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The Very Best Baby Name Book: In the Whole Wide World Paperback – 25 Feb 1996


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Paperback, 25 Feb 1996
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--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Amazon.com: 30 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This book lives up to its name! 29 Oct. 2005
By Chris Sellick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As I have bought the earlier and thinner edition of this book I am amazed at how much better this edition is.This book gives you the rules for naming your baby.Yes,there are rules for naming baby's.Dont want your baby being the local idiot just because you dont know how to pick out a name.

This book will give you guidelines on what to do and what NOT to do.This book will show you how some names have become less popular almost non existant over the decades.

This book is all about giving your baby its own identity and personality,and why.Covers the most important factors when deciding a name for your baby.This book tells you what you need to know.Even has several pages of famous names and their REAL names.

The only thing I dont like about this edition is the poor quality of paper it was printed on.Very poor quality.Thats the only thing wrong with this book.

I recommend these baby names books too:
1)"Whats wrong with every name in the book:dont name your baby".By David Narter.
2)"The new age baby name book".By Sue Browder.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Good book for those who enjoy searching 16 May 2005
By Mama in CO - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is the only book I bought when I was pregnant with my daughter and the only one I am using now to find a name for baby #2. This is a great book if you enjoy searching through names and their variations. I wanted to see as many realistic names as possible and I knew I wanted an uncommon, but not weird, name. It also lists the ethnicity of the name and its variations. My only complaint (and I have an old version of the book, so this may have changed) is that the book does not lay out the pronunciation of the names. Overall, I love this book and searching through it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Nope, it's the original 22 Dec. 2005
By C Kaufman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have to admit to being upset by the claim that this book is a knockoff of 50,001 Best Baby Names (and the piddly single star rating as a result), given that the first edition of Lansky's book was published in 1979, and the first edition of 50,001 in 2005. My 1984 edition does include multiple lists of the type to which MOM is referring.

I was astonished when I saw the updated copy of this book -- my skinny 1984 ed. has only 13,001 names! When I flipped through the newest edition in search of the obscure names I tend to like (like another reviewer's husband, I am a writer), I was thrilled to find most of them, in addition to more common names.

I also own Sherrilyn Kenyon's Character Naming book, and I have to say that the new version of The Very Best Baby Name Book may have it beat. My biggest complaint about Kenyon's book is that while it includes Hebrew and even a (very) few Sanskrit names, it is almost completely devoid of any Asian-based names (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, among others). Lansky includes lists of popular names from around the world -- from Canada to Russia to China to Kenya. Though Kenyon's book does categorize names based on nationality, it can be a little mind-numbing to page through the same names in nationality after nationality, so it's nice to have another reference with the more traditional alphabetical approach (and nationality of origin is included for each name).

I have also used websites that contain databases of thousands of names, and I adamantly believe that buying a book like Lansky's is *well* worth the money. Online databases, while useful, are riddled with advertisements and popups; typically the list of names fills only a tenth of the page, leaving you paging through short list after short list and spending as much time clicking and scrolling as you do reading names. Lansky's book is a compilation of lots of sites of this sort, and a must-have for any writer's (or future parent's!) shelf.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
What's In A Name? 4 Jan. 2007
By Gregor von Kallahann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The market for baby name books must indeed be cut-throat. I mean, they're either THE VERY BEST BABY NAME BOOK (as claimed here) or THE ONLY BABY NAME BOOK YOU'll EVER NEED, or THE LAST WORD ON FIRST NAMES! Yikes! How daunting for those prospective parents who feel the need for such a guide. (I don't know how my own parents named EIGHT kids without ever purchasing such a book, but back then, I guess, people trusted their own instincts and sense of good taste).

Of course, back in the 50s and 60s, there were naming trends but not this near frenzy to be unique and original (but not so original as to be downright WEIRD), so the pressure wasn't so great. Nowadays, you gotta give the kid the right name, get him/her in the right pre-school and modern dance class and into a college prep program by age four or their lives will be ruined (and it'll be ALL your fault).

Bruce Lansky is nothing if not comprehensive, so for those seeking variety in naming, there will certainly be an abundance here. Of course, one of the book's selling points is the sheer number of names offered, but Lansky knows and you know that 99% are things most parents would NEVER even consider. It's nice to see what the most popular names in Bulgaria are, but most of them really won't fly at that trendy pre-school after all.

