Looking for material to prepare for the UPSC exam? Don’t know which are the best books for the UPSC IAS exam? It’s alright. Are you wondering which books were referred by the IAS toppers? In this article, we will recommend you must-read books for UPSC. Read the article till the end to know the UPSC books list, recommended by IAS toppers.

Recommended Books for IAS by Toppers

Here are some must-read books for UPSC:

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 provides 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 the  UPSC aspirant. 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

Paper-wise best books for IAS are:

GS Paper 1
  • Indian Heritage and Culture
  1. The Wonder That Was India- A.L. Bhasham
  2. Indian Art and Culture -Nitin Singhania
  1. India’s Ancient Past -R.S. Sharma
  2. History Of Modern India -Bipan Chandra
  3. India’s Struggle For Independence -Bipan Chandra
  4. Norman Lowe OR History of Modern World Jain and Mathur
  • Geography of the World and Society
  1. Geography of India -Majid Husain (Geography)
  2. Oxford School Atlas Oxford (Geography)
  3. Certificate Physical and Human Geography -Goh Cheng Leong (Geography)
  4. Social Problems In India -Ram Ahuja
GS Paper 2
  1. Governance in India for CSE
  • IAS Mains General Studies Paper 2
  1. 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


These were some recommended books for IAS by toppers. 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 books for all the other books.

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

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Recommended Books for IAS by Toppers: Must-Read Books for UPSC IAS Exam
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Recommended Books for IAS by Toppers: Must-Read Books for UPSC IAS Exam
Want a UPSC books list? Click here to get the best books for the UPSC IAS exam as well as recommended books by UPSC toppers.
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