Unlike other baby name books that overwhelm you with endless alphabetical lists and name definitions, The Perfect Baby Name
is the first book to offer parents a systematic process for choosing a first name that sounds good with your last name. Our method works with any surname and it's easy to learn. Besides, it's fun! We'd love to hear your feedback about our book and this Web site. If you have any questions or errata to report, please contact us
E-mail the Authors at:
Mary Ann Zissimos, Publicist
Berkley Publishing Group
ATTN: Mary Ann Zissimos
375 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
Bring us your baby-naming dilemma and we'll help you solve it!
Naming your child is probably the most important decision you'll ever make, so why not seek out expert advice? As featured in The Wall Street Journal, we're pleased to offer a customized baby name consultation service for couples who'd like extra help choosing the best-sounding name. We'll break down the sounds and rhythms in your last name and match them with complimentary first names. We will consult with you about your family history and other personal naming criteria to offer name suggestions specifically tailored to you. And we can act as an objective third party to help you bounce around ideas and settle any spousal disagreements. You will receive a certificate with your surname's phonetic breakdown and a booklet with lists of first names that match according to sound and rhythm—sure to become a treasured memento in your child's baby book. For more information, please contact us.
Our baby name consultation service grew out of our baby naming workshops held at the following California locations:
Babies R Us in San Jose
Aug. 23 and Nov. 22, 2005
A World of Books in San Leandro
Sept. 24, 2005
Barnes & Noble Jack London Square in Oakland
Oct. 9, 2005
San Leandro Main Library
Oct. 19, 2005
Day One Center for New and Expectant Parents in San Francisco
Nov. 12, 2005
Check back here or join our mailing list for upcoming events.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why did you write this book?
Itís a system we stumbled upon while naming our own children. Weíre writers and so the way the names sound was important to us. We discovered that we liked certain sounds and rhythms. When we started talking to other couples about it, we realized that lots of people are looking for a system that can make the process easier.
How does it work?
We show people how to break down the sounds and rhythms in their last names and match them to complimentary first names. So if your surname is Green, you can go to the E list and find names like Eli and Peter, Felicia and Mira.
How does that help?
Itís like online bankingóat first itís more work to put all your financial information on the computer, but then it makes paying bills so much faster. With this system, you decide what you like before you start looking, and then you only have to consult a few name lists rather than poring through thousands and thousands of names.
Are unusual names popular now?
Yes, depending on where you live. In New York and San Francisco, for instance, parents seem to want something distinctive and are less worried about whether other kids will tease a child with a distinctive name, probably because all the other kids in school will also have unusual names. In general, if your surname is unusual, itís a good idea to choose a traditional first name. And if you have a common surname, choose a more distinctive first name.
Give an example of a good name and a bad name.
Celebrities always seem to have great-sounding names, probably because they have image consultants who do some version of this phonetic process. Some of our favorites are Alicia Keys, Nathan Lane, Amber Tamblyn, and of course, Elvis Presley. Bad names are in the ears of the listener, too. Englebert Humperdink is a mouthful, but itís certainly memorable and if you say it slowly, it has the same rhythm as Jennifer Anniston. Celebrities get a lot of flack for what they name their kids, though. When Gwyneth Paltrow named her daughter Apple Martin, people said ďapple martini.Ē But Apple Martin sounds good together and has a nice flow. Coco Arquette has a lot of K sounds, but it's memorable. And while some people don't like the names Hazel and Phineas, the first names of Julia Roberts' twins, thatís a matter of taste and they sound fine with the last name Moder.
Are old-fashioned names making a comeback?
Yes, Sophie, Stella, Jacob, and Max are popular. Tracy Ullman named her daughter Mabel and Julia Roberts chose Hazel so Zelda is probably the next up-and-comer.
Is it harder to name a sibling?
Yes, because not only do you have to find a name that sounds good with your last name, you also have to pair it with your first child's names. The more kids you have, the harder it gets. Youíre going to say them together for the rest of your life, so you want them to sound like they go together without rhyming. But that's where our phonetic system can really help, because the sounds in your first childís name can guide you in choosing a name for your second child, and so on.