Steve Jobs apologised to his daughter on his deathbed for subjecting her to a lifetime of cruelty which is laid bare in her searing memoir.

The Apple founder cried helplessly as he told Lisa Brennan repeatedly: "I owe you one, I owe you one".

Days before pancreatic cancer killed him at the age of 56 in 2011, Jobs admitted: "I didn't spend enough time with you when you were little".

The Apple founder cried helplessly as he told Lisa Brennan repeatedly:
The Apple founder cried helplessly as he told Lisa Brennan repeatedly: "I owe you one, I owe you one".

But even then there was a final twist of the knife as Jobs revealed why he had not responded to Lisa's emails and calls and ignored her birthdays for 10 years.

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It was all over a minor slight; Jobs had not been invited to Lisa's introductory day at Harvard and held it against her for a decade - but did not tell her why.

When Lisa asked why, Jobs, the man who invented the iPhone, kept it a secret he replied: "I'm not too good at communication".

Lisa's memoir, Small Fry, which was released Tuesday on Grove Atlantic, is unsparing in its portrait of her father's brutality towards her and Chrisann Brennan, her mother.

With Jobs there was a "thin line between civility and cruelty" which could be crossed in a second.

One time when Lisa was nine Jobs tore into her friend Sarah simply because she ordered a hamburger.

Jobs asked why Sarah had such a "biting, high voice" and said: "You can't even talk. You can't even eat. You're eating s***"

Sarah was trying not to cry as Jobs piled on. He said: "Have you ever thought about how awful your voice is? Please stop talking in that awful voice".

Chrisann told Jobs to stop it. Jobs replied: "'I wish I wasn't here with you. I don't want to spend another moment of my life with you".

Another time Jobs blew up in a restaurant because his carrot salad was not to his liking.

Lisa recounts in excruciating detail how Jobs had shown the waitress he wanted his carrots cut one inch wide by opening his fingers that far.

When the waitress brought the salad over Jobs sent it back and, with the waitress in earshot said: "It's too bad the dinner is crap here. Everything else is so great. And then this s***"

Steve Jobs did not acknowledge his fatherhood of Lisa even though he held her in this picture three days after she was born. Photo / Grove Atlantic
Steve Jobs did not acknowledge his fatherhood of Lisa even though he held her in this picture three days after she was born. Photo / Grove Atlantic

The waitress brought back another carrot salad but Jobs objected again and said: "Does anyone know how to do their job here? Seriously. You don't. I asked for fresh carrots".

Jobs told the waitress: "You should think about why you're here and whether you're actually doing your job. Because so far what you're doing is crap.

"Everything you've done is crap. You just bring this s*** again and again. I would like shaved carrot and lemon in a bowl", gesturing a bowl shape with his hands.

The waitress, who Lisa says had a "kind face and tired eyes", was trembling as Jobs showed her how to grate the carrots with his hands.

She began crying as she told Jobs that the kitchen pre-grated the carrots.

Enraged, Jobs ordered some steamed fish but when that came out he rejected it.

The manager asked what they could do better and Jobs said: "Nothing. You can't do anything. Too bad your dinners are so bad".

Small Fry tells how Lisa, now 40, was born in 1978 after Jobs had a five-year relationship with Chrisann.

They lived together in Cupertino, California but Jobs ended it when she became pregnant.

Lisa writes that when her mother told Jobs he "looked furious, clenched his jaw and then ran out the front door and slammed it behind him".

Jobs "drove off; she thought he must have gone to talk with an attorney who told him not to talk to her because, after that, he wouldn't say a word".

Lisa was born on a farm owned by a family friend in Oregon. Jobs arrived a few days later and told everyone: "It's not my kid".

Acrimony and a court case followed during which Jobs took a paternity test and still denied that he was Lisa's father.

Lisa was forced to take a DNA test and in December 1980 Jobs was forced to pay $385 a month in child support by the state of California.

Steve Jobs's daughter Lisa tells of decades of difficulty with her father in her new memoir. Photo / Grove Atlantic
Steve Jobs's daughter Lisa tells of decades of difficulty with her father in her new memoir. Photo / Grove Atlantic

The case had dragged on for months but in the final days Jobs' lawyers rushed to resolve it.

