Category: Theory of Names

Names To Die For

We are all enjoying the 2012 anthology of Crime Writing, “Books to Die For”, edited by Irish Crime Authors, John Connolly and Declan Burke.

While trawling through the hundred of essays on favourite books by guest authors, we were struck by the penchant of Crime authors to adopt pen names. Some of our favourites include-

Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie (Mary Westmacott)

Donald Edwin Westlake (Richard Stark; Alan Marshall; Alan Marsh; James Blue; Ben Christopher; Andrew Shaw; Edwin West; John B. Allan; Don Holliday; Curt Clark; Tucker Coe; P.N. Castor; Timothy J. Culver; J. Morgan Cunningham; Samuel Holt; Judson Jack Carmichael)

Stephen Edwin King (Richard Bachmann: Jon Swithen) and

Ian Rankin (Jack Harvey).

So tell us – what are your favourite author pen-names?

By the way, for the writer-types out there, we particularly like Dame Christie’s advice – “the best way to plan a book is while your’re doing the dishes.”

Great Minds, Great Names

Regular readers of our blog will be aware that we believe a reasonable case can be made for suggesting a beautiful, memorable name can be the germ for success, fame and fortune to flourish. Not always, admittedly – however, our blog posts on Russian supermodel names, beautiful Bond-girl names, and now, the Great Minds of our time, all suggest a tentative relationships with the name-principles of Theory of Names.

To the case in point, the October 2012 edition of The Red Bulletin Magazine, listed the 20 most marvellous minds on the planet. Top of the heap was James Lovelock, British scientist and futureologist and widely regarded as the person who identified the glocal warming effect of CFC’s.

We admire his powerful, alliterative surname (Love-Lock), his plain single-syllable first name (James), and the rare but evocative symbollism of his part-surname, Love. A worthy winner on various fronts.

To prove a point, the attractive designs of many of the other names are compelling-

Sir Tim Berners-Lee (Inventor of the Internet) – picture above.

Dina Katabi (Data Accelerator Scientist)

Kim Ung-Yong (World’s Highest IQ)

Michael McAlpine (Natural Battery Recharging)

Dickson D. Despommier (Eco-Microbiologist Farmer)

Nathan Wolfe (Human Virus Hunter)

Marissa Mayer (User Interface Designer and CEO Yahoo)

Matt Berg (Children’s Heathcare Monitor)

Ben Rattray (Social Activist and CEO of

Sebastian Seung (Human-Computer Mind Mapper)

Donald Sadoway (Renewal Energy Professor)

Eythor Bender (designer of wearable robots)

Elaine Mardis (Cancer Genome Researcher).

Now then – who said that giving your child a beautiful, memorable name wasn’t important…

New Beatles Album (2013) – “The Purple Songs”

Imagine… a re-discovered 30 year old mastertape from an undiscussed Irish island retreat, boasting a dozen previously unheard Beatles songs written at the height of their creative powers.

What song titles might appear? Sweet-sounding place names? Iconic girl first-names? Unforgettable love slogans? Quick-witted double meanings?

Never ones to shy away from a challenge…

1. Head of an Englishman, Irish Heart (Harrison)

2. Happy Anniversary (Lennon-McCartney)

3. Oonagh Ane (Starr-McCartney)

4. You’re wrong, you’re definitely right (Lennon-McCartney)

5. Rishikesh skies (Lennon-MCartney)

6. Love will surprise you (Lennon-McCartney)

7. First love (MCartney)

8. Anger is our drug (Lennon)

9. Letter to Brian (Lennon-MCartney)

10. Thomas Chamney Searight (Lennon-MCartney)

11. 100 times you let me down, 100 times we made up (Harrison)

12. Vote Yes (McCartney).

What do you think? Which ones would you skip to first? What unwritten Beatles’ song titles can you compose?

A President called “Mitt”?

With the 2012 US Presidential race apparently neck and neck with only one day to go, we wondered if the Contender’s first name could a factor in causing the electorate to decide one way or another.

Has anyone heard the name “Mitt” before? Is it short for something?

