carter and Willie Mays as well as books on the worst race riot in U.S. history and on American POWs in Vietnam. Jim has collaborated on memoirs with Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts, and with Jim Ziolkowski, a global humanitarian. Jim is also the author of “Cheating Destiny: Living with Diabetes.” He is a long-time contributor to Close Concerns and diaTribe and is a proud member of Kelly Close’s team. Jim and his wife, Sheryl, live in the Boston area with their children, Amanda and Garrett, and their cockapoo, Kelsey.

catherine newman on catastrophic happiness: finding joy in childhood's messy years

We are overjoyed to announce that author, blogger, and columnist Catherine Newman will be speaking on Monday, October 10th at the first CPS Lecture of the fall! Catherine gave CPS Lectures #12 (!) in 2005, reading from her beloved book “Waiting for Birdy” that every parent friend of ours knows and loves : > and she is now back to read again! Please join us to hear Catherine read excerpts from her new book Catastrophic Happiness: Finding Joy in Childhood’s Messy Years, in which she writes about her attempts to make “order” out of parenting, and her equally important realizations that this type of “order” may be ultimately unattainable – and even undesirable. In this memoir, she narrates the coming-of-age story of her two children, Ben and Birdy, now 16 and 13, along with all of the trials and joys that come along with parenting. “If you are a parent, this is the book you need to read,” says Cammie McGovern, author of Say What You Will and A Step Towards Falling. If you are a parent, then, this is the lecture you need to attend, and if not, we can all certainly still relate to (and learn from!) Newman’s chronicles of those impactful years of childhood that undeniably shape the rest of our lives.

Although Catastrophic Happiness is, in all respects, a book about parenting, it’s unlike any other in the current canon of child-rearing tips and tricks. Rather, as Elissa Strauss of the New York Times Book Review writes, it is much more than just practical guidance – it is a “sensitive portrayal of the blurring of self that happens after one has children.” It is, all at once, a series of essays, a memoir, a collection of personal stories that encompasses emotions ranging from joy to nostalgia, amusement to concern. It is a conglomeration of the multitude of messes and catastrophes of childhood, portrayed with full sincerity and ultimately bound into a work of happiness. Whether seeking inspiration, acknowledgment of parenting’s successes and failures, or simply a hearty laugh, Catastrophic Happiness is a book for parents everywhere. If you can’t come – we can get you your very own personalized book for just $15!

Catherine Newman is the author of the memoirs Catastrophic Happiness: Finding Joy in Childhood’s Messy Years and Waiting for Birdy, and the blog Ben and Birdy. She is also the etiquette columnist for Real Simple magazine and a regular contributor to the New York Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, The Boston Globe, and many other publications. Her first middle-grade novel will be published by Random House next year (the CPS Lectures audience will also receive the first sneak peek reading of this if we can persuade her ; >). Catherine lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, with her family.

emma seppälä on the happiness Track

A leading expert on health psychology, well-being, and resilience, Dr. Seppälä argues that happiness is the key to fast tracking our professional and personal success.

Everyone wants to be happy and successful, she emphasizes. And yet the pursuit of both has never been more elusive. As work and personal demands rise, we try to keep up by juggling everything better, moving faster, and doing more. While we might succeed in the short term, it comes at a cost to our well-being, relationships, and, paradoxically, our productivity. In The Happiness Track, Dr. Seppälä explains that our inability to achieve sustainable fulfillment is tied to “common but outdated” notions about success. We are taught that getting ahead means doing everything that’s thrown at us (and then some) with razor-sharp focus and iron discipline; that success depends on our drive and talents; and that achievement cannot happen without stress.

The Happiness Track aims to demolish these theories. Drawing on the latest findings from the fields of cognitive psychology and neuroscience—research on happiness, resilience, willpower, compassion, positive stress, creativity, mindfulness—Dr. Seppälä shows that finding happiness and fulfillment may, in fact, be the most productive thing we can do to thrive professionally. Filled with practical advice on how to apply these scientific findings to our daily lives, The Happiness Track is a life-changing guide to fast tracking our success and creating the anxiety-free life we want.

Emma Seppälä, Ph.D is Science Director of Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education and author of The Happiness Track (HarperOne, 2016). She is a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review, Psychology Today, Huffington Post, and Scientific American Mind.

