The book to settle all arguments. If you didn’t know, Guinness started this book to stop bar fights. Drunken Irish folk would often find themselves locked in highly intellectual debates about who reached the south pole first (Roald Amundsen in 1911 – pg 193) or who was the first to circumnavigate the earth (Lt. Smith and Lt. Arnold in 1924 – pg 201)
The best way to resolve these issues was not to stop serving them alcohol as you probably would have expected to be a better option, but instead it was to give them a fair judge. The issues of reading comprehension levels in early 20th century Ireland were never a consideration.
These days people get into fights for a much broader range of problems, but the good news is, the Guinness Book of Records keeps up the good work recording them all. You can still find all those classic records, like first up Everest (Sir Ed) and the tallest man (Robert Wadlow), but there are so many more weird and wonderful new records to start arguments over.
Who hasn’t argued over the amount of people doing synchronised pogo backflips (15 – pg 71) or the largest number of people dressed at batman? (542 – pg 94). I know I’ve punched more than my quota of idiots who didn’t know the number of plungers stuck to human targets in less than a minute was 15 (pg 75).
Crazy records aside, when I was a schoolteacher, the Guinness Book of Records was the most sort after book there was in the library. Every kid rushed for it, every kid fought over it. In fact the record for the fastest fight to ever erupt over a copy of the book in a school library is 12.4 seconds (pg…um, couldn’t find it, but I’m pretty sure it’s in there somewhere.)
Each year the good folk at Guinness Book of Records put together more than just a book of cool facts, that make a really cool book of really cool facts. It’s bright, shiny and has a distinctive style that is one of the last bastions of defence against the depths of the internet and your kids faces getting sucked into the vortex of yet another ipaddypod device.
The book even tells you the best ways to get yourself into the book itself. Next year I’m hoping to get in with the record for a review with the most repeated letter ‘e’ eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee… well, you get it.