Top IAS books | Skip at your own risk

“An IAS aspirant must always be careful of right selection of books and what is inside them, for words have the power to make us an IAS”- Civilsdaily

Hi Guys, 

We hope you read about ‘How to utilize Previous Years’ Question Papers’ through the entire journey of becoming IAS. But, only PYQs are not enough to have a grip on the UPSC preparation. After analyzing those question papers comprehensively, the next immediate step is to have some important text books for IAS preparation. 

Frankly speaking, the previous year’s question papers are not complete without reading the textbooks, similarly, the work will be useless if you read the textbooks without having a grip on previous years’ question papers. 

After mentoring 5000+ IAS aspirants, the Civilsdaily senior IAS mentors team has made a list of those 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:

Table of Content:


 1. A Brief History of Modern India – Spectrum 

 2. Indian Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania

 3. Our Past – NCERT series (Ancient & Medieval)

 4. Themes in Indian History Series (NCERT)


 5. NCERT – 11 & 12

 6. Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong

 7. PMFIAS notes

 8. Atlas – Oxford School Atlas (India) and Orient Black Swan (World)



 10. 12th Biology NCERT (Last 4 topics)


 11. 11th and 12th NCERT 

 12. Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth

 13. Contemporary World Politics (NCERT)

14. PM Bakshi: the constitution of India (for articles)


 1. Macroeconomy (NCERT)

 2. Indian Economic Development (NCERT)

 3. Indian Economy – Nitin Singhania

Additional Material 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.


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥FREE for 24 Hours Prelims Notes
This is default text for notification bar