Dr. Seppälä is the founder and editor-in-chief of Fulfillment Daily, a news site dedicated to the science of happiness – she has spoken at TedX Sacramento, Google, Apple, Facebook, Bain & Co, Ernst & Young, and United States Congressional Hearing. She also consults with a range of Fortune 500 leaders and employees on building positive organizations.

She is the recipient of a number of research grants and service awards including the James W. Lyons Award from Stanford University for founding Stanford’s first academic class on the psychology of happiness and teaching many well-being programs for Stanford students.

She received a B.A in Comparative Literature from Yale University, a Master’s Degree in East Asian Languages and Cultures from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Psychology from Stanford University. She completed her postdoctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

larry tramutola on the people vs. big soda

In November 2014, Berkeley became the first US city to pass a measure taxing distributors of soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages, thanks to Larry Tramutola’s campaign leadership. Now, local public health advocates are in the midst of campaigning for the same tax to be passed in San Francisco and Oakland this November. What lessons from his previous work does Larry bring to these campaigns, and what unique challenges does taking on Big Soda present? During a time when over 20 million Americans have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, over 86 million Americans have pre-diabetes, and 1 out of 2 Latino and African American children will develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime, can a soda tax in two of the United States’ leading cities catalyze a movement across the country that reverses these trends and helps build a culture of health? 

Larry is recognized as one of the country’s top strategists in grassroots organizing, political strategy, and passing difficult tax measures, including the City of Berkeley’s historic victory against Big Soda in the November 2014 election. He is currently coordinating activities throughout California on soda tax initiatives.

Over the past 28 years, Larry has helped clients win over 500 local elections, including 300 tax elections producing over $35 billion in new revenue for communities throughout the State. He’s the author of Sidewalk Strategies – A Practical Guide for Candidates, Causes and Communities, and Now What? A Practical Guide for Newly Elected Officials.

Larry worked for over a decade as an organizer with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers of America. He directed the Field Operations in California in two Presidential elections and was chosen to help train community leaders in South Africa in electoral organizing prior to the country’s first free elections. He graduated with distinction from Stanford University.

Cathy Hunter on "Clearing the Path for the Child or Preparing the Child for the Path?”

Well-intentioned, ill-prepared, subject to peer pressure....that describes the nature and challenges of parenting these days. Cathy Hunter will cast a cynical eye on some of the most fervently held beliefs on effective parenting, and provide evidence favoring a version of "benign neglect" that produces kids with heartier spirits and better decision-making skills. She'll also encourage you to bring some long-arc thinking to your parenting, and understand the "backwards design" that excellent teachers — and parents — use to fashion social, emotional and learning goals for their students.

Cathy has over 40 years of experience working in numerous roles in the educational setting, including teacher, dean, division head, and trustee in four independent schools across the country before coming to the San Francisco area, where she was the founding Head of the San Francisco Friends School. Over the years, Cathy has received awards and other recognition for her work in teaching, building, and supporting faculty. She has written and presented on the topic of adolescent development, and received a Fulbright research grant for study in the field. Cathy has extensive experience as an educational leader in team-building, teacher training, and developing a healthy school culture. She's also had a couple of guinea pigs of her own (Benjamin and Matthew) who are accustomed to having their parents' wildly ineffective and stunningly admirable parenting moments shared and analyzed. Join us for a spirited and irreverent conversation.

adam grant on originals

How do non-conformists change the world? How do leaders resist groupthink? In his new book Originals, Adam shares insights on how to recognize a good idea, speak up without being silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt. In addition, he discusses how parents and teachers can play a vital role in nurturing originality in children.

Adam Grant is the youngest tenured professor and single highest-rated teacher at The Wharton School. His consulting and speaking clients include Google, the NFL, Johnson & Johnson, Pixar, Goldman Sachs, the World Economic Forum, the United Nations, and the U.S. Army and Navy. He has been honored as one of Malcolm Gladwell's favorite social science writers, one of BusinessWeek's favorite professors and one of the world's top 40 business professors under 40. He has appeared on the Today Show, Charlie Rose, and Diane Rehm, and was profiled in the New York Times magazine cover story, About Adam

