UPSC aspirants will know the importance of books more than anyone else. Despite the wealth of information you can derive online, books stand prominent and indispensable. However, given the vast UPSC syllabus, there is no definite number of books that you may require. But you can simplify your selection of books based on two main criteria:
- Relevance of the book to the examination.
- Commonality of the book.
Even with these criteria, you may end up with a list of hundreds of books. Hence, to simplify your hunt for the best books, we have compiled a list of the best books for UPSC beginners. This list will be immensely helpful for those preparing for the UPSC Prelims and Mains. The UPSC toppers also recommend these books! So, let’s take a look right away.
The Best Books To Achieve Your UPSC Goals
The books listed below are written by the same author and issued by the same publication. Some of them may be translated into other regional languages. Here are the books you require to ace Paper 1 in the Prelims:
- Indian Polity by M Laxmikant
- Our Constitution ( NCERT IX-XII )
Indian Polity by M.Laxmikant has been a consistent best-seller for years ever since it was published. Generations of UPSC aspirants have derived insightful information from its resourceful pages. NCERT’s Our Constitution also helps aspirants understand the intricate details of the Indian Constitution.
2. International Relations
- NCERT XI and XII (Contemporary World Politics)
- Current Affairs from News Dailies
There is no better source than daily newspapers to derive a wealth of information about current affairs. The NCERT books are also highly recommended by all UPSC toppers.
- Modern India: 1885-1947, Sumit Sarkar
- Mastering Modern World History – Norman Lowe
- History of Modern India by Bipan Chandra
- India’s struggle for Independence- by Bipan Chandra
- Spectrum’s Modern History
- NCERT books VIII-XII
- From Plassey To Partition and After by Sekhar Bandyopadhyay
- History of Modern India by Bipan Chandra
- India After Gandhi: The History of the World’s Largest Democracy by Ramachandra Guha
- India Since Independence by Bipan Chandra
UPSC History is perhaps the most extensive subject in the entire syllabus. It is categorised into Ancient, Medieval, Modern, Post-Independence Indian History, and World History.
- World Atlas by Orient Black Swan publications
- Certificate Physical Geography by G. C. Leong
- NCERT VI – X (Old Syllabus)
- NCERT XI, XII (New Syllabus)
Studying Geography without a good atlas is useless. It helps to understand the geographical boundaries, rivers, and features of India in great detail with thematic maps. You can also glean as much information from the charts and diagrams. The three books listed here cover all the elementary details of geography. They are written in simple, lucid language and illustrated with detailed photographs and maps with a proper explanation.
5. Environment & Ecology
- Environment and Ecology- Biodiversity, Climate Change and Disaster Management by Majid Husain
- Environmental Studies: From Crisis to Cure by Rajagopalan
The above books cover almost all the topics from which questions have often been asked in the UPSC exams.
- Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
- Economic Survey by the Ministry of Finance
The Economic Survey by the Ministry of Finance covers wide-ranging financial challenges, economic policies, and government performance. Both books are the most updated and authoritative sources of data on the Indian economy. Aspirants will benefit immensely by thoroughly perusing them.
7. Current Affairs
- India Year Book
- Newspapers – The Hindu for International news
- The Indian Express for National News
All UPSC toppers recommend reading the listed newspapers every day and noting the important current affairs. India Year Book is also a treasure trove of information that aspirants can use for Prelims preparation.
8. Science & Technology
- Solved papers of the past 20 years
- NCERT’s book class VI to X
- Study current affairs – Science & Technology column in the leading news dailies
We also recommend that aspirants read the latest and updated encyclopedias and science journals.
9. Arts & Culture
- NCERT Fine Arts
- Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania
The content in both books covers the syllabus of Indian Heritage and Culture. Students also benefit from the extensive list of questions given along with the content.
10. CSAT or Civil Service Aptitude Test
- Quicker Maths by M.Tyra
- Wren & Martin’s English Grammar And Composition
- Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual
- Verbal & Non-Verbal Reasoning by R S Aggarwal
The Civil Service Aptitude Test or General Studies Paper II is another important part of the UPSC syllabus.
Fortify Your UPSC Preparation With The Right Books
Before we conclude, we suggest all UPSC aspirants to follow only a prescribed set of books. This will help to keep your progress aligned with the core syllabus. Please make a note of all the intricate details and revise them every single day. That is the only way you can assure your success in the UPSC exams.
At Chinmaya Academy for Civil Services, we offer extensive guidance to our candidates, helping them pick the right study material. You may contact our IAS academy in Chennai to gain additional information about the books required for your UPSC preparation. We are happy to help you any time!