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Because organic chemistry is all about how organic compounds react, the book should start discussing the reactivity of organic compounds within the first three chapters. Once I’d limited myself to three introductory chapters, the next question was, "What should I put into these three chapters?" This was an important question because if a critical topic were left out, you wouldn’t have the necessary foundation for the course. I took the easy way out. I decided not to write the introductory chapters until the book was almost finished and I knew what was discussed in all the other chapters. You can imagine the expression on my friends’ faces when, knowing I had been writing the book for almost five years, they asked, "What chapter are you writing now?" And my cheery response was, "I am writing Chapter 1."

Chapter 1 reviews the topics you learned in general chemistry that are going to be important in your study of organic chemistry. So make certain that you study the chapter thoroughly; you will be seeing much of this material over and over again as you go through the book. You should also take a few minutes to see what kind of material is in the appendices at the end of the book. Many students have found the glossary to be particularly helpful.

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