The Name Therapist

The Name Therapist

How Growing up With My Odd Name Taught Me Everything You Need to Know About Yours

Book - 2016
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What's a "stripper" name? For that matter, what's a high-class name? How do you tell the difference? Why does everyone call them "baby" names when they follow us through our whole lives? And can your name determine your destiny?

From a television screenwriter and contributor on the blog comes a book about what names really mean, how we use them, and why they matter.

A child of Irish and Egyptian immigrants to Canada, Duana Taha became fascinated by names, not least because hers felt awkward at best and impossible at worst. She believed that names explained not only who you were, but where you came from and who you could be. She became a name nerd, and later a name snob, before settling into the role she was born to play--a Name Therapist, giving straight talk baby-and-grown-up-name advice to just about everyone.
In a romp through North American naming trends, traditions, and pop culture, Duana brings us the hilarious, insightful, and surprising truths about hipster names in Brooklyn and Malibu, and the most "intelligent" names at Harvard University; digs into the stereotypes about culture and class where names are concerned; and heads backstage to find out the stories behind those supposed stripper names. And if you don't know what a Starbucks name is, Duana points out why you obviously never needed one.
The Name Therapist 's explorations will help you understand your feelings about your own name, whether it's one you share with millions (hi, Jennifer!), or one you grew up waiting in vain for the Romper Room host to say. Would you, by any other name, still be you?

Publisher: Toronto :, Random House Canada,, 2016.
ISBN: 9780345815309
Characteristics: 359 pages : illustrations


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Jun 04, 2017

A book that appeals to those of us who have a fascination with the stories behind the names we are given by our parents. She has lots of funny stories to share throughout the book. There is a good TV Ontario interview with the Canadian author (linked in the "video" section, below "comments" and "summaries"). There are several appendixes, including one with tips for parents on choosing a baby name.

Oct 15, 2016

​For anyone fascinated with names, this will be a highly interesting read. Even if you are not particularly interested in names and their impact, I would encourage taking a look (especially for parents-to-be). While The Name Therapist is not an academic read and has few real studies or statistics, its amusing stories and real-life situations, as well as the author's first-hand insight into the power of names, are sure to both entertain and prompt readers to think more carefully about their own name and perhaps consider the naming process from a new perspective. As someone who has always been intrigued with names (likely because I also didn't know anyone else with my name [a-LAY-na], and I've felt how having a rare name shaped my personality), I found it hard to put down. As this book proves, names certainly have a greater effect on their bearer than most of us realize. ​

SPL_Brittany Jun 21, 2016

A full review of this title can be found under Summary. This review first appeared in the Stratford Gazette in June 2016

Jun 09, 2016

This isn't a "baby name" book per se, but if you're interested in names it's worth a read. The author brought up several points about names that I thought were interesting and hadn't considered before. I was bored with the author's rambling memoirs that didn't have much to do with names, though. The memoir parts might have been better suited for a blog series instead of a book.


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SPL_Brittany Jun 21, 2016

What’s in a name? Is yours a name that is shared with millions of people (Hello to all you Jennifer’s and Mary’s!) or was your name constantly misspelled, mispronounced and misunderstood by others? Were you one of the multiple Michaels in your class or were you waiting in vain for your name to be called on Romper Room?

Duana Taha, the daughter of an Egyptian father and Irish mother is a television screenwriter for shows such as Degrassi as well as a frequent contributor for the blog She has spent her whole life fascinated by names, hers especially, because hers felt “awkward at best and impossible at worst”, and is familiar with the frustration and struggles of having a unique name in an Anglo-centric name culture. Not surprisingly, she has spent her life being consumed with names, looking at the meaning of names, how we use them, why they matter and would we by any other name still be the same?

Her book is a hilarious yet insightful exploration of the social psychology of names in North America, looking at name trends, traditions and the influence of pop culture. She delves into the stereotypes of culture and class, looking at what makes a name “intelligent”, the surprising truths of hipster names, and if you don’t know what a Starbucks name is, Taha points out, why you obviously never needed one!

Name Therapist is a quick and enjoyable read for fellow name nerds that will help you to understand your feelings about your own name as well as making for great dinner party conversations!

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