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Before becoming a dad (well, I will be one in October), if you paid to me I would have never guessed I'd be reading a book on this topic today, but you see: here I am, browsing through a handful of books off of the shelves looking for ideas. Here's our case: my wife and I wanted to name our baby with a beautiful name (how original, huh?) that is not repeated anywhere near (family and close friends) and that plays well both ways, in English AND Spanish without anyone needing to twist their mouths to pronounce it.
I had a chance to check out this book by Teresa Norman, and found it to be the best among books of baby names. What I liked most about it was the classificacion by geographic origin (American, French, Arabic, etc.) which opened up a whole new window into names we would have normally not considered that actually were not invented by the author, or derived from brands (like I saw in some other book that I prefer to refrain from quoting). Beside that, each name is explained in detail so you can learn more about its origin, meaning, etc. Also worth considering is "From Aaron to Zoe".
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on March 7, 2001
This book contains many names form around the world.
It it divided into chapters based on where the names are from.
African names, Arrican-American names, American names, Biblical names, Chinese names, Czech and Slovak names, English names, French names, German names, Greek names, Hawaiian names, Hindu/Indian names, Hungarian names, Irish names, Italian names, Japanese names, Jewish/Hebrew names, Korean names, Muslim/Arabic names, Mythology and Astrology names, North American Indian/Native American names, Polish names, Polynesian names, Portuguese names, Rumanian names, Russian names, Scandianvian names, Scottish names, Southeast Asian names, Spanish names, and Welsh names.
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on December 30, 1999
I found this book to be the best available. It provides alternate spellings, pronunciation, origins, meanings, connotations, histories, tailored to a particular culture where appropriate (a name may have certain connotations in one culture, others in another). I enjoyed seeing the names broken down by culture as well as girl/boy, though an index would seem essential in a future printing. As well I appreciated the detail, rather than one-word, often misleading meanings given for names in other titles. The only baby name book I've ever purchased.
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on November 27, 2001
While many name books don't go much beyond Michael and Jessica, A World of Baby Names provides us with a collection as diverse as the world itself. Hawaiian, Hindu, Welsh, Polynesian and Korean names join names from mythology, astrology and the Bible to make up this terrific reference.
Whether you are naming your first child or your tenth, researching the origins of names for geneology purposes, or using the book as a writer's reference, A World of Baby Names will provide you with everything you need and more. Each of the thirty-one name categories, which include names from more than sixty countries, provides a short introduction including the history of names for the corresponding country, hints on pronunciation and naming customs. Individual names throughout the book include their pronunciation, meaning and origin, pet or nicknames, and cross-referencing to their variations if applicable. Names are included from modern times as well as names popular throughout history.
The study of names, whether on a personal level or in a classroom, can be fascinating. Having a reference like A World of Baby Names makes that study easier and more enjoyable. As a writer, you should not be without this book. No matter what culture or country you write about, this book covers it.
As a parent, your child should have a name as distinctive and individual as their personality. Having more to choose from than the typical baby name book is a must.
Teresa Norman's exhaustive research truly shines in this book. A World of Baby Names is the ultimate guide to names throughout the world and throughout the time.
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on January 31, 1998
Set up first by origin then male alpha followed by female alpha for each section. Tells the stories of names that come with stories to tell instead of just glossing over and assuming you know them already. The only thing of any annoyance with this book is that you need the origin to find the name or else you waste time flipping through looking for it in every country. A list in the back or front of the names and origins (only) would be appreciated if this is reprinted. On the plus side? Of course it would be the joy upon finding the name with pronounciation, historic meaning, nicknames and alternate spellings as well as those wonderful stories.
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on September 19, 2004
My husband and I have very different cultural backgrounds, this book proved to be a tremendous help to decide on our daughter's name. It is true (as mentionned in previous reviews) that sometimes the author did not include the most preferred/usual spelling and chose to use less common versions instead. Granted there are a few mistakes in the pronunciation of some names, however, it was a great tool for my husband and I since we were looking for a bilingual name that would be easy to pronounce both in French and English.

The index makes it easy to cross reference a name within the various ethnicities it is associated with. The variety of names presented is very appealing as well and makes for an inspiring and useful tool while looking for the perfect name.

Overall, I will definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a bilingual name. This is by far the book we referred to the most often before making our decision for our daughter's name.
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on June 7, 2003
Teresa Norman's A World of Baby Names is an interesting collection of names from around the world. However, the book suffers mightily from poor editing. There is poor coordination between sections, as though whoever read the entries from one country never cross-referenced other sections. Within countries, there are frequent errors in how names are pronounced. For example, "sz" in Hungarian is pronounced /s/. In some names this is transliterated correctly, but in other names, incorrect pronunciations are given. The Hawaiian section needs a total overhaul. Many, many names are given with some other version as the preferred one with the correct Hawaiian name given as an alternate form. In the book as a whole, some etymology is very good, but some is rather slipshod and, once again, inconsistent from entry to entry regarding the same root name. It gives the appearance to the book that the writer is poorly informed about her subject and relied on poor sources, with insufficient research into the accuracy of these sources. The author would have done better to rely on speakers of the languages of the various countries as her editors and primary sources, rather than the books in her extensive bibliography. For anyone seriously interested in the origins and pronunciations of names around the world, this book is of questionable value.
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on August 28, 2002
I was thrilled to find a name book that had my name, which is one that is common among Arabic-speaking peoples, but somehow manages to elude most dictionaries of baby names. I use baby-name books primarily to research interesting names for characters in stories. Unfortunately, the book has no index. Unless you know the origin of the name for which you are looking, or are just browsing by country/culture, there is no way to look up the meaning of a particular name. Sometimes an entry will say, "See (similar name)" but not indicate at all where to look in particular. I hope that a subsequent edition will correct this unfortunate omission.
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on February 10, 2014
I had this book as a child and loved it. When my husband and I got pregnant, I purchased it for us in hopes of finding our childs name. Although "revised", these are definitely traditional, old school names - most of which did not interest us. Out of their 30,000+ names, we liked about 16. I had really hoped for more.
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on June 17, 2014
It's a book. It has names.

The truth is, you really don't need a book, thanks to the internet, but, my wife wanted one.

The largest sections are by far the American and English sections. I was very disappointed by the foreign sections, I could name names off the top of my head not listed.
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