June 15, 2021

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Best books for UPSC – UPSC Book list 2021-22

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Best books for UPSC

Looking for good books for UPSC? In this article on UPSC Books, we provide you the list of Best books for the IAS Exam Preparation. This is our list of best books for UPSC of all-time. If you only have time to read one or two books, we recommend looking at the top books for UPSC preparation below.

Further down the page, you’ll find more psychology book recommendations. Many of these books are fantastic as well. I try to carefully curate all of my reading lists and you can be sure that any UPSC book on this page is worth your time. Enjoy!

List of Best Books for UPSC

Books that involve UPSC Syllabus; the books of General Studies Paper-1, 2, 3, 4 and essay with current affairs preparation. The UPSC Syllabus is considered to be very vast and there are a lot of books that need to be read. We have tried to provide you an extensive list of best books for UPSC IAS Exam preparation. The IAS Exam or the Civil Services Exam is conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

General Studies Paper-1

GS Paper 1 of UPSC Mains is one of the four general studies papers. It is a subjective type of paper consisting of subjects like History, Geography, Art and Culture, and Indian Society. Along with GS Paper 1, there are eight other papers in the Mains stage of the IAS Exam.

Art & Culture (Both Prelims and Mains)

  • NIOS on Art and Culture
  • NCERT Fine Arts Class XI
  • Nitin Singhania – Select Chapters

Ancient and Medieval History (only for Prelims)

  • New NCERTs: Class 6th to 12th
  • Old NCERT Books (if possible)

Modern History (Both Prelims and Mains)

  • New NCERTs : Class 6th to 12th
  • A brief History of Modern India: Spectrum
  • India’s Struggle for Independence

Post Independent India (Both Prelims and Mains)

  • India after Independence: Bipan Chandra
  • India after Gandhi: Ramachandra Guha (only if time permits)
  • Mains All TOPICS Uncovered section

World History (only for Mains)

  • NCERTs – Themes in world History
  • Old NCERT by Arjun Dev

Indian Society (Both Prelims and Mains)

  • Follow the Current affairs
  • Mains All TOPICS Uncovered section

Geography (Both Prelims and Mains)

  • GC Leong (for conceptual clarity)
  • NCERTs: Class 6 to class 12
  • Atlas
  • Mains All TOPICS Uncovered section

General Studies Paper-2

Indian Polity and Governance (Both Pre and Main)

  • Indian Polity: Laxmikant (Do not study anything else)
  • Governance in India: Laxmikant
  • Few topics not found in these books can be availed in Resources: All topics Uncovered
  • Schemes and Policies: Current Affairs

India’s Foreign policy and Diaspora (Mostly Main)

  • Follow the Current Affairs
  • Ministry of External Affairs
  • Static issues covered in Resources: All topics Uncovered

General Studies Paper-3

Indian Economy (Both Pre and Main)

  • Get the basic understanding of concepts from IAS notes
  • Economic Survey abd Budget summary. Do not read it like any other book.
  • You need to analyse. What happens when EU lowers export tariff on garments from India? How does the recent budget impact spending on rural India etc
  • Newspaper Business/Economy section. In this, if you do not understand a term, say ‘import cover’, then look it up on the internet.
  • 11th Standard NCERT.

Environment (Both pre and Main)

  • IAS notes
  • Annual report from Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Control (Available on official website). It’s a very good read. Will help you in GS III as well.

Science and Technology (Both Pre and Main)

  • Down to Earth Magazine
  • Science and technology notes
  • Current Affairs

Internal Security Challenges and Disaster Management (Only Main)

  • Internal Security Challenges by Ash0k Kumar
  • IDSA website
  • 2nd ARC report (Report 3) on Disaster management

General Studies Paper-4

Ethics and Integrity (Only for Main Exam)

  • IAS notes
  • Lexicon Dictionary
  • Michael Sandals Videos on Youtube
  • Previous year question papers
  • 2nd ARC report on Ethics (report 4)


Following the IAS News articles on a regular basis will be a great source for adding value to your Essays. To get better at articulating the Essay and have a proper understanding of how to approach the Essays, practice Essay writing on the topics provided on a weekly basis. The Essay Question and its model answer are uploaded under the Resources: Weekly Essay and Case Study section on the home page.

Current Affairs

  • Read the Hindu News Paper, Articles from the Indian Express
  • Study the summaries of newspapers and analyses of editorials from the IAS Current Affairs Section
  • Follow PIB: Summary provided daily by IAS
  • Take Daily Current Affairs Quiz.