If I Name My Daughter ‘C.E.O,’ Will She Become One?

A survey by BabyCenter, a popular Web site for expecting mothers, found that 58 percent of parents believe that the name they give their baby will contribute to his or her success in life. Apparently they didn’t read Freakonomics, or at least they didn’t believe it.

So what qualities did these parents want their chosen names to have?

For boys, parents and parents-to-be said it’s most important that a baby’s name convey strength (55 percent), followed by individuality (47 percent). For girls, the qualities most frequently cited were femininity, individuality, and kindness.

No word on whether “Fido” makes the cut in either of these categories.


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  1. Mike says:

    Of course it does, look at the football players today. A lot of them have names that you could only have if you are a football player, i.e. “Rock Cartwright” or “Colt McCoy.”

    Seriously, can you have the name “Colt McCoy” and grow up to be anything *but* starting QB for the University of Texas?

    That’s why I’m naming my first born son “Strongarm McThrowsaccurately.”

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  2. discordian says:

    I’m SO glad my wife didn’t participate on any of those web sites and had the good sense to choose the names Belyle and Rosacea for our two kids.

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  3. Rex Curry says:

    How relevant is the name question when $500 million in school budget cuts with regressive (off spending) tax breaks are on offer.

    Try this one on for size: There is no fat to cut at the school level, the fat is at Tweed, where the ratio with schools is “freakonomic”, shocking (pound per pound) and unacceptable (dollar per dollar).

    New York State’s highest court found New York City’s schools to be severely underfunded. We cannot make right past wrongs unless we stop repeating them. And, yes I want to believe in as well as stay in the public school system.

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  4. Richie Rich says:

    Doesn’t mean a thing
    **sent via Blackberry aboard the SS Ostentatious

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  5. Mani says:

    Which explains why so many actors change their names when they (or in order to) achieve success, natch.

    I wonder what percent of those respondents were first- or second-generation immigrants?

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  6. Carl Spackler says:

    The Numerology people would have to disagree on the method behind determining a persons success. Have y’all ever broken down whether or not a person’s Name Number & Birth Number actually point to success?

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  7. NYC says:

    I remain gob smacked by todays parenting skills, attitudes, and its amazing adaptation. I wonder if Darwin would be rolling his eyes or ROFLAO at what we are developing into as a species.

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  8. Andre3000 says:

    How is Temptress doing?

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  9. Jason says:

    Well my parents gave me the middle name Cain, but failed to give me a brother to see how it would have played out. But this hockey mask wearing, homicidal maniac phase has been quite fun.

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  10. AlexW says:

    A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

    But you’ve got to wonder if Jesus would have been crucified if he was named Doug of Nazareth.

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  11. chris says:

    Didn’t Freakonomics provide a brief case study of brothers named “Winner” and “Loser” whose levels of success were considerably divergent? I realize the point was that trends in baby naming were the result of such factors as socioeconomic status, and not the cause, but I think Freakonomics provided numerous examples of names that negatively impacted a child, and thereby his or her success (eg. Temptress). So the answer to the question, “does a person’s name contribute to his or her success in life?”, isn’t “no”, but rather “not as much as you might expect”.

    I have no doubt that if you named your daughter CEO, it would significantly impact her success in life… however, it might not be in the direction you desire, so perhaps it’s best not to play around.

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  12. Doug Nelson says:

    What strikes me is how the primary things they want the name to convey is the gender and that there’s only the one. I’ll bet they’d get an entirely different picture if BabyCenter charged for registration.

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  13. di says:

    The respondents were all individuals who actively participate in the mommy-industrial complex as typified by these websites. No parenting decision exists that can’t be made more complex, more judgmental, and require the purchase of more stuff. Heaven forbid you name your son after your favorite uncle instead of buying six baby name books and making a research project out of it. That’s cheating!

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  14. frankenduf says:

    anybody old enough to remember WKRP in Cincinnati?- there’s a great scene where the nerd character converses with a jock:
    Jock: I like to think a man’s name convey’s something about his character- My name’s Steele, what’s yours?
    – Less

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  15. discordian says:

    If you name your child CEO is he/she destined to be subpoenaed by congress?

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  16. Brad says:

    I once had a pediatrician named “Dr. Little.” He stood about 5 foot tall and about 100 pounds. Was his family small or did his name stunt his growth?

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  17. Donna says:

    When my son, who is now 18 yrs. old and in his first year of college, was in a rather prominent private pre-school/kindergarten, the school would hold an annual graduation ceremony for the kindergartners and the class entering into “kinder”. Each child had to put together a poster about himself or herself and include what he or she wanted to be when they grew up. For the two years that I attended those events I always walked away astonished that approximately half of the girls wanted to be princesses when they grew up. The posters of all of the boys related to some real and tangible profession or job, (i.e. pilot, football player, president, etc.). I still cringe when I am in public and hear a parent refer to his/her daughter as princess.

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  18. andy says:

    what about CLEO, who was a princess/queen?

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  19. Janey says:

    Donna’s story of the princesses is absolutely chilling (comment 18). Doug’s observation on the importance that parents apparently give to unambiguous gender labels is also interesting (comment 13).

    Why, oh why do we confine our children within such walls?

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  20. Sage says:

    Daughter’s names, Tiffany and Crystal. I hope they will become professional dancers.

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  21. Anna says:

    I wish that parents would stop naming their baby boys “Jackson” and “Tyler.” There are about forty of them in my daughter’s kindergarten class. It doesn’t get more boy-bander in training than that.

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  22. Naomi Park says:

    Look at this! CEO Park or Regional Senior Partner Park has a ring to it!

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  23. carol mccague says:

    I have been a career counselor for many years and up to the last five years the most successful women I interviewed were named Lisa or Nicole. Hands down, in every profession. In fact I would go so far as to say I never worked with a Lisa or a Nicole who hadn’t done well.

    Every Ray I ever worked with was very successful. Not Raymond, but Ray. Mike, of course. The most difficult name, I would say virtually a guarantee of problems, has been Jake. This does not apply to members of the Jewish community where Jacob is likely to be the name of a grandfather, and an honor to have.

    I would suggest that if you are considering naming your baby boy Jake, and if it is not a family name, please think again.

    It remains to be seen what the new successful names will be. It takes a while to build a career.

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  24. Eva says:

    I know a Lisa who is a big screw up. I also know a Ray who lives in a grainery and lives off welfare. He has 3 daughters and a wife who works her self to the bone to pay for Ray and his lazy ways.

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  25. Susie says:

    I jump for joy everytime I hear of another Addie-leigh, NOlan or Jxon. It will make my children’s names stand out for their simplicity, and give them an edge in 25 yrs time when their peers have horribly dated names.

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