1st Edition

Breadcrumb Legacy How Great Leaders Live a Life Worth Remembering

By Jann E. Freed Copyright 2023
    142 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    142 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    Legacy can seem far off and out of reach, but it doesn’t happen at journey’s end and it’s not only for the rich and famous. Legacy is now, and this book shows leaders how you can find and leave meaning on a daily basis. Jann E. Freed, PhD, introduces her Breadcrumb Legacy™ framework, a radical but pragmatic approach, made up of small actions you consciously take over time that accumulate into the trail, or legacy, you’ll leave behind.

    Breadcrumb Legacy is also a mindset, an awareness of the impact you’re having on your relationships, your organization, and your family, in every communication and interaction.

    This book is the guide to leaving a trail of meaning throughout your life and career. Based on in-depth interviews, Breadcrumb Legacy provides inspiration and practical stories for living a life worth remembering.

    Author Biography

    Foreword by Chip Conley


    Chapter 1: What Breadcrumbs Are You Leaving Behind?

    Chapter 2: Why Get Up in the Morning?

    Chapter 3: Drop Your Tools

    Chapter 4: Become a Nobody

    Chapter 5: Death through a Different Lens

    Chapter 6: Who’ll Help You Move the Couch?

    Chapter 7: Enjoy Every Sandwich

    Chapter 8: What Would Elmer Do?


    Breadcrumb Legacy Manifesto

    List of Interviewees

    Breadcrumbs for Further Thought



    Jann E. Freed, PhD, is Professor of Business Management Emerita at Central College and the Mark and Kay De Cook Endowed Chair in Leadership and Character Development. She is also an adjunct professor for the University of Iowa.

    As a leadership development coach, consultant, author, facilitator, and speaker, Jann helps organizations improve employee engagement, navigate change management, and develop leaders of all ages and career stages.

    She has written or co-written five books, given two popular TEDx talks, and is a Certified Sage-ing Leader through Sage-ing International. Jann also hosts the podcast series Becoming a Sage, where she interviews thought leaders about wisdom in work and in life.

    Jann’s personal mission is to continue to learn and share what she’s learning with others. As a wisdom seeker, she often says that she likes teaching, but is passionate about learning. This book has changed her life.

    "I love this book. It’s a powerful reminder that one’s legacy isn’t something left at the end of one’s days. It’s left every day in little ways. The sum of all those little things is how we’re remembered and how we contribute. Jann Freed’s Breadcrumb Legacy is chock full of meaningful insights, sage advice, provocative questions, and engaging stories.  It’s also great fun to read…the kind of book where you can turn to almost any page and find something meaningful and memorable. I highly recommend it to everyone interested in leading a life that makes a difference to self and others."

    Jim Kouzes, coauthor of the bestselling The Leadership Challenge and Executive Fellow, Doerr Institute for New Leaders, Rice University

    "Jann Freed has devoted her life to helping people live with meaning. Her book Breadcrumb Legacy can help you leave a trail of daily meaning that will make you proud."

    Mark Levy, Founder, Levy Innovation LLC

    "We talk a lot about legacy these days, but usually later in life. Jann Freed advocates instead that we think of legacy as the impact we have as a result of daily small actions—breadcrumbs. Adopting this frame can make us better people and more effective leaders. I believe Jann's book will have a long shelf life because it can change how you live your life every day."

    Sally Helgesen, author of How Women Rise, The Female Advantage, and The Web of Inclusion 

    "My mission is to help successful people achieve positive, lasting behavioral change; for themselves, their people, and their teams. My goal is to help them make their lives a little better! Jann’s book, Breadcrumb Legacy: How Great Leaders Live a Life Worth Remembering, has really spoken to me as a chance to be thinking about how my positive influence will outlive me. Not only does Jann show readers how 'legacy thinking' can be used as a driving force for daily life, but also how legacy happens in 'crumbs' that accumulate over time. I highly recommend this book and believe in the lasting impact it can have on your life!"

    Marshall Goldsmith, one of the world’s leading executive coaches and the New York Times best-selling author of Triggers, Mojo, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

    "There are numerous books about leadership and living a quality life. But Jann Freed’s Breadcrumb Legacy: How Great Leaders Live a Life Worth Remembering integrates these concepts in ways that will help people of all ages live fully and well. She addresses critical topics that are too often ignored: death, relationships, purpose and meaning, the shadow side of the ego. She offers practical exercises to help you live your best life at home and at work. Breadcrumb Legacy shows how to leave a legacy by living a life that matters, now and into the future."

