The Best Organic Chemistry Textbooks of 2021

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you make a purchase through our links, at no cost to you.

Spread the love

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on pinterest
Pinterest

Are you looking for the best organic chemistry textbook for college? Are you struggling to get through your organic chemistry classes and merely looking for a list of organic chemistry books to help you through your studies? Luckily, we have got you covered.

Organic chemistry can be a very demanding course. Imagine studying as hard as you can every night only to find that you are still failing your class. For some reason, nothing in your textbook is making sense, and you can’t seem to grasp the content. If this describes you, it looks like you may need to invest in a supplemental textbook to get you through the course.

That is where we come in. This list will provide you with textbooks that will give you the best organic chemistry help. We will also help you figure out how to choose a text that will work for you and not against you. Learning doesn’t have to be a chore. Keep reading to find some of the best and most recommended organic chemistry books.

If you want to just get back to studying, get our top choice for organic chemistry textbooks here.

Our Top Favorite
Organic Chemistry
Our Top Runner Up
Organic Chemistry as a Second Language
Our Top Value Pick
Organic Chemistry (MasteringChemistry)
Book Title
Organic Chemistry 2nd Edition
Organic Chemistry As a Second Language: First Semester Topics
Organic Chemistry
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Favorite
Organic Chemistry
Book Title
Organic Chemistry 2nd Edition
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Runner Up
Organic Chemistry as a Second Language
Book Title
Organic Chemistry As a Second Language: First Semester Topics
Prime Eligible?
Our Top Value Pick
Organic Chemistry (MasteringChemistry)
Book Title
Organic Chemistry
Prime Eligible?

Last update: 2021-07-28

Our Favorites for Best Organic Chemistry Textbooks

Organic Chemistry 2nd Edition by Jonathan Clayden, Nick Greeves, Stuart Warren

Organic Chemistry by Clayden, is considered to be the bible for organic chemistry. No matter who you ask, student, or professional, this text is one of the most recommended books. This alone quickly makes it the best book for organic chemistry. Organic Chemistry is a text which is student-centered and motivating to a variety of students.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Organic chemistry, 2nd edition, is built on three guiding principles. These three principles include making sure that the text has an explanatory, evidence-based, and mechanistic approach. The book encourages them not just to know the material but to understand the why behind it.
  • The first four chapters of the text aim to introduce the student to organic chemistry. This includes providing the importance and use of organic chemistry as well as explaining the molecular structure and drawing molecules.
  • Yellow boxes can be found throughout the textbook, which provides the student with the most critical information. This information includes vital data or even summaries.
  • Green margin notes are also provided throughout the text to explain or expand on concepts, which may require a little more clarity. These boxes are essential when you read through a chapter for the first time.
  • Though four chapters have been removed from the text, the authors have made them available online for download. The authors have also made the 3D organic structure and reactions available online for your review with Chemtube3D.
  • At the end of each chapter, students will find information on where to find further readings. One book can’t contain everything that you need to know about Organic Chemistry. Therefore, several references have been mentioned throughout the text.

Why Choose This Organic Chemistry Book:

  • If you are looking for an organic chemistry textbook that emphasizes the chemical structures, this is it. All structures are intentionally shown in red to emphasize their importance.
  • Many users of Clayden’s texts say that it is the best modern book for learning organic chemistry. Readers also mention that the text is written in a manner that is honest, casual, and admits to uncertainty when it exists.
  • Clayden's Organic Chemistry provides an abundance of information in a manner that is digestible and attractive.
  • Even if you are progressing in your tenure as a student or professional, this is an excellent text to keep around as a reference. Many readers refer back to the material when they need a refresher or are looking to explain topics they may not be as familiar with.

On Sale
Organic Chemistry
  • Oxford University Press USA
  • Clayden, Jonathan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-07-28


Advanced Organic Chemistry, Part A: Structure and Mechanisms 5th Edition by Francis A. Carey, Richard J. Sundberg

Advanced Organic Chemistry Part A is the first of two textbooks by Francis Carey ad Richard Sundberg. The text covers fundamental topics concerning the structure and basic mechanistic types. This text represents half of the foundational information needed for organic chemistry. The book even offers companion websites so that students can see 3D models accurately represented.

