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Reminiscing about textbooks – top picks and why?

Posted by naturalproductman on November 26, 2014

Today I wanted to talk about the undergrad textbooks I had and highlight any interesting ones that stood out and why. Of course, these are all my subjective opinions and I am sure many people have their own favorites and reasons as well, so I invite any comments to talk about other opinions.

Inorganic Textbook:

Advanced Inorganic Chemistry by Huheey Keiter and Keiter was a great textbook. I remember going to the undergrad library and checking out the book on reserve and spending a few hours on Sunday just to read the book while I was taking my upper division inorganic chemistry class. What I liked about the book was that: it combined molecular orbital theory and practical applications (i.e. Tanabe Sugano diagram), it covered d-orbitals and had a good introduction to transition metal chemistry, which was a good introduction for any organometallic chemist. The problems in the end of each chapter were great.

There was some organometallic textbook by Hegedus as well, but I don’t recall too much theoretical explanations behind the different cross-couplings. But it is a good reference book to have if you want to be able to look up certain cross couplings.

Organic Textbook:

Organic Chemistry by G Marc Loudon was a good one for the straight chemist – the thing I liked about this book was that it flat out gave the explanations of concepts and in some parts of the book, it would have a little section for the practical application of the concept in biology. My memory of this book was that I would read it in the car during the summers just for fun.

Organic Chemistry by Vollhardt and Schore was another book that was pretty straightforward and easy to understand. I don’t recall the little sections that Loudon had though. I would also read this one in the car during summer for fun.

Organic Synthesis – The disconnection approach by Stuart Warren was a really nice book that was full of synthesis problems. I remember I went through that entire book of disconnections/retrosynthetic analyses over a two month period and after going through the entire book, I can safely say that I became a better synthetic chemist.

Physical Textbook:

Mcquarrie’s red Physical Chemistry textbook was pretty good – although I wasn’t too much of a math person in college because the multivariable calculus had given me nightmares. Sometimes it isn’t about the subject though, and it is more about the teacher. I think I just went to a fast paced undergrad competing with other top students. The classes were cutthroat and it was more of an environment where you would be left for scraps if you fell behind.

Biochemistry Textbook:

Lehninger’s book was good it had an online learning tool where you could go through some mini lessons on some topics.

To rank my top 3 books from my personal point of view, which reflects on my interests when I was younger: (1) Advanced inorganic, (2) Loudon’s organic, (3) Warren’s disconnection approach.

7 Responses to “Reminiscing about textbooks – top picks and why?”

  1. earth23 said

    Modern Physical Organic Chemistry is one of the best books every written on any subject. Very easy to read, lots of pertinent examples.

    • naturalproductman said

      Oh yeah I forgot about this book. I got into this one in grad school more and preferred this book over the Advanced Organic Chemistry books by Carey and Sundberg, which I felt were more listing a bunch of references than explaining the concepts in detail…

  2. Kyle said

    One of the things I have been looking for is a good textbook in the field of Bioinorganic. Any thoughts? I’ve looked at Kaim and co’s book and Rehder’s book so far.

    I really enjoy crabtree’s organometallic book (I used it in undergrad and grad school).

    These days, inorganic classes seem to use Fisher, Miessler and Tarr. I am still trying to make my opinion on that in terms of a good current inorganic text. Other options are Housecroft and Sharpe or Shriver’s texts. Both of those are bigger and are more like surveys.

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