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UPSC Mentor’s Suggestions On Out of the Syllabus Books for UPSC CSE

IIT alumnus and UPSC mentor Abhijeet Yadav's book suggestions for the UPSC CSE. He suggested 10 books and tweeted brief intro of each of them He urged aspirants to read these book for cracking the UPSC CSE
Indian Masterminds Stories

Most aspirants focus only on syllabus books. The syllabus is lengthy and complex. But, reading only the syllabus book for UPSC might not be fully helpful for cracking the one of the toughest exams, which has three stages prelims, mains, and the personality test (interview round). There are reasons why NCERTs and standard books are recommended for UPSC preparation. But, also, IAS toppers recommend that aspirants should read non-syllabus books as well which will be helpful for UPSC preparations, especially in Interview round and giving the idea for better answer writing in mains.

One such person is Abhijeet Yadav, an IITian who cleared this prestigious exam twice. In a Twitter thread, he gave suggestions on out of syllabus books that aspirants should read for preparations. He also shared about books in brief, so that candidates can easily understand the essence of the book and can read them in detail later. He tweeted, “In my 6 year UPSC journey, I read the syllabus books more than 10 times. But I also read a lot of other books because I liked reading. A list of non-syllabus books which will help with UPSC prep as well (with 2 line summaries).”

MINDSET
Abhijeet’s first Suggestion is ‘Mindset’ written by Carol Dweck. This book is about that how to use one’s full potential.

He said, “There are two types of people: Fixed mindset – I’m an average student. And, Growth mindset – I may be an average student but I won’t always be the second type.”

MAKE IT STICK
His second suggestion is, “Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning.” This book offers techniques for becoming more productive learners and cautions against study habits and practice routines that turn out to be counterproductive.

Mr. Abhijeet tweeted, “Human memory is fallible. The authors offer science-based tips to improve learning outcomes. Key tips: active recall and spaced revision.”

AS A MAN THINKETH
His next suggested book is ‘As a Man Thinketh’, written by James Allen, famous British philosophical writer known for his inspirational books and poetry. This book primarily deals with the power of thought and its subsequent effect on human life.

He tweeted, “Core idea: if you can’t even think of doing it, you won’t.”

FREEDOM FROM THE KNOWN
His next suggestion is ‘Freedom from the Known’ by Jiddu Krishnamurti, a spiritual thinker, philosopher, speaker and writer. ‘Book provides much needed insight into the monotonous quality our lives have adapted into. The book does an in-depth exploration of the idea that life as we know it is a result of the pressure we are under to maintain and achieve what is expected of us by the society.

Mr. Abhijeet tweeted, “Being free from the expectations that society and we set on ourselves allows us to become who we truly are.

Fun fact – Jiddu Krishnamurti was the prophesized “World Teacher” of the Theosophical Society of India. He said nope.”

JUSTICE
Then, he shed lights on the book called ‘Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do.’ It is written by Michael J. Sandel. It is a detailed piece of work on political philosophy that was originally created to accompany the author’s famous course. The course was also called Justice and he conducted it at Harvard University. The book has been written to address a long list of alternative theories on the topic of justice.

About this book, he tweeted, “A summary of the Justice course (available for free on YT). Walks you through western philosophical thought from Ancient Greece to modern day.”

TOOLS OF TITAN
His next suggestion is book named ‘Tools of Titan’ by Tim Ferris. This book is having lots of interviews of greater personalities. Through a series of interviews with the biggest “winners” on the planet in a variety of fields, Timothy Ferriss reveals the keys to their success.
On this book, Abhijeet tweeted, “Broken into 3 sections – healthy, wealthy and wise. Use this as a reference book (of experts). Read from the person who has done what you want to do.”

DO THE WORK
His next book is ‘Do the Work: Overcome Resistance and Get Out of Your Own Way’, written by Steven Pressfield. This is his all time favorite books.

He said about this, “You open this book and it slaps you in the face. Something like: stop wasting time on twitter and go do the work. One of my all time favourites.”

Synopsis of the book says “Could you be getting in your way of producing great work? Have you started a project but never finished? Would you like to do work that matters, but don’t know where to start? The answer is Do the Work, a manifesto by bestselling author Steven Pressfield, that will show you that it’s not about better ideas, it’s about actually doing the work.”

DEEP WORK
His next book is ‘Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World’ by Cal Newport. Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time.

Mr. Abhijeet Tweeted, “In the age of distraction we must make space to do focused work.

Top tips:
• Make it a habit
• Embrace boredom
• Quit social media
• Drain the shallows – time-draining activities where you feel that you’re doing something but accomplishing nothing.”

THE SUNFLOWER
Abhijeet’s next suggestion is ‘The Sunflower.’ This is the book on the Holocaust by Holocaust survivor Simon Wiesenthal, in which he recounts his experience with a mortally wounded Nazi during World War II.
He tweeted, “Simon, a jew, was in a concentration camp.

While there, a Nazi soldier on his deathbed realised his mistakes and asked Simon for forgiveness. Simon kept quiet. What would you do?
Fun fact – the author was a renowned Nazi hunter post WW2.”

BUREAUCRAZY GETS CRAZIER
‘Bureaucrazy Gets Crazier’ by MK Kaw, this book is his next suggestion for aspirants. He tweeted, “MK Kaw was an IAS officer who retired as Secretary, GOI. He gives you an inside look at life in the IAS. What moves the levers of power and the sheningans that officers get up to in service. Must read for UPSC aspirants.”

(Abhijeet Yadav gave five years of his life to the UPSC CSE journey. He made 6 attempts, which covered 4 Mains, 2 interviews, 2 selections, and got AIR 653 in CSE 2017 and R-List in CSE 2018. He is now an UPSC mentor and the founder of UPSCprep.com. An alumnus of IIT Delhi, he also has his YouTube channel with over 142,000 subscribers, where he helps aspirants to prepare better for UPSC exams)

Abhijeet Yadav

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