Steve Jobs: The father of personal computing who was also a terrible dad, according to Lisa Brennan-Jobs

“The myth of Steve Jobs: iconoclastic artistic genius, Nietzschean Übermensch, progenitor of the digital revolution who reshaped our domestic lives the same way that the titans of the Industrial Revolution reshaped cities and factories. Although dark tales about Jobs have appeared in biographies and movies, they have only burnished the legend: After all, the Übermensch is not a mensch,” Melanie Thernstrom writes for The New York Times. “But Small Fry, an entrancing memoir by his first child, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, will force readers to grapple with whether Jobs was not merely unmenschlike but a monster. It is not a stretch to say that if you read this book, you will never think of Jobs the same way again.”

“Brennan-Jobs herself never addresses the question of his legacy; her book is written from the perspective of a child longing for a father. She grew up in Palo Alto with an impoverished single mother, Jobs’s high school girlfriend, Chrisann Brennan, and had moved 13 times by the time she was 7 — a bohemian existence so chaotic that the Humane Society rejected their application for a kitten. (Lisa had to settle for mice.) Yet all the while, just around the corner, was the increasingly famous, wealthy father who refused to parent her,” Thernstrom writes. “At a birthday party for her younger half sister Eve, a guest asks Lisa who she is. Eve responds, ‘She was daddy’s mistake.'”

“It is the terrible motif of her life,” Thernstrom writes. “Chrisann also makes her feel like a mistake, repeatedly intimating that being a single mother is too difficult for her. By kindergarten, Lisa had internalized her unwantedness and begun ‘to feel there was something gross and shameful about me,’ as if she were ‘wormy inside, like I’d caught whatever disease or larvae were passed through raw eggs and flour when I snuck raw cookie dough.'”

Thernstrom writes, “In the fallen world of kiss-and-tell celebrity memoirs, this may be the most beautiful, literary and devastating one ever written.”

“Lisa’s memoir stands in marked contrast to previous representations of Steve and the Jobs family. Laurene, Lisa’s half siblings and her aunt the novelist Mona Simpson have said in a statement to The Times that the book ‘differs dramatically from our memories of those times,’ and ‘the portrayal of Steve is not the husband and father we knew,'” Thernstrom writes. “Readers will need to decide for themselves how to judge conflicting accounts.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, myriad issues abound — and different people’s truths can be markedly dissimilar — but Thernstrom is right, “Brennan-Jobs is a deeply gifted writer.”

Steve Jobs’ widow Laurene Powell Jobs blasts stepdaughter Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ memoir – August 28, 2018
In Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ memoir, Steve Jobs comes across as quite the jerk – August 23, 2018
‘I have a secret. My father is Steve Jobs.’ – August 2, 2018
Chrisann Brennan: Steve Jobs was a haunted house of brokenness; cold, ruthless, and obsessive – October 4, 2015
Steve Jobs’ ex Chrisann Brennan reveals their explosive relationship in new memoir – October 15, 2013


  1. CEOs are, well, people, with all flaws of humans and hopefully a few of the humane gifts.

    Lisa was given a rough road, but developed into a great adult with a gift for writing, so who knows if she is better than if she was given all the “perks.”

    I won’t bother reading the book.

    1. Lisa should be grateful of the greatnees of the legacy his dad left to the world. For startes, absolutely no one would like to read her book if she was anybody else.
      Aslo, he finally accepted she was her father and she indeed received millions from him.
      And finally, Does Lisa thinks Steve Jobs was the worse father when there are thousands of fathers that makes the mother to abort the child?
      You were born, you are famous and rich because of your father, go and help other that weren’t as fortunate as you are.

  2. starting out with his denial of being her father leads me to perceive the obvious.

    As a friend told me recently, “being a kind human is not what the world needed from Jobs.” Adding “father” to the statement fits as well.

  3. The more I read about this… the more I think that Jobs wanted nothing to do with Chrisann… whether the father was wealthy or famous shouldn’t have mattered. It seems Lisa suffered the consequences of a mother who was useless and a father who didn’t want to be tied to that.

    Lisa could have thrived with a single parent. There are plenty of deadbeat dads out there. But the tragedy is that she had two parents who couldn’t bring themselves to get over their own selfishness.