What Makes it Unique:

  • The book opens with the basics of organic chemistry. This includes chemical bonding and structure, as well as principles in stereochemistry.
  • The text is well organized and provides a multitude of examples, problems, and explanations. Advanced Organic Chemistry, Part A, is easy to follow and great when used alongside your professor’s guidance.
  • This is an excellent book for students to utilize as they build their knowledge. Some information may go over their heads as a beginning student but make more sense down the line making it a great book to grow with.
  • Once you have finished this text, move on two-part b to continue your learning. Advanced Organic Chemistry: Part B: Reaction and Synthesis can be purchased separately. This text can stand alone or be used in conjunction with Part A

Why Choose This Organic Chemistry Book:

  • If you are looking for a colorful text with several charts and graphs, this may not be the textbook for you. Though the book does present several 2D structural representations of bonds. However, unlike Clayden’s Organic Chemistry, you will not find color-coded notes within the text or margins.
  • If you are a stickler for editing, this may not be the text for you. Though many students found it extremely helpful and beneficial, many readers pointed out that it was poorly edited. There are some errors in the problems which have been added to this edition as well as being mediocrely written in some places.

On Sale
Advanced Organic Chemistry, Part A: Structure and Mechanisms
  • Springer
  • Carey, Francis A. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-07-28


Organic Chemistry by David R. Klein

David Klein is no stranger to creating books that will help students understand organic chemistry as he is also the author of Organic Chemistry as a Second Language books. With this text, Klein takes a skills-based approach to learn as he places heavy emphasis on developing the skills needed to back the concepts of Organic Chemistry.

What Makes it Unique:

  • The book boasts dynamic coloring as well as eye-catching illustrations making everything aesthetically pleasing and easy to read.
  • The “Apply the Skill” and “Practice the Skill” areas of the text make sure that students are adequately able to not only practice and master a skill but apply it in a variety of ways. It even provides a need for more practice options to direct students to similar problems that require the same ability.
  • The text provides an abundance of practice problems for users to utilize. This includes practice problems, integrated problems, challenge problems, and even conceptual checkpoints.
  • Medically Speaking boxes are placed throughout the text. These boxes feature medicinal and pharmaceutical applications in the real world. Practically speaking boxes are also filtered throughout the book, which provides insight into commercial applications of organic chemistry.
  • Every chapter begins with a question entitled “Did You Ever Wonder.” This question is then revisited throughout the section. This question is always explained somewhere in the context of the chapter. This can be in the general text or within specialty areas like Medically Speaking or Practically Speaking.
  • David Klein devotes two chapters, chapter six and chapter twelve entirely to the development of skills. These chapters are unique to his text and generally not found in other organic chemistry textbooks. The skills acquired in this chapter include skills for drawing mechanisms and preparation of students for proposing syntheses. These chapters also do not require lectures as they are meant for students to go through on their own.

Why Choose This Organic Chemistry Book:

  • If you are looking to focus on the skills you need to progress in organic chemistry, this is the perfect option.
  • Organic Chemistry can also be paired with WileyPlus. Wileyplus provides additional content that students can use to study. This includes end of chapter information, practical assignments, and a test bank. The reaction explorer also allows students to learn and practice mechanisms, reactions, and syntheses.

