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What were Albert Einstein's hobbies?

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Quick Answer

Albert Einstein's hobbies were sailing, reading and playing the violin and piano. He also wrote travel journals that are now held in the Albert Einstein Archives in Jerusalem.

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Einstein owned several sailboats in his lifetime. He kept one in Caputh, Germany, that was seized along with his cottage in 1933 when the Nazis took power. When he lived in the United States, he owned a sailboat called Tinnef.

Einstein enjoyed reading and is quoted as saying that "Traktat" by David Humes had a big influence on him. He enjoyed classics, such as Don Quijote by Cervantes Saavedra and books with a scientific bent, including "Energy and Matter" by Ludwig Büchners and Aaron Bernstein's "Natural-Scientific Popular Books." He also read books by the philosophers Spinoza and Schopenhauer.

Einstein began taking violin lessons at an early age, discovering Mozart at age 13. He was known to play for friends, in small gatherings or with his friend, fellow physicist Max Planck. Einstein enjoyed playing the violin, although opinions differ on his talent level. According to a book by Ze'ev Rosenkranz, Einstein was modest about his ability but still enjoyed playing. As he became older, he switched to piano because he no longer liked the way he played violin. Aside from Mozart, his favorite composers were Bach, Vivaldi, Corelli and Schubert. He was quoted as saying that he would probably have become a musician if he had not become a physicist.

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