Book Group

The World Affairs Council of Sonoma County sponsors one or more book groups for our members. Each group meets monthly to discuss the book selections for that month. Members choose and read mostly nonfiction book relating to world affairs.

Recent books have covered a wide variety of topics, including China and its hundred year plan to eclipse the United States as the hegemon by 2040. Conceived during the time of Mao, the Chinese have carefully followed the plan and continued to measure their remarkable progress. They have used classic Chinese principles, based on the concepts from the Warring States. The author is fluent in Chinese and immersed himself in the culture and literature during his two year immersion study in Taiwan. He has served under five Presidents and spent much of his time in China in official capacities. There are many surprises and clear insights into current events as well as some prescriptions for “beating the Chinese at their own game.” We felt we had so much more insight into our relationship with China and heartily recommend The Hundred Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower by Michael Pillsbury.

We welcome new members to our Book Group. If you are interested, please call 573-6014 for more information.

New Book Group selections 2020 and 2021:

Nov: Catalyst: How to Change Anyone’s Mind by Jonah Berger

Dec: The Upswing by Robert Putnam and Shaylyn Romney Garrett

Jan: Exercise of Power by Robert M. Gates


William J. Perry, 19th U.S. Secretary of Defense, who presented a talk to us on Nuclear Weapons in November, 2019, is working with his son,  David Perry, to create a podcast series.  The first program aired in early July 2020.  You can sign up at for email notifications.

Great Decisions

While WACSC does not currently sponsor the Great Decisions program, there are discussion groups at Spring Lake Village for their residents and in Oakmont for Oakmont residents and their guests.  Information for the upcoming discussion groups is listed below:

It’s time for the Great Decisions program 2020!

Great Decisions is a foreign policy discussion group.  It meets eight times during February-May each year to discuss topics chosen by the Foreign Policy Association (FPA).  This is part of a national program to inform Americans about important foreign policy issues and provide a framework for discussion about them.  Each participant receives a briefing book from the FPA containing important background material for each topic. We purchase books in bulk.  The price for 2020 will be $25.

Topics for 2020 are Climate Change and the Global Order, India and Pakistan, Red Sea Security, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking, U.S. Relations with the Northern Triangle, China’s Road into Latin America, The Philippines and the U.S., and Artificial Intelligence and Data

There will be two places for discussion programs in early 2020.  If you live in Oakmont, the program begins February 3 and more information can be found at the Oakmont Great Decisions website:

A second location for discussion programs will be Spring Lake Village.  If interested, please contact Barbara Fry at

For more information on this program, please follow the link for the Foreign Policy Association on our Links page.