These are not the biographies of those the world considers to be the best writers, thinkers, or adventurers (though undoubtedly some arguably are). Rather, this book celebrates those that have lived lives that are genuinely different. Whether in the life of a stylist, a libertine, an artist, or a hero, originality and historical precedence trumps prowess; the manner of their endeavors is what counts, not the end result.
Reflecting Grant’s personal background and experiences, approximately half of the book’s notable men come from the UK, a quarter from the US, and most of the remainder from Western Europe. Explaining his strong British bias, Grant states “we seem to breed original characters (or celebrate them more vocally) at a rate which belies our relatively small population.”
Because a claim to inclusion requires sustained effort, not just a brief burst of activity, few of the men featured in Original Man are young. Some, such as Malcom X and Ayrton Senna, died young, but had a lasting impact. The book also contains a few men well known for their hedonistic lifestyles such as Ozzie Osbourne and Oliver Reed, but it does not celebrate those who simply fritter their lives away at play unless it is done with the greatest sense of style. Often their tales are rather sad ones, like that of snooker player Alex Higgins, and are included in the hope that they are as precautionary as they are laudatory. Aware that there do not seem to be many equivalents to these stories today, Grant wishes to share these portraits to inspire readers—men and women alike— to try to live more interesting and original lives themselves.
Born in Edinburgh, Patrick Grant lived in five countries and worked in a number of different industries before his passion for clothing, craftsmanship, and British brands lead him to take over Savile Row tailors Norton & Sons in 2005. In 2009, he re-launched E. Tautz, the historic British sporting and military tailoring house. Since winning the British Fashion Council’s Menswear Designer of the Year award in December 2010 for his work on E. Tautz, Grant has continued to receive international accolades.
Regularly appearing in best-dressed lists in the UK and named in Esquire’s “Most Stylish Men in the World,” Grant makes frequent appearances on both BBC television and radio as a commentator on clothing history, manufacturing, and matters of men’s style and fashion. Following the success of BBC Two’s reality television competition “The Great British Sewing Bee” on which Grant is a judge, a third series is scheduled for January 2015.
Patrick Grant currently lives in London, bikes to work everyday, and participates in numerous long-distance bicycle races.