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Best Books for UPSC General Studies

Cracking UPSC and finding the right resources for your preparation is even more challenging.

GS paper plays a pivotal role in the UPSC exam. It evaluates candidates on a broad spectrum of knowledge, from current affairs to history, geography, economics, and more. This paper assesses factual information and the ability to analyze and connect diverse topics.

To excel in the UPSC exam, picking the best books to study from is a crucial first step. That's where we come in. We've gathered many books that are just right for the exam. They cover everything you need to know and ensure it's easy to understand.

We know the exam is challenging, but these books will help you prepare for your exam. So, please stay connected with us as we explore the resources and help you prepare for the IAS Exam.

Why Choosing the Right Books Matters?

Choosing the right books is vital for UPSC preparation. Good books undoubtedly cover relevant topics, saving time and preventing confusion. Inaccurate or excessive resources can lead to information overload and misguidance.

Right books offer insights that align with the exam's requirements. On the other hand, wrong books waste time and may give incorrect information. Thus, selecting suitable books can pave the way to success or hinder progress in UPSC preparation.

Agrimguru - India's 1st aggregator platform for optional subjects offers book bundles recommended by recent toppers to make your preparation seamless and save you valuable time. They also provide 5-month free library access, free all-India prelims series, free personalized guidance, and expert live webinars to their students. The only aim to do all of this is to make the UPSC preparation journey seamless.

Criteria for Selecting Recommended Books

While selecting recommended books, here are 2 factors you must keep in mind:

1. Reliability of Authors and Publishers

Opting for books authored by renowned experts in the field ensures accurate and well-researched information. Similarly, choosing books published by reputable publishing houses adds an additional layer of reliability.

2. Clarity of explanation and language used in the book

The effectiveness of a book depends on its ability to convey complex concepts clearly and in an easy-to-understand way. Books with lucid explanations and simple language make it easier for readers to grasp intricate topics.

These factors significantly impact the effectiveness of learning and comprehension throughout your preparation journey.

While studying for UPSC, where a deep understanding of various subjects is crucial, selecting books that meet these criteria greatly enhances the chances of successful learning and comprehensive exam preparation.

UPSC General Studies Books

Sr. no.


Best UPSC Books for General Studies


1. Ancient History: "Indian Ancient Past" by R.S. Sharma

2. Medieval History: "History of Medieval India" by Satish Chandra

3. Modern History:

a) "History of Modern India" by Bipin Chandra

b) "A Brief History of Modern India" by Rajiv Ahir (Spectrum)

4. World History: "Contemporary World History" (Class 12th old NCERT)



1. "Certificate Physical & Human Geography" by Goh Cheng Leong (Oxford)

2. NCERTs (New Editions):

a) XI Standard: "India - Physical Environment" and "Fundamentals of Physical Geography"

b) XII Standard: "India - People & Economy" and "Fundamentals of Human Geography" 3. School Atlas: Oxford School Atlas


Social Issues

1. XI Standard NCERT on Indian Society (Chapters on Unity & Diversity and Population Issues)

2. XII Standard NCERT (Chapters on Communalism, Secularism, and Urban Issues)

3. The Hindu Newspaper (for staying updated on current social issues)


Governance Issues

1. "Ethics in Governance" ARC Report 2. "Citizen Centric Administration" (Chapters 2, 5, 6, 7 & 8, and box items in the report)



1. "Indian Polity" by M. Laxmikanth



1. "Indian Economy" by Ramesh Singh

2. "Indian Economic Development" XI Standard NCERT

3. "Introductory Macroeconomics" XII Standard NCERT (Ignore diagrams & mathematical formulas)


Ecology & Environment

1. "Certificate Physical & Human Geography" by Goh Cheng Leong (Second Half of the Book)

2. XII Standard NCERT Book on Biology (Chapters pertaining to Ecology)

3. "India Year Book" (Chapters on Environment)

4. Chapter on Climate Change from Economic Survey


Science & Technology

​ 1. VIII, IX, X Standard NCERT books on Biology

2. The Hindu or Indian Express Newspaper (for staying updated on current science and technology developments)



​ 1. "Ethics in Governance" ARC Report

2. "Lexicon" by Chronicle Publications

Importance of Regular Revision from these Books

Regular revision in UPSC is vital for effective learning and understanding, especially when studying from recommended books. Revisiting these books reinforces knowledge, enhances memory retention, and deepens comprehension.

Regular revision is super important for UPSC exams. It helps remember better, boosts confidence, and improves scores. UPSC syllabus is huge, so reviewing regularly makes sure you understand well.

Revisiting stuff often stops forgetting and links ideas together. It also finds weak points so you can get better. Feeling sure about what you studied lowers stress and helps you manage time in the exam.

Quick recall of facts and theories is key for both the UPSC exams. To revise well, make a timetable. Spend time on each topic. This helps you get a good grip on everything and raises the chances of doing well in UPSC exams.

To summarize, picking the correct books from reliable authors and publishers is key. Clear explanations help with tricky subjects. Revising well boosts understanding and performance. Following these tips lets you confidently prepare for UPSC and sets you up for success.

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