The Comprehensive list of Best Books for UPSC Preparation | Don’t skip or regret later

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Hi Guys, 

If you learnt ‘How to utilize Previous Years’ Question Papers’ judiciously through the entire journey of becoming IAS, we are sure you are looking for the list of best books for UPSC preparation.

To tell the truth, there is no definition of Best books for UPSC preparation. Instead you should know that the books which UPSC itself prefers to make question from, are considered to be the best.

After mentoring 5000+ IAS aspirants, the Civilsdaily senior IAS mentors team has made a list of those Best Basic and Advanced reference books that are considered the best, and UPSC, itself prefers to make questions from them. So, let’s have a look:

Best Basic Books for UPSC

Apart from the advanced books, a candidate ought to cover some basic academic books. Because UPSC sometimes asks direct questions from them.

For Economy: (New Version)

  1. Macroeconomics NCERT, Class-12th standard
  2. Indian Economic Development, Class-11th standard

For Ancient History: 

  1. Old NCERT by Satish Chandra (Selective Reading)

Medieval History: 

  1. Old NCERT by Satish Chandra (Selective Reading) 

Modern Indian History:

  1. Old NCERT by Bipin Chandra (Selective Reading) 

Art & Culture: 

  1. An Introduction to Indian Art- Class XI NCERT
  2. Heritage Crafts: Living Crafts Tradition of India- NCERT.

Geography: (New Version)

  1. Fundamental of Physical Geography- XI NCERT
  2. India: Physical Environment-XI NCERT
  3. Fundamentals of  Human Geography- XII  NCERT
  4. India: People and Economy- XII NCERT 

Best Advanced Books for UPSC


  1. Indian Polity For Civil Services Examination. Authored by M Laxmikant.


  1. Indian Economy for Civil Services. Authored by Nitin Singhania

Ancient & Medieval History:

  1. Ancient and Medieval India. Authored by Poonam Dalal Dahiya.

Modern Indian History:

  1. A Brief History of Modern India. Spectrum Publication
  2. Indian Struggles for Independence. Authored by Bipin Chandra

Indian Art and Culture:

  1. Indian Art and Culture. Authored by Nitin Singhania

Environment and Biodiversity: 

  1. Shankar IAS Book


  1. Indian Geography. Authored by Majid Hussain or Indian Geography authored by D. R Khullar (Read as per your choice)
  2. Certificate Physical and Human Geography:- GC Leong

General Science:

  1. General Science Books of class-9 and 10 standard

Current Affairs:

  1. Read a good newspaper. (The Hindu or Indian Express)
  2. Govt. Schemes- CIVILSDAILY Website
  3. Daily Current Affairs- CIVILSDAILY Website
  4. Civilsdaily YouTube Channel

Additional Materials for Mains

GS 1 – 

1. India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra

 1. India After Independence by Bipan Chandra

 2. Ancient India by RS Sharma

 3. History of Medieval India by Satish Chandra

 4. From Plassey To Partition And After by Sekhar Bandyopadhyay

 5. Introduction to Indian Art for Class XI (NCERT)

GS 2 –

 6. Governance – Current affairs from SM and M. Laxmikanth

 7. India’s Foreign Policy by Rajiv Sikri

GS 3 – 

 8. Economy – Mrunal handouts 

 9. Environment and Disaster Management – Tata McGraw Hill

 10. Challenges to Internal Security of India – Ashok Kumar

GS 4 – 

  1. DK Balaji – Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude
  2. 2nd ARC: 4th ethics in governance

Get a personalized IAS mentors and let them make plan, strategy and booklist for you

Guys, though we have provided above the most comprehensive booklist for your IAS preparation, we would like to recommend you to have a selective reading from these books and not cover to cover.

Getting confused? connect with us. We will help you to make out.


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