Adam Grant is the youngest tenured professor and single highest-rated teacher at The Wharton School. His consulting and speaking clients include Google, the NFL, Johnson & Johnson, Pixar, Goldman Sachs, the World Economic Forum, the United Nations, and the U.S. Army and Navy. He has been honored as one of Malcolm Gladwell's favorite social science writers, one of BusinessWeek's favorite professors and one of the world's top 40 business professors under 40. He has appeared on the Today Show, Charlie Rose, and Diane Rehm, and was profiled in the New York Times magazine cover story, "Is giving the secret to getting ahead?" He holds a Ph.D. in organizational psychology from the University of Michigan and a B.A. from Harvard University. He is a former record-setting advertising director, junior Olympic springboard diver, and professional magician.

gopi kallayil on integrating one's inner and outer worlds

Gopi Kallayil is the Chief Evangelist, Brand Marketing at Google. He works with Google’s sales teams and customers and helps grow customer brands through digital marketing. In his prior roles he worked as Chief Evangelist for Google+, led the marketing team for the Company’s flagship advertising product, AdWords, in the Americas and Asia Pacific, and the marketing team for AdSense.

Gopi Kallayil writes in his recently published book The Internet to the Inner-Net that the Internet has become humanity’s invisible central nervous system. It connects us and can sometimes overwhelm us, he says. Yet the most important technology is within us, he emphasizes—our brain, body, and consciousness. A fast-paced career in the high-tech industry in combination with a deep yoga and meditation practice has allowed Gopi to integrate what he calls his inner and outer technologies to a remarkable degree. Wisdom from his yoga mat and meditation cushion guides his professional career, and in turn his professional life provides the perfect classroom to deepen his wisdom practice. In his talk with CPS Lectures, he will discuss tools for us to do the same as we learn more about integrate our disparate worlds.

To at least some degree, everyone today is overwhelmed with a deluge of information and a tyranny of schedules that demand that we be connected to technology around the clock. Meanwhile, in the midst of this turbulent life, the technology within us needs its Zen-like moments of calm, reflection, and quiet. Now Gopi presents ways to address this in the forms of insight, inspiration, and daily rituals such as yoga and meditation (one minute of each!) that anyone can use to connect to their inner-net.

Through 52 entertaining and provocative essays in The Internet to the Inner-Net, Gopi brings together his understanding of the world of technology and business as well as the world of spirituality through the practices of yoga, meditation, and Eastern philosophy. From “Outsource Your Life,” which proposes letting someone else handle the tasks that aren’t your passion, to “The Tea Hippie” in which Gopi pays an illuminating visit to the Yellow Tea Bus, his thinking lays out a set of habits and practices that we can all apply to our everyday lives to live with as he says purpose, joy, meaning, productivity and fulfillment.

robert greene on "a dream deferred"

Robert Greene is currently a Senior Consultant and Leadership Coach with JONES, a firm that specializes in diversity-based organizational development consulting. The mission of JONES is to "develop leaders and human systems that counter oppression through diversity, inclusion, and organizational effectiveness."

Robert has been a thought leader in independent schools and nonprofits for more than 20 years, having served successfully as a teacher and administrator in several independent school models on both coasts, as well as in urban school environments and social entrepreneurship agencies. Throughout his career, he has leveraged the experience and networks he gained in the independent school community to drive increased access and equity for communities of color and for students/families from communities where educational organizations have been traditionally underserved.

In the strongest example of this commitment, Robert served as founding co-chair of Beacon Academy, while in Boston. Beacon is a one-of- a-kind independent school model that created an extra year of schooling for "students of high capacity and low preparation" in order to close 2 and 3 years of accumulated academic deficit. After experiencing those "14 Months that Last a Lifetime", Beacon students moved on to four years of rigorous high school and beyond. The first two classes of Beacon Academy students have now graduated from college and are changing the cycle of disenfranchisement for their families and communities. Robert is currently engaged in building a West Coast version of Beacon Academy in the Bay Area.

Greene also brings insightful thinking and consulting to issues ranging from strategic diversity and inclusion leadership, cultural competency skill integration, global education programming, wealth and social class disparities, and multicultural curriculum design to his current professional engagements. His work with JONES has focused on institutional development of diversity and inclusion planning and strategy, strategic planning and culturally competent leadership development with boards of trustees, senior administrative team development, professional and leadership coaching, stages of team and organizational development in inclusive environments, cultural competency skill development, new consultant onboarding and training, and systemic integration of diversity, inclusion, and cultural competency efforts across all phases of schools and organizations.