    Parker J. Palmer, author of Let Your Life Speak, The Courage to Teach, and On the Brink of Everything

    "Leadership in the world of business today isn’t just about business: i’s about the pursuit of harmony among the different parts of life in a way that brings others along with you toward your vision of a better tomorrow. Jann Freed’s Breadcrumb Legacy has essential ingredients for realizing this aspiration, at any stage of life. Through research, interviews, and personal stories, Jann shows how to cultivate a meaningful legacy by living a life worth remembering every day."

    Stew Friedman, author of Total Leadership and Professor of Management Practice Emeritus, The Wharton School

    "Servant leaders should be thinking about how their words and actions affect others. Leaders who truly serve and empower others live a life worth remembering. Jann’s concept of viewing legacy—moment by moment—on a daily basis as a way to guide how we act, say, and do is a great contribution. We live and leave our legacy now not later. The sooner we understand this, the better."

    Howard Behar, Former president of Starbucks Coffee Company and author of It's Not About The Coffee: Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks 

    "Living one’s best life is a ‘long game’ and our actions accumulate. But as Jann Freed shows, building our legacy happens every day. We have the power to choose wisely, live intentionally, and use legacy as our guiding light."

    Dorie Clark, Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Long Game and executive education faculty at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business 

    "Several years ago, I started my Friday Forward newsletter in the form of a weekly email to my Acceleration Partners team. After reading Breadcrumb Legacy, I realize these emails are breadcrumbs—pieces of my leadership legacy I leave each week. Breadcrumb Legacy identifies how to raise your game, bring the best out of others, and leave a lasting impact. Everyone wants to make a difference in life, but too many of us wait too long to do it. Breadcrumb Legacy reminds us that we can create legacy, in small morsels, every day."

    Robert Glazer, author of Elevate and Founder and Board Chairman of Acceleration Partners

    "You often hear celebrities, when interviewed by journalists, asked the question ‘How do you want to be remembered?' This isn’t just a question for celebrities. All of us should think about it. We will be remembered if we act each day as if our choices matter. Jann shares how to act thoughtfully, breadcrumb by breadcrumb, and live a life with remembering."   

    Suzanne Bates, author of All the Leader You Can Be: The Science of Achieving Extraordinary Executive Presence

    "If you have ever wondered about what people will think of you when you are out of their lives, you are thinking the ‘L’ word: legacy. Breadcrumb Legacy is a terrific resource for determining how to think about, plan, and live a life that will be remembered—not because you were great, but because you helped those around you live better lives. Packed with stories and interviews, Breadcrumb Legacy will make you think about how you can make a positive difference."

    John Baldoni, author of Grace Notes: Leading in an Upside-Down World

    "As I always say to my executive coaching clients, as well as to the students in my NYU and Columbia leadership graduate courses: Think about what you would want people to say about you at your ‘retirement party’…and then determine what it is that you will actually need to do between now and then to make that vision a reality. Towards this end, in her wonderful new book, Breadcrumb Legacy, leadership expert Jann Freed turns that mission into a metaphor of mindset, meaning, and moments that will inspire us to live our best lives and become our best selves…while leaving behind a trail of wisdom and inspiration for others to follow."

    Todd Cherches, CEO of BigBlueGumball and author of VisuaLeadership: Leveraging the Power of Visual Thinking in Leadership and in Life

    "Many people think about legacy toward the end of their career or the end of life. ‘Dr. Jann’ Freed challenges us to think differently. No matter what age you are, she advocates thinking of legacy daily as your North Star—a compass to guide your thoughts and actions to stay on your right path. Filled with her own stories and supplemented by insights from a variety of leaders, Breadcrumb Legacy provides a roadmap for integrating leading with living. Be sure to sample Dr. Jann’s ‘breadcrumb ingredients,’ exercises and practical tips on applying the chapter concepts. These can help you along the journey for becoming the best version of yourself at work and in every other aspect of life."

    Pamela S. Harper, Founding Partner & CEO of Business Advancement Inc., author of Preventing Strategic Gridlock, and co-host of Growth Igniters® Radio

    "It is easy to forget that everywhere we go, others are experiencing us. It's only when we remember how we show up matters, that we can be more intentional about what we say, what we do, and how we act. Jann Freed’s concept of Breadcrumb Legacy reminds us that we are leaving ‘crumbs’ every day that make an impression—good or bad. Breadcrumb Legacy is about showing up and being present so that you are living in the way you want to be remembered, and doing this day after day, which accumulates into a life well lived."

