What Drives People to Try to Get Into the Guinness Book?

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What Drives People to Try to Get Into the Guinness Book?


Children in New Delhi in a 2007 attempt to break a world record for the most people brushing their teeth together in multiple venues


 
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CHRISTOPHER CRUISE: Welcome to THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English. I’m Christopher Cruise.

BARBARA KLEIN: And I'm Barbara Klein. This week on our program, we talk about getting into Guinness. We hear from a man who got into the famous record book twice -- and wrote his own book about how he did it. And we hear from another man who holds the record for holding the most records.

CHRISTOPHER CRUISE: The Guinness Book of Records was first published in August of nineteen fifty-five in Britain. The idea came from Sir Hugh Beaver, then managing director of Guinness Brewery. He could not find the answer to what seemed like a simple question: What was Europe's fastest game bird. He thought other people might like a book that could answer such questions and settle arguments.

Today the name is just Guinness World Records. The main offices are in London but the book is now owned by a big Canadian company. The Jim Pattison Group also owns the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museums.

BARBARA KLEIN: The Guinness book is one of the most widely read books ever published. More than one hundred million copies have been sold in almost forty languages. A new edition is published every year.

An Egyptian man, Mohammed Ali Zinhom, attempts a Guinness world record last year for doing push-ups on two fingers of his right hand only

There are records in areas like most tattoos, most piercings, most married, longest hair, fastest talker and biggest hands. Some records appear in almost every edition of the book, like the tallest and shortest people and the oldest man and woman in the world. But as much as eighty percent of the content is new each year.

CHRISTOPHER CRUISE: Why do people try to get into the Guinness book? That might seem like asking why Olympic athletes keep trying to run faster, throw farther and jump higher.

Guinness says a world record is not simply a fact but a way to measure ourselves. Knowing "the biggest, the smallest, the fastest, the most and the least," it says, helps us understand our position in the world and how we fit in.

BARBARA KLEIN: Larry Olmsted once held two Guinness records. He set one by playing poker for seventy-two hours, which was a record for that card game. He set the other for "Greatest Distance Between Two Rounds of Golf on the Same Day." He played golf in Australia and California -- a distance of more than twelve thousand kilometers. Both records have since been broken, and Larry Olmsted says he has no plans to try to recapture them. Instead, he has written a book called "Getting Into Guinness: One Man's Longest, Fastest, Highest Journey Inside the World's Most Famous Record Book."

He tells us that in writing the book he discovered the simple reason why many people want to set a world record.

More than 20,000 people in Manila, Philippines attempt to break the Guinness world record for largest human cross earlier this year

LARRY OLMSTED: "Everyone wants to be famous. And, in a sense, while I don’t think you really become famous, from the record-setter's perception it’s a way to be immortalized."

CHRISTOPHER CRUISE: That desire to live forever in a record book may not seem very surprising. But Larry Olmsted says he was surprised to learn that very few records are published in the annual edition of the book. LARRY OLMSTED: "They don’t put most of the records in the book, and that really turns out to be the biggest surprise of all for people who actually set the records. Because almost everybody sets the record with the expectation that they’ll see their name in the book, and the majority don’t, and they are very, very disappointed."

 

Grammar notes:

- get into somewhere/ sth: vào trong một nơi nào,  ghi danh vào
We hear from a man who got into the famous record book twice.

- try to do sth: cố gắng làm gì
Why do people try to get into the Guinness book?

- keep trying to do sth: cố gắng làm việc gì
That might seem like asking why Olympic athletes keep trying to run faster, throw farther and jump higher.

- seem + Adj: dường như, có vẻ

That desire to live forever in a record book may not seem very surprising.

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