25 random things about this writer

How well do you really know your writer? Here is a sneak peak into David Leonhardt’s secret vault.

If that introduction sounds overly dramatic, that’s all in character. I have never been accused of lacking passion when I write. If you have been following my writing, that is one thing you already know about me.

This blog post is about 25 things you probably do NOT already know about me. So I won’t talk about Doctor Who or the cats that hang around outside our door (and their eight spanking-new kittens!) or our singing and dancing daughters, or anything else I’ve regularly revealed in this blog or on social media.

This is not usually the sort of blog post I write – “Tag! You’re it!” Michael Todd called me the other day from his home beneath “The Crow’s Nest” in Tokyo about the need for people in our networks to get to know us better. So when he posted his 25 random things, I had to be the first to rise to his challenge.

My 25 random things

So without further ado, here are 25 things you probably don’t know about me.

1. My biggest dislike is waste. Yes, I’ll eat the whole strawberry, leaving nothing but the leaves. I hate throwing things out. I scrape the bottoms of jars. I shake the shampoo bottle in case I can get just one more usage out of it (again, for the fourth time).

2. When I was young, I got my dream job. I made an A list and a B list. There were just two jobs on my A list, and one of the two opened up within a couple weeks. I applied, I interviewed, and I was crossed off the list. But they didn’t tell me that I was crossed off the list, so I followed up the interview…and landed a second interview! And, of course, I got the job. I really should write about that someday.

3. I have been off the continent only three times, all in Europe. Once was for my honeymoon, and twice were to travel back to Hungary with my mom. I visited 9 countries…technically. Do we count both visits to Germany? One was an hour in Frankfurt airport, and the other time we drove through a corner of the country, only realizing we had been in Germany when we saw the “Please Come Again” sign. This photo is of Chantal and me in Lietcheenstein.

David and Chantal in Lietchenstein

4. I am half Hungarian. Or did you figure that one out already? A big shout-out to any Hungarians reading this. Feel free to shout back in the comments.

5. My favorite classes in high school were art and drama, but I also enjoyed math, history and geography a lot.

6. Upon entering university as an arts student, I stubbornly signed up for a couple math classes. Unbeknownst to me, these classes were being used to cull the engineering and architecture candidates. Never in my life have I worked so hard to get such a low grade. But I passed both classes, which put me in the smiling minority.

7. I have visited all the provincial capitals and one territorial capital in Canada. I found Yellowknife to be the most intriguing, because of the fancy houses for the rich balanced on rocks and stilts, with make-shift shelters for the poor up against the rock right next door, in clear site of the house boats on the bay.

8. When I got a job offer in Toronto, my wife and I (who had been dating for just a few moths) bought a condo because we could not afford to rent an apartment there.

9. I love Spanish. I don’t know why, I just do.

10. I love hiking. It’s the combination of fitness and nature, of amazing views and challenging climbs, and of getting away from it all without the stress that comes with spending gobs of money. Jerry Levine is my hero. At 82, he became the oldest “46er”. I hope to follow in his footsteps if I can keep healthy enough. My motto is “Hiking at 100”.

Hiking with friends on Centennial Ridges Trail in Algonquin Park

11. My dream vacations are: Hiking from pole to pole (except the cold parts – I don’t like cold), viewing the wildebeest migration, and touring the Holy Land. If only I had a Tardis.

12. I jumped the fence at the drive-in three times to see Grease. I was young. There were drive-ins back then.

13. I am a dual citizen of Canada and the United States. My Dad was born in Iowa and grew up in Chicago. I was born in Montréal.

DTM14. I am a DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster). I don’t talk about it often, but the plaque is staring me in the face as I write and I do make a point of mentioning it on my Speechwriter page. If you did not click through to Michael’s 25 things earlier, here is what he has to say on the matter: “I love public speaking and cannot say enough about Toastmasters.It also teaches you to lead which a lot of people do not realise. When I speak I am leading, educating and energetic.”

19. I broke into school as a lad. Yeah, I know – most kids try to break out of school. My friend had thrown a pinball at the school wall, but he missed and it smashed through the little window next to the door. So I followed him in to retrieve it. Shhh. Don’t tell anybody.

16. I love animals. I just don’t like sharing my living quarters with them. (Please don’t tell that to our two indoor cats.)

17. I once ran a local campaign in a federal election. I was asked to do so in the last minute. There were no funds in the coffers and nobody was willing to do fundraising. When the dust settled, we had raised the party’s vote percentage from the previous election, incurred no debt and attracted tons of volunteers from other campaigns in the city. I wrote about it on LinkedIn. For the duration of the campaign, I was fueled almost exclusively on day-old donuts.

