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What do CEOs do for fun?

CEOs have extremely demanding jobs with a lot of responsibility and stress. However, they understand the importance of having a work-life balance. CEOs need activities outside of work to relax, recharge, and stimulate their creativity. The most successful CEOs have a variety of hobbies and pastimes they enjoy pursuing.


One of the most popular hobbies for CEOs is traveling. Their high-powered careers require frequent business travel, but CEOs also love traveling for leisure. It allows them to experience new cultures, sample exotic cuisine, and see some of the world’s greatest sights. CEOs have the means to take lavish vacations at luxury resorts and exclusive hideaways. Popular destinations include romantic European cities like Paris, Tuscany in Italy, and island paradises in the Caribbean, Hawaii, Fiji or the Maldives.

Some CEOs even collect unique stamps in their passports from all the countries and territories they have visited. Travel is an opportunity to unwind from their hectic schedules. And exploring inspiring new places often sparks creativity that CEOs can bring back to the office.


Golf is an extremely popular pastime with CEOs. It offers an opportunity to get outdoors and have fun away from the stresses of the corporation. Golf also enables CEOs to network informally with other executives, investors, politicians, and influencers who may share common interests.

The sport requires focus and concentration similar to making high-stakes business deals. And like business, there is always pressure to improve, master the course, and lower your handicap. Some CEOs become passionate about golf and may join prestigious country clubs, purchase multi-million dollar properties located on golf courses, or fly to renowned championship courses around the world.


Staying active and fit is a priority for most successful CEOs. Exercise boosts energy levels, reduces stress, sharpens mental acuity, and promotes an overall sense of wellbeing. CEOs need stamina and endurance to keep up with hectic travel schedules and 15-hour workdays. The most common exercise regimens include:

  • Gym workouts – Regular gym sessions help CEOs relieve stress, clear their minds, and reset. Personal trainers can provide motivation and keep execs accountable.
  • Running – CEOs can run outdoors or on a treadmill at the gym. Running allows CEOs to maintain active lifestyles.
  • Yoga – Practices like yoga enhance flexibility, balance, and breathing. The mindfulness aspect also reduces anxiety.
  • Cycling – Biking, whether outdoors or a stationary bike in a home gym, improves cardiovascular health.

Some CEOs may go to extremes developing endurance like participating in triathlons or Iron Man distance races.


Reading is an important hobby for CEOs outside the office. Business leaders must stay well-informed across a range of topics including technology, finance, economics, leadership, innovation and more. Reading sparks new perspectives and business ideas. Plus, reading literary fiction enhances empathy and emotional intelligence which helps CEOs connect with employees and understand customers.

CEOs read:

  • Business books and magazines
  • Newspapers – Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times
  • Industry publications
  • Biographies and memoirs of influential leaders
  • Historical nonfiction

CEOs may join book clubs to discuss novels with others and take a mental break from work. With their busy schedules, many CEOs listen to audiobooks during their commute or while traveling.

Playing Music

Music is a creative outlet that successful CEOs tap into outside the boardroom. Playing an instrument relieves stress and activates different neural pathways than business operations. Some CEOs play piano, guitar or other instruments when they want to relax and unwind. Others may have even played in a band earlier in their careers. Singing in a choir is another musical hobby enjoyed by some executives.


Cooking gourmet meals is a rewarding hobby that CEOs enjoy away from the fast-paced business world. After high-pressure days, creative cooking offers a sensory experience that calms and rejuvenates the mind. CEOs with a passion for cooking may relax by experimenting with new recipes, sampling exotic ingredients, and learning advanced culinary techniques.

CEOs may use cooking skills to entertain guests at dinner parties in their homes. Some executives may enjoy watching cooking shows for entertainment after a long day at the office.

Wine Collecting

Fine wines represent luxury and the sophisticated lifestyle that many CEOs are accustomed to. Collecting rare, prestigious wines from around the world is a hobby that marries their professional success with personal interests. CEOs may have private, temperature-controlled wine cellars in their homes to store prized bottles.

Learning about different terroirs and grape varietals offers intellectual stimulation beyond the business world. And sampling fine wines with other wine enthusiasts creates memorable social experiences.


The open ocean represents freedom and escape for CEOs who enjoy sailing in their spare time. It provides adventure away from the corporate grind. CEOs with a sailing hobby may own yachts docked near their main residence or luxury vacation home. Or they may join a sailing club that gives access to boats.

Sailing requires complex skills like navigation, weather prediction, operating a vessel, and adapting to changing conditions. Mastering these skills helps CEOs sharpen strategic thinking applicable to their business roles.

Art & Culture

CEOs often have a passion for arts and culture given their refined tastes. They may find enjoyment in activities like:

  • Learning about art history and collecting pieces from renowned artists to display in their homes and offices.
  • Attending gallery openings, museum exhibits, the theater, philharmonic and other cultural events.
  • Joining boards of prestigious cultural institutions like art museums, ballet companies or the opera. This enables CEOs to give back to the community.

