Book Reviews

Book review: Guinness World Records 2020

Written by Omair Alavi

Omair Alavi|Published December 7, 2019

Reading books may not be a trend anymore, but there is one book that keeps the trend alive, especially before a year starts. The book is — Guinness World Records. It is back and this time, it is fully updated for a new decade.

This Guinness World Records 2020 follows the same pattern it has been following since 1955, mentioning records that have been created during the last 12 months, or the ones that stand the test of time, but there is a twist in this edition. They have given thumbs up to as many as 5103 successful claims in the last 12 months; have mentioned the relaunch of Guinness World Records Kids website; included a chapter that deals with the Most Watched GWR Videos on YouTube and also given space to records that revolve around social media. Now that’s something even the creators of this record book wouldn’t have imagined when they launched it!

This 256-page book is a treasure trove for those who want to keep themselves updated with the latest records. In the era of websites and social media, Guinness World Records stays ahead by bringing the most unusual records from around the world.

At one glance, it looks like the Olympic Games coverage where every country is mentioned through its initials and prominent record-holders have their picture with either the GWR Shield or while performing their record-breaking feat. And then there is the Snapshot section where the digital artists have combined two iconic records to make it look pleasing to the eye. What else would you say if you combine the World’s Largest Pizza with one of the oldest cathedrals in London and the result is both religious and yummy!

Those who are familiar with Guinness World Records know that the book is divided into 11 superlative packed chapters, which talk about everything from the human body, planet earth, arts and media, to animals and sports, to name a few. What many don’t know is that you can find which record took place on the day you were born, as the footer of every page has a record, in chronological order. It kicks off with the most handshakes in a single event record that the US President Theodore Roosevelt holds even after 112 years and ends with the largest YMCA dance in Texas. Interesting, isn’t it?

And then there are the records featuring Pakistanis, yes there are a few and they don’t include Jahangir Khan and Shoaib Akhtar. Pakistan’s Mohammad Rashid (Karachi) features twice in the book, once for head-butting 28 watermelons on his head in half-a-minute, and later for crushing most walnuts by hand in one minute; he crushed 284 walnuts under a minute to create a world record.

There is also Farhan Ayub (Lahore) who burst 20 water balloons with his feet in 2.75 seconds to create a record while Prof Saiful Islam and his team generated 1275.4 volts from a battery of 2016 lemon halves, claiming the record of highest voltage from a fruit battery.

Another Pakistani, Wazir M Jagirani, created a world record when he was operated and the world’s heaviest kidney stone weighing 620 grams was taken out from inside him. That kidney stone was as big as a basketball, and that is one record no one wants to own.

Be it the ‘flipped’ paragraph about Most Books Typed Backwards or the history of Movie Robots featuring those from the Star Wars and the Terminator series, every record here has a purpose. Some records mentioned in the book might seem doable, but they aren’t.

The ones that were recently attempted or can be tried at home are mentioned under the ‘Do Try This At Home’ section. Who knows you might join your fellow Pakistanis and get mentioned in the next edition of the Guinness World Records. Best of luck!

Interesting feats mentioned in GWR 2020

Football players Cesc Fabregas holds the record of achieving 100 assists in the quickest time — in just 293 English Premier League matches

Actor Jack Reynolds is the oldest actor to perform on TV in a supporting role, at 107 years 2 days

Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) and Patrick Stewart (Professor X) have the longest careers as live-action Marvel superheroes, playing their characters for 16 years 232 days

The Tallest Man in the World is Sultan Kosem from Turkey and he is 251 cm, or 8 feet 2.8 inches tall

Avengers: Endgame created the record of grossing one billion dollars in the fastest time

Robert Downey Jr and Scarlett Johansson are the highest-grossing lead actor and actress at the moment

Tom Cruise is the most bankable Hollywood actors, Sandra Bullock is the most bankable leading actress

America’s Marjorie Gestring still holds the record of being the youngest gold medalist in Olympic history

Egyptian goalkeeper Essam-El-Hadary was more than 45 years old when he represented his country at the FIFA World Cup to become the oldest person to do so

Legendary actor Christopher Lee died more than 60 times on screen, which is a record.

This book is available at Paramount Books

Published in Dawn, Young World, December 7th, 2019

About the author

Omair Alavi

Omair Alavi is a highly regarded journalist, critic, and commentator, specializing in news, sports, showbiz, film, blogs, articles, drama, reviews, and PTV drama. With extensive experience and a keen eye for storytelling, he captivates audiences with his insightful analysis and compelling presentations. His expertise and contributions have made him a prominent figure in the media and entertainment industry.