    Rob Salafia, author of Leading From Your Best Self: Develop Executive Poise, Presence, and Influence to Maximize Your Potential

    "Leaving a legacy is the great task of later life, and Breadcrumb Legacy: How Great Leaders Live a Life Worth Remembering is a timeless testament to what must be done. While other books talk about legacy, Jann shows us how to live a life in the way you want to be remembered."

    Harry "Rick" Moody, retired Vice President for Academic Affairs, AARP

    "Breadcrumb Legacy is a guidebook for old souls who want to make a difference every day of their lives. Jann’s inspiring message is that building a legacy is a developmental task and it’s never too early (or late) to begin. This is a must-have for the conscious aging library and a wonderful addition to the impressive body of literature coming out of the Sage-ing movement."

    Carol Orsborn, PhD, author of The Making of an Old Soul and Older, Wiser, Fiercer

    "Jann Freed knows that what you choose to do is important, but she knows also that how you choose to be is even more important. And she knows that the small everyday things you choose to do will define, to a great extent, how you choose to be, because those everyday actions which she calls ‘breadcrumbs’ become the evidence of your character and the legacy of your leadership, day after day. We need this message now more than ever. Bravo, Jann!"

    James A. Autry, author of The Servant Leader: How To Build A Creative Team, Develop Great Morale, And Improve Bottom-Line Performance

    "Today's world is aching for greater meaning and impact. But too many of us wait too long before we realize we don't have enough. In Breadcrumb Legacy, Jann Freed wisely advocates for the small steps we can each take every day to amass a significant impact on the world around us. If you want to ensure your indelible fingerprint is left on the world in ways you'd be proud to have others emulate, read this book slowly."

    Ron Carucci, Managing Partner at Navalent, author of To Be Honest and Rising to Power

    "We don’t achieve immortality by acquiring things for ourselves. Rather, we achieve immortality by using our time and talents to help others grow. Our legacy is found in the breadcrumbs. The little notes of love we put in our kid’s lunchbox. The hot coffee we give to a homeless man. Jann Freed’s superb book Breadcrumb Legacy is a gift to anyone who’s ready to craft a life worth remembering."
    John P. Weiss, author of An Artful Life: Inspirational Stories and Essays for the Artist in Everyone

    "Legacy, and writing legacy letters,had been the focus of my work for the last 25 years, when I took on the mission of giving women their voices in writing. Breadcrumb Legacy includes legacy letters and more. Jann sees life through a legacy perspective and you will find legacy values on every page of her inspirational and down to earth new book. Jann stands on the shoulders of those who renewed interest in legacy in the last century. Her focus on leadership and ‘breadcrumbs’ takes legacy literature to a new level. Jann’s book has both legacy concepts, the bread, and exercises and tips, breadcrumbs, to bring the concepts to daily life. I recommend her book to all adults, young people and elders."
    Rachael A. Freed, LICSW, LMFT, founder of Life-Legacies and author of Heartmates, A Guide for the Partner and Family of the Heart Patient; Women’s Lives, Women’s Legacies: Passing Your Beliefs and Blessings to Future Generations; The Legacy Workbook for the Busy Woman; and Your Legacy Matters

    "Jann is a powerful ally and leader in my quest to enable people to make the second half of life their best, their most meaningful and their most impactful. What Breadcrumb Legacy: How Great Leaders Live a Life Worth Remembering provides is the practical and aspirational methods and mindsets to embrace to leave a meaningful legacy, and to enjoy the most relevant and purposeful years of one’s life. This book should be required reading for all stages of life because each stage is a gift."
    Paul Long, Founder New Way Forward

    "It is easy to forget that everywhere we go others are experiencing us. It's only when we remember how we show up matters, that we can be more intentional about what we say, what we do, and how we act. Jann Freed’s concept of Breadcrumb Legacy reminds us that we are leaving “crumbs” every day that make an impression—good or bad. Breadcrumb Legacy is about showing up and being present so that you are living in the way you want to be remembered and doing this day after day which accumulates into a life well lived".
    Rob Salafia, Author, Leading From Your Best Self (McGraw-Hill)

    "Leaving a personal legacy has become top of mind for people of all ages, as we all have faced mortality over the last several years. Jann Freed has developed a bold new approach to your legacy that will serve as a compass as we seek our True North."
    Bill George, author of True North, Emerging Leader Edition, Executive Fellow, Harvard Business School and former CEO, Medtronic