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Organic Chemistry Hardcover – Jan 18 2011
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About the Author
David Klein is a lecturer at Johns Hopkins University where he teaches Organic and General Chemistry. He is a dynamic and creative teacher and uses analogy to help students grasp difficult topics. Klein's unique informal voice and manner of presentation help students truly master key topics in this course. He is also the author of Organic Chemistry as a Second Language and General Chemistry as a Second Language, which have both been highly successful.
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Top Customer Reviews
Since the book came from another continent, it did take a while and there is minor damage to the hard cover.
It is still reasonable good considering the cost and benefit.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I particularly like the numerous examples of important pharmaceutical compounds, and other highly relevant examples for students in medically-related, and in industrial fields. In spite of the sometimes tedious practice exercises, he certainly holds my interest, and presumably would effectively hold student interest. His efforts to distill the treatment of "electron pushing" and "mechanisms", to a relatively small number of basic patterns is extremely effective and helpful.
I will certainly adopt it for my full-year organic chemistry course as soon as we offer the course again ... if not this Fall, probably next Fall. At present, I have several students in my General Chemistry course who will be transferring from North Shore Community College to four year colleges next fall and who expect to take the full-year course in organic chemistry after they transfer. I am going to recommend that they buy Klein's text and study guide early this summer, and start preparing themselves for next fall. Whether their professors choose Klein as their ultimate text or not, they will benefit immensely by having Dr. Klein's step by step assistance in navigating the difficult path ahead of them.
I have had more than forty years experience teaching organic chemistry, and have had the good fortune to have used a number of excellent textbooks, starting with the first edition of Morrison and Boyd, published in the mid 1960's. Klein's new text is superior to any that I have used previously, without exception.
While doing all this, Klein somehow keeps a semi-conversational tone and avoids overly-complex and formal talk. To show how important and applicable each concept is to his readers, Klein frames each chapter with a real life context in mind - in addition to giving many examples throughout each chapter.
The sectioning in this book is also fantastic. The max that you will read before coming to a progress check (or skillbuilder as he calls them) is 3-4 pages, but it is often much less (1-1.5/2). This really helps to make each section much more reasonable and not overwhelming because before moving on, you get a chance to check your understanding, it's never just endless reading. DO THE SKILLBUILDERS: They will help you more than you think!!! (I cannot emphasize that enough!).
At the end of each section, Klein also has a review section with an overview of all the core concepts and problems in each section, which can be very helpful when you want to quickly review a certain point quickly without scanning 50 or 60 pages. After this, there are many practice problems - some that are just from that section, some integrated questions that use knowledge from the current section as well as previous sections, and a few challenge problems. The problems themselves are very comprehensive and do a good job at emphasizing the conceptual and practical angle of orgo - both things necessary to understanding the subject and succeeding in class.
Oh, and as a sidenote, make sure you purchase the student solutions manual for this text because it is absolutely necessary. It has all of the skillbuilder and practice problem answers, which I guarantee you will want so that you can confirm you'r eon the right track. Yes, it's annoying that you need to buy a new book for this but trust me, you won't regret it.
In summary, this textbook is incredible. It has everything a student of organic chemistry could want - good explanations, little memorization, checkpoints, and an approachable tone. This book gets 5 stars (but if I could give it more, I would). I have to use this again next semester for orgo 2, and I'm not worried about the class in the least because of it.
• First off, I absolutely love how he's structured the book. The practice problems come subsequently after each explained concept and they are tooled just so they are simple enough to grasp the concept. I found that doing the problems while reading REALLY helped out in terms of retaining information and performing on a test.
• I really like his writing style as well. It's straight forward yet well written and intelligent. Some of the little stories he throws in are pretty interesting as well. Like did you know that the only difference between the smell of caraway seeds and mint is the 3D arrangement of just two atoms? Crazy huh?
• Super easy to understand, and I love how he NEVER assumes you'll remember something forever if he mentions it just once. For example, after he teaches you a concept, yet you need to use it again later on in the book, he'll quickly give you a refresher so you remember it. He doesn't go overboard with this but he does it enough so that you never find yourself constantly flipping back throughout the book to relearn forgotten concepts. It's a HUGE help and greatly increases the efficiency of my study time as well as making concepts overall easier to understand.
• It just looks sweet. You could tell he put a lot of thought into the layout and I find myself just looking at the pictures sometimes haha.
• There are some errors, yes. So he could use a new edition in the following year or so... I can't think of any specifically, except... My professor did say that he missed out on a little topic... for the rate determining steps of radical chain reactions, if one step isn't *fast*, the entire reaction won't work due to the fact that radical chain reactions... well, rely on the fact that they occur in a rapid chain. Therefore if there's a kink in the chain the entire reaction is detrimentally affected. (Hopefully I quoted my professor correctly... He's a bloody genius by the way, if you can't tell aha))
• The WileyPlus mechanism questions suck... Like the online homework is actually really well made but Jesus, fix those types of questions! It's insanely annoying how touchy they are and I hate losing points over them!
Overall, if you're an OChem professor, you should seriously, seriously consider this book. It's honestly the best text I've come across in my years as a student (I'm a senior now). Like I'm a firm believer that if all scientific textbooks, if applicable, copy Klein's style, the entire world of academia would benefit as a whole (I'm serious). So please, for the sake of your students professors, check this textbook out!
