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Hobbies Highly Successful People Do in Their Spare Time

Blog / May 2, 2019

We all need something constructive to do in our free time. A little TV is nice, but it’s not very rewarding. But a hobby is a great way to blow off steam, build endurance, and have fun—and it might even make you more successful. Hobbies and personal interests could enhance your entrepreneurial and leadership abilities and make you more resistant to stress. Here’s a list of some highly successful people and what they’ve committed to in their spare time.

Richard Brandon plays chess 

Chess? Yes, it’s nerdy, but it’s one game that will absolutely make you smarter. Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, says that chess combines the best aspects of other sports, “tactics, planning, bravery, and risk-taking,” all of which are needed in an entrepreneurial career as well. 

Meryl Streep enjoys knitting 

Streep admits that knitting is therapeutic—it’s a chance to gather your thoughts and contemplate life. It’s also something that can be done while watching TV, sitting in meetings, or chatting with a group of friends. Other celebrities, including Julia Roberts, Ryan Gosling, and Christina Hendricks, also knit in their spare time on the set between takes. 

George W. Bush paints 

Is there any more stressful job than President of the United States? Probably not. Though Bush didn’t have time to start painting until after he left office, painting is a great way to think creatively, make a plan, relieve stress, and see something through to the end. He spend a month in Florida taking painting lessons in 2009 and since then has painted puppies, landscapes, and world leaders.

Marissa Mayer bakes 

Baking is therapeutic—you follow directions, take measurements, and learn how certain ingredients react to others. And then you get to eat! Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo, admits to having created spreadsheets to analyze cupcake and frosting recipes and claims her hobbies make her better at her job. “They help me come up with new and innovative ways of looking at things.”

Steve Wozniak plays polo 

Wait for it…on a Segway! What? I didn’t even know that was a thing, but now I’m intrigued. They play four quarters, five players on a team, and use a rubber ball. Aside from co-founding Apple, Wozniak also co-founded one of the sport’s world tournaments, Woz Challenge Cup, the World Cup of Segway polo.

Warren Buffett plays the ukulele

There’s a lot to be said for learning to play a musical instrument and how that can expand your thinking and translate to increased creativity. Buffet, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway has played for decades, donating instruments and lessons to children’s clubs in Omaha, his home. 

Condoleeza Rice golfs 

Since she was once the Secretary of State, she didn’t really have time to golf until afterwards, when she received lessons from a relative at the age of 50. She says she enjoys the strategy of it, calling it a “thinking-person’s game.”


If one of these hobbies seems out of reach for you, there’s sure to be something you enjoy! Think: sailing, distance running, gardening, collecting something cool, woodworking, joining a book club, volunteering, or playing bunko with friends. For more tips on how to fill your time, check out our website at

Blog written by Erin Greenhalgh