Four days later Apple went public and overnight Jobs became worth more than $200 million.

Lisa's main interaction with her father during this time was seeing him in magazines, like when one of Apple's computers was named "Machine of the Year" by TIME in 1983.

In the interview with TIME Jobs talked about Lisa and claimed that "28 per cent of the male population of the United States could be her father".

Lisa's life became chaotic and Chrisann, an aspiring artist, supported them by working as a cleaner, a waitress and a babysitter at a church.

By the time Lisa was seven she had moved 13 times around the San Francisco area but their bohemian life was so all over the place that the Humane Society rejected their application to home a kitten.

When Lisa was four she remembered her mother getting lost driving home in the rain one night and screaming at the windshield: 'I don't want this life!'

Apparently referring to Jobs, Chrisann said: "I want out! I'm sick of living. F********ck! F*** you! F*** you!' F*** you TIME!"

When Lisa was eight her father started dropping round once or twice a month.

At the time he had been kicked out of Apple and was in the process of starting another software company called NeXT.

He had also founded animation company Pixar, which would go on to make films like Toy Story and would earn Jobs US$3 billion when he sold it in 2006.

Steve Jobs's admission he was Lisa's father came only after an acrimonious court case which saw her subjected to DNA testing. Photo / Grove Atlantic
Steve Jobs's admission he was Lisa's father came only after an acrimonious court case which saw her subjected to DNA testing. Photo / Grove Atlantic

Lisa writes that she felt a strong bond with her father and describes being with him as "electric and magical".

On her visits to his house they watched the classic films with her like Charlie Chaplin's City Lights, Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest and Hal Ashby's cult classic Harold and Maude.

Jobs took Lisa skating in the California sun and took her on vacation in Hawaii. They played piano together and he sang songs like 16 Going on 17 from The Sound of Music.

Jobs bonded with Lisa in surprising ways and she writes that they were most comfortable talking about sex.

Jobs used to kiss one of his girlfriends and grope her in front of Lisa, which made his daughter uncomfortable, but the two talked openly about what it meant to get to each "base" having sex.

One time Jobs told his young daughter an anecdote about a movie producer friend of his who Ingrid Bergman used to visit and sunbathe naked by his pool when he was a boy.

Jobs suggested that one time Bergman masturbated as the boy watched from his bedroom and "the moment it happened, the climax, she looked up at him. Right at him".

Between the times when Jobs and Lisa bonded, tensions were never far from the surface and at a birthday party for her younger half sister Eve, a guest asked who Lisa was.

In what could have been the awful motto of Lisa's life, Eve replied: "She was daddy's mistake".

After a party where Jobs introduced his new girlfriend Laurene, who would later become his wife, he attacked Lisa and his own sister Mona for not talking to her enough.

Jobs said: "You guys are so selfish. I told (Laurene) I had this great family. But why would she want to be with me with a family like this?"

Chrisann, an aspiring artist, supported them by working as a cleaner, a waitress and a babysitter at a church. Photo / Grove Atlantic
Chrisann, an aspiring artist, supported them by working as a cleaner, a waitress and a babysitter at a church. Photo / Grove Atlantic

Lisa's relationship with her mother began to sour because, suffering from depression, they rowed for seven hours a night. Chrisann talked about suicide and spent days in her room meditating.

Chrisann used to slap her palm against the kitchen cupboards repeatedly and would shout at Lisa that "nobody gives a s***" at full volume.

Lisa's moving in with her father was on his terms and she could not speak to her mother at all for six months.

Yet despite Jobs' immense wealth the heating did not work in the part of the house where Lisa's bedroom was.

Jobs refused to fix it until he renovated the kitchen, telling Lisa: "And we're not going to do that any time soon".

Laurene was not spared Jobs' wrath and he sometimes mentioned how she was from New Jersey and had wide feet and liked the "wrong kind of trees".

Jobs would say to dinner guests when she left the room: "She doesn't have taste".

Laurene herself had second thoughts about her husband and once told Lisa that she was "too young for marriage", the book says.

