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The Bite in the Apple: A Memoir of My Life with Steve Jobs

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An intimate look at the life of Steve Jobs by the mother of his first child providing rare insight into Jobs's formative, lesser-known years

Steve Jobs was a remarkable man who wanted to unify the world through technology. For him, the point was to set people free with tools to explore their own unique creativity. Chrisann Brennan knows this better than anyone. She met him in high school, at a time when Jobs was passionately aware that there was something much bigger to be had out of life, and that new kinds of revelations were within reach.

The Bite in the Apple is the very human tale of Jobs's ascent and the toll it took, told from the author's unique perspective as his first girlfriend, co-parent, friend, and—like many others—object of his cruelty. Brennan writes with depth and breadth, and she doesn't buy into all the hype. She talks with passion about an idealistic young man who was driven to change the world, about a young father who denied his own child, and about a man who mistook power for love. Chrisann Brennan's intimate memoir provides the reader with a human dimension to Jobs' myth. Finally, a book that reveals a more real Steve Jobs.

320 pages, ebook

First published October 1, 2013

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Chrisann Brennan

2 books11 followers

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5 stars
138 (24%)
4 stars
179 (31%)
3 stars
155 (27%)
2 stars
58 (10%)
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39 (6%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 95 reviews
Profile Image for David Kopec.
Author 11 books14 followers
November 6, 2013
This is not a book for the casually interested. This is a deep book. A book true to its topic. It's about a relationship that spanned several decades. A love story. A story of the culture of the 70s that Steve Jobs emerged from. A story of the personal demons behind one of the greatest business men/artists/revolutionaries who ever lived.

If you're reading this book because you're primarily a technologist, a huge Steve Jobs fan, an admirer of his business accomplishments, or want a tell-all of his whole life story you're likely to be sorely disappointed. Read the Isaacson biography.

This is a personal narrative. It's for people who are interested in a deep study of his character - him as the whole human - the same people that may pick up an obscure book like Mona Simpson's A Regular Guy or John Sculley's From Pepsi to Apple. If you have never heard of those two people nor those two books then this book is probably not for you.

With that in mind - if you are such a deep student of Steve Jobs character then you will find this book rewarding. There is new information about his teen years and 80s personal life that has not been revealed in any previous mass market book, film, or interview to my knowledge (and I've read/seen just about all of them).

What I liked best about this book, other than the SJ insights, and also what it seems other reviewers found frustrating is the authenticity of the narrative. Chrisann tells her story with her voice. She's hippyish and crunchy, but also insightful and incredibly descriptive in a succinct, good way. I rationalize that she must have kept a diary, because her memories come off so vividly from the page.

If you want to understand the culture that Steve Jobs immersed himself in just prior to launching Apple, there is no better book. And if you want some new insights into Steve Jobs the person from someone who knew him intimately and you don't mind some love stories, teenage angst, and family squabbles then you will love this book. But again this is a deep cut - a book only for those very very interested in the field of Steve Jobs Studies.

PS I also learned a lot about the culture of the 70s alternative movement - I even felt transported back into another time and place during some pages. Two small critiques are some typos/grammatical mistakes and that higher quality photographs could've been chosen for the book center.
Profile Image for Linda Lipko.
1,904 reviews42 followers
October 24, 2018
Teen aged lovers Steve Jobs and Chrisann Brennan lived in California, and as this book depicts, they embraced a hippie lifestyle. No meat (muscle), lots of living on the edge (some could say mooching off others), attending growth groups, finding "meaning" in The Primal Scream by Arthur Janov, and talking the far out lingo of life as they knew it.

This type of life may have been fine for teens, but all too soon, actually growing up and realizing that daisy flowers worn one day, all too soon wilt in the scorching rays of reality. Living on the edge when you are mid twenties with a baby to raise, is a totally different experience than singing Bob Dylan songs and absorbing his words as a poetic way to feel groovy. And, the all the way out life style could not pay the rent, or the food, or clothing for baby Lisa, named by Steve and Chrisann, when the she was approximately one week old as they sat in a field.