On Sale
Organic Chemistry
  • Klein, David R. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1312 Pages - 08/14/2017 (Publication Date) - Wiley (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-07-28


Runner Ups for Best Organic Chemistry Textbooks

Organic Chemistry As a Second Language: First Semester Topics By David Klein

Organic Chemistry As a Second Language is another text which comes highly recommended to students looking to get a grasp on Organic Chemistry. This text is the first part of two options. The second part is Organic Chemistry As a Second Language: Second Semester Topics. Both books aim to present topics clearly, provide relevant information, and provide an abundance of examples. David Klein also wants to help you do better and even study more effectively.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Organic Chemistry As a Second Language can be used as a supplemental text to your current Organic Chemistry textbook. This organic chemistry practice book is perfect if you are struggling to grasp the material. It will provide you with tools and tips for better understanding your in-class lectures.
  • The text aims to help students understand an underlying principle and apply that principle to solve problems. It presents problem-solving in a step by step manner.
  • Each chapter focuses on a different skill that many students may struggle with. For example, The text opens with line drawing and provides students with a general overview of why it is used and goes into how to create line drawings.
  • After providing an overview as well as a brief instructional lesson, students are then presented with an abundance of exercises. These exercises allow students to practice material that they may be struggling with in their courses. The answers to these exercises can be found at the end of the text for your review.
  • The text even includes common mistakes that students should avoid when solving problems.

Why Choose This Organic Chemistry Book:

  • Many students don’t recommend starting organic chemistry without having this textbook. Some even say that Organic Chemistry As a Second Language: First Semester Topics takes away the grief and exhaustion that comes with taking Organic chemistry.
  • David Klein's book is one that many students swear by. Several students have even gone as far as saying that the text saved their grade in their Organic chemistry class.
  • If you are looking for something to help you before you start organic chemistry, this is it. If you have time, most students recommend reading through this text before beginning your course to make things flow more smoothly.

Organic Chemistry as a Second Language
  • Klein, David R. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 08/06/2019 (Publication Date) - Wiley (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-07-28


Organic Chemistry (Global Edition) by Paula Yurkanis Bruice

Organic Chemistry is a text for mixed science majors which aims to create a framework for organic chemistry. The books focus on showing similarities in reaction types and unifying principles of reactivity.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Students who are taking the MCATs can now receive an advantage with the latest edition. Learning outcomes have been added for MCAT preparation, as well as adding MCAT style questions on the study guide.
  • Bruice’s text also provides students with strategies for solving problems. Material listed with a “Learn the strategy” label is critical for students to know. Exercises have also been added with a label titled “use the strategy” so that students can put the information they learn into practice.
  • Organic Chemistry also works to close the gaps between biochemistry and organic chemistry. This is done by bridging the gaps using bio-organic chemistry, which is seen in the later chapters of the textbook.
  • The mix of end of chapter reviews, as well as the end of chapter reaction problems, ensure that students are grasping the content and know precisely how reactions occur.
  • MasteringChemistry is available for students to purchase with this textbook for watching tutorials, taking assessments, and completing online homework. It even provides students with study modules that they can complete before coming to class.
  • Pearson eText allows students to have access to the text wherever they go. It provides notetaking functionality and the ability to read your textbook right on your mobile phone.

Why Choose This Organic Chemistry Book:

  • Based on previous readers, this textbook does a great job of simplifying the information to a level that someone who is not an organic chemistry whiz could understand. The text provides an abundance of helpful figures, and items are thoroughly explained.
  • Students have also recommended this text for students looking to teach themselves organic chemistry.
  • No matter what book you use, Organic Chemistry will not be an easy subject to grasp. However, Organic Chemistry by Bruice is well written and organized, which provides ease of use and a greater understanding of the content in the long run.

Organic Chemistry, Global Edition
  • Bruice, Paula Yurkanis (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1344 Pages - 06/20/2016 (Publication Date) - Pearson (Publisher)

Last update: 2021-07-28


Modern Physical Organic Chemistry by Eric V. Anslyn, Dennis A. Dougherty

Modern Physical Organic Chemistry is an excellent text for teachers, researchers, and even chemistry professionals. This is a text which may not be easily digestible for undergraduate students. The book is aimed at making connections between a variety of chemistry fields and physical organic chemistry. This is considered a landmark text within its industry.

What Makes it Unique:

  • The book opens with lessons on molecular orbital theory. Rather than using math to teach this lesson as traditional books would, Modern Physical Organic chemistry uses visualizations and figures. It is not as mathematical as you would expect an organic chemistry book to be.
  • Modern Physical Organic Chemistry teaches the principles behind the principles of organic chemistry. The text is very detailed and provides insight into the language of chemistry. With that being said, skipping chapters in this text is not recommended.