Some of the recent clients with whom Robert has partnered include: Aspen Institute/Pahara Institute, Belmont Hill School (MA), Black Alliance for Educational Options, Cal State University Northridge (CSUN), Catlin Gabel School (OR), Cerritos College (CA), Deerfield Academy (MA), Episcopal School of Dallas (TX), Evergreen School (WA), Francis Parker School (CA), Menlo School (CA), Milton Academy (MA), Mirman School (CA), Potomac School (MD), Rippowam Cisqua School (NY), River Oaks Baptist (TX), Sage Hill School (CA), St. Ignatius School (CA), St. Margaret's Episcopal School (CA), St. Mary's College (CA), Seven Hills School (CA), Thacher School (CA), Trinity Episcopal School of Austin (TX), and Village School (CA) among others.

Midwest by birth, southern by heritage, east coast by education, and west coast by adaptation, Robert currently resides in San Francisco with his wife, a nationally-renown educator, and their two sons. He earned his Ed.M. in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and his B.A. in Economics, with a Political Science minor, from Brown University. Among other interests, he has served on the board of directors of Willow Creek Academy Charter School (Sausalito Marin City School District - CA), the board of advisors for Sponsors for Educational Opportunity Scholars Program -San Francisco, and remains civically engaged throughout the Bay Area.

tina seelig on insight out: distilling the secrets of the most successful entrepreneurs

Dr. Seelig read from her new book, Insight Out: Get Ideas Out of Your Head and Into the World. In her book, she discusses the core concepts of imagination, creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship, and presents a model for what she calls the “Invention Cycle.” Dr. Seelig describes this framework as revealing “how to harness the required attitudes and actions to take a compelling idea and transform it into something extraordinary.”

Dr. Seelig is Professor of Practice in the department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, and the executive director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. She teaches courses on creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship at Stanford’s Dr. Seelig earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Stanford Medical School, has worked as a management consultant, a software producer, and an entrepreneur. Among the many honors she’s received are the National Olympus Innovation Award and the SVForum Visionary Award.

Insight Out elegantly illustrates how to move from imagination to innovation, and inspiration to implementation.” (Adam Grant, Wharton professor and New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take)

“A practical handbook for turning ideas into action, Insight Out is a fast-paced ride from imagination and creativity to innovation and entrepreneurship. Use this book to bring your ideas to life.” (Tom Kelley, co-author of Creative Confidence)

Drs. Astro and Danielle Teller on “Sacred Cows: The Truth About Divorce and Marriage”

Astro and Danielle know better than most that finding the right partner in life doesn't always happen the first time around. Through their own divorces they learned how widely held cultural assumptions and misinformation that nobody thinks to question -- what they refer to as "sacred cows" -- create unnecessary heartache for people who are already suffering through a terrible time.

Do you think, for example, that the divorce rate in the United States is rising? Or that children are harmed by divorce? Most people do, they tell us, but it turns out that neither of these ideas is supported by the data. Combining the rigor that has established them as leaders in their respective fields along with a dose of good-natured humor, the Tellers ask readers to take a fresh look at seven common sacred cows: the Holy Cow, the Expert Cow, the Selfish Cow, the Defective Cow, the Innocent Victim Cow, the One True Cow, and the Other Cow. This is not a book that is "for" marriage or "for" divorce, but "for" the freedom to decide how to live most honestly and happily either as part of a couple or a single person.

Astro was born in Cambridge, England and raised in Evanston, IL. He holds a BS in computer science from Stanford, a Masters of Science in symbolic computation, also from Stanford, and a PhD in artificial intelligence from Carnegie Mellon. After working as a teacher at Stanford, he turned to business, and was the co-founder of BodyMedia and Cerebellum Capital. Since 2010, Astro has been directing Google [X] laboratories, which has been called a "moonshot factory for audacious world-changing projects" like Google Glass, Google Driverless Car, and Google Contact Lens, among other notable initiatives.

Danielle grew up in Canada, and trained at McGill University, Brown University and Yale University, and she took faculty positions at the University of Pittsburgh and Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard University. Her research work has focused on the origins of chronic lung disease and she has spent significiant time teaching in the medical intensive care unit until moving to California. She is now pursuing her childhood dream of being a writer.

