ShareThis Page
Books

Daughter's book reveals more of the dark side of Steve Jobs

Shirley McMarlin
| Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2018, 11:18 a.m.
The late Apple Computer Inc. CEO Steve Jobs, seen speaking at the 2006 MacWorld conference in San Francisco, is the subject of 'Small Fry,' a book by his daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs.
The late Apple Computer Inc. CEO Steve Jobs, seen speaking at the 2006 MacWorld conference in San Francisco, is the subject of 'Small Fry,' a book by his daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs.
This cover image released by Grove Press shows 'Small Fry,' a memoir by Lisa Brennan-Jobs.
This cover image released by Grove Press shows 'Small Fry,' a memoir by Lisa Brennan-Jobs.

There's no doubt the late Steve Jobs was a brilliant man, taking Apple from the brink of bankruptcy and setting it on a path on which it would become the first U.S. company to reach $1 trillion in value.

But there was a dark side to Jobs — witness a 2011 Business Insider article titled "16 Examples of Steve Jobs Being an Unbelievable Jerk."

Now his daughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs is making the rounds to talk about her book, "Small Fry," which chronicles her difficult relationship with a father who first denied her, then ignored her, but later took her into his home — as a sort of modern-day Cinderella who washed dishes and babysat her younger half-brother.

Yet Brennan-Jobs gives grace to her father, telling Hoda Kotb this morning on NBC's "Today," that with Jobs's 2011 death, "I lost the chance to have more friendship with him. I wished that we had more time together."

The 2015 movie "Steve Jobs," starring Michael Fassbender, also explored the relationship.

Brennan-Jobs was the product of Jobs's relationship with high school girlfriend Chrisann Brennan, whom he never married.

Her book chronicles disappointment after disappointment, humiliation after humiliation, at the hands of her father, from refusing to help her and her mother financially, to denying that the early Apple computer Lisa was named for her, to banning her from seeing her mother once he took Brennan-Jobs into his home.

Stepmother Laurene Powell Jobs reportedly told her, when refusing her simple good night wishes, "We're just cold people."

On "Today," Brennan-Jobs called her book a way to understand their relationship, calling it a "coming of age story" that was both "cathartic and joyful" to write.

Twitter, of course, has not been as generous.

At book's end, Jobs is on his deathbed, telling his daughter he regrets not being a better father and that he "owes her one" — making it a cautionary tale for parents everywhere.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, smcmarlin@tribweb.com or via Twitter @shirley_trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me