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.


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


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?


what about CLEO, who was a princess/queen?


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.


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?


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


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


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.


How is Temptress doing?


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.


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.


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.

Doug Nelson

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.


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!

Carl Spackler

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?


My cat Fido likes his name.

Richie Rich

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


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?


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.

Rex Curry

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.