Jessica Lahey on “The Gift of Failure”

Lahey is an educator, author, and speaker who writes the bi-weekly column "The Parent-Teacher Conference" for the New York Times, is a contributing writer for The Atlantic, and recently published a book called The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. Her new book explores how today's parents try so hard to keep their children from experiencing failure that it stops them from taking any kinds of intellectual risks, ultimately leading to a loss of love of learning. 

"It’s hard to overstate the importance of this book. The Gift of Failure is beautifully written; it’s deeply researched; but most of all it’s the one book we all need to read if we want to instill the next generation with confidence and joy.” - Susan Cain, author of QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

"Now that parents shelter their children every step of the way, we have “failure deprived” college students ... and entitled, anxious 20-somethings who can’t function in a world that’s sometimes cold or cruel or indifferent. So how can teachers snatch back their critical role and give children the necessary space to fail? They could start by making parents read Lahey." 
- Julie Lythcott-Haims' NYT Book Review

Stefany Shaheen, type 1 diabetes advocate, on Elle & Coach 

Stefany Shaheen has recently published a heartwarming and inspiring book, Elle & Coach, that chronicles the Shaheen family’s struggles with her daughter Elle’s diabetes, and what a gift it has been to have Elle’s diabetes dog, Coach, in their lives.

“So much more than a heartwarming story about a triumphant little girl and her amazing dog. It’s a book about never giving up hope.”—Michael J. Fox

"ELLE & COACH is a must-read--not just for parents of children with chronic illnesses, but for any parent who's ever wished to make life easier for a child who is struggling with something daunting. As the mom of a son who faced multiple surgeries during his childhood, I was deeply moved by Elle's experiences--and inspired by the beacon of hope that her service dog provides. I have a feeling this book is going to change a lot of lives for the better."―Jodi Picoult, New York Times-bestselling author

"In addition to being a great read, the story of ELLE & COACH will open eyes to the very real struggle of life with type 1 diabetes, and may well change the conversations we have about how to make lives better while we work toward better treatments and ultimately a cure."―Dean Kamen, Inventor and Founder of DEKA Research & Development Corporation

Stefany has dedicated herself to making life better for people living with diabetes. A Harvard graduate, she launched a company to help those with chronic conditions better manage eating and exercise. She is on the Board of Trustees at Joslin Diabetes Center, served as the National Chair for the JDRF Children’s Congress and currently serves on the Foundation’s Research and Advocacy Committee. She is a key spokesperson for her mother, Jeanne Shaheen, U.S. Senator and former New Hampshire Governor, and currently serves on the City Council for the City of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where she and her husband, Craig Welch, live with their four children.

Laura Lauder on “A Year of National Service for All Americans Ages 18-28: The Franklin Project of the Aspen Institute”

Laura will discuss the movement being led by General Stan McCrystal in DC on a million young people empowering America. This is relevant for everyone in the RFV - potential participants, partner organizations and sponsors are all encouraged to participate.

The Franklin Project envisions a future in which a year of full -time national service—a service year— is a cultural expectation, a common opportunity, and a civic rite of passage for every young American. “We are leading the effort to improve citizenship by giving every young person in America the op- portunity to serve. Some will serve in the military, others will do public service. But everyone should have the opportunity to do at least one year of service sometime between the ages of 18 and 28. The service year would be a fully paid, full-time year of service in one of an array of areas, including health, poverty, conservation, or education. These young people will not only do good work and solve problems, but they will also become better young Americans.” 

Laura Lauder serves on the boards of the Aspen Institute, National Constitution Center and various family foundations. She is active with YPO, and co-founded the Socrates Society of the Aspen Institute. She is the Vice Chair of the $1.6B Jewish Community Endowment Fund of San Francisco. She is involved in several new initiatives including incubating Jewish Teen philanthropy boards across the country and launching the Franklin Pro- ject of the Aspen Institute. CPS Lectures #96 is a “pop-up” CPS Lectures where Laura will be talking at the Woody Creek Community Center.

Julie Lythcott-Haims on The Harm of Overhelping

We are excited to celebrate with Julie Lythcott-Haims, Stanford's former Dean of Freshman, who will join us to muse on her new book, "How To Raise An Adult" - the discussion is called "The Harm of Overhelping."

"Julie Lythcott-Haims is a national treasure. . . . A must-read for every parent who senses that there is a healthier and saner way to raise our children." -Madeline Levine, author of the New York Times bestsellers The Price of Privilege and Teach Your Children Well

"For parents who want to foster hearty self-reliance instead of hollow self-esteem, How to Raise an Adult is the right book at the right time." -Daniel H. Pink, author of the New York Times bestsellers Drive and A Whole New Mind (and CPS Lectures speaker #38 and #67!)

