I’d rather risk confusion and stay creatively fresh and stimulated.

– Ron Howard


These are people who leaped into the unknown. Know their full story and you’ll learn they are cut of a different cloth than ordinary people. Join them

Note: Lists like this cannot catch them all. Biases kick in. I’m not intending to be objective. While my world is as a creative, there are a great many explorers of the unknown who were not creative.

Some great artists will be missing because I think they took less risk or, I just felt like stopping the list at some point. It could be they refined an existing art form or, it may be as simple as I don’t know enough about them.

Tell me who I missed. If you are interested in more ordinary people, see Everyday Leapers.

  • Martin Luther: German theologian who risked his life to make his church more honest socially and theologically.
  • Steve Jobs: Apple founder
  • Bill Gates: Microsoft founder
  • Jackie Robinson: Major League Baseball’s first black player
  • Lewis and Clark: Explored America
  • Protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989: They stood up against tyranny and oppression in China
  • St. Francis: He shirked wealth to care for the poor
  • John Glenn: First American astronaut
  • Madame Marie Curie: Pioneer researcher of radioactivity
  • St. Stephen: First Christian martyr
  • Sir Francis Drake: Circumnavigated the globe (also a pirate, unfortunately)
  • Jim Elliot: Christian martyr whose life inspired many Christians
  • Evel Knievel: Daredevil motorcyclist who feats pushed the limits of stunt performance
  • Benjamin Franklin: Polymath who was a printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat.
  • Auguste Chapdelaine: French missionary to China, then (1852) an unknown region to most of Europe. Martyred.
  • Christopher Columbus: Explorer whose efforts helped establish North and South America as we know it today.
  • Edgar Allan Poe: American poet, short story writer and literary critic whose work gave us the modern detective story, science fiction, and more
  • William Shakespeare: Greatest playwright ever
  • The Wright Brothers: Invented first successful airplane
  • George Washington: First president of the then new United States of America
  • Bob Dylan: American musician whose songs influenced generations of artists to follow, as well as society at large.
  • Walt Disney: He gave us Mickey Mouse
  • Christa McAuliffe: While not the first person, she was a teacher, not a trained astronaut.
  • Thomas Edison: Inventor of the first successful lightbulb and more.
  • David Livingstone: Influential medical missionary and explorer in Africa.

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