18. Politically, I consider myself to be a libertarian environmentalist. You figure it out.

15. I paid my way through university as a hospital orderly. Most of my income came during a two-week period at the end of August, when I would work 24 shifts in 14 days, evenings and nights. Can you spell b-u-r-n-o-u-t? I was young; I had boundless energy.

20. The promotional campaign I am most proud of was in my first full-time job, working for my local Member of Parliament. We sent him knocking on doors to address a sensitive constituency issue, took pictures, wrote up press releases (yes, several) and got him top coverage in all the local papers, with exactly the wording we wanted.

21. I left Politics because it became too political. Big “P” politics was fun, but people playing sneaky, backstabbing games is just a waste of one’s life.

22. I am a Christian, which you might know if you pop into my Google Plus or Tsu profile on certain Sundays. I can sum up what Jesus taught me in one word: “Love.”

23. My favorite animals are giraffes and Malay tapirs. I love tigers, too. And penguins. And wart hogs. And colorful tree frogs. And sea horses. And toucans and capybaras. And pretty much any animal that is not a mosquito. What’s your favorite animal?

24. Blueberries. Definitely blueberries. And bananas, too. And pumpkin. Yum.

25. My secret to happiness? Appreciate everything actively, no matter how small. Don’t hold on to negative feelings. And love. Life isn’t that complicated if what you want most is to be happy.

Your 25 random things

Are there 25 things that the world doesn’t know about you? Things that would get to know you a little better without landing you in jail or on a medical laboratory slab? Then why not share them with us in your own “25 random things” post? Bonus points if you can build on something I posted, as I built on something Michael posted.

And finally, not quite a secret, but my favorite quote of all time…

This above all:  to thine own self be true.

About David Leonhardt

is President of The Happy Guy Marketing, published author, a "Distinguished Toastmaster", a former consumer advocate, a social media addict and experienced with media relations and government reports.

Read more about David Leonhardt


  1. It’s so nice to have interesting friends. We should get together one day and eat some blueberries and discuss history in Spanish… dual citizenship was a shocker 🙂

  2. Wow David!

    Thanks for sharing this article, these tidbits about you and your life. 🙂

    I enjoyed reading it, honestly! Hiking is also one of my favorite hobbies. We have a farm and it’s located in an area where you have to go through a bridge, go up and down in the mountain. It is fun and revealing to see the wild, the woods, the lake and rivers.

    “My favorite classes in high school were art and drama, but I also enjoyed math, history and geography a lot.”

    Wow! We have the same interest! Haha! Aside from geography, history and math, I am very interested in chronology.

    All in all, now I know that you’re a bigger person inside. Amazing article! 😀

    • David Leonhardt says:

      Well, Metz, that leaves art and drama. Both are lots of fun, of course. 🙂

      By the sounds of it, we should some day have a social media hike-a-thon.

  3. HI David,

    When I saw the title of your post I HAD to come because I love to learn personal things about people.

    OH MY GOD!!! we have so much in common, and I had not idea, besides writing LOL!

    So here it is:

    I love cats. I used to write about my cats as a kid, those where my first writings. I should write a book about cats too one day. I’m sure one day I will.

    I hate waste and I cut the shampoo and other cream bottles so I can scratch out to the last tinny drop. Not because I’m cheap. I’m not. But because like you I hate waste.

    Well, I’ve studied drama and used to be in acting in the past.

    I love animals and hick king. Nature…

    I speak Spanish fluently.

    I’m a dual citizen American/French 🙂

    So how about that???

    Thanks for telling us much about you. Very interesting.

    Will share this 🙂


    • David Leonhardt says:

      Clearly, Sylviane, you have proved your awesomeness to me. Just wear that badge with pride!

  4. I loved to read this post and discover more about you, David.
    I agree with your first point about not wasting things in general,
    but shaking the shampoo bottle to get one more usage out of it (again, for the 4th time), seems a bit much for me. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

    • David Leonhardt says:

      You should see me with toothpaste, Erik. But if you read Sylviane’s comment, I think she had me beat.

  5. Love it David, awesome post – can learn from you! Am about to start my blog – all Beta and still amateur, would love to hear any feedback. http://communicationsfuture.com

  6. Being from Canada as well, I love #7 and #8 because I live in Ontario and the only other Canadian province I’ve seen was Quebec. As a writer who hopes to get into travel writing, I hope to see them all eventually.
    Great post. I love these kinds.

  7. Hey David,

    I really like reading posts like this. It’s a great way to get to know someone behind the blog.

