15 Best Organic Chemistry Books for Undergraduate Students

Organic chemistry is one of the most important branches of chemistry that deals with the structure, composition, properties, preparation, and reactions of carbon-containing compounds. It is a highly creative branch of science that allows chemists to develop new compounds for human welfare and find better ways of synthesizing existing ones.

Organic chemistry finds application in a wide range of industries such as plastics, cosmetics, agrochemicals, dyestuff, petrochemicals, food, and so on. It forms the very foundation of fields such as biotechnology, biochemistry, and medicine. It plays a most vital role in the study of life and all the chemical reactions related to life.

If you’re an undergraduate studying to get a degree in organic chemistry, then you should make sure that you study from a standard textbook by a renowned author(s). It will help you develop a thorough understanding of the numerous concepts involved in this subject.

Best Organic Chemistry Books for Undergraduate students

Best Organic Chemistry Books Presentation

Let us now take a look at my picks for the fifteen best organic chemistry books available for undergraduate students. I have provided the individual links to purchase each book as well.

1. Organic Chemistry as a Second Language

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

Author – David R. Klein

David Klein, the renowned author of the series of Second Language books, has worked hard to show that organic chemistry is not just another subject that requires hours of rote memorization. With this excellent book, he presents the subject in the form of an engaging story that makes perfect sense if you follow it closely.

The book is available in two different volumes covering first and second-semester topics respectively. It reviews core concepts thoroughly and provides effective exercises with stepwise explanations to help students properly understand their textbook content and classroom lectures. The fifth edition of the book adds more details about various topics such as:

  • The characteristics of molecules
  • The relationships between different types of molecules
  • Important molecular reactions
  • The nature of atomic bonds
  • Drawing and naming molecules
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Also available in Kindle format

2. Organic Chemistry: Principles and Mechanisms

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Organic Chemistry: Principles and Mechanisms
  • Karty, Joel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1584 Pages - 07/01/2018 (Publication Date) - W. W. Norton & Company (Publisher)

Author – Joel Karty

Many students find organic chemistry overwhelming and teeming with way too many concepts. As a result, they resort to rote memorization and fail to grasp the essence of the subject. Organic Chemistry: Principles and Mechanisms aims to show that one can solve nearly every problem once they understand the mechanisms of organic chemistry well. The second edition of the book opts for a refreshing but proven approach to getting the reader acquainted with the mechanism of organic reactions.

Author Joel Karty earned his BS in chemistry at the University of Puget Sound and his Ph.D. at Stanford University. In late 2001, he started teaching at Elon University and presently serves as a full professor over there. He mainly teaches organic and general chemistry, along with physical chemistry. His research interests include studying the contributions of resonance and inductive effects in fundamental chemical systems, and the mechanism of pattern formation in periodic precipitation reactions.

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3. Organic Chemistry for Dummies

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Organic Chemistry I For Dummies (For Dummies (Math & Science))
  • For Dummies
  • Winter, Arthur (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Author – Arthur Winter

Organic Chemistry for Dummies is an engaging and easy-to-read guide that explains the fundamentals of organic chemistry in simple terms. Allowing you to grasp concepts comfortably at your own pace, it masterfully explains the language of organic chemists, the major classes of organic compounds, and areas that students commonly find difficult.

Topics covered by the book include:

  • The basics of organic chemistry
  • Acidity and basicity
  • Stereochemistry and drawing structures
  • Substitution and elimination reactions
  • Functional groups including alcohols, aromatic compounds, conjugated alkenes, and much more
  • Modern techniques such as IR spectroscopy and mass spectrometry
  • Interesting information about historically important organic chemists and discoveries

Author Arthur Winter is a professor of chemistry at Iowa State University. He received his Ph.D. at the University of Mary in 2007 where his research involved studying extremely short-lived reactive intermediates using laser spectroscopy.

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Kindle Version

Also see: 15 Best Chemistry YouTube Channels for Chemistry Lovers

4. Organic Chemistry

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Organic Chemistry
  • Hardcover Book
  • McMurry, John E. (Author)

Author – John E. McMurry

John McMurry’s Organic Chemistry is widely considered to be one of the most clearly written books available for the subject. With the help of his lucid writing and ability to demonstrate the beauty and logic of organic chemistry, the author provides a most rewarding and fulfilling reading experience to the student. Moreover, the book features numerous practice problems to help you strengthen your newly acquired knowledge.

McMurry received his BA from Harvard University and his Ph.D. from Columbia University. He has been honored with numerous prestigious awards such as the Alexander von Humboldt Senior Scientist Award, the Max Planck Research Award, and the National Institutes of Health Career Development Award.

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5. Organic Chemistry

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Organic Chemistry
  • Klein, David R. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1376 Pages - 12/22/2020 (Publication Date) - Wiley (Publisher)

Author – David R. Klein

Dr. David Klein’s Organic Chemistry provides a skills-based approach to bridge the gap between theoretical and practical organic chemistry. The author makes the content easy to understand and strives to develop their problem-solving skills with the help of applied exercises and activities. The book features his renowned SkillBuilder program that helps students effectively develop the core skills necessary to learn organic chemistry.

The fourth edition of Organic Chemistry comes with the new and improved WileyPLUS – an immersive online environment that is loaded with interactive study tools, resources, and strategies tailored for different learning styles.

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6. Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry

Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry
  • McMurry,John McMurry,John E. McMurry (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 674 Pages - 10/07/2022 (Publication Date) - Cengage Learning, Inc (Publisher)

Author – John E. McMurry

In Fundamentals of Organic Chemistry, John McMurray presents crisp and concise content that gives readers a deep understanding of the mechanisms of organic chemistry. Moreover, the new edition comes with additional material that shows how organic chemistry applies to our everyday lives. It also features redrawn and enhanced chemical structures to help students visualize important concepts better. Also, it lays greater emphasis on the biological significance of organic chemistry.

