Juliet may have found that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but can a person's name really predict how successful they'll be? According to UK-based site Mobile Money, maybe. The folks at Mobile Money did a little number crunching for the top 400 billionaires across the globe, coming up with a list of the most successful names in the world — and then they assembled their findings into a handy-dandy infographic. Because everyone loves an infographic, no matter how successful they may be.
Names do, of course, matter to a certain extent (although whether or not they should is an entirely different issue). As Freakonimics famously pointed out back in 2005, numerous studies have found that someone's name can affect everything from how well they do in school to their career prospects. I would argue that a lot of the negative reactions to some names — non-white ones, for example, or gender-nonconforming ones — has nothing to do with the name itself and everything to do with some of the bigger problems of our society; that's why I bring up the point that yes, the research shows they do matter, but no, they really probably shouldn't. Someone's name isn't necessarily going to dictate whether or not they're good students or reliable employees; how we treat that person because of their name — which often isn't even something they can control, unless they decide to go ahead and legally change it — however, might.
And from what we can see from the data displayed in this infographic, the names that bear the most power are traditional ones. Let's use the United States as an example (because 'Murrica): The most successful male names in our country are John, James, and David, with Charles, Michael, and Stephen close behind; for the women, meanwhile, Martha, Karen, and Judy top the list. As you might expect, there's a pretty big gap in the actual numbers here — the 70 richest women in the United States are worth a collective $341.2 billion, while the 66 richest men in the United States are worth $1.14 trillion. Of course, to those of us not in the financial elite, the numbers are already so mind-boggling huge that $341.2 billion and $1.14 trillion are more or less the same thing to us (what exactly does one do with that much money, anyway?).
And that brings me to the one quibble I have with this whole thing: The entire infographic is predicated on the belief that success is measured by financial wealth. I understand why it's the case here; monetary worth is easily quantifiable, so for a piece of data-based analysis, it makes a certain amount of sense. However, I am very much not of the view that money equals success — for me, it's really about how happy you are, and that's something that only you can determine. No one else gets to tell you how successful you are; if you consider yourself a success, then that's all that matters. As such, I'd urge taking the infographic's findings with a grain of salt — because money, as they say, isn't everything.
Take a look at the full graphic below. Baby name ideas, anyone?