    I’m an animal lover too. I like dogs, cats, horses, you name it, but my favorite is the cheetah. I can’t get enough of the speed and I can sort of relate since I use to run track.

    And you know? I like Spanish too. Be in southern California I’m surrounded by a lot of Spanish speakers, plus I dance salsa too and it helps to know it to understand some of the salsa lyrics.

    I only been off the main continent once and been to two foreign country. Once to the Dominican Republic and since it’s only a 2 hour drive south of Los Angeles I went to Mexico.

    That must be great growing up Hungarian, American, and Canadian. How often do you go to Hungary?

    Thanks for the share David! Have a good one!

    • David Leonhardt says:

      Hi Sherman.

      Animals are great, aren’t they? My younger daughter and I were picking up the kittens a few minutes ago. We can each pile four of them on an arm, they are so small.

      I’ve been twice to Hungary. I hope you get the chance to go some other places. Travel really opens one’s eyes.

  8. Hey David,

    What a pleasant thing to know a bit more about you 🙂

    Very interesting note, some of the things mentioned i can very well relate,
    The most valuable one i could notice is the thing #22 and you said: “… I can sum up what Jesus taught me in one word: “Love.”

    That is really a great testimony and I appreciate you for testifying your belief and faith in Jesus. Yes, that is indeed the greatest thing a human can enjoy when he is on this earth. Yes, Jesus taught the world this greatest LOVE thru His Words and Deeds! Yes, “if you have this loving Jesus Christ you are rich and have enough”

    i can very well relate to this, though i did not go thru your Sunday writings in social media, i request and appreciate if you could post that snippets in a separate blog post in a separate button. If you do that i am sure you will not lose any of the notes, otherwise in social media in the long run it may go deep into the bottom of those several notifications!!! LOL

    Nice to know a bit more about you Dave

    Keep sharing

    Good Wishes

    ~ Phil
    PS: Hey Dev, I found this wonderful information at kingged dot com and I kingged it and shared this comment there.Thanks

  9. I loved your comment about taking the math that weeds engineers and architects out and you showed persistence and finished the class. I teach math and too often students give up rather than try. Awesome and no where did you say “I’m not good at math!” Thank you for that.

  10. These are some cool facts and I can relate to some of them. I love spanish too and I don’t know why either, but I have been studying it for the longest and still not fluent. Maybe because I am not as consistent as I should be. I also like blueberries and pumpkin, mainly pumpkin pie. I have never been hiking but would love to go one day.

  11. Hi David,

    I loved reading this and getting to know you a little better. I too love animals, especially my two Pembroke Welsh Corgi’s; hiking and Jesus!!!!

    Thanks for sharing a bit of yourself with us.

    ~ Don Purdum

  12. Hi David,
    “Indeed, to thy own self be true”. I think the words of William Shakespeare should inspire all of us to write about 25 random things about ourselves.

    The idea is revealing to me because it helps to re-emphasize the essence of being human in relationship building. This helps to propel business success via communication and trust.

    Its good to know about you and its wonderful knowing that you are “human” and down to earth.

    I left the above comment in kingged.com as well

  13. You are such an inspiration, David.. I always feel a little bit better after you read about your lifestyle!

  14. Hi David,

    A wildly different Blog post from any that I’ve read before. I was thoroughly entertained throughout.

    In all of my 64 years on this planet, I was never voluntarily given a close look into another Blogger’s life. I thought that was awesomely cool.

    You’ve really got to be completely comfortable in your skin to do this David, there are not too many people I know who are. More power to you always.

    I never knew you were Hungarian. Always wondered about your family name though, I thought there was a German lineage somewhere in your family tree.

    My wife Cynthia, our daughter Chriselle and I will be in Budapest on the 18th of September 2015. We will be there for a couple of days on holiday. Driving down from Prague to Budapest, which we will visit first.

    Perhaps one day you could come down and visit India. It’s a beautiful place full of the ancient and modern living cheek by jowl. You can go hiking, camping, white water rafting if these are what keep you happy and go home with some really terrific memories.

    Loved the ending with a quote from Shakespeare. Such an appropriate one as well.

    Great Blog post David. I’m glad I had a chance to read this.

    I came to your site from a link on Kingged.com

    • David Leonhardt says:

      You are correct – on my dad’s side, the name is German, of Black Forest origin.

      And I would absolutely love to visit India some day. Who knows, stranger things have happened, right?

  15. Amazing!

    Posts like this do have an impact huh? Feels like I’ve known you for years simply because of this lone post.

    It’s great that you got out of politics. I guess it is like that in any part of the world. 🙁

    Great job Mr. Toastmaster! 😀

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