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The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby
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The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  626 ratings  ·  112 reviews
Yes, your baby's perfect name is out there.
The trick is finding it.
The perfect baby name will speak to your heart, give your child a great start in life--and maybe even satisfy your relatives. But you can't expect to just stumble on a name like that in an A to Z dictionary or on a trendy list.
That's why you need "The Baby Name Wizard." Created by a name-searching mom, i
Paperback, 401 pages
Published February 8th 2005 by Three Rivers Press (CA)
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The Baby Name Wizard by Laura WattenbergBeyond Jennifer & Jason, Madison & Montana by Linda RosenkrantzThe Baby Name Bible by Pamela Redmond SatranBeyond Ava & Aiden by Linda RosenkrantzThe Book of Elf Names by The Silver Elves
Baby Name Books
1st out of 105 books — 21 voters
Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May GaskinThe Baby Book by William SearsThe Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci GoerWhat to Expect When You're Expecting by Heidi MurkoffTaking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler
Books for Expectant Parents
107th out of 188 books — 127 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 854)
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I *loved* this book! It doesn't take up pages with 5 gazillion spelling variations of names (if you wanted to make up a new spelling, you could pretty much take it on as your own personal project, after all). Instead, it outlines the "personality" of a name as perceived by the author, graphs of the name's popularity in the past century, sister/brother names that people often link together (which are often spot on, I think), and lists in the back of types of names (Amy is a Surfer Sixties name; s ...more
In The Baby Name Wizard, Laura Wattenberg uses computer modelling, historical/social research and good old-fashioned critical thinking to analyze baby naming trends and sort names into ‘types’. Evelyn is ‘antique’; Finn is ‘brisk and breezy’; Hayden is ‘androgynous’.

Wattenberg’s advice on naming is thoughtful and perceptive; she doesn’t disparage any names, but she does give food for thought. For parents-to-be, the main draw is the ability to assess the popularity of your favoured name (whadaya
This book takes a unique and almost scientific approach to names. It was really interesting! I enjoyed it a lot. It groups names into different categories and then uses these categories to essentially help you find your name style. Also if you find a name that you like, it will suggest 5 boys names that are similar in style and 5 girls names that are similar in style to it. It was fun. It doesn't have a billion names in it - but it was helpful and creative and a different take on naming your bab ...more
I have probably read and pondered every name in this book and I still have not settled on a name for my yet-to-be-born baby boy. It's not the book's fault, but I think the book has sort of made the job of naming feel more complex than it has to be. Or maybe it is just the way I'm looking at things. If I stumble across a name I like, like "Miles" for example, then I read the description of "Miles": "Miles is a terrific choice if you're drawn to "elegant gentleman" names." (which I am) "It sounds ...more
Apr 20, 2014 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
This was by far my favorite of the many, many baby name book options. For each name it gives popularity (with a graph), genre, nicknames, sister-names, and brother-names, along with the meaning and some commentary on the name's "feel". The sibling names feature is surprisingly useful. My only complaint is that this book doesn't contain as many names as many other options -- out of our 'long list' of 20ish names, I'd say at least 5 or more aren't even in this book. So, it might be best used in co ...more
This was the first naming book I found to be very readable; my husband even picked it up for about fourminutes. (While I stared in shock with my mouth hanging open for an additional thirty seconds after he put it down.)

The first twenty pages were written by Captin Obvious with advice such as, "don't pick first/last names which rhyme." As if you would do that unknowingly... But there were some examples worth a snicker when considering variations of a name; Benjamin Dover will inevitably be called
This is the best baby name book I've ever come across, not that I found my children's names in here (in fact, I've never seen either of my children's names in ANY baby name book). BUT it's a very effective system given that for today's parents, the popularity of a name is often just as much a consideration as its meaning or origin. Each main entry name is accompanied by a graph charting that name's popularity since it's emergence. Very useful. The other very effective feature is the fact that th ...more
Catherine Gillespie
Although it bears some similarities to Bring Back Beatrice, Laura Wattenberg’s naming volume, The Baby Name Wizard: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby draws on more of an algorithmic approach to finding names you like. Of course, there is nothing magical about algorithms, they are mathematical formulae, but we’ll assume that the author was overruled by her editor when it came to the subtitle.