Why Choose This Organic Chemistry Book:

  • This is a text which is geared toward advanced undergraduate and first-year graduate students.
  • Modern Physical Organic Chemistry can also be used as a reference text or as an introduction to advanced chemistry.
  • Many students say that the text does a great job covering basics, and even though there is material in the book which they may not be familiar with, it is still easy to follow.
  • If you want to learn physical organic chemistry without focusing on the computation aspects, this is the text for you. This is not an excellent book for students looking to focus on mathematical derivations.

On Sale
Modern Physical Organic Chemistry
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Ansyln, Eric V. (Author)

Last update: 2021-07-28


Value Picks for Best Organic Chemistry Textbooks

Organic Chemistry by Leroy G. Wade

Leroy Wade’s Organic Chemistry is a text that aims to help students grasp the necessary principles. It is not overwhelming and jargon-heavy but instead boasts a perfect balance. Many say that the text is much easier to understand than other organic chemistry books, and the summaries of reactions at the end of each chapter made it not just helpful but easy to navigate.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Each chapter begins with an image that depicts the chapter’s core concept in the real world. This aids in showing students that the material they are learning is relevant and being applied regularly. The captions will explain how the images relate to the chapter.
  • Within this text, the authors have attempted to help students grasp the basic principles of Organic Chemistry. They recommend that you don’t try to memorize your way through the course but to truly understand the material and apply it.
  • Starburst Summaries allow students to see visual links between synthetically related functional groups. These links will aid students in understanding the potential reactions that can occur.
  • Organic Chemistry also includes several critical principles and problem-solving strategies that have been littered throughout the text. These features add the student in understanding how to solve a variety of problem types as well as having a reference to refer to when they have trouble.
  • More than 80 Mechanism Boxes can also be found throughout the textbook. These boxes will help the student to see how reactions occur by zooming into each step of the reaction.
  • Application boxes can be found throughout the margins of the text. These boxes aim to show students how reactions and other concepts are utilized in various areas of real life.

Why Choose This Organic Chemistry Book:

  • Many students found the text information and helpful. This text is often used as a required text for organic chemistry one and two.
  • Wade's Organic Chemistry provides an abundance of examples throughout each chapter to ensure that students cannot only grasp the concept but put it into practice.
  • If you are looking for a text to study with that will generally flow with the pace of your course, this is an excellent option.

On Sale
Organic Chemistry (MasteringChemistry)
  • May may not contain online access card.
  • Hardcover Book
  • Wade, Leroy (Author)

Last update: 2021-07-28


Organic Chemistry I for Dummies

The For Dummies Series is back with another fantastic and popular textbook. Organic Chemistry for Dummies 1 provides an easy way to take the confusion out of Organic Chemistry. Though chemistry in itself will never be a subject that we can call easy, there are numerous resources students can use to reduce their headache and grasp the material more accessible. This book is indeed one of those resources.

What Makes it Unique:

  • Organic Chemistry for Dummies is a text which aims to reduce the amount of jargon and provide understandable English explanations. The book has a conversational tone and breaks things down, which you may not understand. Some users even say the book is light-hearted as there are bits of humor scattered throughout it.
  • The text provides students with small tricks to complete problems and get to particular solutions. The book will give you a great starting point for your organic chemistry course.
  • The text covers a variety of topics like mass spectrometry, dissecting atoms, reactions, and much more.
  • Within the text, you will also find tips for how to structure a molecule, tips for preparing for their exams, and information on hydrocarbons.
  • If you are looking to find more information to suit your organic chemistry needs, Organic Chemistry Part 2 is an excellent option for your second-semester organic chemistry course.

Why Choose This Organic Chemistry Book:

  • If you are in the first semester of your organic chemistry course, then you need this book. It is cheaper than a traditional textbook and will help students tremendously.
  • This text would be excellent as a refresher or used in conjunction with your coursebook and lecture notes.

