According to me as well as several toppers of previous IAS exams, the best way to start your UPSC preparation is by reading through the NCERT books for UPSC and then moving on to the standard UPSC book list for 2023 (consisting of the standard books).

Also, you should be mindful about the type of IAS books that you choose for your preparation, given that the UPSC prelims and UPSC mains are very different from each other and would need 2 different sets of reading material for each.

The UPSC Prelims, being an entirely objective type of paper would need a separate booklist and the UPSC Mains being entirely subjective in its nature would need its own.

Anyway, in this section of the blog, I have mentioned the names of all the important UPSC books according to the different phases and subjects of the UPSC CSEs.

A key point to note here, any good booklist should always be comprehensive enough to cover the entire syllabus of the exam.

For your reference, I am linking the blog on the UPSC IAS Syllabus for Prelims & Mains.

Best UPSC Books for IAS Prelims

In the IAS prelims round there are 2 papers and both are objective type in nature. That means both have multiple-type questions with negative markings for each wrong answer.

I have already mentioned the NCERT books that you’d need to go through for the prelims in the section above. However, below I have given the list of the best IAS books for the Prelims round (apart from the NCERTs):

Subject UPSC Books
History 1. India’s Struggle for Independence – Bipan Chandra
2. Facets of Indian Culture – Spectrum
Geography 1. Certificate Physical Geography – G C Leong
2. World Atlas
Indian Polity 1. Indian Polity – M Laxmikanth
Economics 1. Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh
2. Economic Development and Policies in India: Jain & Ohri
International Relations 1. Current Affairs
CSAT 1. Tata McGraw Hill CSAT Manual
2. CSAT II – Arihant
3. Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning: R S Aggarwal

Know More: UPSC Mains Books 2023