Chrisann and baby Lisa were soon abandoned by the Infamous Steve Jobs. And, when the California welfare agency demanded a blood test, it was proven that, despite Steve's loud protestations, the baby was indeed his. And, thus, Steve worked out a deal, in fact, a measly deal of payments barely enough to eek out a living.

Timed so that Chrisann signed the agreement the day before Apple became public, thus rendering Steve Jobs a mega millionaire, while his daughter and former girlfriend hardly survived. Supposedly, he and his work mates celebrated this staggering deceit.

The culture of Apple, Inc. is painted as a selfish bunch of wizards who were indeed sociopathic, narsisisstic, cruel beings. Supposedly, while Steve bought a brand new car whenever a scratch was found, by the time Lisa was nine, and she naively asked for one of his cars, he nastily told her "You get nothing!" "Do you understand, NOTHING!"

This book was difficult to read, not only because of Steve Jobs incredible lack of social skills, and lack of ability to dain to comprehend those outside of his God-like image of himself, but Chrisann truly was not as together as she painted herself to be. She did say she wasn't prepared for parenthood and thought of giving the baby up for adoption, but in the end simply couldn't do this. Instead, she kept the baby while begging Jobs to find meaning in his life via the daughter he procreated.

I finished reading the book, but midway grew very tired of Chrisann's self absorption and never ending tales of her marvelous spiritual insights of those who came into her radar. Weary of her non-stop artsy way of expressing her life and her soul, in the end I didn't feel sorry for her. It was baby Lisa who was left to find solid ground when all around was sinking sand.
Profile Image for Esther Bradley-detally.
Author 3 books40 followers
November 22, 2013

I was impressed by Chrisann's take on the psychological aspects of Steve Jobs, their relationships, and all complexities involved. She is a clear and articulate writer, and a tone of blame does not visit her pages. This is a man who is euologized, and he certainly was magic. She and Jobs were both a work in progress, and sometimes when one reaches star level, the ordinary aspects of people or the quirks fade away. I wish her well. I don't think writing this book could have been easy.
Profile Image for britt_brooke.
1,246 reviews93 followers
March 7, 2019
One of the beauties of memoir is the author’s freedom to present the story through their own lenses. Artist Chrisann Brennan chose to paint herself in a very positive light, which isn’t exactly surprising. After recently reading Steve Jobs (Walter Isaacson) and Small Fry (Lisa Brennan-Jobs), I liked this alternate view on their history. I don’t think she ever stopped loving him despite his often cruel behavior. Excellent writing. Solid memoir.
Profile Image for Rama Rao.
711 reviews99 followers
January 31, 2014
A memoir of Chrisann Brennan

This book tries to redefine Steve Jobs and opens up the window a little wider into his personal side. Steve Jobs pioneered the PC revolution and emerged as a great visionary and master of innovation. He is an America hero in his own rights. It is no secret that he was also an enigma as previously observed by his close friends like Nolan Bushnell, Atari's co-founder, who described him as "difficult but valuable." Author Chrisann Brennan, a longtime girlfriend and the mother of Steve Jobs' first child Lisa Jobs was closely involved in his personal life than many people who worked with him and is better equipped to understand and write about him. She understands his spiritual and metaphysical side, and his strong interest in Zen Buddhism. She understands his frustrations when his biological mother abandoned him. But he was also a ruthless dictator who can trivialize another human being for silliest reasons. Brennan describe him as a misfit who experimented with mind-altering drugs like LSD and fascinated by the by the glamour of the 1940s. He suggested that that he flew fighter planes against the Nazis in a former life, putting himself as a believer of parapsychology. He was a fan of big band music and danced like he was living in the 1940s. Quite often he would be home very late and wake Chrisann Brennan to talk or make love; he was utterly inconsiderate and felt that his lust and interest must be served first. He just played to win. Chrisann recalls that she never had a sense of emotional intimacy with him. At the Presidio house, where they were cohabiting, she chose the master bedroom and Jobs the front bedroom, but after few weeks, he moved Chrisann's stuff out of the master bedroom and made himself comfortable there: He was graceless. For many years he denied that he was the father of Lisa Jobs, suggesting that "28 percent of the male population in the United States could be her father." He was cold and heartless. Steve Jobs was not perfect and not many people argue against that, but if he had lived longer, he probably would have been a great philanthropist like Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Only during this week, the Silicon Valley home where Steve Jobs built the first Apple computer has been designated as a historical site by the city of Los Altos, California. This is just an illustration of his force as an inventor and a futurist.
Profile Image for Angie.
287 reviews4 followers
April 11, 2016
After watching the most recent Steve Jobs' film (Fastbender), I was curious about Chrissann Brennan, Jobs' first girlfriend and the eventual mother of his firstborn. I knew she had an autobiography out and had to read it.