When Lisa was older and studied at Harvard University her father came to visit once a year as their relationship had cooled by then.

One visit as they walked up the stairs to her dorm room Jobs told her: 'You need to lose some weight'.

He also told her roommate that her artificially flavoured popcorn was "s***".

When Lisa returned home she had become so thin that Laurene told a friend she thought she was anorexic.

By then Jobs had launched the iPhone and overseen Apple's rise to the most powerful computer company in the world and amassed a fortune worth around US$10 billion.

Lisa moved to New York and in 2011 she went to her father's side as he died from pancreatic cancer, writing that he looked like a "pile of yellow bones".

Steve Jobs vacationed in Greece in 2006, posing with his second wife Laurene Powell-Jobs, daughters Eve and Erin and Lisa, the daughter he had refused to acknowledge.
Steve Jobs vacationed in Greece in 2006, posing with his second wife Laurene Powell-Jobs, daughters Eve and Erin and Lisa, the daughter he had refused to acknowledge.

Jobs barely ate but he was still incredible picky; if one type of mango touched another type of mango in the bowl he wouldn't eat any of them.

Describing her final days with Jobs, Lisa says that her father was "propped up on pillows, his legs pale and thin".

According to Lisa, Jobs said: "I'm so glad you're here" and Lisa found his warmth "disarming".

Lisa writes: "Tears fell down his face. Before he was sick I'd seen him cry only twice, once at his father's funeral and once in a movie theatre at the end of Cinema Paradiso".

In their final conversations Jobs was as unsparing with himself as he had been with other people all his life.

He told Lisa: "I didn't spend enough time with you when you were little. I wish we'd had more time...now it's too late".

Jobs welled up as he looked into Lisa's eyes and said: "I owe you one". He kept repeating it over and over again: "I owe you one, I owe you one".

The next day they talked again and Lisa guessed that he had failed to email her or call her back or remember her birthdays because he was busy with Apple.

But no: it was actually a grudge over not being invited to Harvard.

Lisa asked: "Why didn't you tell me?" Jobs replied: "I'm not too good at communication".

During another painful conversation Jobs told her: "You are not to blame. I'm so sorry Lis", as he cradled his head in his hands which looked freakishly large against his emaciated body.

Jobs said: "I wish I could go back, I wish I could change it but it's too late".

In extracts of the book already made public Lisa revealed that on his deathbed her father told her: "You smell like a toilet" because she had used the air freshener in his bathroom and brought the smell with her.

Laurene-Powell Jobs was not spared her husband's insults. Photo / Getty Images
Laurene-Powell Jobs was not spared her husband's insults. Photo / Getty Images

When she was young and asked her father for his Porsche when he was done with it, Jobs told her: "You're getting nothing".

Lisa repeatedly tried to get Jobs to tell her that the Lisa Macintosh computer was named after her but he refused to confirm it.

It was only when she was 27 and on holiday at a villa in the South of France owned by U2 singer Bono that Jobs finally came clean.

Over lunch Bono asked Jobs about the early years of Apple and whether or not he named the Lisa after his daughter. Jobs said: "Yeah, it was"'

Lisa was shocked and told Bono: "That's the first time he's said yes. Thank you for asking".

Even before Small Fry came out Laurene and Jobs' sister Mona released a statement saying that it left them with a feeling of "sadness".

They said: "Lisa is part of our family, so it was with sadness that we read her book, which differs dramatically from our memories of those times.

"The portrayal of Steve is not the husband and father we knew. Steve loved Lisa, and he regretted that he was not the father he should have been during her early childhood.

"It was a great comfort to Steve to have Lisa home with all of us during the last days of his life, and we are all grateful for the years we spent together as a family".

Laurene Powell-Jobs, 54, had three children in total with Steve, to whom she was married for just over 20 years.

Forbes estimates her net worth at US$21.4 billion.

Lisa has given a handful of interviews in which she has said that, despite the frank nature of the book, she does not want her father to be seen in just a negative light.

In one she said that the book was not a "memoir of suffering" and that her childhood had "so much joy".

Small Fry, A Memoir by Lisa Brennan-Jobs is available on Amazon.com.