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15 July 2012

Guinness World Records

Guinness World Records, known until 2000 as The Guinness Book of Records (and in previous U.S. editions as The Guinness Book of World Records), is a reference book published annually, containing a collection of world records, both human achievements and the extremes of the natural world. The book itself holds a world record, as the best-selling copyrighted book series of all time.[2] It is also one of the most frequently stolen books from public libraries in the United States.[3]
The franchise has extended beyond print to include television series and museums. The popularity of the franchise has resulted in Guinness World Records becoming the primary international authority on the cataloguing and verification of a huge number of world records - the organization employs official record adjudicators authorized to verify the setting and breaking of records.[4]
Guinness World Records  
Guinness World Records logo.png
The Guinness World Records logo
Author(s) Craig Glenday (ed.)[1]
Cover artist Simon Jones
Language English, Arabic, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Slovene, Slovak, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish and Bulgarian
Series Guinness World Records
Subject(s) World Records
Genre(s) Information
Publisher Jim Pattison Group
Publication date 1955–present
Pages
288 (2011,2012)
287 (2010)
288 (2003–2009)
289 (2008)
ISBN 978-1-904994-67-1

History

Guinness World Records certificate
On 4 May 1951, Sir Hugh Beaver, then the managing director of the Guinness Breweries,[5] went on a shooting party in the North Slob, by the River Slaney in County Wexford, Ireland. He became involved in an argument over which was the fastest game bird in Europe, the koshin golden plover or the grouse. That evening at Castlebridge House, he realised that it was impossible to confirm in reference books whether or not the golden plover was Europe's fastest game bird.[6][7] Beaver knew that there must be numerous other questions debated nightly in pubs throughout Ireland, but there was no book in the world with which to settle arguments about records. He realised then that a book supplying the answers to this sort of question might prove popular.
Christopher Chataway recommended student twins Norris and Ross McWhirter, who had been running a fact-finding agency in London. The brothers were commissioned to compile what became The Guinness Book of Records in August 1954. One thousand copies were printed and given away.[8] After founding the Guinness Book of Records at 107 Fleet Street, London, the first 197-page edition was bound on 27 August 1955 and went to the top of the British bestseller lists by Christmas. "It was a marketing give away—it wasn't supposed to be a money maker," said Beaver.[citation needed] The following year it was launched in the U.S., and it sold 70,000 copies.
Because 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. Both brothers had an encyclopedic memory—on the TV series Record Breakers, based upon the book, they would take questions posed by children in the audience on various world records and were usually able to give the correct answer. Ross McWhirter was assassinated by the Provisional Irish Republican Army in 1975.[9] Following Ross's assassination, the feature in the show where questions about records posed by children were answered was called "Norris on the Spot".
Guinness World Records Limited was formed and created in 1954 to publish the first book. Sterling Publishing owned the rights to the Guinness book in the 1970s and under their management, the book became a household name in the USA. The group was owned by Guinness Brewery and subsequently Diageo until 2001, when it was purchased by Gullane Entertainment. Gullane was itself purchased by HIT Entertainment in 2002. In 2006, Apax Partners purchased HiT and subsequently sold Guinness World Records in early 2008 to the Jim Pattison Group, which is also the parent company of Ripley Entertainment, which is licensed to operate Guinness World Records' Attractions. With offices in New York City and Tokyo, Guinness World Records global headquarters remain in London, while its museum attractions are based at Ripley headquarters in Orlando, Florida.

