On August 1st, Lisa Brennan-Jobs published an excerpt about her childhood in Vanity Fair.
The passage is from her upcoming book “Small Fry.” In it, she goes into detail of how tech God/co-founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, denied he was her father until she was seven years old.
Since Steve had another family, Lisa only saw him about every other month for a day or so. In high school, she tried telling her classmates she had a famous dad, but found herself ridiculed.
Writer/journalist Lisa Brennan-Jobs has finally told us her story, and painted a bigger picture of who Steve Jobs was.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Steve Jobs Swore he Wasn’t Lisa’s Father, But Then Named a Computer After Her
Lisa was born on a farm in Oregon in 1978.
“It’s not my kid,” Steve told everyone there, even though he’d flown to make the birth.
When Lisa’s mother, Christen Brennan, was pregnant, Steve was designing Apple Lisa.
“It was the precursor to the Macintosh, the first mass-market computer with an external mouse—the mouse as large as a block of cheese,” Lisa wrote.
According to Lisa’s testimony, the computer was too expensive to be a commercial success, so 3,000 of them ended up buried in a landfill in Logan, Utah.
Steve told his daughter that Lisa stood for Locally Integrated Software Architecture.
When she asked if it was named after her, his response was, “sorry, kid.”
According to Lisa, it wasn’t until she was 27-years-old that Bono from U2 confessed that her father really had named his computer model after her.
Lisa writes about it extensively in her book.
The idea that he’d named the failed computer after me was woven in with my sense of self, even if he did not confirm it, and I used this story to bolster myself when, near him, I felt like nothing. I didn’t care about computers—they were made of fixed metal parts and chips with glinting lines inside plastic cases—but I liked the idea that I was connected to him in this way. It would mean I’d been chosen and had a place, despite the fact that he was aloof or absent. It meant I was fastened to the earth and its machines. He was famous; he drove a Porsche. If the Lisa was named after me, I was a part of all that.
I see now that we were at cross-purposes. For him, I was a blot on a spectacular ascent, as our story did not fit with the narrative of greatness and virtue he might have wanted for himself. My existence ruined his streak. For me, it was the opposite: the closer I was to him, the less I would feel ashamed; he was part of the world, and he would accelerate me into the light.
2. When Lisa Was a Toddler, Her Mother Was on Welfare And Working Two Jobs to Take Care of Her
Lisa claims she never saw a penny of her father’s money. Her mother cleaned houses and was a waitress, yet the two still needed welfare checks to survive.
After the result of a paternity test in 1980, Steve was order by the state of California to pay back child support and continued child support until Lisa reached adulthood.
Lisa announced back in March, that she’s written a book about her childhood, which will be released on September 4th of this year.
“Small Fry” is all about the strange relationship she had with her father growing up; how they lived in two very different worlds.
According to Fortune, Lisa’s mother Chrisann asked Steve for money for three years when she fell ill.
Chrisann leaked her emails with Steve to Fortune.
I am asking you for the last time to please set up a trust for me for my life. I do not want to cause conflict with you but I must do something. I have been ill for three years and I just do not have a choice anymore….No one is going to be impressed with either of us in this book and it will hurt Lisa who never deserved any of this.
The choice is yours. Please consider providing me with $10,000 for a few months and working out a trust. You and I cannot talk because I am too ill and on a hair trigger… Given my circumstance, I am moving as fast as I can to have the money I need to live, it is either you or the book.
Steve responded with one line:
“I do not react well to blackmail. I will have no part of this.”
3. None of Steve’s Inheritance Went to Lisa After His Death; She Paid Her Way Through Harvard
“You’re not getting anything. You understand? Nothing. You’re getting nothing,” Lisa said her father told her during one of her visits with him close to his death.
According to Business Insider, Steve Job’s fortune went to his wife Laurene Powell Jobs and their three children: Reed, Erin and Eve.
Mrs. Jobs is now among the 50 richest people in the world. She inherited all of Steve’s shares of Apple and Disney ($14.4 billion in total).
As for Lisa, she’s had to support herself. When she attended Harvard University from 1996-2000, she had to forge her father’s signature to get in. While there, she built a nice portfolio as a journalist that opened the door for her to write for big name publications. (Her college articles can be viewed here.)
4. Since Graduating From Harvard, Lisa Has Written For Publications Such as: Vogue and O, the Oprah Winfrey Magazine
Bits and pieces of her story have been featured in films such as: “Pirates of Silicon Valley,” “Jobs,” and “Steve Jobs.”
Lisa now lives in Brooklyn. Here is a list of her appearances through October, where she’ll be promoting her new book:
5. Lisa Visited Her Dad One Weekend a Month For a Year Until he Died, Hoping to Reconcile
“I’d given up on the possibility of a grand reconciliation, the kind in the movies, but I kept coming anyway,” Lisa wrote in Vanity Fair.
She began to steal little things from her father’s house as he was slowly and painfully losing a battle to pancreatic cancer. She wanted something to remember him by.
According to The Telegraph, Steve Jobs tried curing his cancer through acupuncture sessions, fruit juices, by visiting “spiritualists” and by using other naturopathic treatments he found on the internet.
His family and friends knew he needed to be operated on, but he wouldn’t comply.
“Why would such a smart man do such a stupid thing?” Walter Isaacson, author of “Steve Jobs” wrote.
“I think he felt: if you ignore something you don’t want to exist, you can have magical thinking. It had worked for him in the past. He would regret it.”