Our Story

How did Guinness World Records begin? How long have we been around? How many adjudicators are there? Here you can find out all about our origins and what the brand does today.

See our Timeline >>> loading
First Guinness world Records Book with video button

Origins Story

Guinness World Records - originally the Guinness Book of Records - the ultimate authority on record-breaking achievements, started out as an idea for a book of facts to solve arguments in pubs.

The idea came about in the early 1950’s when Sir Hugh Beaver (1890—1967), Managing Director of the Guinness Brewery, attended a shooting party in County Wexford. There, he and his hosts argued about the fastest game bird* in Europe and failed to find an answer in any reference book.

In 1954, recalling his shooting party argument, Sir Hugh had the idea for a Guinness promotion based on the idea of settling pub arguments and invited the twins Norris (1925—2004) and Ross McWhirter (1925—75) who were fact-finding researchers from Fleet Street to compile a book of facts and figures.

Guinness Superlatives was incorporated on 30 November and the office opened in two rooms in a converted gymnasium on the top floor of Ludgate House, 107 Fleet Street.

After an initial research phase, work began on writing the book, which took 13 and a half 90-hour weeks, including weekends and bank holidays. Little did the McWhirters know that taking shape was a book that would go on to become an all-time best seller and one of the most recognized and trusted brands in the world… 

*Although the books never did tackle this original question - owing to their focus purely on world records - the red-breasted merganser would be the most likely answer; it is fully migratory and still occasionally hunted.

Past book cover banner linking to GWR Timeline

The power of record-breaking

Today, Guinness World Records is a global brand, with offices in London, New York, Beijing, Tokyo and Dubai, with brand ambassadors and adjudicators on the ground around the world. 

Our mission to document the incredible can still be found each year on the pages of our book, but also through TV Shows, social media and live events.

Whether in the form of a personal life-long dream, or a team attempt within a company of 5000, the power of record-breaking is easy to see, and continues to inspire amazing feats and achievements every day, across the globe. 

Could you become Officially Amazing?


69 years of record-breaking authority

65,940 active record titles on the database

57,415  record applications from 215 countries in 2023

4,975 records approved in 2023

1,194 brand activations in 68 countries in 2023

80 Adjudicators


153M+ books sold to date globally

40+ languages

1.8M+ books sold in 2023

100+ countries

Each annual title contains thousands of records, with 80% new and updated every year

tv & video

1,500+ hours of owned footage

Programming sold to 150+ territories

Original branded productions in 22 territories

899.7M+ YouTube views in the last year

8.9M+ hours viewed on YouTube in the last year

11.5 million Youtube subscribers

web & social

Facebook followers

Instagram followers

5.4M+ Snapchat Discover subscribers

26M+ TikTok followers

833K+ X followers

1M+ Threads followers

398K+ WhatsApp Broadcast followers

 Website statistics 29.3 million