In his recent book, Paul Winans—with 20 years as a business owner and 20 years as a facilitator for Remodelers Advantage under his belt—serves up a thoughtful read for remodeling business owners. Once I began reading The Remodeling Life, I couldn’t put it down. It’s a brutally honest memoir in which Paul artfully interweaves his own experience with analysis of what he learned along the way.

He has organized this evolution of self and business into three parts—“First, Remodel Yourself,” “Remodel Your Team,” and “Remodel Your Business”—and into each of these sections, he sifts revelations from a variety of resources (both books and people) that he has drawn from over his career and lessons learned while counseling a wide range of other company owners. The result is a highly entertaining but profound resource. It’s not a prescription for how to grow a business. Nor is it purely inspirational. Rather, this small volume offers guidance by providing models to adapt to your own personality, market, and company trajectory. Among the guiding imperatives it offers, I found the following most engaging:

Be honest. At the beginning of his book, Paul quotes General Colin L. Powell: “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.” Though profoundly true, this is much easier to say than to live. The crux is in knowing how to prepare and what one should work on. Paul shows us that it’s in the last part—“learning from failure”—where the right plan and a focused understanding of work are revealed. Learning to be a better business leader starts with being honest about our own failures.

I won’t go into detail describing Paul’s failures. They are, in some respects, moot. Not entirely, of course, because in revealing them, Paul is modeling what we each need to do to “get out of our own way” to allow our fellow workers and our company to flourish. Suffice to say, you will be compelled to be honest in order to succeed.

Build a team. Paul’s own path to being an effective leader took off once he learned to get out of his own way, learned to face his limits, and put systems and personnel in place to complement his strengths and make up for his weaknesses. Watching that unfold for Paul on the pages of this book, you gain a clear sense of what it means to build an effective team.

Part 2 (“Remodel Your Team”) of this book brings into sharp focus a much-discussed problem in our industry today: the need to hire good labor and build a strong company culture to attract and retain workers. The practical insight Paul brings to the topic—showing what hiring poorly looks like for an individual, how it impacts the company, and how this cycle is shaping the industry as a whole—gives me hope that the current lack of skilled labor is solvable, one company at a time.

Certainly, there are other ways to measure business success than the ways that work for Paul. (Not everyone needs the overhead of a separate office or shop, for example. But Paul is sensitive to individual differences and gives ideas for keeping separation between work and home life with an in-home office.) Nor will everyone have the same long-term goals or necessarily need to sell their business in order to succeed. However you measure success in business—whether in profits or awards or the impact on others as an employer and craftsman, or some combination of these—contemplation of Paul’s journey will awaken an important dialogue you need to have, not just with your business partners, but with yourself. Meaningful change always begins from within.