In a process similar to how Pandora decides what songs you might like based on y
I hate the title of this book, and for that reason alone am taking away a star. The gimmicky title almost stopped me from picking it up... but I'm so glad that I read it anyway, because it is by far the best name book I've seen. It offers a great detailed look at a large number of names - including information on the name's current popularity and a small graph noting its popularity over time, potential nicknames and variants of the name, sister and brother names (helpful as a 'if you like this n ...more
The author's descriptions of names are quick and witty giving the reader an idea of how his/her chosen name might sound to others. She also provides popularity year and ratings, the style of the name (ie charms and grace, solid citizen, Biblical, surfer sixties...) , possible nicknames, and brother/sister names (if you like this one, you'll like these). It's on my "must" list every time I'm expecting.
Seth Jenson
Another good resource. Yes, this is the third baby naming book I've read. Got a long list and still no clear winner. Maybe he'll just have to be No Name Jenson. Do they have a hospital in No Name, Colorado? You've seen the stop along the freeway on the way to Utah. That should be where they banish would-be parents who can't think of names for their children.
My sister suggested this book to me as she knows how hard we are struggling trying to come up with a name for our babe. Written in 2005 the context is slightly dated as far as up to date popular names but the book is chuck full of good info. I appreciated the author’s blatant perspective on naming your child. Her point that there are 6 or so billion people in the world means that somewhere another human will have the same name as your child, no matter how unique you think you are, so get over it ...more
I've been inexplicably facisnated by names for as long as I can remember. I used to fantasize about having ten children just so I could name them all.

When I learned a baby is coming into my life, I've chose to indulge my love of baby name books. I was particularly intrigued by this one. Watten claims to have developed a pseudo-scientific method for helping the reader identifying the perfect name for their child.

Her "formula" is a combination objective data like the frequency of a names use
This was cute!

and I read about 75% of it.... (I didn't read every single name... just ones I liked and their "brother and sister" names that I liked)

It was fun seeing how her idea worked. When I get preggers and Austin and I start considering names, I will buy this.

It is a fun naming book.

However... I do have a little disagreement with one thing... the FIRST COME FIRST SERVE RULE she talks about.

I understand her theory... but it shouldn't be a race to have babies so you can name your baby wha
I just love this book! Even though I am done having kids (I hope), I can not bring myself to part with this book. Even when my cousin was having a hard time coming up with a name for her second daughter, I could not offer up this book! It is very special. It is where I found the amazing name for my son, Cassius. When I was very pregnant, I saw the name Cassius in this book and made a mental note. So when I went into labor, my husband and I were driving to the hospital, still trying to come up wi ...more
This book is nothing like a normal shity naming book, you do not find the names in 20 different spelling therefor filling page after page of god knows how many names that all mean the same thing... Kerry, kerrie, kery... bla bla bla

Loved it and may have found one or two names I'm willing to go with, it's been hard seen as it needs to begin with a J :)
A baby name book is a baby name book, right? Wrong. This book is witty and enjoyable to read (and/or browse through). Has some great features such as the "siblings" lists. Each name gives some suggested names for siblings if you're on your 2nd or more. There are also lists of unconventional names, lists of biblical names, old English names and many, many more. The lists are helpful if you decide you love the name Opal but your partner says it is a horrible name. Find the list containing Opal and ...more
Molly Toups Baron
A fun way to look at names. You get a chart of popularity for the past 100 years, an image idea, and a sibling names list. The image a names give off is a personal one to each individual, but some names conjer up specific images, for example, Ellie. I think the name is a pretty name to fit any pretty little girl, but who can shake off the memory of down-home, plaid wearing, Ellie Mae Hillbilly? Having someone elses opinion of image might help you realize what others think of when that hear a nam ...more
The Baby Name Wizard is a really great name book that I will be recommending to all my pregnant friends and family members. It's really the only book you need considering there are free apps on the iphone that you can use too.