On Sale
Organic Chemistry I For Dummies (For Dummies (Lifestyle))
  • For Dummies
  • Winter, Arthur (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-07-28


Organic Chemistry 6th Edition by Janice Smith

Organic Chemistry is a popular option for students. It is a student-centered text. The author, Janice Smith, uses her background in education to create a book which student can easily learn and retain information from. The book is highly detailed but with limited paragraph usage. Instead, Smith leans on bulleted lists and illustrations.

What Makes it Unique:

  • This book eases the worry of taking organic chemistry. Organic Chemistry offers detailed explanations, numerous samples, and an abundance of problems to practice with. Janice Smith includes the answer to all end of chapter questions rather than just the odd-numbered questions.
  • This text was developed from Janice Smith’s lecture and teaching notes throughout the tenure of her career. Organic Chemistry was built on creating a book with relevant applications and written in a student-friendly manner. This includes using lists, summaries, and several illustrations.
  • The text begins with a chapter of refresher material. Chapter 1 covers Lewis structures, molecular geometry, hybridization, and polar bonding. Though most of this information is covered
  • Being that synthesis is one of the most challenging subjects for beginning organic chemistry students, the author attempts to introduce it to students in small doses.

Why Choose This Organic Chemistry Book:

  • Organic Chemistry is often a required textbook in many college-level courses.
  • The texts boast a large number of practice materials throughout the text, as well as at the end of every chapter.
  • If you are someone who likes margin notes, emphasized content, and highlighting throughout the text, this is a perfect option for you. These areas help to emphasize things that are important to remember.
  • This is one of the best ochem textbooks to keep as a reference for your studies. Being that it is not jargon-heavy, this can be an excellent text to refer back to when needed.

On Sale
Organic Chemistry
  • Hardcover Book
  • Smith, Janice (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Last update: 2021-07-28


How to Choose the Best Organic Chemistry Textbook for You

At this point, you may still be wondering, “what is the best organic chemistry textbook?”. However, the best textbook can be different for different people. Choosing the best Organic Chemistry book is not an easy task, and it can often be overwhelming. Before spending money, it is essential to do extensive research on what book is right for you. Though we have curated this list of some fantastic textbooks, you must be in tune with exactly what you are looking for to get benefit from them.

As you navigate the item on this list and even ones that are not, there are several questions you should ask yourself to make the right decision. Keep reading for the list and get ready to take your textbook search to the next level.

Are you self studying or taking an organic chemistry class?

This is a fundamental question to ask yourself as it will ultimately change the type of text that you are looking for. If you are looking for a book for a class, your search may be a little bit easier. Most times, professors provide students with a list of texts to choose from or even simply give them a required book to purchase.

If you are researching through a list like this one or one you receive from a professor, you can use the rest of the questions to narrow your search. If you are self-studying, your book will potentially need to be more thorough as you do not have a traditional educator to question.

Are you looking for a text that is computation heavy?

Though math is a large part of science, not all people can grasp information which weaves math into their explanations and concepts, and that is okay. For some, learning the information may be easier when done before learning the computational aspects. Everybody’s learning style is different, and the authors understand this. Their writing styles also vary.

It is possible to find books that do not zero in on the mathematical components of organic chemistry. For example, many readers say that Modern Physical Organic Chemistry by Eric V. Anslyn is one text that does a great job at this. On the contrary, if you are someone with a deep love for math, you can find textbooks that cater to as well. It’s all about maximizing the benefit that you get from any text.

Are you looking for an introductory orgo text or something more advanced?

Textbooks benefit several people outside of just students. Many people who are already in their fields purchase textbooks as a way to refresh on things they may not know, to stay current with the latest editions of their favorite textbooks, or simply as reference guides. Organic chemistry books can span an array of educational levels.

If you are a junior in college taking organic chemistry for the first time, its likely that you will not benefit from an advanced organic chemistry book or a physical organic chemistry book as you have not learned the foundational topics yet. If you are looking to get your feet wet and explore organic chemistry, it is recommended that you purchase a text which fits this need and not for the person you plan to be in the long run.