Wikipedia has this to say-

“Willard Mitt Romney – his parents named him after a family friend, businessman J. Willard Marriott, and his father’s cousin, Milton “Mitt” Romney, a former quarterback for the Chicago Bears. Romney was referred to as “Billy” until kindergarten, when he indicated a preference for “Mitt.””

Apparently then, the Contender could have opted for a variety of other self-selected names; such as-

Will Romney

Milton Romney

Bill/y Romney

Williard Romney.

Utilising the Theory of Names principles, we might have preferred the name “Bill” Romney. There again, “Bill” might remind voters of a Democratic President called “Bill.”

A President called “Mitt”? Are you having a laugh….

Better Bond Bad-Guy Names

Ok – we really enjoyed “Skyfall”- despite some slightly lukewarm reviews and comments we had heard beforehand.

Well, to be accurate, we enjoyed MOST of the movies’ contents. The one thing we felt might have been better was the name given to Bond’s arch-enemy played by actor, Javier Bardem – which was Raoul Silva/Tiaga Gonzales.

Unfortunately, either name failed to inspire us (coming from a long-line of expertly crafted villain names by Ian Fleming). Some of our previous favourites include-

Dr Julius No (Dr No)

Rosa Klebb (From Russia With Love)

Ernst Stavro Blofield (From Russia With Love)

Auric Goldfinger (Goldfinger)

Dr. Kananga / Mr. Big (Live and Let Die)

Francisco Scaramanga (The Man With The Golden Gun)

Karl Stromberg (The Spy Who Loved Me)

Sir Hugo Drax (Moonraker) – his picture above.

So where does that leave us. Well here’s a few of our own creations, using the tools and devices proposed by Theory of Names-

Phrixus Cy Argyros

Aatish Battacharjee

Sevastian Feldberg

Vlad Guttenmakher

Akil Jabara

Boryenka Zukov.

How did we do? What names for Bond Villains do you have?

The 2012 US Presidential Election baby name game

With the 2012 US Presidential Election fast approaching, it’s down-the-wire who will win.

So far we’ve heard the debates, the policies, the accusations and the catch-phrases.

But what about their childrens’ names? Who’s the winner there?

Firstly, Barack and Michelle Obama two girls’ names are-

Malia Ann (1998)

Sasha (Natasha) (2001).

Mitt and Ann’s Romney’s five boys’ names are-

Taggart Romney (1970)

Matthew Romney (1971)

Joshua Romney (1975)

Benjamin Romney (1978)

Craig Romney (1981)

Our vote? Shading it slightly, the challenger gets it.

Where’s your vote going?

The O’Driscoll-Huberman baby

At last – the news we’ve all been hoping for! Many congrats to Ireland’s top celebrity couple on the happy news of their pending first arrival. We’re thrilled, delighted and excited -it’s a long wait until March 2013!

Now then – what about the name….

The Jamie Oliver Special

Jamie Oliver has been on our minds alot recently. Here’s four reasons why-

1. He’s just opened another of his Italian restaurants, this time in Dundrum Shopping Centre, Dublin (only a few miles away from us) – and the food is great (mostly) (according to Catherine Cleary, food critic in the Irish Times) and it’s black-busy, all the time (queue only 30 minutes on a Monday evening).

2. He’s a wealthy, self-made pup (last estimate, net worth $235 million at last count) and an award winning social entrepreneur (lead speaker at the 2010 TED conference). The combination is rare – and we applaud him for it.

3. He’s also famous for the very flowery names he’s given his children – the extreme end of the flower-power trend that’s swept both US and UK/Ireland. In decending order, they are – Poppy Honey Rosie Oliver (born 18 March 2002), Daisy Boo Pamela Oliver (born on 10 April 2003), Petal Blossom Rainbow Oliver (born on 3 April 2009) and Buddy Bear Maurice Oliver (born on 15 September 2010).

4. Last but not least, we are VERY CURIOUS about the skill he’s demonstrated in choosing his first name, which we believe defines the very essence of the chap. Time out – let’s consider some of the alternative names he could have adopted;

James Oliver

Jimi Oliver

Jim Oliver

Jude Oliver

Joules Oliver (sometimes used variation)

Jacques Oliver

Jackie Oliver

Jay Oliver

Jack Oliver

Josh Oliver

and finally-

Jamie Oliver.

