Organic Chemistry: A Short Course

Organic Chemistry: A Short Course

Offering practical, real-life applications, coverage of basic concepts, and an engaging visual style, this proven book offers a writing style, approach, and selection of topics ideal for non-chemistry science majors. This edition offers an updated, dynamic art program (online, on CD, and in the text), new content to keep you current with developments in the organic chemistry field, and a revised lab manual.


  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning; 13 edition (January 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1111425566
  • ISBN-13: 978-1111425562
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
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  1. I’m not a big fan of chemistry or anything, but this was actually a pretty useful book. It is easy to read, has lots of examples, and systematically goes through each type of organic molecule you might encounter and tells you how to recognize one, name it, what it’s chemical properties are, some info about where they are found and how they’re used, and how they are made, broken down, and how they react with other compounds.

    One thing that is lacking is how a lot of the chemistry actually works sometimes. They might just show the reactants and the products and expect you to memorize it, rather than learning the process behind it. But, I guess that’s part of the limitations of it being a ‘short course’…..

  2. I would recommend Organic Chemistry: A Short Course to anyone learning basic ochem. This book is meant to be an introduction to organic chemistry, but it is very information-dense and informative, and introduces all the basics. (Synthesis and reactions of twelve of the major classes of organic molecules.) The chapters are concise, organized, and very clearly written. The questions at the end of each chapter were helpful for me and usually align well with the solutions manual. (If you’ve used many textbooks you know that often solutions don’t align with text problems.) I didn’t find any glaring errors in the text.

    This past spring I took an extension course through UC Berkeley that was *very* short on instruction. Each lesson had an assigned chapter from this book, as well as assigned questions from the end of the chapter. There were no video lectures, no modules with supplementary instruction or anything. (I don’t really recommend UC Berkeley Extension.) The homework assignments and midterm were graded on accuracy and accounted for a combined 50% of the grade, and the final exam was closed-book and proctored, and comprised 40% of the grade. (10% was based on discussion questions.) I relay this to say that grading for the course, though there was hardly any instruction, was taken seriously. I used this book and the accompanying solutions manual as my only resource and made an A in the course. (Granted, I did put in a lot of effort.) I do highly recommend it.

  3. I had to get this book for my Organic class and was pleasantly surprised by the ease of reading. For a science book it flows wells and is easy to understand.

  4. The textbook and answer/study guide are a really good quick lightning tour through a lot of the foundation material involved in a high school or undergraduate organic chemistry course. It’s written in very accessible laymen’s ‘everyday’ English that is understandable for a keen amateur.

    At the same time, it’s thorough enough for a good introduction with the intention for further study.

    This book and study book are now in the 13th edition, and honestly with the difference in price it’s WELL worth buying an earlier edition like this one and saving yourself a couple hundred $$ since there’s very little difference

    Incidentally, I personally would look at the study guide as an almost -necessary- support for the book. As a stand-alone, the textbook is very sketchy on a fair number of points, but the study guide manages to fill them in.


  5. My teacher required this for an one semester intro to organic chemistry course. She wanted this text specifically because it came with OWL access, which the previous version did not have. I would have to say for an ‘intro’ class this book was WAY too involved. We skipped whole sections and chapters even because she felt we didn’t need to get that in depth with the the material. This, however, made OWL completely unusable. OWL builds on EVERY previous aspect covered in the book, so future problems were being based on things we did not cover. By the end of our one semester she quit requiring OWL assignments because it became too difficult to weed out the questions we could do vs. the questions we couldn’t.
    Another point about OWL, the developers of that software have a LOT of work to do. The interface is quite clunky and confusing. Navigating to the different sections is quite difficult. I have had several classes that used the ‘Mastering’ software and that is MUCH more user friendly and actually DOES enhance your learning. OWL did not.
    I think this book is too in depth for an intro class, but probably not in depth enough for a full year organic class. I’ve talked with several chemistry teachers and they all agree there isn’t really a ‘good’ introduction book out there that covers just the very basic of organic concepts. I think this would be a good stepping stone book for someone who took an intro class and is looking to take the full year organic.

  6. This book was very well organized compared to any other organic chemistry book I have read, yet. I like how it moved one functional group at a time; it made organic chemistry seem a lot easier. Most other books tend to through all different topics at once which can be overwhelming.

    I understand that this book is for “short course” but, I believe if it went in more detail on some of the topics, this book could have been much better.

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