The Guinness Book of Records: Groundbreaking Feats

Este libro se concibió como un registro que ayudara a resolver disputas sobre datos curiosos. Setenta años después, y en plena era de la sobreinformación, sigue inspirando logros entre gente de toda edad y condición.

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Daniel Francis

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The book of Guinness World Records has been sparking curiosity around the globe since 1955. That year, the first edition was released in the summer, and by Christmas it had already become Britain’s number one bestseller.


The Managing Director of the renowned Guinness Brewery in Ireland kept finding himself in situations where, when he tried to figure out which one of two things was faster, for instance, he had nowhere to go to find out. He had no way to check which, who or what was beating a record. He imagined that people everywhere must be having the same issue, and concluded that a guide with definitive answers could supply this demand.


Chris Chataway, a record-breaking athlete, who was also an employee at the Guinness Park Royal Brewery in London, recommended twins Norris and Ross McWhirter as the perfect candidates to compile a book on world records. What made them ideal for the job was their love of facts: they had been working as sports journalists since 1950, and ran an agency supplying facts and figures to Fleet Street newspapers. The McWhirters were commissioned to create The Guinness Book of Records.

This book has gone on to establish itself as a universally-recognised authority on record-breaking achievement. Published in more than a hundred countries and in twenty-five languages, it is one of the highest-selling books ever, with over three million copies sold each year. 


With the dominant role of social media platforms such as TikTok, Instagram or X (formerly known as Twitter), the current digital landscape begs the question: is there still a place for a physical book like that of the Guinness World Records? Perhaps there is, as its role lies precisely in differentiating itself from the more volatile relativism of social media by providing a fixed, solid account of verified facts. 

Moreover, the book offers a range of inspiring stories for a public that might want to steer away from digital platforms. It can be a gift in which children can find inspiration to achieve any feat, or a pastime for elderly people looking to record-breakers for inspiration and reassurance that it’s never too late.  

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Este artículo pertenece al número de january 2024 de la revista Speak Up.

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