Best IAS Books for UPSC

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IAS Books

Public Administration departments of any country play a crucial role in implementing effective public policies and addressing issues concerning the public. The Government of India is striving to have dedicated and excellent officers on board who can bring transparency and accountability to the administration with their professional and intellectual skills. Those passionate towards working in the domain of public administration, need to crack some of the toughest examinations in India to steer their way towards getting hired for administrative posts under the Indian government. If you are preparing for UPSC exams, this blog will take you through various informative IAS Books that you must add to your preparation guides in order to successfully ace these exams.


In order to get efficient and energetic officers on board, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts varied national-level competitive exams for administrative recruitment under the Indian government. Indian Administrative Service (IAS) is one such choicest examination among 24 government services like IPS, IFS (Foreign), IFS (Forest), IP & TAFS, IAAS, IRS, IDAS, CMSE, IRTS, IRAS, IRPS etc. IAS examination was formerly known as the Imperial Civil Service and was originally founded in the year 1858. It is conducted every year under successive rounds of tests like Preliminary, Mains as well as Personal Interviews. You cannot do away with the fact that being one of the toughest exams in the world, it needs meticulous preparation, analytical as well as observational skills apart from extensive knowledge related to diverse fields of study. In order to excel well in such examinations, many candidates pursue MPA to study the extensive domain of public administration. 

List of Important IAS Books

While the syllabus of the IAS exam can stretch across different disciplines and topics, it is important to gather a comprehensive list of preparatory guides for this exam. Here is a list of prominent IAS books that are a must to add to your study materials for this exam. 

Ancient HistoryRS Sharma Buy Here!
Medieval HistorySatish ChandraBuy Here!
A Brief History of Modern India Rajiv AhirBuy Here!
World History Norman Lowe
Concise History of Modern IndiaSujata MenonBuy Here!
Facets of Indian CultureSpectrumBuy Here!
Fundamentals of Human GeographyNCERT
Indian EconomyRamesh SinghBuy Here!
Indian Polity LaxmikanthBuy Here!
Administrative ThinkersPrasad and PrasadBuy Here!
Indian Public AdministrationArora and GoyalBuy Here!
Science and TechnologyRavi AgrahariBuy Here!
Indian Art and CultureNitin SinghaniaBuy Here!
Oxford School AtlasOxford PublishersBuy Here!
Certificate Physical and Human GeographyGoh Cheng LeongBuy Here!
India Year BookCurrent AffairsBuy Here!
CSATTata McGraw HillBuy Here!
Ethics, Integrity and AptitudeSubba Rao and P.N. Roy ChaudaryBuy Here!

Now, let’s explore some of these major IAS books in further detail:

Indian Polity

Written by M. Laxmikanth who is a famous Political scholar, Indian Polity is a comprehensive and detailed book insightfully covering varied aspects pertaining to Indian politics. It is considered as one of the most prestigious and prolific IAS books to understand the intricacies of the political system of India.

Public Administration

Amongst the varied IAS books authored by noted think-tanker and political scientist Laxminath, this one is considered as the Bible for cracking UPSC exams. It comprises of a total of twelve chapters encompassing diverse administrative concepts and topics as well as contemporary reviews on Indian public administration theories. 

Indian Art and Culture

If you are preparing for the prestigious IAS examination, then you have to familiarize yourself with the contemporary Art and Culture of the country. Amongst the topmost IAS books, this one covers the diverse art and cultural aspects of our country. It is written by Nitin Singhania, a prolific writer who has addressed the history of Indian art as well as related contemporary topics.

Administrative Thinkers

Having an insightful knowledge of famous social theorists will also help you score better in the IAS exam. Written by noted administration scholars, Prasad and Prasad, the book covers the ideologies of noted thinkers like Kautilya, Elton Mayo, Max Weber ad Henry Simon. 

India Yearbook

Staying updated about the current affairs of the country as well as the world is an essential prerequisite to cracking the IAS examination. Amongst the reputed IAS books that are published on a yearly basis, you must add this book to your preparation guides to keep yourself updated with world general Knowledge including important dates, dignitaries, places and historical events.

Top Magazines for IAS Preparation

You cannot do away with the fact that newspapers and magazines are filled with abundant knowledge that certainly turns out to be useful along with the insightful IAS Books. It is strongly prescribed for UPSC aspirants to read newspapers voraciously on a daily basis in order to crack the general awareness sections of the exam. There are also many preparation magazines that you must have during your preparation to stay updated about world events. Glance through the popular magazines listed below which are a must for IAS preparation:

  • Pratiyogita Darpan
  • Competition Success Review
  • Science Reporter
  • Economic and Political Weekly
  • Down to Earth
  • Frontline
  • Yojana
  • Kurukshetra Magazine 
  • Civil Services Times
  • Geography and You
  • World Focus

Study Material for UPSC

  1. 2nd ARC Report (To read more on ARC Reports, check the linked article.)
  2. Economic Survey (Latest)
  3. Budget (Latest)
  4. Finance Commission Report (Latest)
  5. Annual reports by central ministries
  6. Current Affairs
    • The Hindu Newspaper
    • Yojana Magazine
    • Press Information Bureau Releases
  7. Niti Aayog Action Agenda


Which books are best for IAS preparation?

Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth NCERT IX-XII
Indian Economy by Nitin Singhania Economic Development & Policies in India – Jain & Ohri NCERT XI
NCERT XII (Contemporary World Politics) Current Affairs

Which booklist is best for UPSC?

CSAT Paper II Reading Comprehension 6ed by Ashok Kumar Singh, Nagendra Pratap.
CSAT Paper II Logical Reasoning, Analytical Ability & General Mental Ability 6ed by Sanjeev Joon, R A Sharma.
UPSC General Studies Paper II CSAT 28 Years Solved Papers 1995-2022.

Is 3 years enough for UPSC?

One year is more than enough time to prepare for the UPSC. To pass the UPSC 2023 exam, a candidate needs have a great approach and advice. It is also possible to join a coaching institute.

Hence, we hope that this comprehensive blog has provided you with the best IAS books to ace your exam preparation. If you are confused about the ideal career path that aligns with your interests or planning a career change, sign up for an e-meeting with our experts at Leverage Edu and we will assist you in making informed decisions at every step of your academic and professional journey.

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