CPS Lecture #148: Jennifer Risher on We Need to Talk

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An insightful look into the impact of wealth on identity, relationships, and one's sense of place in the world.

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At a time when income inequality is a huge problem, our country’s economic system is broken, and money is still a taboo subject even among those closest to us. We Need to Talk is essential reading: a catalyst for conversation that demystifies wealth and inspires us to connect.

Many books offer advice on how to get rich. Some inspire us with a fantasy of being rich. Others poke fun at the rich. We Need to Talk takes an honest insider's look at what it’s really like to come into a great deal of wealth and what that does to relationships and identity.

Jennifer breaks the taboo in talking about wealth and in doing so, helps others to have more open and honest discussions. Jennifer shares some of her own experiences with having awkward money conversations, and walks us through five steps that everyone can follow when diving into talks with our friends and family. She shares how talking about money helps us demystify it, and why it’s so important that we have these discussions even when there are wide disparities in salaries.

When Jennifer joined Microsoft in 1991, she met her husband, and with him became an extra-lucky beneficiary of the dot-com boom. By their early thirties, they had tens of millions of dollars, but had grown up in a middle class family. Today, there are millions of people like her. Jennifer’s thought-provoking, personal story includes the voices of others in her demographic.

Explore reviews, articles, and podcast episodes here, including this Forbes article here.

JOIN US on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 5:30 PM PT for a CPS Lecture with Jennifer Risher on We Need To Talk: A Memoir About Wealth. Zoom link will be given to those who RSVP.

“In an era of income inequality, her book, which offers discussion questions about money and wealth throughout, offers a starting point for an uncomfortable subject of increasing importance to everyone…candid and topical.”

–Kirkus Reviews

“In this heartfelt memoir, Risher walks us through both the advantages and the challenges that wealth cultivates. Ultimately, as she says, ‘We are all ninety-nine percent the same.’”

— Madeline Levine, PhD, author of The Price of Privilege, Teach Your Children Well, and Ready or Not

“An enlightening, deeply personal story written with introspection and grace. You need to read this book.”

—Scott Cook, co-founder of Intuit and member of the Giving Pledge

About Jennifer:

Jennifer Risher is the author of We Need to Talk: A Memoir About Wealth which tells her story and explores the impact of wealth on identity, relationships, and sense of place in the world. Jennifer was born in Seattle, Washington, grew up in Oregon, and graduated from Connecticut College.

She joined Microsoft in 1991 where she worked as a recruiter and then as a product manager. She and her husband, David, have two daughters and live in San Francisco, where David is CEO of Worldreader, a nonprofit he cofounded with a mission to create a world where everyone is a reader. In May 2020, Jennifer and David launched #HalfMyDAF and inspired over $8.6 million in giving in just 5 months.

About CPS Lectures:

CPS Lectures is a free discussion series that normally takes place in San Francisco, however events are being hosted virtually at this time. It is a program of the nonprofit The diaTribe Foundation. The series honors the memory of Cyril Patrick Shaughnessy, Jr., Kelly Close's father, who loved discussions, conversation, and being in community and learning from one’s peers.

- Please support our local Haigh-Ashbury bookstore, The Booksmith and purchase this book online here. For those on the East Coast, Politics and Prose is another wonderful option. Also, please leave a review on Amazon!

- RSVP required for this free event. You will be given a chance to donate to The diaTribe Foundation when you register - this is completely optional. Thank you to all those who have given to date. We are searching for wine and other items to donate for the silent auction - please email Katie Brauer at if you have any grand ideas or small donations!

- Please share our series with others – you can forward this invite or invite people to sign up at, they can also join our mailing list to receive future invites. Zoom link will be given to those who RSVP.

- Follow @cpslectures on Instagram and Facebook!

Thank you so much for your encouragement and support. We hope to see you on Wednesday, March 31 at 5:30 pm PT, and we look forward to what we know will be a most compelling discussion.

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