I looked this over because baby name books can be great when trying to find a name for a fictional character. This book includes tips on choosing a name and lists of names broken down by personality, trends, and the most popular names by decade. The information may seem overwhelming, but as author Diane Stafford explains in the introduction, "a name can affect the ebb and flow of our entire existence". Stafford explains the nuisance of a bad name, leading to resentment from the child who will likely change it when he's an adult, or go by an entirely different name. Stafford also cites the effect of famous characters and people on names, with "Erica" being cast in a new light after the villian Erica Kane's popularity on the soap opera 'All My Children', and "Monica" becoming less popular after the Lewinsky/Clinton scandal.A helpful section in the book, "Tips for Naming Your Baby" in Part One, breaks down the process in ten steps:-Voicing the full name, assuring that the first and last name sound good together -Knowing the effect of common names; considering the drawbacks of a strange name -Being aware of how old-fashioned names will sound in modern times -The pros and cons of namesakes (juniors and "the thirds") -Utilizing the middle name as a means of creativity or tradition -Knowing the name's meaning and origin -Keeping in mind that other children will pick out nicknames and notice odd initials (e.g., D.U.M, F.A.T.) -Trying out each name ("Jacob Reilly Jones, come help with the dishes") to see how it sounds in context -Keeping the name a secret to avoid outside criticismPart Two covers the effects of names on real people, with twenty-one adults discussing how their names affected their lives. Constant mispronounciatons, misspellings, odd first or middle names creating lifelong resentment. One contributor, David Nordin, explains how he always liked his first name but grew to hate his middle one, as it was unusual and led to teasing from classmates when the teacher said it during roll call. He had it changed when he became an adult, and is quoted as saying, "Parents should never name their kids anything that could make them objects of ridicule." On the other hand, Cari LaGrange is quoted as saying that she enjoyed her unique name since "there was no other girl by my name to compare my identity to".Part Three is a brief overview on how to change your name, and Part Four is made up of lists, including "Names Celebrities Give Their Babies" (featuring Satchel, Hughie, Jett, Sumer, and Sailor, and also includes the famous parents who chose the names), "Derived from Literature" (Ahab, Scarlett, Daisy), and "Girlie-Girl Names" (Bubbles, Cookie, Precious, Sugar, Trixiebelle). The lists also consider future effects of the names, with titles such as "Names That Get Shortened" (Alexander, Christopher, Franklin, Kimberly, Rebecca), "Burdensome Names" (Archibald, Hercules, Mortimer, Antigone, Priscilla, Ursula), "Overpowering Names" (Lothario, Pluto, Madonna, Oprah), "Names Teachers Can't Pronounce" (Artemus, Raoul, Aisha, Sade), and "Names That Spawn Nasty Nicknames" (Adolf, Bucky, Harry, Cocoa, Lesbia, Sesame).The lists featured in Part Four are practical as well as fun. While most of the lists cover names that would suit certain professions and personalities, there are some that are plain amusing, such as ones "Future Crooked Politicians" (Nixon is included as a boy's name), "Scary/Creepy Names" (featuring Butcher and Scylla), "World's Strangest Names" (Bucko, Kermit, and Zap made the list), "Hippie-Sounding Names" (includes Apple, Serenity, and Willow), and "Names to Make You Smile" (Cherry-Sue, Fluffy, Snooks, and Tweetie seem more suitable for pets than children). As for namesakes, the lists also cover politicians, entertainers, writers, Nobel Prize winners, and even serial killers (to avoid any accidental Henry Lees or John Waynes, or to consider that classmates may associate Jeffrey with Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted with Ted Bundy).Ethnic names and lists of most popular names by decade are also included in Part Four, and on pages 88-308 boy's names are listed A-Z, with the ethnic origin and meaning for each name, and girl's names are listed from pages 310-543. After the bibliography, there are sections for the readers to write down notes, as well as sections for "Mom's Picks" and "Dad's Picks".