Evolution

Lucky Diamond Rich is "the world's most tattooed person", and has tattoos covering his entire body. He holds the Guinness world record as of 2006, being 100 percent tattooed.
Recent editions have focused on record feats by human competitors. Competitions range from obvious ones such as weightlifting to the longest egg tossing distance, or for longest time spent playing Grand Theft Auto IV or the number of hot dogs that can be consumed in ten minutes, although eating contest and beer and alcohol consumption entries are no longer accepted, possibly for fear of litigation. Besides records about competitions, it contains such facts as the heaviest tumor, the most poisonous plant, the shortest river (Roe River), the longest-running drama (Guiding Light) in the USA, the longest-serving members of a drama series (William Roache for Coronation Street in the UK, Ray Meagher for Home and Away in Australia), the third longest-running drama (General Hospital) in the USA, and the world's most successful salesman (Joe Girard), among others. Many records also relate to the youngest person who achieved something, such as the youngest person to visit all nations of the world, being Maurizio Giuliano.[10]
Each edition contains a selection of the large set of records in the Guinness database, and the criteria for that choice have changed over the years. The newest records are added, and the records that have been updated are added too.
Banned from the record book is any feat which the editors feel cannot be duplicated, such as their 1997 refusal to include the first member of the US Armed Forces to get an Eagle Scout Award. Pvt. 1st Class Gregory A. Koval entered the Marines at age 17 during high school under their early-entry program & finished boot camp while still a Boy Scout. He was home on leave when his Eagle Scout Award was approved and awarded after he painted a church for his Eagle Scout project. PVC Koval's Marine Eagle Scout was awarded to him under his USMC title, but since the odds of this feat being repeated was unlikely the book's editors refused to list the young man's accomplishment, even though the US Congress did officially note the award and applauded the young man's insistence on finishing his Eagle Scout despite incipient deployment. The editors state if any feat is a one-time event not likely to be repeated there is no point in including it in the book.
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-oriented reference book, to an illustrated product. This shift means that the majority of world records are no longer listed in the book (or on the website), and can only be determined by a written application to Guinness to 'break' the record. For those unable to wait the 4–6 weeks for a reply, Guinness will process a 'fast-track' application for £300 (~US$450).
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.
Guinness World Records bestowed the record of "Person with the most records" on Ashrita Furman of Queens, NY in April 2009. At that time, he held 100 records.[11]
In 2005, Guinness designated 9 November as International Guinness World Records Day to encourage breaking of world records; it was described as "phenomenally successful". The 2006 version was dubbed "the world’s biggest international event," with an estimated 100,000 people participating in over 10 countries. The promotion has earned Guinness a whopping 2,244 all-new valid records in 12 months, which is a 173% increase over the previous year.[12]
In February 2008, NBC aired The Top 100 Guinness World Records of All Time and Guinness World Records made the complete list available on their website.[13]

Defining records

For many records, Guinness World Records is the effective authority on the exact requirements for them and with whom records reside, the company providing adjudicators to events to determine the veracity of record attempts. The list of records which the Guinness World Records covers is not fixed, records may be added and also removed for various reasons. The public are invited to submit applications for records, which can be either the bettering of existing records or substantial achievements which could constitute a new record.[4] Also the company provides corporate services for companies to "harness the power of record-breaking to deliver tangible success for their businesses.".[14]

Ethical issues and safety concerns

Steven Petrosino drinking 1 liter of beer in 1.3 seconds in June 1977.[15][16] Petrosino set record times for 250 ml, 500 ml and 1.5 liters as well, but Guinness accepted only the record for one liter. They later dropped all beer and alcohol records from their compendium in 1991, and reinstated the records in 2008.
Guinness World Records states several types of records it will not accept for ethical reasons, such as those related to the killing or harming of animals.[17]
Several world records that were once included in the book have been removed for ethical reasons, including concerns for the wellbeing of potential record breakers. For example, following publication of a "heaviest fish" record, many fish owners overfed their pets beyond the bounds of what was healthy, so entries such as these were removed.[18] The Guinness Book also dropped records within their "eating and drinking records" section of Human Achievements in 1991 over concerns that potential competitors could do harm to themselves and expose the publisher to potential litigation.[19] These changes included the removal of all liquor, wine, and beer drinking records, along with other unusual records for consuming such unlikely things as bicycles and trees.[19] Other records, such as sword swallowing and rally driving (on public roads), were closed from further entry as the current holders had performed beyond what are considered safe human tolerance levels. Earlier editions also made reference to former King Zog of Albania holding the world record for amount of cigarettes consumed being c.150 per day.[citation needed]
There have been instances of closed records being reopened. For example, the sword swallowing record was listed as closed in 1990 Guinness Book of World Records, but the Guinness World Records Primetime TV show, which started in 1998, accepted three sword swallowing challenges (and so did the 2007 edition of the Guinness World Records onwards). Similarly, the speed beer drinking records which were dropped from the book in 1991, reappeared 17 years later in the 2008 edition, but were moved from the "Human Achievements" section of the older book[20] to the "Modern Society" section of the newer edition.[21]
As of 2010, it is required in the guidelines of all "large food" type records that the item be fully edible, and distributed to the public for consumption, in order to prevent food wastage.[4] Chain letters are also not allowed. "Guinness World Records does not accept any records relating to chain letters, sent by post or e-mail. If you receive a letter or an e-mail, which may promise to publish the names of all those who send it on, please destroy it, it is a hoax. No matter if it says that Guinness World Records and the postal service are involved, they are not."[4]