Julie spent 14 years at Stanford, ten of which she served as the school's Dean of Freshman. A Stanford undergrad and Harvard Law School graduate, she worked as an attorney in the Bay Area for nearly 10 years before returning to Stanford. 

We are so eager to hear her views on young adults today and what every generation can do to prepare themselves and the next generation more thoughtfully. In her words, Julie's love of writing stems from her interest in humans living lives of meaning and purpose.

bernard von bothmer on abraham lincoln: the great emancipator

A journey, through slides and photographs, of the life and times of Lincoln, in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War and of Lincoln's assassination.

Bernard von Bothmer has taught American history for twenty years. He teaches at the University of San Francisco, where he received USF's 2010 Distinguished Lecturer Award for Excellence in Teaching, and at Dominican University of California. Bernard received a B.A. with honors from Brown University, an M.A. from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in American History from Indiana University. He has reviewed books in American history for The Journal of American History, American Historical Review, Civil War History, The Journal of Southern History, History News Network, and Civil War Book Review, and is the author of Framing the Sixties: The Use and Abuse of a Decade from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush.

Gretchen Rubin on Better Than Before

Habits are the invisible architecture of everyday life, and a significant element of happiness, according to happiness guru Gretchen Rubin. If we have habits that work for us, we’re much more likely to be happy, healthy, productive, and creative.

Gretchen shared from her new book Better Than Before (how great is that title?) the multiple strategies we can exploit to change our habits.

After spending a year doing extensive research and making daily tweaks in her life in hopes of becoming happier, Gretchen published the New York Times best-selling book The Happiness Project in 2009. The Happiness Project spent more than two years on the bestseller list, including time at the number one spot. Her books have sold more than two million copies, in 30 languages.

The New York Times characterizes Gretchen as “the queen of the self-help memoir” (though she describes her books as “self-helpful, not self-help.” Nice.)

But before Gretchen began teaching and writing about happiness, she began her career in law. A graduate of Yale and Yale Law School, she was Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Law Journal (of course she was!) and winner of the Edgar M. Cullen Prize. She clerked for Judge Pierre Leval and was clerking for Justice Sandra Day O’Connor when she realized she really wanted to be a writer.

ron liber on the opposite of spoiled

The highly-awaited THE OPPOSITE OF SPOILED by the great Ron Lieber was praised and got HEAPS of attention (it's in Amazon's Top business books for example).

So The Opposite of Spoiled is being described as sort of a taboo-shattering manifesto - all how to raise kids, teens, and young adults who are grounded, unmaterialistic, and financially wise. Ron designed THE OPPOSITE OF SPOILED to be a practical guidebook for parents and friends who want to use conversations about money to imprint good values. Not only does he cover "all the basics ... (tooth fairy, allowance, chores, charity, saving, birthdays, holidays, checking accounts, part-time jobs and college) but he's also identified a set of virtues and character traits like modesty, patience, generosity and perspective, that, the hope is, " ... kids will carry with them out into the world."

jennifer senior on all joy and no fun: the paradox of modern parenting

In the highly acclaimed New York Times bestseller All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood, Jennifer Senior delves deeply and provocatively into questions about how children change the lives of parents - for better and sometimes for worse, in partnerships, work, friendships, and more.

Jen is a contributing editor at New York Magazine, where she specializes on politics, social science, and mental health, background which she used to examine multiple aspects of modern life. In her latest book, she looks at parenthood through the lens of happiness research from Dan Gilbert, Danny Kahneman, and others, as well as fascinating anthropological research.

A summa cum laude graduate of Princeton, Jennifer has won HEAPS of journalism honors for her provocative work - see more on this at; find her TED talk (nearly 1.5 million views) on how high a bar happiness is for patients here.

Praise for All Joy and No Fun:

"A super thoughtful book, written in a generous spirit and with a piercing intelligence. Jennifer Senior manages to mix unflinching social commentary with a warm and compassionate voice.”

