7 Best Organic Chemistry Textbooks

Organic Chemistry studies the structure, properties, and reactions of organic compounds, which contain carbon-carbon covalent bonds. The study of the structure determines its structural formula. The study of properties includes physical and chemical properties, and evaluation of chemical reactivity to understand their behavior. The study of organic reactions includes the chemical synthesis of natural products, drugs, and polymers, and the study of individual organic molecules in the laboratory and via theoretical study. In order to study deeply organic chemistry, the following organic chemistry textbooks can help you most.

Best Organic Chemistry Textbooks

Book Name & Author Image Rating Price
Organic Chemistry (2nd Edition) by Jonathan Clayden, Nick Greeves, & Stuart Warren 9.3 View on Amazon
Organic Chemistry (Mastering Chemistry) 9th Edition by Leroy Wade & Jan Simek 9.3 View on Amazon
Advanced Organic Chemistry, Part A: Structure and Mechanisms 5th Edition by Francis A. Carey & Richard J. Sundberg 9.2 View on Amazon
Modern Physical Organic Chemistry by Eric V. Anslyn & Dennis A. Dougherty 9.5 View on Amazon
Organic Chemistry I For Dummies (Math & Science) by Arthur Winter 9.2 View on Amazon
Organic Chemistry by Paula Bruice 9.0 View on Amazon
Organic Chemistry as a Second Language by David R. Klein 9.2 View on Amazon

1. Organic Chemistry (2nd Edition)

This is for sure the best modern book for learning comprehensively organic chemistry. Unlike some other textbooks which present organic chemistry as a set of facts and reactions to be learned and memorized, this book instead emphasizes the unifying threads between different concepts and also stresses the assimilation of those concepts through real-life applications. Common themes such as syn-anti addition, carbocations, and orbital overlap tie together disparate reactions and aspects of organic chemistry.

The book provides the most complete and readable description of the Grubbs metathesis reaction that you will have come across, clearly emphasizing the mechanism, the effects of different ligands and solvents, and applications to complex natural products. Other reactions of paramount importance to both academia and industry which are presented in the book include the palladium-catalyzed Suzuki, Heck, and Sonogashira couplings.

In fact, the textbook covers the whole gamut of current organic chemistry. Apart from its modern and unifying outlook, the other feature that stands out is the way it stresses the practical relevance of all this material. Organic chemistry is really the basis of our modern way of life and the book reflects this fact. The value of almost every important reaction and reagent is demonstrated by its application to the synthesis of an important drug, polymer, food additive, or agrochemical.

The book also does a great job of illustrating the great value of simple concepts; for instance, one chapter discusses the application of pKa to the development of the bestselling drug ranitidine, and another provides an explanation of the lachrymatory (tear-inducing) properties of onions as rooted in sigmatropic reactions involving sulfur compounds. From the clinic to the kitchen, this book drives home the fact that organic chemistry is not just an intellectually rewarding exercise but is at the foundation of our daily existence.

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2. Organic Chemistry (Mastering Chemistry) 9th Edition

This Organic Chemistry book is a student-centered approach to learning and studying Organic Chemistry practically. 

Organic Chemistry presents key principles of organic chemistry in the context of fundamental reasoning and problem-solving. The textbook is authored to complement how students use a textbook today, new problem-solving strategies, partially solved problems, visual reaction guides, and reaction starbursts encourage students to use the text before class as a primary introduction to organic chemistry as well as a comprehensive study tool for working problems and preparing for exams.

With highly refined pedagogy, this edition gives students a contemporary overview of organic principles and the tools for organizing and understanding reaction mechanisms and synthetic organic chemistry.

The book is also available as a Pearson eText and packaged with Mastering Chemistry.

Pearson eText is a simple-to-use, mobile-optimized, personalized reading experience that can be adopted on its own as the main course material. It lets students highlight, take notes, and review key vocabulary all in one place, even when offline. Seamlessly integrated videos and other rich media engage students and give them access to the help they need when they need it. Educators can easily share their own notes with students so they see the connection between their eText and what they learn in class motivating them to keep reading and keep learning.

Mastering combines trusted author content with digital tools and a flexible platform to personalize the learning experience and improve results for each student. Built for, and directly tied to the text, Mastering Chemistry enables an extension of learning, allowing students a platform to practice, learn, and apply outside of the classroom.

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3. Advanced Organic Chemistry, Part A: Structure and Mechanisms

Advanced Organic Chemistry has maintained its place as the premier textbook in the field, offering broad coverage of the structure, reactivity, and synthesis of organic compounds. The text contains extensive references to both the primary and review literature and provides examples of data and reactions that illustrate and document the generalizations. While the text assumes completion of an introductory course in organic chemistry, it reviews the fundamental concepts for each topic that is discussed.

The two-part this fifth edition has been substantially revised and reorganized for greater clarity. Part A begins with the fundamental concepts of structure and stereochemistry and the thermodynamic and kinetic aspects of reactivity. Major reaction types covered include nucleophilic substitution, addition reactions, carbanion and carbonyl chemistry, aromatic substitution, pericyclic reactions, radical reactions, and photochemistry.