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7. Organic Chemistry

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Author – William H. Brown, Brent L. Iverson, and Eric Anslyn

The seventh edition of Organic Chemistry focuses on “how to” skills and features end-of-chapter in-text mini study guides, a running margin glossary, and a large number of in-chapter problems and examples than any other book presently available in the market. The authors present reaction mechanisms in a stepwise manner to help the reader understand them better. They also highlight the similarities between related mechanisms using four important characteristics:

  • Breaking a bond
  • Creating a new bond
  • Adding a proton
  • Removing a proton

The book also features innovative roadmap problems, several biological examples for premedical students, numerous in-text learning tools, and integration with an online homework and tutorial system.

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8. Organic Chemistry: A Short Course

Organic Chemistry: A Short Course
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Hart, Harold (Author)

Author – Harold Hart, Christopher M. Hadad, Leslie E. Craine

With an engaging visual style and several practical, real-life applications, Organic Chemistry: A Short Course provides an approach, writing style, and range of topics well suited to non-chemistry science majors. The thirteenth edition features an updated art program and new content to keep the reader updated with important developments in the field of organic chemistry. It comes with a newly revised lab manual as well.

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9. Structure and Reactivity in Organic Chemistry

Structure and Reactivity in Organic Chemistry
  • Maskill, Howard (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 95 Pages - 12/15/1999 (Publication Date) - Oxford University Press (Publisher)

Author – Howard Maskill

Intended for advanced undergraduates, this book takes a non-mathematical approach to certain areas of physical and mechanistic organic chemistry. These topics, although essential in every modern chemistry degree, are usually not found in any standard organic chemistry textbook for undergraduates.

Starting with the study of intermolecular reactions and molecular vibrations, the book proceeds to introduce the use of potential energy profiles and reaction maps to describe organic chemical transformations. It then explores the relationship between kinetics and organic reaction mechanisms, leading to chapters on catalysis and isotope effects in mechanistic organic chemistry.

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10. Organic Chemistry

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

Author – L. G. Wade Jr

Wade’s Organic Chemistry is well-known for its clarity and precision. It strives to maintain scientific rigor and constantly hold the readers’ attention at the same time. The author takes a systematic and logical approach to explain the core concepts of organic reactivity and mechanisms of organic reactions.

By virtue of this refreshing approach, the student will be able to develop problem-solving strategies and the scientific intuition that they will have to apply in their future studies and research work. Every chapter in the eighth edition comes with important features such as new chapter goals, essential problem-solving skills, mechanism boxes, and more.

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

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11. Organic Chemistry

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Organic Chemistry
  • Jones Jr., Maitland (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1344 Pages - 02/01/2014 (Publication Date) - W. W. Norton & Company (Publisher)

Author – Maitland Jones Jr. and Steven A. Fleming

Organic Chemistry by Maitland Jones Jr. and Steven Fleming is intended for all kinds of students – from those who rely on it to those who need it as a reference. Its expansive “visualize, understand, draw” sections help the reader draw molecule properly, visualize how they are formed, and understand how reactions take place.

The fifth edition of the book has been revised to be more accessible and to focus on the fundamentals of the subject. It provides satisfactory problem-solving practice as well.

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12. Organic Chemistry: Structure and Function

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Organic Chemistry: Structure and Function
  • Hardcover Book
  • Vollhardt, K. Peter C. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Author – K. Peter C. Vollhardt and Neil E. Schore

Vollhardt and Schore are among the most renowned educators and researchers in the field of organic chemistry. In this book, they take a functional group approach while laying great emphasis on understanding the influence of molecular structure on the functioning of that molecule in chemical reactions. In this manner, the reader is able to better understand reaction mechanisms and solve practical problems.

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13. Organic Chemistry

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Organic Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry 6th Edition by Janice Smith.
  • Smith, Janice (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Author – Janice Smith

Janice Smith’s Organic Chemistry is like a breath of fresh air among its peers. It is notable for its student-friendly format- concisely written bulleted lists, limited use of text paragraphs, and properly labeled illustrations for teaching. The sixth edition features a stylish new look and updated chemical structures.

14. Essential Organic Chemistry

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Essential Organic Chemistry (MasteringChemistry)
  • Brand New - Never used
  • Hardcover Book
  • Bruice, Paula (Author)

Author – Paula Yurkanis Bruice

Essential Organic Chemistry aims to develop students’ analytical reasoning and problem-solving skills. Paula Bruice has organized the text around reaction similarities and added several contemporary biochemical connections. She discourages rote memorization and motivates students to grasp the fundamental reasoning behind organic reactivity – namely, electrophiles react with nucleophiles.

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15. Organic Chemistry

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Organic Chemistry
  • Hardcover Book
  • Solomons, T. W. Graham (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Author – T.W. Graham Solomons, Craig B. Fryhle, and Scott A. Snyder

Solomons, Fryhle, and Snyder are known for their excellence in teaching and preparing students for success in their organic chemistry classes and beyond. The twelfth edition of Organic Chemistry continues that tradition and emphasizes the relationship between structure and reactivity.

For that purpose, the content is organized to combine the choicest features of a functional group approach with one that mostly deals with reaction mechanisms. The authors also demonstrate the biological significance of organic molecules and reactions whenever possible.

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The fifteen books listed above are all excellent and present the core concepts of organic chemistry to undergraduates in an effective and engaging manner. I hope you choose a good entry from the list and use it to excel in your examinations and overall career.

Last update on 2022-08-26 using Amazon Product Advertising API