Guinness World Records, known until 2000 as The Guinness Book of Records (and in previous US editions, The Guinness Book of World Records) is a reference book published annually, containing an internationally recognized collection of world records, both human achievements and the extreme of the natural world. The book itself holds a world record, as the best-selling copyrighted series.
The first edition was published in 1955, commissioned by the Guinness brewery after a debate between its managing director Hugh Beaver and hunting partners over the fastest species of European gamebird could not be settled with existing reference books. It was researched by Ross and Norris McWhirter, twins who were noted British athletes and journalists, and at the time ran a fact-finding agency in London.
After the book became a surprise hit, many further editions were printed, eventually settling into a pattern of one revision a year, published in October to coincide with Christmas sales. The McWhirters continued to publish it and related books for many years. Ross was assassinated by the Irish Republican Army in 1975. Norris had an encyclopedic memory — on the TV series Record Breakers, based upon the book, he would take questions posed by children in the audience on various world records and would usually be able to give the correct answer, the feature being called "Norris on the Spot".
Recent editions have focused on record feats by human competitors. Competitions range from obvious ones such as weightlifting to the more entertaining such as longest egg-throwing distance or the number of hot dogs that can be consumed in 10 minutes—although eating contest entries are no longer accepted, possibly for fear of litigation. Besides records about competitions, it contains such facts as the height of the tallest person (Robert Pershing Wadlow), the heaviest tumour, the most poisonous plant, the shortest river (Roe River), the longest-running drama (Guiding Light), the world's most successful salesman (Joe Girard, who sold 13,001 cars at a Chevrolet dealership in Detroit from 1963 to 1978), and the only brother and sister to have solo number-ones in UK chart history. (Daniel Bedingfield, Natasha Bedingfield)
The ousting of Norris McWhirter from his consulting role in 1995 and the subsequent decision by Diageo plc to sell the Guinness World Records brand have shifted it from a text-heavy reference book to a highly-illustrated, colourful product, targeted at boys in the 9-13 age group. The change has not been universally popular, as the book is no longer intended to be comprehensive. The new, image-heavy format has also been criticized for giving too much attention to visually shocking or grotesque "records" such as physical deformities, odd-looking vegetables and peculiar stunts. The focus on scantily-clad female celebrities has led to complaints from school librarians.
These changes have done no harm to its commercial success. The book is usually published just ahead of the Christmas buying season in most markets.
The Guinness Book of Records is the world's most sold copyrighted book, thus earning it an entry within its own pages. A number of spin-off books and television series have also been produced. Again the emphasis in these shows has been on spectacular, entertaining stunts, rather than any aspiration to inform or educate. The Guinness World Record brand is now owned by HIT Entertainment.
A very special record is the record of the most-record-holding living person. The swiss ball-juggler Paul Sahli currently holds this record, with 65 Guinness records.
ARE YOU A POTENTIAL RECORD BREAKER?
You may consider yourself to be record breaker, and why not. We do. Mankind is steadily advancing by being bigger, faster, or breaking new ground. Solar Navigator is breaking new ground and will set endurance sailing records. The world navigation attempt, if successful, will be a technological first as well as establishing a new ocean sport.
TAKE A LOOK AT THE GUINNESS LINKS BELOW:
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