Must Read Books for UPSC Aspirants

Books for UPSC Aspirants – The UPSC aspirants aims to fill administrative positions in various All-India Service and central civil services like IAS, IPS, IFS, IRS and IRTS. For this they need to write the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination.

This UPSC exam is conducted in three phases: preliminary examination, main examination, followed by a final interview. The UPSC prelims comprise of two objective-type papers while the mains have two qualifying papers and seven others to be counted for merit, each of which has essay-type questions. These exams require the aspirants to built analytical ability. It demands from aspirants holistic analysis of the current issues.

Here are some recommended books for UPSC aspirants which can help them in preparing for the examination:

Must Read books for UPSC Aspirants to cover UPSC Syllabus: –


1. A Brief History of Modern India by Rajiv Ahir (Spectrum Publication):

This book covers the entire syllabus for Ancient, Medieval and Modern History that condenses content from various sources into one.

2. India Since Independence by Bipan Chandra (Penguin Random House Publication):

This book gives you a detailed understanding of the forging of India after the struggle for Independence. The book also gives an objective assessment of the governments over time and their prime ministers, from Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh.


  1. Indian Polity by M Laxmikanth:

Aspirants can read the latest edition of this book which is comprehensive and covers a range of topics surrounding the country’s political and constitutional matters.


1. The Indian Economy by Sanjiv Verma (Unique Publications):

Books for UPSC Aspirants – This book is a resourceful guide which explains the concepts associated with the Indian economy, throwing light on the past and present economic situation of the country.

2. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh (McGraw Hill Publication):

This book can be read along with that of Verma. It provides the latest analysis of the country’s budget and development reports, and answers crucial questions on socio-economic issues.


  1. Certificate physical and human geography by Goh Cheng Leong.

This book is an indispensable tool for preparing core concepts of physical Geography for Civil Services Preliminary Examination. Gives a lucid and crystal-clear explanation of concepts.


  1. Environment By Shankar (Shankar IAS Academy Publication): This book has been written in line with the syllabus set by UPSC and explains relevant topics on the environment–environmental ecology to climate change–in simple language.

Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

  1. Report on Ethics in Public Administration published by the Second Administrative Reforms Commission.

The Second ARC was setup by the Government of India on 31 August 2005 under the Chairmanship of Shri M. Veerappa Moily with the mandate to suggest measures to achieve a proactive, responsive, accountable, sustainable and efficient administration for the country at all levels of the government.

Must Read books for Aspirants to Develop Analytical Ability: –

1. 21 Lessons For 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

21 lessons for the 21st century explores a thrilling journey through today’s most urgent issues. The golden thread running through his exhilarating new book is the challenge of maintaining our collective and individual focus in the face of constant and disorienting change.

2. Beyond 2020: A Vision for Tomorrow’s India by APJ Abdul Kalam

Books for UPSC Aspirants – India 2020 is a vision document for the new millennium that charted how India could become one of the top five economic powers in the world by 2020. Sixteen years later, as the year 2020 approaches, it is time to take stock of how much India has achieved and what lies ahead.

3. Reinventing India by Dr. Raghunath Mashelkar

Reinventing India captures the fascinating evolution of India’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) landscape through some of Dr.Mashelkar’s most inspiring and insightful lectures and essays.

4. Bureaucrazy Gets Crazier: IAS Unmasked by M.K.Kaw

Bureaucrazy Gets Crazier: IAS Unmasked says that with lessened responsibilities came reduced accountability. As any decision had the potential to cause trouble at a future date, responsibility avoidance became the prime motivator in the functioning of the administrative officers. It offers an insider’s view of how the civil service works. It is a witty and scathing account of a service that is supposed to serve the public.

5. How India Sees The World: From Kautilya to Modi: Kautilya to the 21st Century by Shyam Saran

Former India Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran has had a ringside view of the most critical events and shifts in Indian foreign policy in the new millennium, including the epochal India-US nuclear deal. In this magisterial book, Saran discerns the threads that tie together his experiences as a diplomat.

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