Best Organic Chemistry Book

Best Organic Chemistry Book

Interested in Nucleophilic substitution? Mass spectrometry? Aldehydes and ketones?

Congrats! Organic chemistry is going to be your field of study.

A profound science branch like it is, it will take you from the subatomic level to the search for cures of fatal illnesses.

A fascinating journey is ahead of you. And while on it, you’ll need best organic chemistry books you can get your hands on.

Today we’ll dig deep into the topic and select the best literature you should be using in order to reach great heights in the field.




Buy at










**Below, you’ll find more detailed review, but you can also click links above to see current prices and read customer’s reviews on Amazon.

What is Organic Chemistry?

If we would look for a definition of organic chemistry in a dictionary we would find out that this particular sub-discipline is the scientific study of structure, properties, and reactions of compounds based on carbon.

And, as every decent sci-fi fan knows, carbon makes a key component (45-50%) of all known life on this side of Milky Way.

The complex molecules where the carbon is bonded with other elements such as hydrogen and oxygen are so integral to us that scientists often like to call this powerhouse life-ingredient as “the king of the elements”, and the organic chemistry “the chemistry of life.”

Why is Organic Chemistry so Important?

The logic question would arise: All these organic chemistry abstract concepts – are they applicable to real life?

The truth is that organic chemistry has a footing in real life so strong that we couldn’t imagine the modern society without it. Here are some of the areas where chemists make the biggest difference.


Since we’re talking about “the chemistry of life” it is expected to find out that medicine is one of the prime fields where this discipline has an opportunity to shine. So much so, that we have to divide all the interconnections between medicine and organic chemistry in three large sections:

  • production of drugs (antidepressants, anesthetics, painkillers, and anti-cancer medicaments)
  • diagnostics
  • study of diseases


Petrochemicals are chemicals derived from petroleum and crude oil. Since both of them are remains of the huge life-forms that roamed the Earth before us humans, we can safely say that petrochemicals are subject of interest of organic chemistry.

This marriage is the reason we can count on a wide array of everyday products ranging from plastic and gasoline to food additives and dyes.


All the food materials we’re consuming are based on three organic compounds: carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The job of organic chemistry is to discover ways to help food production, and research the effects of nutrition on our lives.

If you’ve ever read the articles about the effects of different nutrients on pregnancy, workout, diet and health, you were, in fact, scratching the surface of what organic chemistry is all about.

Cleansing agents and cosmetic products

Organic solvents play a major role in a couple of very important industry processes like extracting drugs from plants and removing fatty matter from the pulp.

If that sounds too abstract, organic chemists also have a chance to play with soaps, beauty products and even perfumes.

Yes, organic chemistry is the reason why people smelled so nice ever since the times of ancient Egypt.

How to become an organic chemist?

Believe it or not, all these things are accomplished from the comfort of an ordinary lab. The career path that will lead you there is not that complicated either.

Bachelor’s degree will open you doors to positions such as research assistant, while with Master’s Degree in the pocket you can already count on a better-paid positions in serious synthetic chemistry projects.

However, due to the very nature of the job you are going to do, there are some important skills you should develop during your education:

  • Communication skills – Making a breakthrough means working in a huge team where effortlessly communicating your ideas in written and oral form is essential.
  • Leadership skills – Advancing the career ladder will require that you take the charge and start leading the projects yourself.
  • Orientation to details – Chemistry is not a science dealing with broad strokes. If you’re ever to be successful in it, you have to be very matriculate, and responsible.
  • Problem solving skills – Essentially, the job of an organic chemist consists of trying to solve the puzzles set up by Mother Nature.

How to choose the best organic chemistry textbook

There’s another thing though – Your future as a chemist will largely depend on how well you’ve understood the basic concepts of the discipline. And in order to do this, you will have to find the best possible introductory textbook.

Here are a couple of things you should take into account:

  • Recommended vs. required – Certain teachers insist on certain textbooks. Emailing them to check this can save you a lot of money
  • Illustrations – Chemistry is a science that can be excellently modeled through real life objects like illustrations. The more of these models, the better
  • Approachable language – You’ll have a much harder time understanding the subject if the text is burdened by unnecessary science lingo
  • Up to date information – Chemistry is a science that develops at a very fast pace. It is of tremendous importance that your textbook keeps up with the latest discoveries

Top 5 best organic chemistry textbooks currently on the market

Keeping all this in mind, here are the top five textbooks that should help you grasp the basic concepts of organic chemistry in the best and the most accessible manner.

Organic Chemistry, 2nd Edition Standalone Book – A textbook for problem-solvers

by David R. Klein

In regards to the topics it is covering, Organic Chemistry by David R. Klein is a pretty standard two-semester chemistry textbook. What makes this edition stand out so much is the way in which the author decided to explain these topics.

Namely, unlike some other prominent chemists, Klein decides to write in a manner that will encourage problem-solving and develop strong skills alongside theoretical knowledge.

Naturally, the lessons are accompanied by a lot of interesting and engaging examples, that further help the cause Klein has embraced through his writing.

It should also be mentioned that the textbook features a very rich graphic design, that does a great job bringing some of the more abstract concepts of Organic Chemistry closer to the students.

However, Klein’s writing approach definitely has some downsides. For instance, while problem-solving may be appealing learning method to some types of students, other would benefit as much from more detailed explanations.

So, the bottom line is that, if you are geared more towards practical solutions than theory, Klein’