Guinness World Records: More than a best-selling book

Guinness World Records has long been the authority on record- breaking achievements, but its origins are just as fascinating as its content. To start, there was no Mr.Guinness; the book was actually named for…yes, the beer. 

In the 1950s, Sir Hugh Beaver, Managing Director of the Guinness Brewery, while at a shooting party, debated about which was the fastest game bird. He later fixed on a idea for a promotion—a book of facts in every Guinness pub that could be used to settle arguments. 

More than 2,000 hours of research later, his team produced a book that sold 187,000 copies in its first year, and would eventually hold its own world record for the most copyrighted books sold. 

Guinness has been cataloging ‘firsts’ and superlatives for 65 years, and is now a multi-media product in digital, event, and business solution channels. In the 21st century, Guinness evolved its model to include campaign and marketing solutions support to promote great (or at least interesting) achievements. 

Guinness explains its mission is not necessarily to sell books, but to inspire. Their outside-the-box branding recognizes non-traditional success to support individuals, families, schools, teams, groups, companies, and communities anywhere in the world. 

So, if you are looking to create buzz or awareness for an event, or a concern, consider Guinness as a partner. For instance, if you want to draw attention to shelter pets, you might squeeze a world record number of retrievers in a minivan, or assemble the most dogs ever to play fetch at one time. For the cost of the application fee, having the media machine of one of the world’s most recognized brands on your team is superlative publicity in itself. 

Apparently, it is working well; the company gets more than 1,000 calls every week from record seekers. John Corcoran of Ripley’s Entertainment says the company is very cautious about events and records they authenticate. John says, “If someone says they are going to cook the world’s largest pizza, we need to affirm that they actually cooked a food item that can, and will be eaten before we will issue the certificate.” 

He adds they are vigilant in their oversight of records attempted by children or seniors. “We always ensure the person is capable and willing, and not compelled by others for the sake of the certificate.” 

While some records are silly or mundane, at least one was banned after 19-year-old Randy Gardner stayed awake for 11 days. His health was affected in the extreme at the time and he never recovered his ability to sleep normally. 

So it seems some things you can try at home… but, like our list below… why would you, really?

Who comes up with this stuff?

It would seem you don’t necessarily need to be a Michael Phelps to create or break a record. Apparently, some of them just require a little creativity. 

  • Most toilet seats broken by the head in one minute — 46; by Kevin Shelley, U.S.
  • The heaviest weight lifted with an eye socket — 30.86 lb by Manjit Singh, U.K.
  • Sweet Pea, an Australian Shepherd/
    Border Collie, holds both records for walking while balancing a glass of water — 10 steps up going backwards
    and 10 steps down going forwards.
  • Halapi Roland of Hungary holds the
    record for longest distance being dragged by a horse, while on fire —
    1,151 feet 2 in.
  •  Longest bath in a tub full of baked beans — 100 hours by Barry Kirk, England
  • In 2012, to boost morale during exams, two teams of 2,012 Air Force Academy cadets beat the World Record for the largest dodgeball game.