Guinness World Records celebrates the 'crazy, fun, inspiring'
This image shows cover art for the latest edition of the Guinness World Records. (Photo: AP)

NEW YORK, United States (AP) — Do you know the highest average grossing movie franchise in history? That's easy, Avatar. What about the record for the most balloons popped in one minute by a pogostick? Or the longest journey in a pumpkin boat?

These and many more superlatives are in the latest edition of the Guinness World Records, which for 2024's edition has taken our watery world as its theme. That means there's extra entries for aquatic record-breakers, the largest octopuses, largest hot spring and deepest shark among the 2,638 achievements.

"To me the best records are the ones that you tell your friends in the playground or your mates down the bar, or wherever it is, in the gym. You just say 'Look I saw this amazing thing today.' That to me, is the sign of a good record," says Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday.

He estimates that 75 per cent to 80 per cent of the entries are new and updated, reflecting a huge oversupply of content.

The Guinness World Records researchers get many more records approved than they can fit in a single book.

This year's book is balanced between zany items — most hula hoops spun simultaneously on stilts — to serious science, like heaviest starfish. There are visits to history — pirate ships and shipwrecks — and pages devoted to record-breakers, like musician Elton John and tennis player Shingo Kunieda.

There's a whole series of records just for kids and a new impairment initiative, which gives people with physical and mental challenges the chance to break records within their communities. It is all cleverly packed with facts, drawings and images and puzzles.

Glenday sees the annual book — initially conceived to settle bar arguments — as a fundamentally optimistic collection, one that celebrates ambition and record-breaking as very human things.

"We're all striving to be a bit better at what we do and we enjoy the bit between life and death. So let's just make the most of it. And I think that's why it's maintained its position over the last 70 years — it continues to just amuse and educate and inform and celebrate all these crazy, fun, inspiring things and people."

The team at Guinness World Records get about 100 applicants a day and reject some 95 per cent. Submissions, on the whole, must be measurable, breakable and provable. They may not impinge on someone else's human rights or hurt an animal. And each book is curated annually, so twerking records, a thing just a few years ago, get replaced by TikTok records.

First published in 1955, the book has developed into an international phenomenon published in more than 100 countries and 37 languages. The publication itself is listed as the world's best-selling copyrighted book.

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