While watching the film, I found myself googling news articles and YouTube videos on his various product launches. What made this guy tick? How did he become so successful?

The film and articles described Jobs as overall dismissive and condescending towards Brennan. What was her view of their relationship?

I do enjoy Apple products. I started reading the book with the bias of- 1. I grew up using an Apple II, 2. We've had both tablets and iPads and the iPad blows all other tablets out of the water, and 3. I've used an iPhone of sorts for 5+ years. 4. Oh, and still have and use my old iPod. I've just never had an iMac, however used them at my high school. So there's all that...(my husband is more the Android/pc type).

Several quotes popped out from Brennan's book...
"His meanness had a way of making me blank and confused and self-doubt. "
"I was losing sight of what was meaningful to me and I was losing sight of my value."
"Steve was learning how to gain power by insinuating negative self-images onto others. "
"They both seemed to perceive the idealized versions of themselves as the whole truth and then evaluate others less generously."
"He would continue to demean me for each and every independent thought and action."
"He told me he felt like I was stealing his genes."

Perception is reality and the author's perception and, frankly, this reader's perception of Steve Jobs is that he was a selfish, arrogant, unkind, ignorant, sexist know-it-all. Yes, this is her perspective and there are many perspectives of Steve Jobs.

History has been unkind to this author- it's worth it to read it just to get the whole picture. A true student of life needs to see both sides, all sides, of everything and not just read and follow their one path/view. It brings evolution of thought and a broader understanding of value in all of us.
1,293 reviews29 followers
May 19, 2015
Her ex-boyfriend was the late Steve Jobs, and she doesn't have much good to say about him. Unfortunately, while I was convinced that he mistreated her, there isn't much out of which to make a 300-page bio. She didn't work with him at Apple, so that huge part of his life is summarized by a few repeated quotes from other employees or headlines from magazine articles (he was on a 10 worst bosses list once, etc.).

And once you've said he denied paternity of your daughter, told the media you slept around so she could have been anyone's daughter, and lowballed the child support, what else is there to say really? By the end I almost had a weird rebound sympathy for him as she would recount some insensitive thing he supposedly said at a party 40 years ago and wax outraged about it for 3 or 4 pages.

The prevalence of guys who have a lot of conventional success and then develop a big head and become narcissistic and exploitative is unfortunately high -- making this an interesting book-length story would I believe entail getting more of a 360-degree look at his life, not just the vantage point from one person who wanted more from him and never got it.
Profile Image for Natalie.
160 reviews27 followers
July 7, 2017
This book was so deep and so true! I'm very curious about the life of Steve Jobs. Not just about his achievements and him as a visionary, but about him like a real person. How was he in everyday life? How did he become so successful? And why was he refusing his daughter?
Well, this book'll give you some answers, not all of them ( I think nobody can give it to us ), but It can really help you to understand his life a bit more.

"Steve was learning how to gain power by insinuating negative self-images onto others.”

I found this book to have very interesting parts and very slow parts. I don’t think it was wrong, but sometimes it hooked me and sometimes it just wasn't interesting to me very much. But still I enjoyed learning more about Steve’s and Chrisann’s life. I’ve also seen the documentary movies Jobs (2013) and Steve Jobs (2015). And if you will all connect it together, it gives you the perfect view about his life, try it!

If you want some new insights into Steve Jobs the person from someone who knew him intimately and you want to know him more like a person, not like the big businessman, than this is for you !
I give it 4.2 stars!
Profile Image for Lara.
52 reviews17 followers
December 24, 2018
I just finished reading this book. Actually read it cover to cover in one day. Day of Atonement. Yom Kippur. No food, no driving, no tv, no phone, no work, no gym..