Immersion in the arts stimulates creative thinking and intellectual curiosity for executives.

Spectator Sports

CEOs enjoy attending exciting sporting events in luxury suites or exclusive seating areas. Popular sports to see live include:

  • Auto racing – Formula 1, NASCAR
  • Horse racing – Kentucky Derby, Royal Ascot
  • Tennis – Wimbledon, U.S. Open
  • Golf tournaments like The Masters
  • World Cup soccer matches
  • Championship games/matches in football, basketball, baseball, hockey

These marquee sporting events provide entertainment and networking opportunities in glamorous settings.

Adventure Travel

Some CEOs seek out extreme adventures and physical challenges during their spare time as an escape from intense mental demands at work. Activities may include:

  • Heli-skiing in remote, pristine locations
  • Trekking to Mt. Everest base camp
  • Kite-surfing in exotic beach locales
  • Paragliding off mountain peaks
  • Safari expeditions to see exotic wildlife in Africa

These exploits provide thrills and rare experiences that intrigue CEOs.

Rest & Relaxation

While CEOs tend to be hyper-driven personalities, they also understand the need for rest and relaxation to recharge and perform at their best. CEOs may set aside time for more restful hobbies like:

  • Meditation to calm the mind
  • Enjoying a spa day with massages and other treatments
  • Lounging on a secluded beach
  • Unplugging at a wellness retreat or scenic ranch location

By making time for rest, CEOs counterbalance their high-stress positions. This enables them to return to work feeling mentally refreshed.

Philanthropy & Volunteering

While CEOs devote much of their time to corporations, many also make philanthropy and volunteer work an important pastime. Giving back provides meaning and purpose beyond the business realm. Some activities include:

  • Volunteering on nonprofit boards supporting causes like education, medical research or the arts.
  • Establishing private family foundations that make grants to charities.
  • Personally mentoring young entrepreneurs or business students to pay it forward.
  • Hands-on volunteering like serving food at shelters during the holidays.

The most successful CEOs see wealth as an opportunity to make a positive impact on society.

Spending Time with Family

While CEOs have extremely demanding schedules, they also recognize the importance of carving out quality time for family and friends. After intense periods at the office, CEOs enjoy relaxing at home with spouses, kids and close companions. Activities may include:

  • Taking vacations together to favorite destinations.
  • Gathering for birthdays, holidays and other celebrations.
  • Dining out locally at favorite restaurants.
  • Attending kids’activities like sports games and school events.

The connections CEOs have with close family and friends keep them grounded and adds meaning to their lives beyond climbing the corporate ladder.

Intellectual Pursuits

Leading corporations requires strong strategic thinking skills. During their leisure hours, many CEOs also enjoy pursuits that keep their minds engaged, such as:

  • Learning foreign languages like Mandarin or Arabic.
  • Mastering chess strategies.
  • Studying esoteric philosophies and ideas.
  • Debating politics and economics with experts.
  • Reading theoretical scientific papers.

These activities allow CEOs to exercise their intellectual curiosity beyond what their business role demands on a daily basis.

Competitive Games

CEOs are ambitious personalities who strive to be the best in business. During their free time, friendly competition also appeals to them. CEOs may enjoy:

  • Entering golf tournaments.
  • Competing in executive tennis leagues.
  • Playing competitive poker games.
  • Testing their skills in chess championships.

The drive to win satisfies CEOs’ competitive spirit in environments outside the corporate arena.

Thrill-Seeking Activities

Some CEOs embrace high-thrill hobbies that provide an adrenaline rush and sense of danger quite different from their cushy corporate offices. Daredevil CEOs might enjoy:

  • Race car driving on closed tracks.
  • Parachuting out of airplanes.
  • Piloting fighter jets.
  • Mountain/rock climbing expeditions.

These exhilarating activities provide excitement and new challenges compared to business dealings.

Outdoor Adventure

Nature and outdoor activities represent an escape from the corporate world for CEOs. Popular adventures include:

  • Hunting and fishing trips.
  • Horseback riding on scenic trails.
  • Hiking in National Parks.
  • Skiing or snowboarding in fresh powder.
  • Canoeing and kayaking on pristine lakes and rivers.

Outdoor pursuits provide CEOs with physical challenges while immersing them in nature’s beauty.


Although CEOs devote endless hours to leading complex corporations, they also understand the importance of pursuing passions beyond the boardroom. Hobbies and outside interests keep CEOs mentally sharp, inspired and energized to take on their high-powered business roles. And the connections CEOs make through outside activities enable them to bring fresh perspectives back to the office.

The most effective CEOs lead well-balanced lives that blend intense drive with intellectual exploration and fun. Avoiding the hazards of burnout and tunnel vision allows CEOs to thrive and meet their full potential as corporate leaders.