The key features of this edition are the coverage of the importance of computational chemistry in modern organic chemistry, including applications to many specific reactions. Expanded coverage of stereoselectivity and enantioselectivity, including discussion of several examples of enantioselective reagents and catalysts. The concerted pericyclic reactions have been reorganized and now begin with cycloaddition reactions.

The treatment of photochemical reactions has been extensively updated to reflect both experimental and computational studies of the transient intermediates involved in photochemical reactions. A companion website provides digital models for studying the structure, reaction, and selectivity. Here students can view and manipulate computational models of reaction paths. These sites also provide exercises based on the detailed study of the computational models.

Several chapters in Part A conclude with topics – short excursions into specific issues such as a more detailed analysis of polar substituent effects, efforts to formulate substituent effects in terms of density functional theory, or the role of carbocations in petroleum refining.

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4. Modern Physical Organic Chemistry

This is the first modern physical organic chemistry textbook, written in the 21st century, to make explicit the many connections between physical organic chemistry and critical fields such as organometallic chemistry, materials chemistry, bioorganic chemistry, and biochemistry.

In the latter part of the 20th century, the field of physical organic chemistry went through dramatic changes, with an increased emphasis on noncovalent interactions and their roles in molecular recognition, supramolecular chemistry, and biology. The development of new materials with novel structural features; and the use of computational methods.

Contemporary chemists must be just as familiar with these newer fields as with the more established standard topics. This completely new landmark text is intended to bridge that gap. In addition to covering thoroughly, the core areas of physical organic chemistry, structure, and mechanism, the book will escort the practitioner of organic chemistry into a field that has been thoroughly updated.

The foundations and applicabilities of modern computational methods are also developed. Written by two distinguished researchers in this field, Modern Physical Organic Chemistry can serve as a text for a year-long course targeted at advanced undergraduates or first-year graduate students, as well as for a variety of shorter courses on selected aspects of the field. It will also serve as a landmark new reference textbook, and as an introduction to many of the more advanced topics of interest to modern researchers.

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5. Organic Chemistry I For Dummies (Math & Science)

Organic chemistry has a long-standing reputation as a difficult course. Organic Chemistry I For Dummies takes a simple approach to the topic, allowing you to grasp concepts at your own pace.

This fun, easy-to-understand guide explains the basic principles of organic chemistry in simple terms, providing insight into the language of organic chemists, the major classes of compounds, and top trouble spots. You’ll also get the nuts and bolts of tackling organic chemistry problems, from knowing where to start to spotting sneaky tricks that professors like to incorporate.

The book offers a clear explanation of organic chemistry principles, logical approaches to solving organic chemistry problems, and tips to help you ace your Organic Chemistry I course.

If you’re feeling challenged by organic chemistry, fear not! This easy-to-understand guide explains the basic principles in easy terms, practical tips on deciphering “organic speak”, how to determine a molecule’s structure, explanations of hydrocarbons, an overview of chemical reactions, and its specifics on spectrometry.

This book is recommended for organic chemistry class this coming up fall at suny Potsdam and if you wanted to get a head start in case you are a bit worried about the subject. So far you will feel confident after the first couple of chapters of this book which are easy to read and understand. You will love the light-hearted humor in the book that makes it a less frightening subject as well. After this, you will intend to read organic chemistry as a second language which seems like a more complicated version and in-depth book than organic chemistry for dummies.

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6. Organic Chemistry

This book provides mixed-science majors with the conceptual foundations, chemical logic, and problem-solving skills they need to reason their way to solutions for diverse problems in synthetic organic chemistry, biochemistry, and medicine. This edition builds a strong framework for thinking about organic chemistry by unifying principles of reactivity that students will apply throughout the course, discouraging memorization.

With more applications than any other textbook, Dr. Bruice consistently relates structure and reactivity to what occurs in our own cells and reinforces the fundamental reason for all chemical reactions–electrophiles react with nucleophiles. You will get new streamlined coverage of substitution and elimination, updated problem-solving strategies, synthesis skill-building applications, and tutorials guide students throughout fundamental and complex content in both the first and second semesters of the course.

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7. Organic Chemistry as a Second Language

Organic chemistry can be a challenging subject. Most students view organic chemistry as a subject requiring hours upon hours of memorization. Author David Klein’s Second Language books prove this is not true. Organic chemistry is one continuous story that actually makes sense if you pay attention. Offering a unique skill-building approach, these market-leading books teach students how to ask the right questions to solve problems, study more efficiently to avoid wasting time, and learn to speak the language of organic chemistry.

Covering the initial half of the course, Organic Chemistry as a Second Language: First Semester Topics reviews critical principles and explains their relevance to the rest of the course. Each section provides hands-on exercises and step-by-step explanations to help students fully comprehend classroom lectures and textbook content. Now in its fifth edition, this valuable study resource covers the characteristics of molecules, the nature of atomic bonds, the relationships between different types of molecules, drawing and naming molecules, and essential molecular reactions.

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