Guinness World Records
Editor tells the stories behind the book's records
Getting to meet people like the world's tallest man is what makes the job of Editor-in-Chief of Guinness World Records most interesting.
"I would give myself the record for having the best job in the world," said Craig Glenday, who has been with Guinness for the last seven years. "I get to meet the world's most fascinating people—the most interesting people in the world."
One of Glenday's favorite and most unique record holders is Lee Redmond, who until recently held the record for the world's longest fingernails.
"The story of how she got them, how she maintains them, how she goes to the bathroom, all of that, is fascinating," Glenday says. "We get to learn the story behind the short paragraphs in each book."
Redmond had been growing her almost three foot-long fingernails since 1979. When Glenday learned that she painted them everyday with gold nail polish and nail hardener to keep them smooth and strong, he introduced her to the man with the longest nails, Melvin Boothe.
"He didn't take care of his nails," Glenday said. "They are very gnarled and coiled."
Glenday got the two together for the first time so Redmond could share some nail care tips with her comrade.
As only Glenday would know until the next book comes out, Redmond is no longer the record holder. She lost her talons in a car accident. She now keeps her nails at a more reasonable two inches.
"She decided to stop it there," he said. "She's had the record long enough."
Many of the measurements to determine world records are made by Glenday himself. He traveled to Ankura, Turkey in February to measure Sultan Kosen, the world's tallest man at 8 feet, 2 inches.
"We measure the person three times in the day," Glenday said. The first measurement is taken in the morning. "You're often taller in the morning than when you go to bed. You shrink in the daytime," he said.
The three measurements are averaged to become the official figure.
Not all records turn out. Glenday once attended what should have been the largest Macarena dance. Only 70 of the expected 1,000 people showed up.
More recently, the largest gathering of people dressed in Santa Claus costumes failed because the group couldn't get enough suits together.
And then there is the record reached and beat before it makes it into the book. That's what happened two years ago to the world's largest bowl of soup.
"It was the size of a fountain you would get outside of a building," Glenday said. "They spent $100,000 and won the record, but one week later someone made a bigger bowl of soup."
And a week after that, someone in another country made an even bigger bowl of soup.
"We called 2007 the year of the soups," Glenday said. " And only one made it into the books."
Food records are usually eaten afterward, but that's not always a good thing!
A record-breaking sandwich made in the Middle East was ready to be weighed when the word went out that it was time to eat.
"Everyone rushed to the stage and the sandwich was eaten before we could weigh it," Glenday said. "It didn't make it into the book."
Almost 90 per cent of the 1,000 records submitted to the Guinness offices a week are turned down, so this Kid Reporter asked for advice on how to successfully break a record.
"Don't set a record and then tell us," he said. "We have to make sure you are following the rules."
Record attempts that Glenday and his staff decide are too dangerous are also turned down. Kids are often stopped from world record attempts like running a marathon that could cause permanent body damage. Fattest dogs and cats are also no-nos.
"It's really cruel," he said. "People are force-feeding their animals and it's cruel."
To get into the next book, which is already under way, a record has to meet four criteria:
1) it has to be something you can measure;"Some people think the world has stopped, that we've done all that we can do," Glenday said. "Of course that's not true. We're still finding new species of animals. There's always something new and when there is, we'll be there."
2) it has to be something that is breakable, unless it's a first, like first man on the moon;
3) it has to have a single measurement value, for example it can't be the tallest/fastest man, just one or the other; and
4) it has to be interesting to Glenday.
Check out a video of Kid Reporter Chloe Anello talking to Guinness World Records Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday and World's Tallest Man Soltan Kosen!
Do you need help picking out what book to read next? Find out what Kid Reporters are saying about all the latest books by reading their book reviews in this special report .
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