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Malcolm Gladwell says if he was lost on a desert island, he would choose to bring golf clubs

August 16, 2014

The question to Malcolm Gladwell, the renowned author and New Yorker staff writer, was simple: If you were stuck on a desert island and could bring along only one luxury item, what would you choose?

The question was part of a BBC Radio 4 show called Desert Island Discs, and Gladwell's answer was clear: he'd bring golf clubs. Gladwell doesn't play golf and probably never will, he said, but would nevertheless bring a set of clubs because it's the only situation that would allow him enough time to master the sport.

His full response:

"A set of golf clubs. I don't golf. I've never golfed. I will never golf. Why? Because it's a preposterous sport that chews up enormous amounts of time, it leads to nothing but frustration, but I'm on a desert island. I can construct a little golf course and I can while away the hours, you know, teaching myself how to play, so I thought that would be the only time in my life when I can actually master that sport."

Gladwell brings up golf occasionally in his various public appearances. At the 2014 MIT Sports Analytics Conference, Gladwell said golf is a sport where his 10,000 rule could potentially apply. In a 2013 TV documentary about his work, Gladwell's best friend talked about him being "obsessed" with Tiger Woods.