The public myth of Steve Jobs' bullying arrogance concealed a private reality of cruelty, coldness and spite. His daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, exposes the "damning details" in her forthcoming book, Small Fry [Amazon]. But in a New York Times profile written by Nellie Bowles, Brennan-Jobs hopes all the same that others choose not to damn him.
In passage after passage of "Small Fry," Mr. Jobs is vicious to his daughter and those around her. Now, in the days before the book is released, Ms. Brennan-Jobs is fearful that it will be received as a tell-all exposé, and not the more nuanced portrait of a family she intended. She worries that the reaction will be about a famous man's legacy rather than a young woman's story — that she will be erased again, this time in her own memoir. … Ms. Brennan-Jobs's forgiveness is one thing. What's tricky is that she wants the reader to forgive Mr. Jobs, too. And she knows that could be a problem.
"Have I failed?" she asked, in one of our conversations.
Perhaps the problem is that most of the people who might forgive him never damned him in the first place. And those who might damn him now (his monstrous narcissism is left undeniable) have no reason at all to forgive him.