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Organic Chemistry 1st Edition

179 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0471756149
ISBN-10: 0471756148
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Editorial Reviews Review

Q&A with David Klein, author of Organic Chemistry 1E

Author David Klein

How does your method of teaching Organic Chemistry differ from other approaches and other texts?

Current organic chemistry textbooks provide students with extensive coverage of reactions and the principles that govern those reactions. But it is often expected that students will independently develop the necessary skills for solving problems. Organic chemistry is much like bicycle riding. It requires constant practice of very specific skills. In order to ace an organic chemistry exam, students must certainly understand the reactions and principles, but more importantly, students must learn to become proficient at approaching new situations methodically, based on a repertoire of skills. To address this need, I have developed a textbook that utilizes a skills-based approach. My textbook includes all concepts typically covered in an organic chemistry textbook, but special emphasis is placed on skills development to support those concepts. This emphasis provides students with a greater opportunity to develop proficiency in the key skills necessary to succeed in organic chemistry.

Your previous supplement titles (Organic Chemistry I & II as a Second Language) have been well received. How does that make you feel and how did that inspire you to write your own Organic Chemistry textbook?

When I wrote my first supplement, Organic Chemistry as a Second Language, I wasn’t sure if it would resonate in the market. So you can imagine how excited I was from the wonderful student responses and the large adoption list. I was so thrilled to read the great reviews posted by students on It really meant a lot to me that they took the time to write such wonderful comments. It was also so gratifying to receive unsolicited emails from students and instructors across the country, expressing appreciation for my books. It meant so much to me because I understand that people are busy and it means a lot that they invested the time to reach out to me. It makes me feel GREAT to know that my approach has made such a positive impact.

How did you become interested in Organic Chemistry?

As an undergraduate student, I did not declare a major in my freshman year, but in my sophomore year, I had the fortune of taking an organic chemistry class from a truly gifted instructor, Professor Lawrence Principe. He made organic chemistry fun and interesting for me, and he inspired me to follow in his footsteps and teach organic chemistry. I believe that every corner of this universe is fascinating, if you have the right teacher who can show you how fascinating it is. If you think about, you will probably find that the subjects that you enjoy are the subjects for which you had a good teacher. And the subjects you dislike are the subjects for which you had a bad teacher. In short, teachers have a profound impact on their students, and it has always been my goal to inspire my students the way my mentor inspired me.

What do you see as the future of Organic Chemistry? Are there any exciting developments on the way?

Organic chemistry occupies a central role in the world around us, as we are surrounded by organic compounds. The food that we eat and the clothes that we wear are comprised of organic compounds. Our ability to smell odors or see colors results from the behavior of organic compounds. Pharmaceuticals, pesticides, paints, adhesives, and plastics are all made from organic compounds. In fact, our bodies are constructed mostly from organic compounds (DNA, RNA, proteins, etc.) whose behavior and function are determined by the guiding principles of organic chemistry. The responses of our bodies to pharmaceuticals are the results of reactions guided by the principles of organic chemistry. A deep understanding of those principles enables the design of new drugs that fight disease and improve the overall quality of life and longevity. As time marches forward, we can expect to see great developments and achievements in all of these exciting fields.

How many boards have you broken at one time in your Tae Kwon Do classes?

For my black belt test, I had to break three boards with my fist, three with a side kick, and three more with an elbow. I was given a total of three seconds during which time I had to break all nine boards, and it was exhilarating!

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.

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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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1360 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (January 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0471756148
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471756149
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 1.9 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (179 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #23,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Klein is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at The Johns Hopkins University where he has taught organic chemistry since 1999. Having worked with thousands of students, he has intense first-hand knowledge of how they learn and the difficulties they encounter. He received his bachelor's degree in chemistry from The Johns Hopkins University and his PhD from the University of California at Los Angeles under the supervision of Professor
Orville Chapman. Motivated by his experiences teaching organic chemistry as a graduate student at UCLA, David wrote Organic Chemistry as a Second Language (John Wiley & Sons, 2004, updated 2nd edition published in 2008), which has become a highly valued student study resource. David has received numerous teaching awards at both UCLA and Johns Hopkins for his unique, skill-building approach to organic chemistry instruction. David is married, with five children, and enjoys skiing, scuba-diving, and Tae Kwon Do.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Frank B. Day on February 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I've had a chance to review a significant part of the text (and the study guide) at length over the last two weeks, and I am even more impressed than I thought I would be. As one of the many "official" reviewers of the text before its publication, I had had a chance to review, and was greatly impressed by, several chapters during the course of my reviewing. It is a truly outstanding textbook, and I hope that many other professors of organic chemistry will also see it's substantial merits. Klein covers all the material (and more) that any standard course could possibly cover, and he does an outstanding job ... not only in presenting the subject matter, but also in the large number of excellent practice problems.

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.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By B. Tyburski on December 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This textbook is amazing. Plain and simple. Klein does an admirable job in bringing a complex subject like Organic Chemistry to the level of his readers while not losing any of the depth and complexity. As an added bonus, he does this all while emphasizing the PATTERNS in orgo over any form of memorization. He does this by always giving an explanation for everything. In the cases where something is a bit out of the range of a typical intro orgo student, Klein provides an amended, and perhaps slightly altered look, at how certain phenomena take place. They work every time.

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.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ken on December 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I just finished my first semester of organic chemistry and I have to say, I am deeply impressed with this book. It's honestly the BEST textbook I've ever come across. Here's why...

• 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...
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