    Steve, selfish in his denial and desire to not face the consequences of his actions.

    And Brennan, selfish in using her child as a way to get a paycheck.

    Lisa is the result of not two parents… but rather, two donors of genetic material who refused to parent her.

  4. Dysfunctional family dynamics at work, folks.

    I believe Laurene Jobs when she says that the book ‘differs dramatically from our memories of those times’, and I also believe Lisa Jobs’ account of her life.

    It’s amazing how people who live together and share a blood bond can experience the same family so differently, depending upon one’s assigned role in the family.

  5. Would be more interested in a book by Steve’s son, Reed.

    He seems to be very bright, would tell his story well. He stays out of the spotlight, however.

    Just as well. Private lives should stay private.

          1. Steve’s world is something you know nothing about.

            Probably nobody commenting here today understands what happened between Steve and his daughter.

            Probably nobody here worked with Steve or knew his family.

            But don’t let your ignorance stop you from condemning somebody!

            1. Ahhh but i do know something about it.

              Unfortunately though you just cant handle some truth about what you have idolized and rather assume my comments are ignorant.
              Whatever floats your boat..

              Nevertheless you did get a very very mild flavor of Steve’s world/persona and manners above;)
              You just could not handle it..
              I rest my case as to what he was and if it was respect worthy ….

  6. Steve was a malicious person and an asshole! not just to Lisa and ex… but in core personality everywhere. …

    That does not take away from him getting credit for what he acomplished! but giving all credit to him is an absolute and utter disrespect and slap in the face of to those who helped him along and Guided him along.

    I have no respect for Steve as a human being!

  7. Steve was not a terrible dad, he was a terible human being.
    And oh ya.. he was successful…….And took credit for everything…..Even when he did not desreve it!!!
    He was a ruthless, sociopathic/psycopatic/narcissistic megalomaniac with total disrespect for everyone, including the ” bozo, ignorant ” consumer.

    He does not deserve any respect or slightes credit as a decent human being.

    (For blind fanboys who will freak out over the words i used to describe him..
    Please study the true meaning of the words i used!)

  8. Look, Steve Jobs sounds like he was an awful Father to his daughter, Lisa. Hopefully he felt great shame and regret before he died, but even if he did not, this does not make him “sociopathic/psycopatic/narcissistic megalomaniac with total disrespect for everyone.” (I know what the words mean) He did a great job with Apple, and it is not because he was a great guy. It is because he had a vision of what a computer could do and he saw around corners, where others could not see. By all accounts he could be a rather complete asshole. No doubt, if you can be that mean to your own child, the rest of us have little hope of you being less mean to us. He also has had a lot more positive impact on the world than any of us writing on this site. That doesn’t make any less shitty a father.

    1. Fondling the step mom and having Lisa watch and calling it a family time….
      not installing heat in her room …
      buying the very same house that Lisa and mom loved and moving in himself with the other family….
      Letting Lisa live and be brought up in poverty when he was loaded…etc
      These are evil acts.. not just bad fatherhood!
      I can go on and on..
      His shitty/condescending attitude towards people including his own customers…. stealing credit left and right.. preaching to the world that theft is an honorable and artistic trait.. fucking employees that put Apple on the map…ltge ist goes on….
      Yes !!..they all absolutely point to him being a
      sociopathic/psycopatic/narcissistic megalomaniac ….

      He deserves no respect as a decent human being!
      That is what counts above everything else. IMO
      ( or one might as well start admiring some of the most degenerate yet successful charcters in history )

      …..And PC’s would have happened no matter what ..Steve or no Steve….
      they were happening!
      He was there at the right place at the right time..
      He was successful … he had charisma which came to his rescue and saved his ass from his blunders…

      But to believe there would have been no PC-s without Steve is absurd!

      He was a genius at marketing.. himeself above all and making the world believe he did everything..
      He did not..
      He stole a lot and screwed people left and right..

      I cant respect a man like that… no matter what.

      Those are just my values..
      and i admit there is a degree of hypocrisy here since i have profited through Apple…
      But i also believe Apple has been and is a lot more than just Steve!
      Something the world seems to neglect easly!

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