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The Financial Express

How the 'Guinness Book of World Records' was born


How the 'Guinness Book of World Records' was born

If you have the slightest bit of exposure regarding global affairs, you must have heard about the 'Guinness Book of World Records.' It has so much influence in popular culture that its name has also entered our street jargon when describing any epochal achievement.

If someone thinks that they have broken a record in any specific field, they have to seek approval from the Guinness authority, as the book is considered the international parameter for records encompassing almost everything.

However, the initiation of the book is quite different from what everyone thinks it is. The brand Guinness is a famous beer brewing company in Ireland with Sir Hugh Beaver as its executive director. Mr Beaver enjoyed hunting in his free time, and one day he went to a country estate to practice the craft.

He was continuously failing to hunt birds that day, and he often felt that the birds he was trying to hunt might be the quickest in terms of flight speed in Europe. 

He had also hunted birds in the past, but he felt that this time the birds were flying at a speed unmatched by what he had experienced. 

He expressed his opinion to his friends who accompanied him there, but nobody trusted him. As Sir Hugh had quite a stubborn personality, he searched encyclopaedia after encyclopaedia, looking for the information. But unfortunately, this particular information was not present anywhere. Hence, the result of the debate regarding the fastest bird in Europe remained undecided between Sir Hugh and his friends.

Afterwards, Sir Hugh felt the necessity of compiling a book containing the records regarding everything, starting from the most mundane to the most serious matters. He sought help from Norris and Ross MacWhirter, two brothers who used to be eminent journalists at that time. 

Although initially, they were a bit hesitant, they got over their dilemma shortly, and after working day and night for three months, they created the first draft of the book.

In these three and a half months, Norris and Ross worked almost one hundred hours to turn this megaproject into reality, and finally, on August 27, 1955, the Guinness Book of World Records was published. 

Besides his brewing business, Sir Beaver wanted to start a publications company as well, specifically for the propagation of the book. 

With this view in mind, 'Guinness Superlative,' a publication house, was created on Fleet Street in London. The 'Guinness Book of World Records' became a bestseller for many consecutive years, a feat which cemented its position gradually in the annals of popular culture.

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