Motivational Books to Read for an IAS Aspirant

Motivational books for IAS aspirants

“A book is a gift you can open again and again.” – Garrison Keillor

Many of you who are preparing to take up the civil services exam must be wondering at the topic of this article. One must be wondering, with the gargantuan UPSC syllabus to cover and a lot of mock tests and revision to be done, how can one spend time reading motivational books? Let us declare at the outset that you need not read all the books in the list. You need not even read these inspirational books every day. Whenever you feel bogged down with all your IAS preparation and desperately need a break from your ‘heavy’ books, you can indulge in some light reading which would also be beneficial to your exams. Reading opens up new worlds and infuses you with newer ideas. It powers your thoughts and illuminates your mind. You will not only feel motivated and refreshed, but also feel empowered to take on the world! Read on for a few motivational books an IAS aspirant can read and profit from.


The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz

This book talks about how thinking big and without constraints can lead you to achieve greater heights in life. It includes a step-by-step guide on how to change your thought patterns and set high goals and achieve them.


Secrets of the World Class: Turning Mediocrity into Greatness by Steve Siebold

In this motivating book, Siebold reveals the secret of champions to be mental toughness. He talks about how you can go from mediocre to great by imbibing these secrets and start achieving more in life. Siebold who was a professional athlete and coach has incorporated what he learnt by studying peak performers in his 20-year career in the sports field. He counts companies like Johnson & Johnson, Toyota and Proctor & Gamble as his clients.


Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

This revolutionary book tells us that motivation is largely intrinsic and that humans are not motivated by fear and punishment as was previously expounded. According to Pink, the three factors that increase performance and satisfaction are Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.


The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

This book, originally published in 1952, still remains popular among people as a motivational book. It encourages the reader to remain positive by using affirmations and visualizations to achieve a higher level of satisfaction in life.


Dancing with Maharaja by Sundar

If you are a fiction reader, you will love this book. It is the fictional story of an IAS aspirant from Madurai who goes through the eventful IAS journey in the streets of Delhi – the mecca of IAS coaching. You will definitely be able to relate to the story here as it is spun around the exacting IAS preparation process. The author knows what he is talking about as he is himself an IRS officer. This is one of the best novels to read for UPSC exam aspirants.


The Story of My Experiments with Truth by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

This is an interesting pick as it can also double up partly as a textbook. This famous autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi details a lot of historical facts about life in South Africa for Indians in the later part of the nineteenth century. It can also give a deep insight into the workings of Gandhi’s mind and his principles of Satyagraha and non-violence. You can get a lot of material for your mains exam from this book. Additionally, you will also feel motivated by what led a shy lawyer to become one of the most influential persons in the world. His unwavering fight against injustice and inequality will surely propel you forward.


“Today a READER, tomorrow a LEADER.” – Margaret Fuller


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