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Good chemistry books for beginners

  1. Sep 16, 2014 #1
    Hi what would be some good books for helping to understand chemistry for beginners?

    I'm not sure what kind of level of understanding this forum is aimed at or if it is (or can be) made to accommodate people who have very limited understanding of science. Unfortunately I didn't take science seriously when I was at school and it's not something I thought I was going need to understand at the time.

    As I've grown older there are certain aspects of my life that use large volumes of science that I would really like to be able to understand. Unfortunately most of the stuff I read on here goes over my head because I am missing the 'building blocks' that are used to help me understand some of the conversation and it would be foolish if me to pretend I can understand things when in coming in at a level way beyond my knowledge.

    Where would be a good place in terms of reading to start getting a better understanding chemistry. (Please don't say go back to school)

    I don't know what level of understanding the forum expects or if this forum is aimed at undergraduates/graduates/academic personnel so I apologise if I'm out of place here.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 16, 2014 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    If you know nothing probably best starting point would be one of the basic texts for HS (or equivalent school) students. Chemguide site that I linked you to in the buffer thread is more or less free version of such a thing.

    Alternatively you can try your luck with some General Chemistry textbook - it should contain the same basic material, just already on the higher level.
  4. Sep 16, 2014 #3


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    Gold Member

    Good introductory books include the ones by Zumdahl or Atkins.
  5. Sep 16, 2014 #4
    Thanks to both. I've tried a free online course but I learn better by having a book at my side. I do literally know very little but I consider myself bright enough to pick most subjects up quickly provided I have the right learning material.
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