Are you struggling in your organic chemistry class and need extra help?

It is not uncommon for your required text to not fit your learning style. After all, a professor can not match each student with a separate book that fits them and still everyone else. Though Clayden’s Organic Chemistry book is a favorite, there is probably someone, somewhere that doesn’t find it helpful.

If you require extra help, it may be beneficial to look for an organic chemistry help book instead of a traditional textbook. This includes books like David Klein’s Organic Chemistry as a Second Language. This though not a conventional textbook, helps the student put the things they learn into practice and provides an abundance of examples and problems for them to work out.

What’s the best book for learning organic chemistry the first time?

If you are someone looking for a thorough text which will help you through Organic Chemistry, most students and faculty will recommend Organic Chemistry 2nd Edition by Jonathan Clayden, Nick Greeves, and Stuart Warren. This text is considered the Holy Grail of organic chemistry. It is loved by nearly everyone that touches it.

However, if you are not a student or someone with invest interest in organic chemistry, you may not want to spend money on purchasing an actual textbook. If you are more casually exploring organic chemistry and looking for an overview of the topic Organic Chemistry for Dummies would be a great option.

What type of textbook are you looking for and will you need companion software?

For some people, carrying around a large textbook is far from ideal. There are several other options readers can look into, outside of a physical textbook. Students may opt for ebooks through Amazon Kindle or, for select books, the Pearson ebook option.

It’s also important to know if you will need companion software either for your course or as a supplement for yourself. This software includes things like WileyPlus, Cengage, MyChemistryLab, and more. It can not only be beneficial for your professor, but tutorials, quizzes, and assessments online can also aid in showing you 3D structures and providing more practice.

How many organic chemistry practice problems do you need?

This is a hard question because not everyone will be at the same level of knowledge. For some students, it may take them five practice problems to grasp a concept and be able to put it in practice. However, for another student, it may take them 10 or 15 questions to understand the same idea.

There is no set number of problems that students should use as a benchmark when practicing material. We are sure that each of the authors of the textbooks on this list would recommend practicing as much as possible until you are comfortable with the content. Several students and professors say that the best way to understand Organic Chemistry is to practice it every day.

If science is a topic that comes easy for you, you may not need to do as many practice problems as someone who is struggling to understand the material. It is all relative to how you learn and your needs. Though we won’t provide a set number of problems for you to practice, we will recommend that you practice as much as your schedule allows, though every day would be ideal.

Wrapping Up the Best Organic Chemistry Textbooks

There are several exceptional books on this list to aid you in jumpstarting your organic chemistry knowledge and collection. Some of these books would be great reference texts for students as well as professionals. If you are looking for the holy grail of organic chemistry books, Clayden’s organic chemistry book is just that. The book is built based on making organic chemistry digestible and easy to learn.

If you are looking for a text which will aid you in your organic chemistry journey or help you if you are struggling, David Klein’s Organic Chemistry As a Second Language: First Semester is an excellent starter text. You can use this before your course starts or use it as your in-class lecture progresses. All of the books on this list are meant to help you become a better student, educator, and potentially chemist.

If you are having trouble picking the right text for yourself, use the questions listed above as a starting point. They will aid you in selecting a book that is perfect for you and your needs precisely. Overall, we hope this list has found you well and good luck on your organic chemistry journey.

If you found this post helpful, check out our other comprehensive textbook reviews.

If you’re looking for the best physical chemistry textbooks, check out our post on that here.

Professor Conquer
Professor Conquer

Professor Conquer started Conquer Your Exam in 2018 to help students feel more confident and better prepared for their tough tests. Prof excelled in high school, graduating top of his class and receiving admissions into several Ivy League and top 15 schools. He has helped many students through the years tutoring and mentoring K-12, consulting seniors through the college admissions process, and writing extensive how-to guides for school.

If you found this helpful, help us out by sharing this post!

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on pinterest
Pinterest

Readers of this post also read...