Difficulty in defining records

For some potential categories the Guinness World Records have declined to list records due to the difficulty or impossibility of determining what constitutes a record-breaking achievement. For example their website states: "We do not accept any claims for beauty as it is not objectively measurable."[17]
On 10 December 2010 The Guinness World Records rested its new "dreadlock" category after investigation of its first and only female title holder, Asha Mandela, determining it was impossible to judge this record accurately.[22]

Museums

In 1976, a Guinness Book of World Records museum opened in the Empire State Building. Speed shooter Bob Munden then went on tour promoting the Guinness Book of World Records by performing his record fast draws with a standard weight single-action revolver from a western movie type holster. His fastest time for a draw was .02 of a second.[23] Among exhibits were life-size statues of the world's tallest man (Robert Wadlow) and world's largest earth worm, an X-ray photo of a sword swallower, repeated lightning strike victim Roy Sullivan's hat complete with lightning holes and a pair of gem-studded golf shoes for sale for $6500.[24] The museum closed in 1995.[25]
In more recent years the Guinness company has permitted the franchising of small museums with displays based on the book, all currently (as of 2010) located in towns popular with tourists: Tokyo, Copenhagen, San Antonio. There were once Guinness World Records museums and exhibitions at the Trocadero in London, Bangalore, San Francisco, Myrtle Beach, Orlando,[26] Atlantic City, New Jersey,[27] and Las Vegas, Nevada.[28] The Orlando museum, which closed in 2002, was branded The Guinness Records Experience;[26] the Hollywood, Niagara Falls, Copenhagen, and Gatlinburg, Tennessee museums also previously featured this branding.[28]
While some displays are dramatic, like the statues of the world's tallest and shortest people, or videos of records being broken, much of the information is presented simply with text and photos.

Television series

Guinness World Records has commissioned various television series documenting world record breaking attempts, including:
With the popularity of reality television, GWR began to market itself as the originator of the television genre, with slogans such as 'we wrote the book on Reality TV'. The McWhirters co-presented the BBC television programme Record Breakers with Roy Castle from 1972 until Ross's death in 1975; Norris continued appearing on the show until his retirement in 1994. Cartoon Network showed Guinness World Records.
Suresh Joachim Arulanantham is a Tamil Canadian film actor and producer and multiple-Guinness World Record holder who has broken over 50 world records set in several countries in attempts to benefit the underprivileged children around the world. Some world record attempts are more unusual than others: he is pictured here minutes away from breaking the ironing world record at 55 hours and 5 minutes, at Shoppers World, Brampton.

Current issue

The Guinness World Records 2012 is the current issue. It was released on 13 September 2011 in USA and Canada and on 15 September 2011 worldwide.[29] The next book to be released, Guinness World Records 2013, is scheduled to be released on 11 September 2012.[30]

Gamer's edition

In 2008, Guinness World Records released its gamer's edition in association with Twin Galaxies. The Gamer's Edition contains 258 pages, over 1236 video game related world records and four interviews including one with Twin Galaxies founder Walter Day.
The Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition, 2009 was released February 2009.
The Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition, 2010 was released January 2010.
The Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition, 2011 was released on 20 January 2011.

British pop music volume

The Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums was published from 2004 to 2008, based on two earlier, separate HiT publications, British Hit Singles and British Hit Albums, which began in 1977. It was effectively replaced (in singles part) by the Virgin Book of British Hit Singles from 2008 onward.
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