The Name Game by Christopher P. Andersen

An excerpt from the book The Name Game by Christopher P. Andersen a look at first, middle, and last names and their importance for a happy life, a look at a Myron.

THE NAME GAME by Christopher P. Andersen. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1977.

About the Book: Andersen has written a thorough book about names--first, middle, and last. His underlying thesis is that having a good-sounding name is important to one's health, happiness, and success. By popular consensus, some names are pleasant, others are not. Names have images shared by much of the population: Jennifer and Michael are popular, Dennis is clumsy, Joseph is earnest but dull, Mark is spoiled, Agatha is old, Bertha is fat, and Ann is more trustworthy than Anne.

From the Book:

Myron is 29 years old and, for as long as he can remember, has never cared for his name. By the time he reached the University of California at Berkeley, he was the meek, self-effacing mathematics major everyone expected him to be. After graduating with a far-from-dazzling scholastic record, Myron tried to get a job as an executive trainee with an investment banking firm. But the personnel officers treated him with thinly disguised indifference, and the resumes he sent to personnel agencies inspired only apathy. So Myron went to work for a San Francisco bank, and there he remains--right where he started, behind a teller's cage.

Inevitably, the frustration took its toll at home. Myron's wife, Pamela, who had made it clear from the outset that she would not tolerate failure on the part of her husband, finally left to live with another man. Now Myron is involved with a department store buyer named Sylvia, who is every bit as demanding and difficult as Pamela.

There is much Myron could have done to bolster his self-confidence and his esteem in the eyes of others, to improve his scholastic standing, to widen his professional horizons, to get the job he wanted, to move ahead swiftly and to select a more compatible mate. He could have traded in his name, for example, for something that studies show is more positive and effective. Or he could have just used his first and middle initials, which would have drawn a favorable response from professors and personnel officers alike. Once he landed the job he wanted, his memos--signed with initials--would not go unnoticed. He would also be a likelier prospect for promotion. On the private side, he might have been forewarned that Sylvias and Pamelas are generally thought to be aggressive. These are preconceptions that Sylvias and Pamelas are, more likely than not, going to try to live up to.

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