Guinness Book of Records, now known as the Guinness World Records, has sold more than 143 million copies, is spread across 100 countries, and gets published in at least 22 languages. Today, i.e. August 27, marks the day the annual book was first published, in 1955. The inspiration behind the book can be traced to Sir Hugh Beaver, who in November 1951, went on a hunting trip with his comrades. He tried to shoot a golden plover but missed. Post the failure, Beaver and his friends started discussing if the golden plover is Europe’s fastest game bird.
In the heat of the debate, they started digging about the authenticity of the fact in various books but couldn’t find the right one. Following this incident, Beaver thought of publishing a record book for the pubs in Britain to settle friendly dissents such as the one he and his companions faced.
Beaver, at that time, was the managing director of the Guinness Brewery, founded in 1759 in Dublin. The book was supposed to be distributed for free in pubs aiming at advertising the brewery. However, the book gained tremendous popularity, and the brewery started selling it. It was not long before the book became a best-seller.
After the British edition in 1955, the book debuted on American soil in 1956, after which there was no turning back. Beaver, while birthing his brainchild, hired twin brothers Norris and Ross McWhirter, who ran an agency to supply facts and stats to various newspapers and agencies. The twin duo became the first fact-checkers for the Guinness World Records.
It has been six and a half decades since the advent of this exciting collection of records, and it is now one of the world’s most successful brands. The book is loved by people of all ages and countries and continues to be the best library book ever. Happy 67th Birthday!
P.S. In case you’re still pondering over the golden plover, it is the fastest game bird in the world.