By Intisar Seraaj 

reading. books.

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It’s no secret, as a professional, that learning never ends. Staying on top of your game in your field takes dedication to continue your education, remaining aware of new techniques and updates, as well as discovering new resources. Keeping yourself in the conversation and the current events of your profession involves constantly recharging your energy for knowing more.

With this in mind, we asked the CEO of Seraaj Family Homes, Inc., Abdul Seraaj, to give us his top 10 book recommendations for professionals in the human services field. Whether you work directly with clients like social workers or work behind-the-scenes like human resources personnel, this book list is essential for anyone wanting to elevate their understanding of business and human nature. We’ve also added some helpful tips on budget-friendly ways to get these great reads added to your collections. Besides, part of being great professionals is definitely knowing how to cut costs. 

Business Management and Marketing Books 

The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century by Thomas L. Friedman 

Friedman is an award-winning New York Times columnist who writes about foreign affairs, globalization, and technology. In this book, he aims to demystify the wonders of the world, allowing readers to interpret and understand the global scene and how globalization affects foreign policy and economic issues. He has an unmatched ability to translate these issues from complex ideas to simple concepts. In this book, he speaks to how governments and societies can, and must, adapt along with the twenty-first century—something Seraaj is always promoting. 

Find it on Amazon for as low as $0.36. 

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins  

Collins is an American researcher, writer, author of seven books, speaker, and consultant who specializes in business management and company sustainability and growth. Based on a five-year research project, his book answers the question: “How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?” Good to Great teaches the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great. 

Find it on Amazon for a low as $0.30.  

The Brand You 50 : Or : Fifty Ways to Transform Yourself from an “Employee” into a Brand That Shouts Distinction, Commitment, and Passion! by Tom Peters 

Peters has been dubbed a management industry guru and is a blogger, course creator, and author of 18 books—his most recent book published this March 2021. He’s a recipient of the Thinkers50 Lifetime Achievement Award. In this book, Peters writes about how one can effectively brand oneself. In 50 essential points, Peters shows how to be devoted to your craft, select the best projects, how to enhance your networking skills, and why it’s important to not worry about angering some people.  

Find it on Amazon for as low as $0.35. 

The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason 

The late Clason lived to be 82 years old and was a U.S. soldier in the Spanish-American War, businessman, and writerbest known for writing a series of informative pamphlets about being frugal and how to achieve financial successIn this bookClason gives us the secrets to acquiring money, preserving money, and making money to earn more money via the secrets of the ancient Babylonians, who were the first to discover the universal laws of prosperity. A few of the key principles in this book include paying yourself first, seek expert help when needed, and don’t overspend. 

Find it on Kindle for $1.99. 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey 

The late Covey was an American non-fiction author known for his success as a businessman, an prominent public speaker, and educator. In his book, he offers resolutions to both personal and professional problems by promoting and teaching fairness, integrity, honesty, and dignity. Covey uses his personal insights and anecdotes to guide the reader on a path of adapting to change more easily and knowing how to take advantage of opportunities that come with change. If you’re looking for more, check out the companion to this bestselling classic, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Guided Journal (Goals Journal, SelfImprovement Book). 

Find it on Amazon for a low at $1.43. 

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Child Welfare Books 

Substance Abuse, Family Violence, & Child Welfare by Robert L. Hampton, Thomas P. Gullotta, & Vincent Senatore 

To encourage more conversations between practitioners and scholars, this book investigates unified tactics for prevention and treatment for children in abusive situations and their parents. The authors explore the history of abusive behavior and intoxicationresearch on drug-exposed children in the welfare system and the interventions that aid their ideal growth, substance abuse legislation, and the damaging effects of parental and family substance abuse has on children.  

Find it on Amazon as low as $6.45. 

On Their Own: What Happens to Kids When They Age Out of the Foster Care System? by Martha Shirk, Gary Stangler, and Jimmy Carter 

Foster care is designed to provide care for youth up until the age of 21, but what happens after that if they haven’t been adopted or at least made a true part of the family at their last foster homeThe authors make note that most people don’t reach full maturity until their mid-twenties, and most youth leaving foster care aren’t equipped with the basic tools like family support, a network, and sometimes with no high school diploma, driver’s license or state ID, or work experience. The authors examine several cases in various states to see how well the children faired after aging forward from care 

Find it on Amazon for as low as $3.50. 

All Grown Up and No Place to Go: Teenagers in Crisis by David Elkind 

Elkind, Ph.D. is currently a professor emeritus of child development at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts and used to teach psychology, psychiatry, and education at the University of Rochester in New York. Elkind has authored more than 500 pieces of work, including various book chapters, research, articles, and 18 books of his own. 

In this book, he spotlights the demands on adolescents to grow up rapidly and deal with adult issues. The subsequent difficulties range from estrangement to self-destructive behavior. Quoting teenagers themselves, Elkind shows why puberty is a time of transition and how young people need this time to adapt to the social and emotional shifts their new thinking creates. 

Find it on Amazon for as low as $1.50. 

Inspirational Readings 

The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley by Alex Haley 

Dubbed as one of Time’s “10 most important nonfiction books of the twentieth century,” el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz memoir is known around the world as one of the greatest autobiographies. More commonly known as Malcolm X, he was a prominent Muslim leader and an effective political activist for African American rights. As an African American Muslim himself, Seraaj suggests this autobiography as it’s the story of Shabazz’s transformation from humble and difficult beginnings to a renowned thought leader, the fundamental racism of American society, and of the Black Muslim movement.  

Find it on Amazon for as low as $2.44. 

Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington 

This is the autobiography of Booker T. Washington, detailing his fascinating and compelling life and experiences. He was born enslaved in Virginia and went on to attend Hampton University in Virginia. Washington went from being forced to work as an enslaved African American during the Civil War to establish vocational schools—most notably the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama—helping Black people and other disadvantaged minorities learn useful, marketable skills to advance their race in American society. 

Find it on Amazon for as low as $5.99.  

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