The Guinness Book of Records

One book, more than any other in the world, symbolises Christmas to me.    It is one of those books that somebody always received at Christmas and would spend all afternoon reading out another “amazing fact”.

Seeing it in the shops in December was to me what the Coke advert is to ITV:  “The holidays are coming”

This book is indeed the world’s best selling copyrighted book (presumably the Bible does not have a copyright?), having sold 120 million copies in over 100 countries.   It was first published in 1955 but sadly I cannot see if there is a record for “Most copies of the Guinness Book of Records”, no doubt somebody has all of them.

I happen to have a copy from 1993 on the bookshelf so I dug it out this morning and then it struck me that I love this book so much I must have bought it when living in Saudi Arabia.  How can I tell?  Look at this picture of Sally Gunnell:


legs coloured in with a marker pen to “protect her modesty”.  Every single copy will have been modified in that way (don’t get me started on the recipe book I have that has had the entire pork section removed).  Seems even the Saudis want to see what is in the Guinness Book of Records but they just don’t want the flesh.

The other thing that struck me about this 18 year old version of the book is how wordy it is!  Each record is a paragraph and many pages have no pictures at all.

This year’s edition is packed with photographs.  In fact every page is in colour, filled with statistics and pictures.   It also has whole new sections including “The Average Reader” where our lives are broken down into figures and “Do try this at home” including records that can be safely attempted.

Some of this year’s records include:

Most downloaded sat nav voice:  Homer Simpson

Most live streams for  a single event:  YouTube broadcast of this year’s Royal Wedding.

Highest earning deceased artist:  Michael Jackson with $275 million in 2010.

Most viewed music video online: Justin Bieber’s “Baby” with 463,820,304

“Live streams” in my 1993 edition would relate to a record for largest carp I suspect.  And hard to believe that Justin Bieber was himself just a Baby in 1993.


I love this book.  I could sit and flick through it for hours.

Which reminds me.   The World Record for the highest number of After Eights eaten in a minute (must all be flat on the table, no hands allowed, can’t eat one until previous one is finished) is nine.

Well it is lunchtime, so if you will excuse me I have a date with a long black box of chocolates.

<ponders what Twitter related record I could also aim for since that Bieber kid has most followers pretty much sown up>


Available in good bookshops.  RRP is £20.



My Day 17 post for #NaBloPoMo where I have committed to post every day in November.

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