–Susan Cain, bestselling author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

"Attention childless persons: If you’re thinking of having kids, and are looking for an accurate assessment of the experience, disregard the holiday cards you may have received that portray merry families in various stages of triumph. Instead, read Jennifer Senior’s book. This eloquent read is a tonic”

—Huffington Post

Chip Conley on Festivals and Cultural Curiosity

Chip Conley. Hotel guru. Armchair psychologist. Traveling philosopher. Author. Speaker. Teacher. Board member, Burning Man, the Esalen Institute, Glide Memorial*. Student. Chip Conley has lived out more than one calling in his lifetime.

Many of us from the Bay Area might recognize the name Joie de Vivre Hospitality. At the age of 26 with no industry experience, Chip created The Phoenix, taking a 1950′s seedy motel and turning it into a world-renowned “rock ‘n roll hotel” that catered to celebrities from David Bowie to Linda Ronstadt. With a Stanford BA and MBA, Chip founded the company with the mission to “create joy” through an innovative approach to hospitality. During his tenure of nearly 24 years as the CEO, Joie de Vivre grew to be the second largest boutique hotel company in America, was named one of the very top places to work in the Bay Area, beating out all the industry heavyweights.

Chip has been hailed as the most innovative CEO by the San Francisco Business Times and received the Pioneer Award (hospitality’s highest accolade) in 2012. He is clearly a man of many passions, and he didn’t stop there. He is the author of several very highly regarded books on entrepreneurship and success, including Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow and New York Times bestseller Emotional Equations: Simple Truths for Creating Happiness + Success (this one in particular, you won't be able to put down!).

In 2013, Chip launched Fest300, a celebration of world festivals and human connection; he also continues his innovative approach to creating home for travelers at AirBNB, where among other things he travels the world teaching people how to be good hosts.

Sam Mogannam, founder and owner of Bi-Rite

For most people from the Bay Area, the name “Bi-Rite” is synonymous with fresh food, local charm, and the best salted caramel ice cream out there. But how did Bi-Rite, a grocery market that first opened its doors in 1940, become the San Francisco institution it is today? The answer starts with this CPS Lecture’s speaker: Sam Mogannam, Bi-Rite’s owner, one of Fast Company’s top 100 most creative people in business, and who The Atlantic characterizes as a pioneer in the farm-to-grocery store movement.

Bi-Rite has been in Sam’s family since 1964, and he began working there at the young age of six. But Sam didn’t spend his entire life in the family business. While still enamored with food, Sam decided to take a culinary route, graduating from the hotel and restaurant program at the City College of San Francisco in 1988. From there, he took an apprenticeship in Basel, Switzerland at a two Michelin-starred restaurant. After returning to San Francisco and working in several kitchens throughout the ‘90s, Sam eventually was asked to take over the family business. Looking back, he explains that he “reluctantly” said yes, and moved ahead to make some changes!

Before Sam began running Bi-Rite, it was comparable to any other standard corner store in the city, he says, and at the time its location in the Mission district was far from being the foodie haven it is today. Then Sam took over – first the store, and slowly the entire neighborhood. With the mind of a chef captivated by fresh California cuisine, he replaced the store’s foods with the best, farm-grown products available. He added a kitchen, which produces its own delicacies and some of the best sandwiches in town, and in 2006 founded Bi-Rite creamery (again, have we mentioned the salted caramel ice cream?) with his wife Anne Walker. Following the tremendous success of the Mission store, Sam opened a market years later (2013!) in the Nopa region – luckily for John and me, it’s a ten-minute walk from our house and five-minute walk from our office.

Not only has the market thrived under Sam’s leadership, but its presence also helped reinvent the Mission (and now Nopa) districts. Since Sam took over Bi-Rite, some of the best restaurants in the city have opened up in the surrounding areas, crime rates have dropped, and they’re now considered some of the most attractive regions of the city. So what’s the key to Sam’s success? Quality food is a start, and Bi-Rite is also known for its incredibly highly-regarded staff and partners. It’s Sam’s rule, by the way, that “if a guest is 10 feet away, employees must make eye contact with them. If they're 4 feet away, they must engage them in conversation.”

A chef, a storeowner, an inventor, a community leader – Sam is all of the above, but beyond everything else he is a man who followed his passions and did things his way.

