Looking for the best books for UPSC preparation? Guess what?! It’s your lucky day. We have compiled a wide range of books that are recommended by IAS toppers. Find the best books for UPSC preparation given in the sections in this article. The books are divided into subject-wise sections for better understanding. So, without any delay, let’s get right into it.

Best Books for UPSC

It is important to broaden one’s knowledge in order to pass India’s most difficult test. Candidates get information mostly from newspapers, books, the internet, and other resources. There are a plethora of books on the market with unique and appealing annotations.

However, there are occasions when applicants truly fail to select the appropriate resource. It is not a good idea to cram multiple books in order to pass the civil service exam.

Many of the books we use for UPSC preparation are overburdened with information, time-consuming, heavy on technical jargon, and include material that isn’t relevant to the UPSC curriculum. Always stick to one source of knowledge and keep updating it when new information becomes available. Here are some recommended books for IAS by toppers:

# 1. Indian Polity for Civil Services Examinations by M. Laxmikanth (Polity)

This is a very famous book among the aspirants for Polity and has been always a go-to reference book for many years now.

This book is very useful for prelims preparation, suggested by the highest scorer in the subject.

Also Read: How To Prepare For Indian Art And Culture For UPSC Exam?

# 2. Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania (Culture)

This book covers the entire syllabus of Indian Heritage and culture. The information in this book is given in the form of questions which are very useful for the preparation.

# 3. Oxford School Atlas by Oxford Publishers (Geography)

This is a must-read book for UPSC. The book covers 200 maps as well as 94 thematic maps of India.

# 4. Certificate Physical and Human Geography by GohCheng Leong (Geography)

This book covers every topic of Geography in detail. The language of the book is very simple and easy to understand. It also covers a wide range of illustrations and photographs.

# 5. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh (Economy)

This book is preferred by many due to its comprehensive text. The book is useful for the Prelims as well as Mains.

# 6. Economic Survey by the Ministry of Finance (Economy)

The contents of this book are most updated with the latest changes and provide full information on the policy and performance of the government.

# 7. India Year Book (Current Affairs)

This book is an ideal source to study from. This is because it is prepared by the Publication Division of the Government of  India. It contents all the information related to current affairs in the country.

# 8. A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir (Modern India)

The book covers the events after the decline of the Mughal Empire and the establishment of the East India Company. This book is highly recommended especially if you are running out of time to study and won’t be able to complete India’s Struggle for independence.

# 9. General Studies Paper 2 Manual by MHE (CSAT)

This book is based on the syllabus and pattern of the examination.

# 10. NCERT Books

NCERT is a  must-read book. Before you move on to read any other reference. The basic concepts from the NCERT should be clear to you. There is no IAS topper who hasn’t read NCERT. This book is like a Bible for UPSC aspirants. Everyone has to read it to crack the exam.

Also Read: NCERT Books for UPSC in Hindi: How Accessible is UPSC for the Non-English Aspirants?

Paperwise Recommended Books for IAS by Toppers for Mains

Wondering which books are best for UPSC? Check out the sections below to find the best books subject-wise.

GS Paper 1

# Indian Heritage and Culture

The Wonder That Was India- A.L. Bhasham

Indian Art and Culture -Nitin Singhania

# India and World History

India’s Ancient Past -R.S. Sharma

History Of Modern India -Bipan Chandra

India’s Struggle For Independence -Bipan Chandra

Norman Lowe OR History of Modern World Jain and Mathur

# Geography of the World and Society

Geography of India -Majid Husain (Geography)

Oxford School Atlas Oxford (Geography)

Certificate Physical and Human Geography -Goh Cheng Leong (Geography)

Social Problems In India -Ram Ahuja

GS Paper 2

# Indian Polity for Civil Services Examination

Governance in India for CSE

# IAS Mains General Studies Paper 2

Indian Economy -Ramesh Singh (Economy)

GS Paper 3

# Economic Survey

# Science and Technology in India –TMH

# The Environment for Civil Services Prelims and Mains -Khuller

# India Year Book

GS Paper 4

# Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude ( Ethics GS4)

# IAS Mains General Studies Ethics ( Arihant Manual GS4)

Also Read: UPSC Maths Optional Books: Expert Suggested Books for UPSC Maths Optional Syllabus

UPSC Books in Hindi for IAS Exam

Throughout the journey, the UPSC IAS examinations need devotion and work. And your best companions on your journey will be books. It might be tough to select decent novels, particularly when new publishing houses are constantly pushing their works as the best. Because there are more books accessible in English, finding Hindi medium novels may be challenging.

It might be difficult to choose a book from the huge diversity of books available both online and in real life, but it is essential to choose the best books available, whether in Hindi or English.

