Guinness World Records

reference book listing world records

Guinness World Records is a reference book published each year. It has 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 yet made.[2] It is also one of the most often stolen books from public libraries in the United States.[3]

Guinness World Records
The Guinness World Records logo
AuthorCraig Glenday (ed.)[1]
Cover artistSimon Jones
LanguageEnglish, 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
SeriesGuinness World Records
SubjectWorld Records
PublisherJim Pattison Group
Publication date
Pages256 (2015-2021)
272 (2014)
288 (2011-2013)
287 (2010)
288 (2000–2009)
289 (2008)

It was known until 2000 as The Guinness Book of Records and in previous U.S. editions as The Guinness Book of World Records.



On 4 May 1951, Sir Hugh Beaver, who then worked for Guinness Brewery,[4] went on a shooting party by the River Slaney in County Wexford, Ireland. He became involved in an argument over which game bird in Europe was the fastest, 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.[5][6] Beaver knew that there must be many other questions debated nightly in pubs throughout Ireland, but there was no book in the world to settle arguments about records. He realised then that a book with the answers to this sort of question might prove popular.

Norris and Ross McWhirter were asked to put the book together. They ran a fact-finding agency in London. In August 1954 the first book was made. One thousand copies were printed and given away.[7] The first 197-page edition was bound on 27 August 1955. It went to the top of the British bestseller lists by Christmas. The following year it went to the U.S., and it sold 70,000 copies. The book was very popular and the company decided to make one updated edition each year. They published in October to go with Christmas sales.

In 2008, Craig Glenday created Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition. The latest edition was Guinness World Records Gamer's Edition 2020.


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 go 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 eaten in ten minutes. Eating contests and beer and alcohol consumption entries are no longer accepted, possibly for fear of litigation. Besides records about competitions, it has such facts as the heaviest tumor, the most poisonous plant, the longest-running drama (Guiding Light) in the US, the longest-serving members of a drama series (William Roache for Coronation Street in the UK, Ray Meagher for Home and Away in Australia), and the world's most successful salesman (Joe Girard), among others.

Each edition has a selection of the large set of records in the Guinness database. The ways used to make that choice have changed over the years. The newest records are added, and the records that have been updated are added too.

In 2005, Guinness chose 9 November as International Guinness World Records Day. This is to encourage breaking of world records. In 2006 about 100,000 people participated in over 10 countries.[8]

In February 2008, NBC aired The Top 100 Guinness World Records of All Time. Guinness World Records made the complete list available on their website.[9] On August 18 2019,Maliha Mohammed from Mombasa in Kenya broke the record for cooking the longest time, a record 3 days non stop.


  1. "Corporate". Guinness World Records. Archived from the original on 2010-03-19. Retrieved 2010-10-19.
  2. Watson, Bruce (August 2005). "World's Unlikeliest Bestseller". Smithsonian: 76–81.
  3. "Book deals for a steal". The Times. South Africa. 2008-05-04. Archived from the original on 2010-01-02. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
  4. "The History of the Book". Guinness Record Book Collecting. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  5. Cavendish, Richard (August 2005). "Publication of the Guinness Book of Records: 27 August 1955". History Today. 55.
  6. Alex Altman (November 14, 2008). "A Brief History of Guinness World Records". Time. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  7. "Guinness Book History 1950 - Present". Archived from the original on 2006-05-13. Retrieved 2012-02-10.
  8. "Records Shatter Across the Globe in Honor of Guinness World Records Day 2006". Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 29 April 2007.
  9. Guinness World Records Live: Top 100. Guinness World Records. Retrieved on 6 November 2008.

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