The 10 Best Organic Chemistry Textbooks

video play icon 10 Best Organic Chemistry Textbooks

This wiki has been updated 15 times since it was first published in February of 2019. Knowledge of organic chemistry is critical to myriad industries, and anyone considering a career in a related field will need a solid grounding in the subject. Penned by various experts, these textbooks are designed to give you that and more by distilling complex topics into navigable formats supplemented with useful pedagogy, online materials, and plenty of opportunities to practice. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.

1. Organic Chemistry, 9th Edition

2. Organic Chemistry as a Second Language

3. Organic Chemistry, 2nd Edition

Editor's Notes

November 11, 2020:

It is an understatement to say that there is a lot to learn when it comes to organic chemistry, which is why we made it a priority to maintain the balance this list had between fundamental texts meant to give beginners a grounding and tomes aimed at students at the higher level. We decided to remove Arrow-Pushing in Organic Chemistry during this update, although it's still helpful for those who appreciate its unconventional approach.

We felt that its place would be better served with Organic Chemistry, 8th Edition, an option meant for mixed-major students looking at biochemistry and medicine in addition to organic chemistry. This one looks for unifying concepts and principles that are applicable in a range of contexts to get readers into a problem-solving mindset that can help them reason through myriad situations. Outside of bringing this new text on, you'll also find that Organic Chemistry as a Second Language is now in its newest fifth edition. The author, David Klein, is also responsible for Organic Chemistry, 2nd Edition, and both of these volumes stand out for beginners thanks to Klein's knack for separating crucial information from filler and using straightforward and accessible writing.

As far as advanced texts go, Introduction to Strategies for Organic Synthesis caters to a very specific stage in a student's schooling when they make the leap from sophomore to senior material. It works to bridge the gap between organic chemistry fundamentals and advanced synthesis problems by way of lots of review and a gentle introduction to more rigorous coursework.

March 15, 2019:

We included a wide array of books on this list so that users could have choices that represent the full spectrum of the field. For example, titles like Organic Chemistry, 9th Edition, Organic Chemistry, 2nd Edition, and Oxford Organic Chemistry are ideal for those who need a comprehensive debriefing, while Advanced Organic Chemistry: Part B is for the graduate student. We also thought it would be handy to have tomes that catered to beginners, such as Organic Chemistry I For Dummies, in addition to volumes tailored to long-term pupils, like Introduction to Strategies for Organic Synthesis, which serves as a stepping stone to higher-level courses, and Organic Chemistry as a Second Language, which is pared down to help supplement other textbooks and classes. For good measure, we added the wide-ranging General, Organic, & Biological Chemistry and Arrow-Pushing in Organic Chemistry for learners who want to take an unorthodox approach.

Special Honors

Khan Academy Organic Chemistry Khan Academy provides free courses to anyone who wants to learn. Those looking to dabble in the discipline or get additional help should check out their self-paced organic chemistry class, which begins with fundamental concepts and builds to complex theories. Each unit is broken down into manageable chunks that use explanatory video lessons to help broaden understanding. khanacademy.org

Nature Research Nature Research is a science journal that publishes accessible work regarding significant discoveries and findings, primary research, reviews, critical comment, news, and analysis. Aspiring and professional scientists can browse through myriad subjects, from genetics to zoology to organic chemistry. nature.com

4. Modern Physical Organic Chemistry

5. Organic Chemistry, 8th Edition

6. Introduction to Strategies for Organic Synthesis

7. Oxford Organic Chemistry

8. Advanced Organic Chemistry: Part B

9. General, Organic, & Biological Chemistry

10. Organic Chemistry I For Dummies


Gia Vescovi-Chiordi
Last updated on November 13, 2020 by Gia Vescovi-Chiordi

Born in Arizona, Gia is a writer and autodidact who fled the heat of the desert for California, where she enjoys drinking beer, overanalyzing the minutiae of life, and channeling Rick Steves. After arriving in Los Angeles a decade ago, she quickly nabbed a copywriting job at a major clothing company and derived years of editing and proofreading experience from her tenure there, all while sharpening her skills further with myriad freelance projects. In her spare time, she teaches herself French and Italian, has earned an ESL teaching certificate, traveled extensively throughout Europe and the United States, and unashamedly devours television shows and books. The result of these pursuits is expertise in fashion, travel, beauty, literature, textbooks, and pop culture, in addition to whatever obsession consumes her next.


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