At first I wasn’t sure about her writing but I was really drawn in and felt like Chrisann (Steve Jobs high school sweetheart and mother of his child Lisa) gave a beautiful portrait of a complicated, interesting man and their relationship. I liked how she talked about relationships at that time in the 1970s with the burgeoning women’s movement and also the freelove hippie mentality that I too grew up with.. in and around Palo Alto and Los Altos.
The book hit close to home for me.. I graduated from Gunn High-school in the 1970s when Palo Alto was full of apricot orchards, homemade granola, banana bread, and LSD. Also beautiful complicated, long haired, bright young men like Steve Jobs populated my high school along with young women finding their way..
Chrisann mentioned the motorcycle gear head guys that were called “Hardly Hard Guys” at Homestead Highschool whereas at Gunn HS we just called them “ Hard Guys” and they were pretty but also pretty bad mofos..

Anyhoo I really enjoyed this book partially because I grew up on the Peninsula and it was fun to hear about those times from a women’s perspective-someone I could have been friends with back then.
Profile Image for Sherry Mackay.
910 reviews11 followers
September 8, 2019
I am kindly giving this book 3 stars. After reading this book and after reading her daughter’s book I still have no real feeling for who this woman is. It’s sort of like fairy floss- no substance to her. All through the book she is constantly saying I don’t know I don’t know what to do I didn’t know what to say I didn’t know what was happening. all as tho she had no choice and no say in any part of her life. There was actually very little about Steve Jobs in this book even though ostensibly it is about her life with him. There are plenty of times where she says that she is a fantastic artist etc and that Steve Jobs is crazy etc but there’s no actual showing- it’s all telling. There is no real depth to this book and as I say you get very little sense of who she actually is. I had a much greater sense of who Steve Jobs is from her daughter’s book but once again there was very little about her mother and her character. Perhaps this woman does not have much depth to her soul or is just very Unself-aware??
Profile Image for Jeff Bush.
39 reviews4 followers
April 7, 2014
I wanted to like this book. I am well aware that Steve Jobs had a dark side and wanted to read this book to hear another side, but Ms. Brennan does not help her case. She consistently reads between the lines with a self-interested take on subjective situations. About halfway through the book it became clear that Ms. Brennan is just not a reliable narrator. I wish I could say more positive things about this book. I do believe that there is a core of truth to Ms. Brennan's story, but in the end I was not able to untangle what was truth and what was delusion.
Profile Image for Captain.
90 reviews70 followers
September 17, 2018
Sort of a DNF.

I started out strong but her writing style just didn't appeal to me. That said I did flip through and OH MY GOD did Steve Jobs turn into a giant asshole. You're worth 200 million and you pay literally the bare minimum of child support which at that time was like $500.00????? What a scum bag.

Also I still don't understand why tech boys idolize him so much he literally never coded a damn thing. He never engineered a damn thing. The only thing Steve Jobs was good was manipulating the people around him and taking credit for their work.
Profile Image for Asha Nair.
4 reviews1 follower
September 23, 2018
Found the author overly negative and critical - not my cup of tea to read about how the world owed her something. It was established from the beginning that Steve was an ass to her - that was repeated consistently to the end. Picked up some life lessons along the way which was good. Found it hard to finish the book due to the negative aspect.
36 reviews1 follower
August 9, 2014
She needed an editor! If you want to read a book about a whiny, crazy, narcissist who thinks she's important because she had a thing with another crazy narcissist this is it. Otherwise DON'T BOTHER!
Profile Image for Teri Temme.
Author 1 book54 followers
January 10, 2015
Though I enjoyed a glimpse into Steve Jobs as a teenager, I didn't appreciate the snipes at Laurene or the repetitive mentioning of a financial settlement.
Profile Image for Nicole.
252 reviews
November 23, 2020
I thought this book provided fascinating look at Steve Jobs, written by someone who knew him way back when and in a way not many others did. The book explores the author’s relationship with Jobs beginning in their high school years thru the time of his death. Lots of interesting details about their hippy dippy years in the late 60s-early 70s.