Best History Books for UPSC

# Madhya Kaleen Bharat: Rajniti, Samaj Aur Sanskriti

# Prarambhik Bharat Ka Parichay

# Adhunik Bharat ka Itihas

# Bharat Ka Rashtriya Andolan

# Bharatiya Kala, Sanskriti Evam Virasat: Civil Sewa Pariksha Hetu

Geography Books

# Bhugol

# Orient Blackswan Vishwa Atlas Laghu Sankaran

# Bharat Evam Vishwa ka Bhugol

Indian Politics Books

# Bharat Ki Rajvyavastha

# Bharat ka Samvidhan

# Hamari Sansad

Economics Books for UPSC

# Bharti Arthvyavastha

# Public Finance written by HL Bhatia

# Indian Economy written by Datt Ruddar

# Indian Economy written by Misra and Puri

# Economics written by Paul Samuelson

# The Indian Economy written by Sanjiv Verma

Environment Books

# Paryavaran Evam Paristhitiki

# Paryavaran Evam Paristhitiki

Science and Technology Books

# Vigyan Evam Prodhyogiki Ka Vikas

# Vigyan Avum Prodhogyki

General Studies Books

# Samanya Adhyayan Paper I

# Samanya Adhyayan Paper II

UPSC Solved Question Papers

# CSAT-Topic Wise Solved Papers: AS Prelims

# UPSC Samanya Adhyayan: Paper I

# 15 Practice Sets-CSAT Civil Service

# IAS mains Samanya Adhyayan

General Knowledge Books

# Lucent’s Samanya Gyan

# Vastunisth Samanya Gyan Adhyaywar

# Prashno Ka Adwitiya Sangrah

# Samanya Gyan 2018

Year Books

# Bharat 2017-Publication Division

# Manorama Year Book 2017-Hindi Edition

Also Read: UPSC Exam Syllabus 2021: Know all the Insights about Prelims, Mains and Interview Round

Books for UPSC Civil Services Exam in Hindi

# Sam Kaleen Vishwa Ka Itihas 1890 to 2008

# Palassi Se Vibhajan Tak

# Antharashtriya Sangathan

# Bharat Ki Videsh Neeti

# IAS Mukhya Pariksha Samanya Adhyayan Paper 4

# Bharat Ki Aantrik Suraksha by Mukhya Chunautiya

# Samajik Samasyayen

# Bharat: Gandhi KE Baad

Subject-wise  Important Books to Boost Your UPSC Preparation

Find the list of best books for UPSC GS Paper I, GS Paper II and other optional subjects:

General Studies Paper I

Indian History

# Ancient History: RS Sharma’s ‘Ancient India‘ (Old NCERT) offers solid coverage of the UPSC IAS Prelims syllabus, and there are a lot of questions that have been explicitly posed from this book.

# Medieval History: Satish Chandra’s old NCERT book History of Medieval India is the best book for this section as it has covered each and every event from Medieval Indian History.

# Modern History: Sujata Menon’s ‘Concise History of Modern India‘ and Spectrum’s ‘A Brief History of Modern India‘ both cover the Modern History subject effectively for the Prelims exam.

# Indian Culture: For this portion, the candidate should read Spectrum’s book “Facets of Indian Culture” as well as the site of the “Centre for Cultural Resources and Training.”

Category Book 
Ancient History Ancient India’ by RS Sharma (Old NCERT)
Medieval History Old NCERT Satish Chandra’s History of Medieval India
Modern History Spectrum’s ‘A Brief History of Modern India

Sujata Menon’s ‘Concise History of Modern India

Indian Culture Spectrum’s ‘Facets of Indian Culture

CCRT website

Indian Geography

For the practice of Indian Geography, old NCERT books are suggested. The ‘Certificate Physical and Human Geography’ by Goh Cheng Leong is more applicable for Physical Geography. While learning physical geography, candidates must read the Oxford School Atlas.

Category Book
Geography Old NCERT books

Goh Cheng Leong’s Physical Geography.

Oxford School Atlas

Also Read Geography Syllabus for UPSC: Let’s Know the Syllabus and Strategies to Crack UPSC

Indian Polity

The book ‘An Introduction to the Constitution of India‘ by D. D. Basu, ‘Indian Polity‘ by Laxmikanth and ‘The Constitution of India‘ by P. M. Bakshi are the most suggested for studying Indian Polity. The IAS applicant must finish the old NCERT volumes of Indian Polity in addition to the above standard books.

Category Book
Indian Polity Indian Polity by Laxmikanth

D. Basu’s An Introduction to the Constitution of India

P. M. Bakshi’s India by The Constitution of India 


NCERT books are sufficient for IAS preparation because they cover the fundamental ideas and terminology of economics. It is critical to have the NCERT Macroeconomics Class 12th textbook since it provides the key economic terms that are important for comprehending a country’s growth and development.