"Crazy Is A Compliment” with Linda Rottenberg, CEO, Endeavor, and Time Magazine “Top 100 Innovators”

Come join us to hear from entrepreneurship expert Linda Rottenberg, whose book “Is Crazy a Compliment? The Power of Zigging When Everyone Else Zags” was just published. Linda is an American lawyer and businesswoman; she is the CEO and Co-founder of Endeavor, a non-profit organization that credits itself with pioneering the field of high-impact entrepreneurship. Say some high-impact local leaders:

  • “Linda has tapped into something important—that we all need to be more entrepreneurial these days. With her impressive track record and inspiring story, she shows us all how to overcome our fears and take smart, achievable steps to improve our organizations.”
    —Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and founder of LeanIn.Org

  • "For nearly two decades, Linda has been teaching and learning from the boldest entrepreneurs around the world. In this terrific book, she shares what it takes to master the chaos of starting your own business -- or simply to grow your own career in today's fast-changing world of work."
    —Reid Hoffman, co-founder/chairman of LinkedIn

In her talk with us, Linda will explain why innovative ideas, the courage to take chances, and a touch of “crazy” are at the core of success in today’s business world. Dubbed one of the top most anticipated business books to read this fall by Fortune, USA Today, Business Insider and more, this book is a must-read for anyone with an entrepreneurial mind or who likes to dream big.

After graduating from Harvard University and Yale Law School, Ms. Rottenberg became the CEO of Endeavor – the world’s leading organization devoted to identifying, mentoring, and investing in fast-growing businesses. Through Endeavor, she has helped thousands of entrepreneurs “take the risk out of risk-taking.” Screening over 40,000 entrepreneurs, Endeavor has helped a selected 1,000 individuals create 400,000 jobs in total and generate $7 billion in revenues annually. Wow! New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman went so far as to say that Endeavor is the “best anti-poverty program of them all.” Her work with Endeavor has also earned Ms. Rottenberg the titles of one of Time Magazine’s “100 Innovators of the 21st Century” and one of “America’s Best Leaders” according to U.S. News.

Wanda M. Holland Greene, Sara Shenkan-Rich, and Amy Guggenheim ShenkanL: Two Heads Are Better Than One: A Conversation Between Principals about the Challenges and Opportunities in Public and Private Schools

CPS Lectures is very excited to welcome Wanda Holland Greene, Sara Shenkan-Rich, and Amy Guggenheim Shenkan on Sun Oct 5, when they will discuss with us the opportunities and challenges in education broadly speaking - Wanda Holland Greene and Sara Shenkan-Rich will have a lively discussion moderated by Amy Guggenheim Shenkan.

Wanda M. Holland Greene is well known to the CPS Lectures community. She is currently in her seventh year as Head of School at Hamlin, a K-8 private girl's school in San Francisco. A proud New Yorker and a graduate of Columbia College, Wanda earned her M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University. Wanda complements her work as an educator by serving independent schools and non-profit organizations as a trustee. She is a vocal performer (jazz, gospel, and soul), an avid reader, poet, and writer.

Sara Shenkan-Rich has been the principal of Sherman Elementary, a renowned public school in San Francisco, since 2007. Under Sara's leadership, Sherman has been honored as a 100 STEM Honor Roll school; additionally, it is well known for top notch faculty and focus on the arts. Sara graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in Urban Studies.

Amy Guggenheim Shenkan became president and Chief Operating Officer of Common Sense Media in 2011. She hit the ground running, testifying before a Senate committee hearing about the issue of protecting online privacy across multiple platforms and overseeing the launch of Common Sense's K-12 Digital Literacy and Citizenship curriculum, a program that has been adopted by thousands of schools across the country. The Common Sense schools curriculum guides students on how to make responsible and respectful choices about how they live and treat others in this fast-paced digital world, while also highlighting the positive ways that technology can be used for creative exploration, collaboration, and learning.

CPS Lectures was very excited to welcome Matt Richtel on Sat Oct 4, when he discussed with us his riveting new book, A Deadly Wandering.

Matt spoke with us about his exploration of technology’s vast influence on the human mind and society, bringing the discussion to us through the lens of a tragic “texting-while-driving” car crash that claimed the lives of two rocket scientists in 2006.

Matt interweaves Reggie’s story with scientific findings regarding human attention and the impact of technology on our brains, putting forward actionable thinking to help manage this crisis individually and as a society.

An amazing, riveting read (Kelly was literally glued to it), A Deadly Wandering raises and brilliantly addresses one of the biggest questions of our time—-what is all of our technology doing to us?—-and provides unsettling and critical answers and information.

Matt Richtel on Reggie’s Brain