My huge takeaway from this book is that Jobs had a rather serious personality disorder of some sort that manifested itself in incredibly inappropriate behavior toward everyone in his life, but especially those closest to him. Thankfully this book is written from the perspective of someone working thru her experiences with Jobs in an honest, examining way that gives no impression at all of any sort of axe to grind against the man. One thing that did raise my hackles a bit is that the author gives the impression that once she had a child, she ceased being even remotely responsible for her own financial stability. She couldn’t work a “regular” job because she had to be there to pick her daughter up every day after school, etc? As if the child was some hothouse flower that couldn’t handle the everyday “trials” that most children survive just fine. Come now... Still, that wasn’t enough to put me off & I found myself having a lot of respect & empathy for the author in the end.
September 12, 2018

After reading Lisa Brennan Jobs book, which was another outstanding memoir. I so thought the heroine in her life was her mother. Tho Steve Jobs is the name we've heard about all these years, and his success. Chrissie Brennan story reveals the truth about who and what Steve Jobs was and unveils the two women behind this man that truly are the successful one in this man's story, much more than the man himself. Thanks to Chrisann and Lisa the memories and your beautiful love for one another. You are the what made Steve Jobs 🙏🙏🙏 NAMASTE
Profile Image for Emma.
136 reviews3 followers
July 28, 2016
Disclaimer: I do not worship at the church of Apple, I have never bought an Apple product and my knowledge of Steve Jobs is limited to whatever has appeared in the news. Why read this book? It was on display at a local library and I thought 'why not?'

I am definitely not above the revenge/tell-all/gossip read but there was something about this story that unsettled me. Perhaps it was simply the inner essay marker ('please insert a footnote to verify the accuracy of this statement'), the fact that the two people who cop a hiding (Jobs and his spiritual guru) are dead, and she openly admits that a lot of what she says happened is denied by those who are still alive (and yes, even as I write this I acknowledge that it's a memoir, tainted by flawed memories and the gulf of many years. What is truth anyway?). Then there's the opening statement that basically suggests that if she had not been 'virtually penniless' she would not have written the book.

