name your kid whatever you want. you worked to make it, but they'll have to work harder to make it in life. no one has the right to judge a kid's name. unless it is one like lacrecia, natashianiqua, or a boy named caleon. these mafia names are not cute for boys.


Like old Mongolian Proverb "Parents give you calling name, You earn your name which will be remembered" Is that make sense?

Pat Winkelman

your book should be retitled as freaksocialologist. While the book made for interesting reading it left me disappointed as i would hope that it would have explored how economics systems really work and don't work.


I like these two...especially the second. However, if I had to do it again I'd have named by children John and Mary and been done with it.

Tom McGarry

If I could forecast with great confidence who would be the male and female film superstars six to twenty one years from the baptisim of each of our children, I might let that influence my/our name choice, just as we might be influenced by the names of the male and female Democratic presidents. But lacking that ability, I/we would stick with the proved staying power of Thomas Francis, Mary Elizabeth(Libby), and Charles Bernard.

Scott Harker

When you hear someone in Wal-Mart yell "Travis!" or "Kayla!", why are you not at all surprised when you see the mother?

Maybe it's just NE Ohio, but those two names, by far, are the favorites among low-income, low-educated families. I'm not finding fault, mind you. It's just an observation.

The names chapter was my favorite in the book. It just made concrete what I've been telling people all along.


They're too simple and tells little. The blog should have a "Best Of," so we can get to the good stuff.


Hey Dubner, I bet you will have a blurb in the Indexed Book when it comes out, despite your other post :)


#1- Booooooo

#2- Duh


So true!
Why have we?

the name
of the baby
the incarnation
the baby!

of the children
you fools!


I don't understand why people name their babies, often ahead of time and frequently right after birth. When I have mine, I am going to not name it for awhile until a good name suggests itself.

The parents with whom I work-- middle class teachers-- have all chosen exotic baby names. One woman's husband is Irish so their children are Declan and Aurlagh. The hipster Irish-Jew family went for Kai (boy) and Anya (girl). Their names reflect the parents' intellectual status aspirations.


A sadly popular trend I see down here (in Texas) is the naming of boys "Cayden". I can't wait until I'm fifty and my twenty-three year old boss' name is Cayden.

Snot Rag Dave

Melanie #9 and Scott #3... good observations. Let's also remember how so many children are receiving relatively common names with unusual spellings such as: Dayvid, Kristofer, Aymee, Rehbekka (all actual names I've seen in recent published birth announcements). I can't imagine a future CEO of a Fortune 500 company with a name that has such an awkward spelling.


Have a kid. Until then, please shut up.
Full disclosure: I don't have a kid by the name of any you berated above, it's just your infinite wisdom is annoying.
Best of luck (something tells me your future kids will need it more than you, you're omnipotence).


Prestige should probably be notoriety. @#8, Declan isn't an uncommon Irish first name. Elvis Costello's real name is Declan, for example.


How sad about the name Kayla. It happens to be a beautiful Yiddish name. I'm sure most pple in NE Ohio don't really know that.


I felt that I had to go with names that were "unusual" at the time I named my girls - Quinn and Mackenzie. Being a teacher - and a former dean of discipline - you give me a name, I can think of a kid who had a lot of detentions... I also wanted to give my kids with "meanings" - even if Quinn doesn't really mean "wise," I, for now, believe that it does...


@#8 and @#14: Yep - sitting here in Belfast, Declan is a very common Irish name. But 'Aurlagh' looks like a very strange pseudo-Irish attempt at 'Orla'!

I'm not sure that the name graph is entirely accurate. Certainly here in Ireland it's people in lower socio-economic groups who are 'first adopters' of unusual names (drawn mostly from the media) which may eventually become acceptable enough for others.

(An example that comes to mind is 'Kylie' - which originated from an Australian soap opera and was a joke name for many years but it's now - fifteen years later - reasonably acceptable).

But this 'first adopter status' might only be true of names from the media - it's not if you consider unusual names drawn from history and the arts.


While I'm for originality, I don't think there's anything all that original about a misspelling of David or any other name people choose to put into a blender. Also leaving me clueless are the sexless names that actually seem like surnames. For example, Avery, Reagan, Taylor, etc.

The names I miss are the classic ones: Betty, Grace, Olivia, Jane, Larry, George, Franklin, Edward. Sure they might not be as imaginitive and exotic as the new crop. Nor are they as cosmopolitan, but they are quite graceful.


The graph is wrong, as Dubner's own book demonstrates. Were Temptress, Winner, Loser, and Orangejello prestigious names?

Maybe the appeal of Ms. Hagy's work is beyond me, but I just don't think her venn diagrams and graphs are all that clever.