I received Lessons Learned: Leading by Example from my reddit Secret Santa. It was a perfect gift because I’ve often been told I lead by example, and I was excited to understanding what that meant for others.

The book itself is a collection of short essays (usually six pages or less) from people with important titles like CEO or managing director, so it’s got practical business learnings from people who were lived the experience rather than a textbook that usually mentions examples of leadership as it looks from outside of a major company.

One example is Howard Lester of Williams-Sonoma. He wrote about how, in the 1990s, his company was being pressured to spend a lot of money to make a website. Instead of following what everyone was telling him, he didn’t see the immediate benefits so he following his gut and held off. In a few years, when the .com boom went BOOM, he was glad he didn’t rush into things.

Eventually Lester launched a small site for wedding registries. From there, more and more sites were made under the brand, and the money was well spent and the market brought a great return.

The best part about this book is the Takeaways section at the end of every essay. It’s a three point summary of what can be learned from that leader’s story. Those takeaways have been a really good reference for me over the last week when I feel like I need some good advice.

That Takeaways section has me thinking about how I interact with people at work. When I’m sharing a new idea with someone, should I have some takeaways written in an email to send them when we’re done so they don’t forget some important points? That way they continue to have what they need rather than having to send clarifying emails later. Thatmight be a good example to set. *winky face*