I am studying undergraduate biology course and I have cell biology and molecular biology in my next semester. Our college recommends three books : Cooper, Lodish & Bruce Alberts. It would be really helpful if you give me your opinion on which of these (or your own recommended book) would be the best to learn these subjects properly. The only thing I need is the book to be easy to understand because it will most probably be totally self taught because our instructors are not always helpful in explaining stuff properly.
We also have an organic chemistry class and the recommended books are Solomon's&Fryhle & LG Wade. It would be helpful if you help me choose between these as well, my requirement stays the same. Book should be easy for self learning. If you know about online video lectures about organic chemistry and molecular biology do let me know. MIT OCW doesnt really have good bio videos. I cant seem to find video lectures anywhere for gre preparation. Thank you

  • $\begingroup$ Cell & Molecular Biology belongs to Biology Stack exchange and Organic Chemistry to Chemsitry SE. Also your question needs a bit more details, you have only covered the last criterion,level of study. $\endgroup$
    – Tyto alba
    Apr 17, 2017 at 15:10
  • $\begingroup$ Along with Molecular Biology of the Gene, Alberts' Molecular Biology of the Cell is one of my favourite text books. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Apr 17, 2017 at 15:12
  • $\begingroup$ @Sanjukta Ghosh I do know that these two belong to different SE but I wanted opinions from biologists not from chemists because my o.chem course is not advanced one, also it would be helpful if you mention what details you are looking for in my question. I just want an easy to learn textbook and can't try them all because 1) These books are expensive 2) I wont have much time to experiment with different books. I need to pick one and stick to it $\endgroup$
    – Anindya
    Apr 17, 2017 at 15:40
  • $\begingroup$ Basic books of any subject (here Organic Chemistry) would be the same from both Biologists' and Chemists' perspectives as they teach the basics which stand on the ABCDs of that subject which has nothing to do with the domain knowledge of other discipline(here biology), so I woud suggest you asking them because it is off-topic in Biology. Besides from my experience no single book covers all the topics well (in any discipline) and multiple sources (books and often papers) are required to learn something clearly. $\endgroup$
    – Tyto alba
    Apr 17, 2017 at 16:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Sorry but I'll have to disagree with what you said about basic books. This semester we had physical chemistry and I asked for book recommendation in chemistry se. They told me I should go for Atkins but it was a waste of money. Not because it is a bad book, I am sure it is a great one due to its strong reviews but for a bio student like me it was very difficult to deal with, thats why I did not want to repeat the same mistake once again. Ignoring chemistry if you can help me with molecular biology book like canadianer and AlexDeLarge did it would be helpful. Thank you $\endgroup$
    – Anindya
    Apr 17, 2017 at 17:29

2 Answers 2


Given your requirements I would go for the Alberts for molecular cell biology.

For organic chemistry, in my opinion, there is no better book then the Clayden. It is targeted at OC students but I - as a biologist - learned a lot from it and still sometimes love to browse through it even though my work is far away from organic chemistry.

In general, I would advise you to go to your local library and take a look at the different choices before getting one. Take your time to get a feel for the writing and teaching styles and pick the one you find most access to (and maybe give feedback as a comment/an own answer to your post which book you took and why, for future reference).

  • $\begingroup$ I got myself a copy of Bruce Alberts, lets see how it goes! $\endgroup$
    – Anindya
    Apr 20, 2017 at 19:22

"The only thing I need is the book to be easy to understand because it will most probably be totally self taught because our instructors are not always helpful in explaining stuff properly."

I can understand the problem with the stream you are telling about; there is an outburst of information, but there is a severe shortage of correlating between different chapters. That is causing the difficulty in the streams.

For Organic chemistry:

I Have not read about L. G. Wade, so I could not comment,
but I bought a Solomon and Fryhle's organic chemistry , 10th Edition (by T. W. Graham Solomon and Craig B. Fryhle; published by Wiley) , and it is really amazing book. It worth buying a copy for home use. . If you are one who sticked with understanding how stuff works, then Solomon & Fryhle is a good option.

Solomon-Fryhle's organic chemistry

Publisher link: Willey link: 12th edition, 11th edition, Students' companion site

Google book link Ed-8, Ed-9 content Ed-10.

Amazon link: Ed-10.

This book, though not with title of bio-organic chemistry, it very well discuss about organic chemistry in biology. The book is also cover the role of stereochemistry in biology, such as the bias of a biological system to produce one-type of chiral molecule out of two. While telling about any functional-group or type-of compound, the book mentions its significance in nature. The book also
discuss about various types of biomolecules.


Organic Chemistry by I. L. Finar, Vol-2. can work like an alphabet of the structures found in biological molecules. It also discusses well about the secondary metabolites.

Publisher link


Besides the organic chemistry, you will need some backup in bioinorganic chemistry, such as structures of various metalloproteins,

For the very basics of bioinorganic chemistry, one chapter book I found very nice, but I can't assure whether this book is available worldwide.

in General and inorganic chemistry by Ramaprasad Sarkar; Volume -2 , the chapter about bioinorganic chemistry, it very well explains the basics, especially how different inorganic elements form the different types of chemical bonds in biomolecules. It also gave elaborate classifications of bioinorganic compounds.

Inorganic Ramaprasad Sarkar Vol-1 and 2

Though the edition (I can't recall now) I've read from a library, contained some old theories about mechanism; however the chapter is written very much systematic way, with first a bird's eye view and then gradual details.

Publisher link: Vol-2 in New Central Book agency


For Cell-biology

There is a very old edition of Biochemistry, by Albert L. Lehninger, with title "BIOCHEMISTRY- the molecular basis of cell structure and function" The book was published by Kalyani Publisher, Ludhiana.
(The book is much different from the modern version "Lehninger's biochemistry" edited by Nelson and Cox).

This is a very basic and easy-to-read textbook covering biological chemistry as well as cell-biology. You could consult your college library for the book.


For all aspects of cell-biology; the best comprehensive book I've ever seen, is by Pollard et al. Pollard-Earnshaw Second ed. Cell biology, by Thomas Dean Pollard, William C. Earnshaw, Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, Graham T. Johnson

The beauty of this book is, beside detailed and elaborate explanations of structures and their functions, everything is arranged in very systematic way. For example, in the biosignaling pathways; each-type of components, such as ligand, receptor, second messengers etc. classified and given in tabular way. When I can't understand a topic from some-other book, I need to consult this-book.

Publisher Website: Elsevier

Google books preview: Ed-2, Ed-3.


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