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Hobbies can be fairly run of the mill (collecting stamps, going to museums) or slightly less conventional (like fencing). The interesting hobbies of historical figures in this episode of The List Show will have you wondering where they got the time (or, in some cases, WHY they got the time).

The List Show is a weekly show where knowledge junkies get their fix of trivia-tastic information. This week, John explores the hobbies of some rather successful people including Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein and Ryan Gosling.

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Hi I'm John Green, welcome to my salon. Did you know that when I'm not hosting mental_floss on YouTube I have a hobby? I write books. It's just a thing I do in my spare time but I even wrote like half of the quotes that have been attributed to me on Tumblr.

Now we all now that Justin Bieber fills his spare time by drag racing and Shia LaBeouf likes to plagiarize but today I'm going to share with you the surprising hobbies of many well known people.


1. Chuck Norris gave former 'Price is Right' host Bob Barker karate lessons for eight years. Barker once recalled, "He used to come to my house and we'd do karate. We started out here on my lawn and then I started parking my car on the driveway and made my garage into a karate studio. I took lessons for eight years. Then Chuck got into acting."

2. You'd be surprised to learn that director David Lynch has had some bizarre hobbies over the years including musician, coffee roaster and night club owner. Since I'm sure you'll want to see for yourself, you can actually buy his coffee at Whole Foods and visit the, Mulholland Drive-inspired club Silencio in Paris. And this club has everything, or at least that is what I heard from Stefan.

3. Speaking of directors Stanley Kubrick collected stationary and other letter writing paraphernalia. According to his brother in law, Kubrick once learned that a line of brown ink was getting discontinued so he went ahead and bought every bottle left in existence, a totally of 100 bottles. 

4. Another famous collector is Ayn Rand who had a stamp collection. She even wrote an article called 'Why I like Stamp Collecting' for the Minkus Stamp Journal in 1971. Spoiler alert she likes stamp collecting because it is not a Marxist enterprise that props up the weak.

5. Thomas Edison was a huge cinephile but he wasn't a fan of talkies, even believed that sound in the movies 'spoiled everything'. He once said "There isn't any good acting on the screen. They concentrate on the voice now and have forgotten how to act." I don't blame you Edison. That was before acting legends like Ashton Kutcher, Paris Hilton and Nicholas Cage made it to the big screen and combined physical presence with a beautiful voice. Anyway, nice to know Thomas Edison was one of those "get off my lawn" old people.

6. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher also took in culture as a hobby. She was a big fan of operas and going to museums.

7. Warren Buffett plays the ukulele. He told the Today Show that he learned to play in college so that he could impress a girl. Surprisingly it didn't work. 

8. Ernest Hemingway was of course quite the outdoorsman. He enjoyed hunting and fishing. 

9. Another famous outdoorsman though, Sigmund Freud. He liked to hike and collect mushrooms. Not those kind.

10. Albert Einstein enjoyed sailing but many say he never really learned how to properly swim. His boat was named Tinef which is Yiddish for 'junk'. Einstein was also a violinist by the way. Generally an overachiever. 

11. Emily Dickinson was an excellent baker. A loaf of bread she made even came in second place for a baking competition in the 1856 Amherst Cattle Show. Her prize - 50 cents. 

12-20. A lot of famous people love golf. Including; Condoleezza Rice, Samuel L. Jackson, Dennis Quaid, Clint Eastwood, Morgan Freeman, Halle Berry, Michael Jordan, Barack Obama and Bill Murray. Of course we all know that another of Bill Murray's hobbies is getting arrested for drunk driving a golf cart. And, yes, that is the third time that we've made that joke on this show and I refuse to apologize.

21. Speaking of sports, NFL running back Arian Foster likes to write poetry and raps in his spare time. 

22-24. And David Beckham fences with his pals Tom Cruise and Will Smith, and no, I am not making that up. 

25. Former Houston Rockets guard and the shortest player to be inducted into the basketball hall of fame, Calvin Murphy was a world class baton twirler. 

26. Fellow basketball hall-of-famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar collects rugs.

27. And current San Antonio Spurs player Tim Duncan likes going to Renaissance Fairs and playing Dungeons & Dragons. A man after my own heart.

28. Billionaire Richard Branson likes to kitesurf. In fact in 2013 he was part of a group that broke the Guinness World Record for largest parade of kitesurfers. 

29. Speaking of billionaires, Steve Jobs grew up playing Bob Dylan songs on the guitar.

30. We can actually partially thank Bob Dylan (who was a painter in his spare time for the record) for Apple.

31. According to the company's co-founder Steve Wozniak, he and Jobs developed a friendship because they both liked Dylan and would go on shopping excursions together to buy his bootlegs. Wozniak's current hobby by the way, Segway polo.

32. Brad Pitt has a fairly normal hobby; photography.

33. On the other hand, his wife Angelina Jolie collects daggers. Jolie's mum took her to buy her first dagger when she was just 11 and the Jolie-Pitts plan to continue that tradition with their own kids, which is going to mean a lot of daggers. 

34. While I talking about actors, Susan Sarandon loves ping pong. In fact she calls herself a "ping pong propagandist". and is part owner of Spin, a company that runs ping pong clubs in New York, Toronto, LA and Dubai. 

35-36. When she's not busy being nominated for every possible award, Meryl Streep knits. As does Ryan Gosling. 

37. One of my favorite authors, Zadie Smith grew up tap dancing. In fact she spent ten years pursuing the art form and a career in musical theater before becoming a writer. 

38. Another author, Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain dabbled in fashion. My god, why didn't he just write books!? Anyway, in 1871 he was granted a patent for adjustable and detachable straps for garments; better known now as suspenders.

Off topic, but I've always believed that Schrute, deep down, is a suspenders guy. Oh my god, there's Mark Twain. No, wait, that's Albert Einstein. 

39-40. And while we're on the wall, Marie Curie and her husband Pierre (not pictured because he doesn't have a bobblehead), anyway, they loved bicycling. For their honeymoon in 1895 they took a train to the coast of France and biked from town to town. 

41-42. And two other famous bicyclists from the 1890s were the Wright brothers. Orville Wight was was even a champion bicyclist which was why he ran a bike shop with Wilbur before, you know, they created airplanes. 

Let's finish off by talking about some US Presidents. 

43. George W. Bush likes to paint in his spare time.
44-45. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson liked to play chess against each other. The games allegedly lasted for over 4 hours.

46. Jimmy Carter made his own wine. And as you'll remember from our Beer Episode Jimmy Carter was also the president who legalized home brewing. Coincidence? Probably so. Anyway, he also made furniture. 

47. John Tyler played the violin. In fact some sources even claim he wanted to be a concert violinist before he decided to study law.

48. Finally I return to my salon to tell all of you young people out there that former president Bill Clinton also played an instrument, the saxophone. In fact in 1992, when he was running for president he went on the Arsenio Hall Show and played Heartbreak Hotel on the saxophone and I kid-you-not Arsenio said "It's nice to see a democrat blow something besides the election." Oh Bill Clinton. 

Thanks for watching Mental Floss here on YouTube which is made with the help of all of these nice people. Every week we endeavour to answer one of your mind-blowing questions. 

This week's question comes from Jack Hughes who asks "Who came up with the idea for Mount Rushmore?" Well we have this today because of Doane Robinson, the state historian of South Dakota in the early 1900s. He was like 'well we don't have a ton of actual history here in South Dakota but what if we carved some president faces on a mountain'.

If you have a mind-blowing question please leave it in the comments below. Thanks again for watching and as we say in my home town - Don't Forget To Be Awesome.