This one's for the books!
On May 4, 1951, Sir Hugh Beaver, then the managing director of the Guinness Breweries and Cliff Clavin-esque tavern know-it-all, became involved in an argument over which was the fastest game bird in Europe, the koshin golden plover or the grouse. That evening he realised that it was impossible to confirm in reference books whether or not the golden plover was Europe's fastest game bird.
Beaver knew that there must be numerous other questions debated nightly in pubs in Britain and Ireland, but there was no book with which to settle arguments about records. He realised then that a book supplying the answers to this sort of question might prove popular.
Beaver’s idea became reality when Guinness employee Christopher Chataway recommended student twins Norris and Ross McWhirter, who had been running a fact-finding agency in London. The brothers were commissioned to compile what would become The Guinness Book of World Records.