2. Certain chapters and sections need more practice questions that are relevant. What I mean by "relevant" is that some sections have huge chemical structures from a pharmaceutical drug but those don't show up on an undergraduate Ochem test so it doesn't really help. It's nice to know about some of those huge chemical structures but they should be kept at the end of the chapter not in the skill builders.
3. The solutions manual has a LOT of mistakes, this needs to be fixed as soon as possible!!!
4. I love the skillbuilders in this book but a lot of times the skillbuilders need to have more problems and especially problems that are a lot more challenging. I have tried the problems in the back of the book but many of them are too easy. It would be preferable if these new and harder problems are kept in the skillbuilder section because it saves a LOT of time from having to go to the end of each chapter, which believe it or not save an ENORMOUS amount of time while studying for any chemistry subject.
5. He has very few problems that show ring expansions which can be important on the mechanism part of an Organic chemistry exam.
6. Need lots of examples and practice on retro synthesis. The synthesis chapter in this book is nice but too easy and at University of Houston Retro synthesis is very big with prof. Mary Bean.
7. Some things like acids and bases don't need their own chapter I would put that with the review chapter, I realize that the author probably did that for his own reasons but as a student if the acid/base stuff was just with the review chapter it would just be better for simplicity's sake.
8. VERY IMPORTANT. Check the order of the chapters of the book that your Ochem professor uses because it could mess you up. For Example, I go to University of Houston they use the Ochem book by Wade which teaches you how to use Br2 and NBS very early as it is important for synthesis. However, in the Klein book you don't learn about Br2 and NBS until you get to the Radical chapter which is a chapter that the wade book doesn't even have. So make sure to match up chapters cause the klein book has chapter that most other books don't have.
I know this review may drive some people away from this book but if it didn't have problems 1-4 I stated in my review I would have given it 5 stars. Otherwise than that this book is AMAZING. The clarity in his explanations is unparalleled, the way he describes sn1, sn2, e1, and e2 mechanisms cannot be matched. Their are many other things that he explains in ways that are unmatched by other ochem books. The skillbuilders save you so much time because you do not have to wait until the end of each chapter to start doing problems. Also he explains arrow pushing in a way that is so simple I cannot explain, many ochem books don't even explain arrow pushing. There are many good things about this ochem book that you will NOT find in other ochem books. I still highly recommend this book to anyone taking ochem.
Also the author mentions stability a couple of times throughout the book but honestly in organic chemistry and chemistry in general, stability is such an important concept because it shows why many reactions happen even when you would not expect them too. Stability is one of the most important things in chemistry in my opinion because many reactions depend on it and for that reason I hope that the author adds a section in the book that talks about stability. For those of you taking the MCAT realize that many of the questions on organic chemistry on the MCAT also have to do with stability.
David Klein is such a good author that I hope he also makes a book like this one but for General Chemistry 1 and 2 that Chemistry majors like my self can use.
The way he explains things is nothing less than beautiful. This man has truly been blessed by God because of his ability to teach. I have friends that have used his Ochem book and they also agree with me. I hope he reads this review and takes it into serious consideration. Thank you David Klein for making such an amazing book and I hope you improve on it.
What I will say is that it combines the best of every world. Too often one will open an organic chemistry text and know that it was written by a true chemist. While that isn't strictly a bad thing content-wise, not many people like to learn via bland, dichromatic diagrams and overly formal descriptions and definitions. Klein understands that stimulation is key to success in organic chemistry, and this textbook shows it. It's as though it were designed by an arts graduate, written by an English graduate, and structured and detailed by a chemistry graduate. It's absolutely the most gorgeous textbook I've ever used, with color, detail and page design that is absolutely lush as far as textbooks go, but with enough attention paid to structure so that it's never distracting. I never bothered to use color in my notes before, but when using this book I couldn't help but replicate the ways it uses color to emphasize certain points. The tone of the text itself is friendly and instructive, and much more concise than the droning ones I've seen before. And Klein gives you plenty of practice in the chapters in the form of Skillbuilders and end-of-section problems. Finally, the chapters are punctuated by mechanisms that are broken down in an extremely comprehensible fashion. If I've ever loved a textbook as a work of art, this is it.
There are some downsides, but they are limited in case. If your professor is using this text as the basis for your class, then congruatulations, you're set. If not, however, prepare for a few headaches near the second half of your course. Klein's book omits and reorders concepts in comparison to other popular organic texts. For example, there wasn't a word I could find about cuprates and Corey-House reactions, even though these were present in the text my professor was using (and therefore also present on our tests). I found that there were other minor concepts like reductive amination that Klein forgoes, and the book is drastically different in chapter order than the textbook your instructor might prefer. I would still wholeheartedly recommend Klein to anyone taking Organic, but if your recommend course textbook is different, be wary and pay attention to the differences.
In short, this book is a shining example of everything a textbook should be, and organic students should consider themselves lucky that Klein wrote this for them. And considering that this is only the first edition, I'm even more impressed with it. I'll be holding onto my copy well after my final orgo examination.