The Guinness Book of Records was launched by twin brothers Norris and Ross McWhirter in 1954. They were born in August 1925 at Winchmore Hill, London, the sons of William Allan McWhirter, managing director of Associated Newspapers and Northcliffe Newspapers Group. Both went to the same college, both were outstanding track athletes, and both served in the Royal Naval in WWII.
To date, more than 100 million copies of the 400 editions of Guinness Book of Records have been sold in some 40 languages, making it one of the world’s all-time best-selling copyright book (Harry Potter is the best selling). But the Guinness Book of Records also holds the record for being the book most often stolen from public libraries. (The most stolen book anywhere is the Bible.)
When asked what the most ridiculous thing is that had to be verified as a world record, Norris replied: “I interviewed Miss Universe (a Finnish girl) while we stood on the chest of a man lying on a bed of nails. She was wearing stilettos, but I don’t think it made much difference to him. That was in New York City and we were being filmed by about six or seven TV channels.” The interview was conducted by in October 1999 by Claire Smith of Virgin Publishers.