You see Jamie Oliver works so brilliantly, because “Jamie” is the kind of “ordinary lad-mate, happy-go-lucky guy around town” name, that defines who he sets out to be (and possibly is) so well. We’re talking BRAND here.

Name Oliver. BRAND Oliver. What value has proper name then?

Bond, James Bond – our 6th Beautiful Award Winner

Our sixth Beautiful Award winner, and our first fictional name award winner, is James Bond.

Ian Fleming’s creation has of course stood the test of time and later this week, Skyfall, the 23rd Bond movie, is released.

However – in keeping with out recent romp on Britney’s middle name, we asked ourselves does the most famous name in British Spy history have a middle name or names?

Before, checking it out, we stepped in with our own creations-

James Montgomery Bond

James Sinclair Bond

James Sutherland Bond

James Cornelius Bond

James Ismael Bond

James Isaac Jeremiah Bond

James Rosenburg Bond

James London Harvey Bond

James Golden Silver Bond

James Sterling Bond

James Charles Stewart Bond

James Rupert Salamander Bond

James T. Simon Bond

What do you think? Which are your favourites? What middle names can you come up with?

So did Ian Fleming bless our beloved character with a middle name?

Most fans and commentators believe he didn’t, but in 2006, the Daily Telegragh made the following assertion-

“In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1963), Bond is being held in a raffia-work cage suspended over a pool of piranha fish while the villain, Dr Peevish, taunts him by saying “Herbert, Herbert, Herbert” over and over again”.

So there you have it – Bond, James Herbert Bond.

The Beautiful Awards

Our passion for names drives us to constantly improvement our processes and ideas, and identify people and examples which typify our understanding of beautiful name creation.

Every month we acknowledge best practice by awarding a person or business that demonstrates best practice in areas as design expertise, skill and craft.

Sometimes, our awardee is a person or business organisation that has given their children or products beautiful names. Sometimes, it’s a person with a beautiful name themselves.

Whatever the reason for merit, we wish to acknowledge it with a small, personal gift and a mention in our blog.

Previous winners can be viewed by clicked on the blog category, “Beautiful Awards,” on the side bar of the home page.

If you wish to nominate somebody or organisation for the award, please drop us a line.

Jack and Emily

Earlier this year, it was revealed from the annual CSO survey that Jack and Emily were the two most popular children’s names for new-borns in Ireland during 2011.

Of the 38223 boys born during 2011, there were 840 Jack’s (2.2%). Of the 36427 girls, there were 596 Emily’s (1.6%). Jack has been the top boy’s name since 2007; Emily has overtaken Sophia as the top girl’s name in 2011. There was a range of 4810 girl’s names on the full list and 3801 different boys’ names.

The penchant for greater variety of girl’s names is even more pronounced in the US, where Jacob has been the most popular names for (incredibly) the last 13 years. Sophia has unseated Isabella in the US as the top girl’s name after a two year reign at the top.

As usual, reading these lists makes interesting, fun reading; but as usual, our overwhelming feeling is this “top of the hit parade” and its cousin – names trend-watching – does little to help highly confused parents-to-be work their way through the tens, hundreds and thousands of possible name alternatives, in their endeavour to design a beautiful, memorable name for their special arrival.

And with the publication of our e-book in November, and nothing to loose, why not join the revolution and give our ideas on baby name design a try?

Happy Birthday to U

12 October 2012 is a special day for Theory of Names – we are 1 year old today!

To mark the occasion, we have given some thought to our source code – our creative basis – our philosophical principles (if you like).

For the moment this philosophy is simply a list of preferences. It may eventually evolve into someting more stark; but more the moment, it’s our map.

From the beginning-

1. A dream is more important than resources.

2. Resources are more important than a job.

3. A sense of humour is more important than a sense of importance.

4. A sense of importance is more important than a sense of impotence.

5. Faith is more important than facts.

6. Facts are more important than folly.

7. Composing is more important than being entertained.

8. Being entertained is more important than being busy.

9. Work is more important than play.

10. Play is more important than work.

11. Theory is more important than practice.

12. Practice is more important than potential.

That’s a start.

Now tell us yours!