The most suggested publications for further learning on the Indian Economy are Mishra and Puri’s “Indian Economy”, Ramesh Singh’s “Indian Economy” and the exact content of the Economic Survey. Aspirants must be cautious when studying for the Prelims because these study materials provide a lot of knowledge.

Category Book
Indian Economy Class 11 and Class 12 NCERTs

Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh

Indian Economy by Mishra and Puri

Science & Technology

IAS aspirants should read the daily news for this part because the topics in the Science & Technology portion of the IAS Prelims Exam are usually based on current affairs. The NCERT books for classes 9 and 10 are also recommended but not required for IAS Prelims preparation.

Category Book
Science and Technology Newspaper (Economic Times, The Hindu, The Indian Express)

ISRO Website

Environment and Ecology

IAS candidates must go over the study materials supplied by NIOS in order to prepare for the Environment and Ecology part. Other than that, candidates should keep a careful eye on the development initiatives of the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the Indian government, as well as the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change).

Category Book
Environment and Ecology


NIOS Study Material

Newspaper, Online Study Material

Current Affairs

As is customary, daily newspaper reading will aid students in their preparation for the Current Affairs section. We give important study material for current events preparation at regular intervals, especially for this subject. We often publish Current Affairs Quizzes and also issue-based analytical pieces that are very useful for IAS preparation.

Category Book
Current Affairs Newspaper (Economic Times, The Hindu, The Indian Express)

Jagran Josh, other Online Resources

Manorama Year Book

General Studies Paper II

Studies in general English Comprehension, Analytical Ability, Mathematics, Logical Reasoning and Decision Making are among the topics covered in Paper II CSAT of the Prelims Exam. Since Paper II CSAT is now a qualifying exam only, candidates should prepare in such a way that they may easily obtain 40 to 50 points. The Paper II CSAT, on the other hand, just requires a score of 33% to pass.

English Comprehension

The excerpts in this part are usually drawn from well-known magazines and newspapers. It’s a waste of money to acquire a book, especially for this portion. Hold on to Yojana, Kurukshetra, and Frontline magazines, as well as  EPW, Indian Express, The Hindu and Livemint newspapers. Practice with last year’s question papers as well.

Logical Reasoning and Analytical Ability

Most applicants favour RS Aggrawal in this subject, however, they could also consult MK Pandey’s Analytical Reasoning. RS Aggarwal covers a wide range of topics well, however, MK Pandey’s explanations and pictures are far more sophisticated and straightforward in terms of understanding.


For Math preparation, RS Aggarwal’s S Chand publications are sufficient. There is no need to study additional books individually because one book covers all of the topics included in the IAS syllabus.

Decision Making

Take a look at some general newspaper stories. Aspirants will be able to build decision-making abilities by reading news stories on difficulties in a certain community or area and how the appropriate municipal entities are addressing such challenges.

Important Books for UPSC Beginners

Book Author
India After Gandhi  Ramachandra Guha
NCERT books NA
Indian Polity  M. Laxmikanth
Indian Economy Ramesh Singh
India’s Struggle for Independence  Bipan Chandra
The Wonder that was India  AL Basham
Indian Geography Majid Hussain
IGNOU Material on Disaster Management NA

Other Study Material Sources for UPSC Preparation

In a world when digital is permeating every aspect of life, IAS candidates should take advantage of available technologies. We have included a list of mobile applications accessible for UPSC IAS preparation in the section below. IAS candidates can use such mobile applications to assist them to prepare for the IAS Prelims and Mains exams.

UPSC Pathshala

If you are looking for the best online courses and mentors, UPSC Pathshala is the place for you. This platform has courses for almost all the UPSC subjects. The thing which makes it different is that it offers a Free Demo which will help you understand the learning methods before paying for it. Click here to check out the courses now.


Unacademy has been one of India’s major online free learning programs. It is managed by civil service toppers who opted to leave the Indian Administrative Services and begin advising IAS candidates.

They are offering video lessons based on the UPSC IAS Exam criteria. Unacademy has attracted some of the country’s best educators, including Kiran Bedi, India’s first female IPS officer and current Governor of Pondicherry. They provide video lectures on a variety of topics based on the UPSC IAS curriculum.


Mrunal Mobile App offers great study material for the IAS Exam in the shape of video lectures and a linear style. It has established a name in the arena of delivering free learning for UPSC IAS candidates over the previous several years. The tremendous response of IAS aspirants who qualified for the prestigious UPSC IAS Exam attests to this.