This book was well organized by both the traditional abc order and then further seperated into name origins. I have an Irish last name, so I found it helpful to find a complete list of Irish first names. I also enjoyed the sibling name ideas she gave for each name.

I must a
This book has great ideas, but needs to be more current. The plan is to look at trends, but all the graphs are from 1900-2000 and data published is from 2005. Needs a generational update (or a current website).
By far the most useful baby name book - it's too bad we got it so late. It would have saved us some frustration in looking at those other books (50,000 baby names, 60,000 baby names, etc), which just have lists of names with very brief and often inane explanations of meaning. This book, based on the website of the same name, offers very useful lists of names that are similar in style, and also offers much better descriptions of names. Also, it sticks to actual names, rather than just including w ...more
Feb 16, 2009 Clare rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Liz
Recommended to Clare by: book review in a magazine
I've skimmed dozens of name books and this one is my favorite!

It shows statistical trends for various names over time. It gives recommendations: "if you like this name, here are others you might like." It gives honest, candid descriptions of names and Wattenberg has a great sense of humor. What other book is going to be so brutally honest as to tell you that a particular name is "the twirpiest name in America?"

Thankfully...this description helped setttle the debate with my husband who wanted us
Caroline Noll
I've always loved reading about names, and this book is so much fun to page through. Sibling names, categories of names, it just makes me laugh!
Alison Stewart
Read this book when we were expecting our second child. Very helpful. I especially liked the sibling names feature with each name listing.
The only baby name book with the kind of statistics and approach recommended by Randall Munroe, of XKCD and NASA. ;)
Jan 04, 2012 Cassie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
I am kind of strange and just read this for fun... I'm 19 and not planning on having kids for a loooong time (if at all). I'm just a lover of names.

I love the author of this book and her website (also worth checking out if you liked the book). I was actually able to read this book for fun since it's not like other baby name books that just start from 'A' and plainly lists any name you could think of. The amount of names is definitely pruned down but it offers a more personalized way of going thr
I highly recommend this book to anyone having children, or just interested in names. Having read (okay, browsed) more than a few name books in recent months, I can definitely say this is the best one out there.
The methodology involved in getting you to the perfect name is brilliant. And the format is handy and accessible.
More than that, though, Wattenberg can write. She's concise, helpful, and entertaining, all at the same time. Seriously, she could easily be a columnist or something else invo
Got this for my sister, and myself, as everyone says how great it is. It is a lot of fun! She doesn't list every name out there in the universe, which is refreshing, actually, but gives fun (and short) insights, meanings and current popularity status to more than 1500 names. Wish I'd had it before my girls were born (not that we would have chosen different names, though). Whenever Jess calls with an update on their naming struggles, I flip to the name they are discussing and see what it has to s ...more
Unlike any other baby name book you've seen. Goes beyond telling you what the name *means* to include an analysis of its popularity over time, its "sibling" names for both genders (i.e., if your brother is named Jason, you're likely to be named...."), its cultural context, and a forecast of its future popularity. Fascinating, helpful if you're pregnant, and a fun coffee table addition. No one can resist picking it up.

If you want to play with the interactive website, go to:
I'm not really in the market for a baby right now, but this book is just fun to flip around in. Beside each name there is a graph that shows its popularity over the course of the twentieth century. Also cool is name classification according to style ('Antique Charm', 'Biblical', 'New Classics', 'Surfer Sixties', etc.)
Maybe my favorite name ever? Tarquin. I am hoping this will be the 'Leonardo' of this century, because I just bet a lot of money on it.
Anyways, the website is pretty rad too.
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what is a name from a book that you'd consider naming your new born? 1 3 Sep 06, 2013 02:56PM  
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The Baby Name Wizard, Revised 3rd Edition: A Magical Method for Finding the Perfect Name for Your Baby

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