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Want Your Kid to Be a CEO? Name Him Peter LinkedIn Culls Membership to Find What Names Make a CEO

The professional networking site LinkedIn has analyzed its database of 100 million members to determine if a name can make the man (or woman)....

The professional networking site LinkedIn has analyzed its database of 100 million members to determine if a name can make the man (or woman). They've run the numbers to see which first names are most likely to enter which professions and which are likely to become CEOs.


Peter is the most common CEO name, while Pete shows up in the top law enforcement names. So keep that R if you want the corner office.

Or, maybe it works the other way around. LinkedIn's Monica Rogati correctly asks "Are some names more successful than others? Is your name influencing your career...? Or are both your career and choice of name influenced by factors like personality and values?" She doesn't answer that in this little exercise, but keep it in mind if you don't like what your name spells for your future.

This exercise was apparently inspired by David Brooks who pointed out that people named Dennis become dentists, and people named Lawrence become lawyers more than random chance would predict.

Rogati accounted for the prevelance of each name in the general population, and then looked to see which names were overrepresented in each profession or as CEO.

CEO names tend to be either short or shortened versions of popular first names. Onomastics specialist Dr. Frank Nuessel suggests that shortened versions of given names are often used to denote a sense of friendliness and openness. Female CEOs, on the other hand, use their full name to project a more professional image.

That makes it even more interesting that both Deborah and Debra are in the top five female names (pictured at top).

Short, one-syllable names are even more popular in sales than for CEOs. Restaurant workers and engineers were more likely to have longer names, and foreign sounding names (my analysis, not LinkedIn's) like Thierry, Laurent, Rajesh.

Now, these naming trends don't hold all around the world of course, so here's how the CEO name game works globally. Peter is the global number one name but doesn't win in any particular country. It is, however, a name that is common in many languages.

Personally, I think we'd find even more interesting information if we could look for other correlations in that LinkedIn database. How do job titles match against race, religion, country of origin, or better yet with names that potential employers might assume fit with one race or religion. Studies have shown that having an African-American sounding name can harm an applicant's chances of getting the job, but LinkedIn data could help expand on those findings.

See the full LinkedIn post here.

Via Fast Company, where they post a few more lists of names by gender.

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