The Civilsdaily app provides up to date news updates and current affairs to assist UPSC IAS candidates in passing the UPSC IAS Exam. On a regular basis, they produce Flashcards called Newscards on the smartphone app, which might be quite useful for IAS preparation.

Civilsdaily’s purpose is to create a strong News App and help IAS candidates for the General Studies (GS) section of the UPSC IAS curriculum by delivering a complete News Roundup in an elegant interface.


IASbaba has a vision of giving a person in the most remote location a chance at cracking All India Rank 1 in IAS.” In giving study aid to IAS applicants, they adhere to the credo – creative, clever, and analytical learning method.

IASbaba.com is an endeavour by alumni of India’s best schools such as IIT/IIMs, assisted by individuals in services such as IAS/IRS, to give more qualitative and sensible means of studying for this test.

The Hindu

The Hindu newspaper application is the most useful App for getting a fast overview of recent happenings of national and worldwide significance. The Hindu is the most recommended daily newspaper for IAS Exam preparation, and candidates should read it on a regular basis.

The Hindu’s news and information is more reliable than any other daily newspaper in the nation for IAS preparation. IAS candidates should read The Hindu’s editorial as well as other key sections such as science, engineering, environment, and healthcare on a regular basis. In general, IAS candidates can discover relevant current events themes in The Hindu newspaper that can be asked in both the IAS Prelims and the IAS Mains Exam.

Also Read : Best YouTube Channels for UPSC World Geography Preparation: Complete Syllabus Coverage

Vision IAS

Vision IAS is India’s research and training school for Civil Service candidates, with the goal of constantly innovating and assisting people in realising their ambitions via “integrated efforts” of Interactive educational environment, Teamwork, Technologies, and Development.

Vision IAS has a track record of generating excellent outcomes in the UPSC/IAS test, allowing applicants to enter the renowned IAS (Indian Administrative Service), IPS (Indian Police Service), IFS (Indian Foreign Service), and other public services such as Indian Forest Service (IFoS). Vision IAS App is regarded as one of the best accessible Mobile Apps for delivering superior information for UPSC IAS Exam current events.

Insights on India

On a regular basis, the perspectives on the India app assists IAS candidates in learning about significant news and current events. They also offer solutions for the IAS Prelims. They provide Insights Editorial Gists, Daily Online Current Events Quiz, and Daily Current Affairs Etch on a regular basis, which is extremely beneficial for IAS preparation.

Clear IAS

ClearIAS.com, one of the several popular UPSC online mentoring websites in India, offers free IAS online training, guidance, tactics, books, online study materials, mock tests, and many more, with the goal of ensuring that no candidate is excluded from the UPSC exam competition due to the limited availability of expensive IAS classroom coaching.

Clear IASTM is the official smartphone app from Clear IAS. They provide a comprehensive online package as well as tips, techniques, and a study plan to help you pass all phases of the IAS test.


AFEIAS was founded with the goal of giving adequate advice to youngsters preparing for the UPSC IAS Exam. Under the supervision of numerous government employees, AFEIAS provides the best reading materials for the IAS Exam. They are on a mission to offer students preparation for the Civil Services Examination with accurate and timely information.


Knowlez offers a General Knowledge Quiz App for IAS candidates preparing for the exam. They provide answers for areas such as General Studies and current events. On a daily basis, they also offer current events quizzes.


These were some of the best study material sources for the UPSC exam. Before going ahead with your UPSC preparation, you should get familiar with the syllabus and learn it by heart. Apart from the reference book NCERT is a book you should start your preparation from. NCERT will help you in learning the basics which will then make you understand the reference book properly. Consider NCERT as the foundation for all the other books.

If you need more guidance, you can register for a course on UPSC Pathshala. Register now to get a free demo.

If our recommendation helped you then like this blog and tell us your thoughts in the comment section. All the best with your preparation.

Also Read : Does the Syllabus of UPSC CSE Change from Year to Year? Know Everything Here

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Recommended Books for IAS by Toppers: Must-Read Books for UPSC IAS Exam
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Choosing the right book is the first step of the UPSC preparation. Here is a list of the best books for UPSC sectioned under different subjects. Click here to start reading now.
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Shilpa is a professional web content writer and is in deep love with travelling. She completed her mass communication degree and is now dedicatedly playing with words to guide her readers to get the best for themselves. Developing educational content for UPSC, IELTS aspirants from breakthrough research work is her forte. Strongly driven by her zodiac sign Sagittarius, Shilpa loves to live her life on her own notes and completely agrees with the idea of ‘live and let live. Apart from writing and travelling, most of the time she can be seen in the avatar of 'hooman' mom to her pets and street dogs or else you can also catch her wearing the toque blanche and creating magic in the kitchen on weekends.

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