I understand that over time we each wear a kaleidoscope of masks but the shifts in Jobs' character she outlines seem hyperbolic: from an Abraham Lincoln-esque (yes, literally - I wonder how Honest Abe would feel about that), deeply empathic young man who throws his paper money in the ocean, to a virtually psychopathic, emotionally abusive man who refuses contact with his daughter because he is not monetarily invested in her (and one whom Brennan feels the need to point out was NOT a paedophile); from a man who loved her more than she could love him, to a man incapable of love with a bankrupt emotional IQ. But I also didn't understand the shifts in Brennan over time and the fundamental issue that she paints herself as a person in search of enlightenment, but makes seemingly unnecessary digs (for example, her closing comment about the spiritual guru who drowned attempting to save his daughter, and stating that Jobs' wife was fraud) and as a feminist who fought the power of Apple, but who focuses this book not around herself but around a man. Ms Brennan clearly did an important job, raising her child as a single parent while searching for her own identity, as countless men and women also do.
Profile Image for Janice Forbes.
64 reviews5 followers
January 27, 2018
I enjoyed reading it. The language in the earlier chapters was too embellished for my liking. At the end of the book I was left feeling that no matter what Jobs had done for Chrisann, and he did very little relative to his immense wealth, he could never have made up for the pain he caused her. As best as any human can, Chrisann seems to have sincerely loved Jobs and grieved his passing. However, and not surprisingly, as their relationship developed, she experienced much ambivalence towards him, commensurate with his vacillating warmth and coldness towards her. While questioning it at first, I was left with little doubt that Jobs was highly narcissistic. Perhaps that level of self belief and self promotion is necessary, in order to achieve the great things that he achieved. Human relationships can be messy and conflicted, with no resolution. This seems to be how Chrisann was left feeling. The tensions between them, as acknowledged by the author, seemed also in broader view to be a contest between love and power, with no outright winner. The author's bitterness and anger towards him seeped through. I read bitterness and anger also, in his refusal to share even a small part of his substantial wealth with Chrysann, which would have made her life easier and possibly provided just compensation. On the other hand, from a Zen Buddhist perspective, the one whose life was less clouded by material goods may have come closer to transcendance. Jobs too sought it early in his adult life but perhaps moved further away. He wished for people to be poor and scared, as he once was. He was perhaps happier then. It seems that in life his choices led to his having great power perhaps at the expense of love. Chrysann gave love, most especially to her daughter. I wish her more of it. I feel she deserves it.
Profile Image for ✿✿✿May .
655 reviews
November 28, 2018
I had recently read Small Fry written by Lisa Brennan-Jobs, and this book is the parallel of that, and boy were they different in perspectives! While the daughter adored the father and thought the mother not mentally stable for years, the mother's perspective was nothing but adoration for her daughter. This book was a journal of sort of their earlier lives together, how they met, how their lives and relationship changed over the years. I really enjoyed it. From reading the book, I don't think Chrisann was crazy at all. She was insightful, and driven to give the best to Lisa, despite how little she had. I listened to the audiobook and it was over 10 hours, so a bit on the long side, but I quite enjoyed it nonetheless.
108 reviews
February 1, 2016
It doesn't get much worse than this.....there is an actual paragraph in this book where Lisa (Steve Job's daughter) -- age 30ish, calls her mother, the author, to tell her that she is "glad I'd kept her" and not placed her for adoption as a baby. To quote: "She told me that she had thought it through and she knew it would have been very hard on her if I had let her go". Come on! The author is insinuating that living in poverty as a young child, is a possible reason to wish you had been raised by someone who is not your biological and loving mother? That one paragraph alone, has let me to believe that Chrisann (Lisa Job's mother) is a lunatic.
Profile Image for Glynis Reads.
632 reviews2 followers
November 2, 2015
The author tells of her ongoing relationship with her high school boyfriend. He seemed to remain in her life for years, despite his ill treatment of her and their daughter. She seems a bit naive with lots of "guru " type people in their lives. The boyfriend has passed away , so one would wonder at his take on being called a "liar". Sometimes geniuses are complicated and not easy to get along with. It was interesting to hear her part of the story.
Profile Image for Kurtbg.
688 reviews15 followers
August 10, 2016
I couldn't get past 10 pages of this book. After describing his hands as "built for engineering" (he never made things himself or could code. I guess his model-like hands were perfect for marketing products) and bore hommage to his teenage starry-eyed technique to dominate, I stopped right there. I just couldn't trust the author.
Profile Image for Patricia.
51 reviews
April 17, 2018
If you enjoy reading about a woman who finds a man who is a jerk, makes excuses for him, follows pretty much his every suggestion and also the suggestions of his friends whom she also thinks are jerks and then continues to think things will improve (they don't) then you will enjoy this book. I did not.
Profile Image for Peggy.
295 reviews131 followers
November 13, 2013
Interesting; as a longtime Apple fangirl, I'd heard some of this, but not all. Makes me want to read the Isaacson biography and also A Regular Guy.
Profile Image for Laurie Byro.
Author 8 books12 followers
January 17, 2021
Since Anthony gave this a "like" and I hadn't reviewed it, I shall do so now. I find this an amazingly well written book for someone who, by her own admission, hated to even attempt to write a book. I have many books of poetry out, and have said other than "New and Selected" I am DONE, as it is not an easy nor FUN thing to do. Chrisann does this with grace. She is getting 1 star ratings, I guess people are sniping as she complains a bit. Having read the daughter's take on it (Lisa) I find this memoir more than fair and hardly anything negative about this horrible human being who was blessed with a marketing mind. From what I am reading, he didn't "invent" the computers, he did well with marketing them. He died young because of his own arrogance and stupidity, yes stupidity. He was a HORROR/nightmare as a "partner" and or father. Perhaps as Chrisann intimates, he got over himself and proved to be ok after Lisa got older, but he kept them in abject poverty just to punish, just the same sort of mind set as Yoko Ono (I am the brilliant one, I live by the golden rule, I make the gold, I make the rules) and I am getting sidetracked as he was SUCH a mentally unwell man. He reminds me of many "genius men" and that is, he could ooze charm, be a shape shifter almost, like a fox or coyote and as Chrisann was into that "commune" shamism, Indian/Buddhist um bullshit (excuse me for stating it and no disrespect to hippie/crunchies) but she and Lisa deserves better. I kept wishing she was in therapy, I know Lisa was. Again, totally side tracked but I applaud the style of her writing, the insight to her situation and her lack of writing errors. She did say towards the end "I felt badly" and of course, you feel bad, na na na na na na, you don't feel GOODLY, James Brown will tell you this. This book is so worth reading as is Lisa's. Just do it for the sake of her getting royalties.....
Profile Image for Diane.
2,023 reviews5 followers
April 11, 2019
I love Apple products so have been long interested in the genius who made the company the empire it is today.

