Literature: Guinness World Records

Dedication. Dedication. Dedication!
That’s what you need!
If you wanna be the best, and you wanna beat the rest,
Oo-ooh! Dedication's what you need.
[[Roy Castle, closing theme to Roy Castle's Record Breakers]]

A series of books consisting of various world records for everything. And by everything, we mean everything. If you ever thought of a record that is physically possible, chances are that the book has it. The lists include things from the mundane to the most outrageous, and from some famous celebrity doing what they usually do to some obscure person doing outrageous stuff and obviously trying to get that record.

Started when some British guy who managed a Guinness brewery had an argument about which game bird is the fastest, the record books have become a sort of Cash Cow Franchise with editions published every year, and are considered the primary authority on the subject of world records.

These inspired a BBC television show, Roy Castle's Record Breakers (after Castle's death, just Record Breakers) that ran for nearly thirty years.

World's biggest tropes:

  • Author Existence Failure: Sadly one of the twin brothers who founded the Guinness Book Of Records, Ross McWhirter note  was murdered on his own doorstep by Irish terrorists for his trenchant comments on how The Troubles should be dealt with. His brother carried on the series after his untimely death.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: Certain categories have been retired due to fears that people could damage themselves - or others - in a lawsuit-inducing way by trying them.
    • Starting 1990, Guinness began banning any records dealing with "gluttony" (ergo, eating and drinking) due to legal liability.
    • You will look in vain for World's Youngest-Ever Mother, for instance: as the record-holder was only five, this category was discreetly dropped partly because of the paedophilia connotation and partly because there was a well-grounded fear that somebody out there would seek to '''beat''' this record, with legal implications for any publication seen to be implicitly encouraging the attempt. note 
  • Guinness Episode: Trope Maker and Trope Namer.
  • It's the Best Whatever, Ever!: Basically the whole point.
  • Little Known Facts: The book was originally created to avert these by having a documented source to settle those offbeat bar bets.
  • Overly Narrow Superlative: It's actually pretty easy to get a Guinness World Record these days, you just need the imagination to come up with a category narrow enough that you won't have much competition. You're probably never going to hold the world record for the 10,000m, but the world record for doing the 10,000m on all fours while dressed as a postbox? That's much more easily achievable.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Some of the Overly Narrow Superlative records tend to come off this way compared to more obvious ones. World's strongest man? Awesome. World's fastest woman? Amazing. World's greatest number of times gone around on a carousel? …How nice for you.

Tropes to beat on television shows derived from or based on the Book:-

  • Expository Theme Tune: the Ear Worm opening song, performed by Roy Castle, that kicked off every edition of Record Breakers. And its closing theme song Dedication, about the quality you need to be a Record Breaker.
  • Book To TV Screen: The Guinness Book of Records became a long-running BBC TV show, Roy Castle's Record Breakers. Aimed at children, it was also popular with adults, and every edition featured at least one record-breaking attempt, usually supervised by one or both McWhirter brothers. After Castle's own early death, other presenters took the show over and it ran for over twenty years.
  • It's the best whatever ever - and we can beat that, live on TV!: Basically the whole point.