Guiness World Records 2009 Hardcover – 2009
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I do agree with the recommendation for Getting into Guinness: One Man's Longest, Fastest, Highest Journey Inside the Most Famous Record Book, the new book by Larry Olmsted about the history and culture of the Guinness World Records book. After reading his review I snapped up a copy and it is great--very entertaining and a fun read! I have read the record book for years but never stopped to wonder where it came from (Guinness Beer!), how it got so big, and how large a role it has played in pop culture, and just how crazy some of the record holders seem to be. Getting Into Guinness is the story behind the records and a fun, well researched, adult read.
As much as I've long loved the Guinness book itself, I was always a little disappointed that there wasn't a good resource written ABOUT Guinness -- its history, evolution, and especially about how it became the phenomenon that inspires people to carry out such dedicated acts of nuttiness. About two weeks ago, I saw a book profiled in USA Today titled GETTING INTO GUINNESS by Larry Olmsted. Olmsted is a journalist as well as a GBWR record-holder, and I gave it a try. Well, it's the perfect companion piece to the Guinness book; it puts everything into context and lets you feel like a real insider. 300 pages of fascinating real life stories about the quest for Guinness recordhood, and Amazon has it for about 16 bucks! Buy them as a tandem (which is what I should have done) and you'd even get free shipping with Prime. Getting into Guinness: One Man's Longest, Fastest, Highest Journey Inside the Most Famous Record Book
Parents should know that there are some entries that are weird and/or gross - and a few that might be considered objectionable (e.g., Largest Augmented Breasts - pictured, mostly covered). By the time I flipped through the book, my son had already seen it in the school library. Oh, well...
Interesting facts such as the temperature in the center of the sun (28 million), pressure (250 billion times that at sea level) - created by fusing 600 metric tons of hydrogen into helium every second; the largest liquid mirror - 6,613 lbs. of mercury spun to form a 19' 8" concave mirror for astronomical observations (clever), the deepest dive by a seal (5,017'), most destructive insect (about 2' long, the desert locust found in Africa, West Asia, and the Mid-East eats its own weight each day; a "small" swarm of 50 million eat enough each day to feed 500 people for a year), tallest flying bird - cranes, at 6' 6", the heaviest pumpkin (1,689 lbs), innumerable sports records (eg. covers Bret Favre's first year - 0/4 attempts, the fastest average speed in the Tour de France - Lance Armstrong's 25.9 mph), most millionaires per capita - Norway, with 1 in 86, excluding their main residence, farthest-leaning tower (the bell tower in the Protestant church in Suurhusen, German leans 5.19 degrees, vs. the Leaning Tower of Pisa at 4.0), loudest noise (Krakatoa in Indonesia on 8/27/83 - heard 3,100 miles away, largest city population (Tokyo - over 35 million), largest badger tunnel network (2,883 feet with 50 chambers and 178 entrances.
Definitely will keep you busy!