I think many people already know that Steve Jobs might have been brilliant but he was also a deeply flawed individual. He met the author of this memoir when the two were in high school in the early 1970s. They had an on again off again relationship for over 5 years which resulted in the birth of Lisa Brennan. For several years he denied paternity of his first-born, but in 1979 a paternity test proved otherwise. But, just who was this flawed, brilliant man?

Steve Jobs was given up for adoption as an infant and adopted by a couple who were also flawed. The father was often cruel and hard on Steve. From Steve's earliest months as an infant, his adoptive mother never got too close to him, fearing his birth mother would change her mind as she wanted him placed in a wealthy Catholic home. So for the first 6-months of his life, his adoptive mother showed him no love. He soon became a somewhat difficult child.

Bullied in school, he developed a propensity toward unexplained verbal attacks on others, often coming out of nowhere, described as similar to "Tourette's." Even when he obtained unimaginable wealth, he was described as cheap. He often caused friction between his daughter and her mother once he became more involved in Lisa's life.

I didn't think this story was perfect, but, it was a rather human story giving more insight into perhaps the circumstances which shaped the negative aspects of Steve Job's personality. I thought Chrisann's story almost felt like she forgave him for his verbal assaults over the years. The memoir felt real and very personal and this not so much about his professional successes. Overall, I'm happy I read this one but admit to skimming a few pages here and there.

3.5/5 stars
Profile Image for Waseef Akhtar.
Author 1 book1 follower
October 3, 2018
My reviews are in, this book totally unfolds the first few chapters of Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson into it's own memoir. I'd say It's really the "Steve Jobs: PART I". It couldn't get more genuine, considering it is written by none other than Chrisann Brenann, who had been the young Jobs' first love and who saw Jobs as family.

This book conveys the lighter side of Jobs. Astounding young personality whose “mix of all came to life in a personality that was irreverent, bright, offbeat, awkward, funny, and full of mystery.”

This was really the start of everything. The start of him believing in himself: “Steve was further along in thinking about the shape of his adulthood and the road that would take him there. He had an aerial view of things and I could see he was cataloging information that implied scope and goal.”

Touching his personal life intensely, it speaks of his relationship with parents, a brief info about his parents, the pitiful story of his adoption, the fun part of his pranks and him being funny and naïve at the same time, the taking of LSD with Brenann on campus.

Fave excerpts from the book:

“Inspiration is always a response to what’s missing. The creative process is about filling the gap. That’s why, for example, Picasso never painted another guitar after he bought one for himself.”

– Chrisann Brennan

“It is through the movement between the highs and the lows that creativity and invention flesh out new spaces.” — Chrisann Brennan
50 reviews1 follower
June 26, 2019
This is a solid read for anyone trying to get a 360 portrait of Steve Jobs. I had read Lisa Brennan-Jobs' memoir, and so I was curious when I learned that her mother, Chrisann Brennan had also written a book about her life with Steve Jobs. The first part of the book is more about Chrisann herself and her life in 1970s Northern California - making animated films at school, doing LSD, living on a commune and exploring spirituality, etc. As the story progresses, we see how her relationship with Steve Job begins and eventually goes sour. As Chrisann becomes pregnant with their child, Lisa, Jobs casts her as a crazy ex-girlfriend who can't let go, is leaching off his money and fame, etc. He even denies paternity of their daughter for many years so as to avoid paying child support while Chrisann and her daughter live in poverty. It is difficult to stomach how someone so powerful and so admired today could treat another person this way. It is also maddening to read how a powerful man could use his privilege to disempower a woman so close to him. The behavior described in this book borders on emotional abuse, and I think some readers will struggle with reconciling this with the creative genius image of Steve Jobs. However, for this reason, I think it is an important read.
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