A look at the '91 edition (back when it was simply THE *BEST* BABY NAME BOOK (IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD) is instructive. Back the first name listed in the girls' section was (as you might guess) "Abbey, Abby." This time out, you have such exotica as 'Aolani and 'Aulani preceding (taking precedence, I guess, because there is an apostrophe BEFORE the actual "A"). Then you get the letter "A" by itself, followed by "Aaleyah" and "Aaliah" (listed as separate names, which certainly boosts the count). And you get "Aaron": I guess because somebody somewhere once named their baby girl "Aaron" (when they were going for "Erin" maybe?). You get the picture. Oddly enough "Abbey" and "Abby" are still given only one listing, and this time out are even joined by "Abbie." But now "Abagail," "Abbagail," "Abbigail," "Abbygail," and "Abegail" have all joined the pack--as separate listings. Hmmm. By the time you reach the more standard (and currently very popular) "Abigail," your head will be spinning. If it is, and you're thinking of naming your baby girl Abigail, take my advice: stick to the classic form and spelling. Your daughter will thank you.

Lansky and crew justify the separate listings by saying that they are mainly using spelling as their criterion for a name. There is an argument for that, of course. But separate listings for "Ann" and "Anne" seem unnecessary at best (and such was not the case in the earlier edition). Interestingly, Lansky seems to justifying separating out the "e" spelling of that name because (he claims) it can be used for boys. That will likely prove a headscratcher for most Americans, especially since many would consider the added "e" to be a more distinctly feminine way of spelling this very common GIRL'S name (no matter how you spell it, slice it or dice it). Yes, there are some European countries where that name (pronounced differently, by the by) MIGHT be used for boys. But even there, it's likely to be hens' teeth rare.

Of course, the increasing genderlessness of many given names is an established trend, and Lansky is right to note it. Names are even coded here, so that the reader can see whether the name is considered mainly masculine, mainly feminine, or truly unisex. This is mainly due to actual birth certificate namings, however, so the genderlessness of many nicknames is only touched upon. I have known almost an equal number of males and females who go by "Lee" for instance, but for about half of them (of either sex), it's actually a nickname. If you factor in alternate spellings like "Lea" (often pronounced as one syllable) and "Leigh," it's difficult to determine whether the name really is mainly masculine these days or not.

Lansky is by no means the scholar that someone like Leslie Dunkling is, and many have picked up on a few of the etymological confusions and downright errors in the various editions of his books. I actually don't think that's as severe a problem as all that myself. When name origins are in some dispute, or if, as I often maintain, they really DO have more than one source, he does try to give them all. The brevity of the entries, however, can make for considerable confusion. He actually gives three potential sources for the name "Gladys" (all that research for a name virtually NO ONE's going to use). The Latin root suggests "small sword," while in Irish, it means "princess," and the Welsh source suggests a link to the Latin "Claudia" (which means "lame"). A more scholarly text might have suggested the most likely source (unless it really IS derived from all those sources at different times and all kind of blended together. Possible certainly). But I like the fact that Lansky does not pretend he has the ultimate etymology for all these thousands of name. Many really are lost in the mists of time: and of course, these days, many are just made up and there's no need to force a meaning onto names given simply because someone liked how they sounded.

Which is also a big part of it, is it not? In fact, maybe Lansky's relatively strong emphasis on etymology could be viewed as misguided. Other guides are more prescriptive about what you definitely should and should NOT name your newborn. Lansky's got a good deal of that info too, but you have to consult lists at the beginning of the book. And even then, they're not all that inclusive. But then, people really should have some common sense on these matters. We all know what the "nerdy" names are. If you insist on naming your kid "Egbert" anyway, you deserve his lasting contempt.

If Lansky's book is truly the VERY BEST, it's still not perfect. But it's fun, and probably of some very real use to the naming challenged. It probably could have used a few less of the gimmicky lists (how many people are really going to name their kid after a cartoon character anyway?) and a few more practical guides (believe it or not, people often need pronunciation guides, Bruce!). Otherwise you might get little girls named Siobhan running around pronouncing it "See-O-Ban")
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Bruce Lansky is a great baby name author 22 Jun. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Lansky has written many baby name books and this one is really interesting. It is not as good as 35,000+ Baby Names or Baby Names Around the World both also by Lansky, but a very interesting book. I am addicted to baby name books and I recommend this one.
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