Recommended Books for IAS

Who doesn’t want to clear the UPSC IAS examination in just first attempt? I think each one you who sat for the prestigious UPSC Prelims and Mains examination. And in order to succeed in the prestigious UPSC Civil Services examination, it is important that the aspirant has access to the latest updated syllabus and uses the best study material to prepare for the examination.

So, in order to excel the UPSC Civil Services exam, one needs to read important books and material. Here, we bring to you the best books recommended by UPSC IAS toppers.

Recommended books for IAS by Toppers

If clearing UPSC Prelims is your immediate goal, we are sure this post would help you a lot. Most of the books are useful for UPSC Civil Services Main exam as well.


The basic concepts of different segments of General Studies are derived from NCERT books, as mentioned below:

  1. General Science: 9th and 10th Standard
  2. History: 11th and 12th Standards
  3. Geography: 11th and 12th Standards
  4. Economics: 11th and 12th Standards
  5. Art & Culture: 11th standard

General Studies – Paper I (Main Examination)

Indian Heritage & Culture

  • Gazetteer of India – Volume II
  • L. Basham: The wonder that was India
  • S. A. A Rizvi : The wonder that was India (volume II)
  • Books on Indian dance, painting, temples etc of Publications Divisions and National Book Trust (NBT)

Modern Indian History & Post Independent India

  • NCERT: Modern India
  • Tarachand – History of Freedom Movement in India, Vol- I to IV, (Publications Division).
  • Surendernath Sen: 1857 (Publications Division)
  • Ancient India-Collection of Article (Publications Division)
  • NBT- Freedom Struggle
  • Bipan Chandra: India’s Struggle for Independence
  • Bipan Chandra-Post Independence India
  • Sumit Sarkar-Modern India
  • Gazetteer of India- Volume II

World History

  • NCERT: The Story of Civilization (2 Volumes)
  • NCERT: Contemporary World History
  • L. Mukherji: A History of the World

Geography of the World

  • NCERT books on Indian and world Geography
  • Physical Geography : Savindra Singh
  • Geomorphology : Savindra Singh
  • Oceanography : Sharma and Vatal (NCERT)
  • Economics and Social Geography: Rupa Publications
  • Environmental Geography: Savindra Singh
  • Survey of Indian Agriculture : The Hindu Publications.
  • Survey of Indian Economy: The Hindu Publications
  • India Year Book : Publications Division

General Studies – Paper II (Main Examination)

Governance, Constitution & Polity

  • D.D. Basu: Indian Constitution.
  • P.M. Bakshi: Indian Constitution
  • S.C. Kashyap: Citizens and the Constitution (Publications Division)
  • B.S. Baviskar & Ash Narain Roy Local Governance – A Global Perspective (Publications Division)
  • S.C. Kashyap: Our Parliament (NBT)
  • S.C. Kashyap: Our Constitution (NBT)
  • S.C. Kashyap: Our Political System (NBT)
  • M.R. Singh: Indian Federalism (NBT)
  • Kuldeep Mathur: From Government to Governance (NBT)

International Relations

  • Rajiv Sikri: Challenge and Strategy- Understanding India’s foreign policy
  • C. Rajamohan: Crossing the Rubicon
  • NCERT : Contemporary World Politics (12th Standard)

General Studies – Paper III (Main Examination)

Governance, Constitution & Polity

Science & Technology

  • India Yearbook: brought out by Publications Division : Chapter on Science and Technology
  • Annual Reports of the department of Space, Atomic Energy, Ministry of Environment etc

Indian Economy

  • NCERT: India’s Economic Development
  • Mishra and Puri: Indian Economy
  • Relevant Economic Survey
  • 12th Five Year Plan Document
  • Bimal Jalan: India’s Economic Policy
  • Bimal Jalan: Emerging India- Economics, Politics and Reforms.
  • Any one Economic Newspaper like The Economic Times, Business Standard, Financial Express.
  • Yojana which comes every month in Hindi, English, Assamese, Bangali, Gujarathi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu
  • Kurukshetra in Hindi/English

Environment and Bio-diversity

  • NCERT: India’s Physical Environment
  • Together, Towards a Safer India: CBSE Publication
  • Encyclopedia of Disaster Management: S.L. Goel (Deep and Deep Publications)


  • Annual Reports of Ministry of Home Affairs, Defence and External Affairs

General Studies – Paper IV (Main Examination)

Ethics and Integrity

  1. Mohit Bhattacharya- New Horizons of Public Administration
  2. Nicholas Henry- Public Administration and Public Affairs
  3. S.R. Maheshwari and Awasthi -Public Administration
  4. Ramesh K Arora – Ethical Governance in Business and Government
  5. Ramesh K Arora – Ethics in Governance
  6. Ramesh K Arora & Tanjul Saxena – Ethics and Accountability in Government and Business

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