Get ready; This will be the most successful blog article of all time.

Photo: aloshbennett

So, what do you think of that? Like most people out there with common sense, myself included I hope, there's no question that’s a very silly name for an article. It almost begs for failure. So why then did Robert Lane name his son Winner? Doesn’t it seem like an impossible name to live up to?

The story is highlighted in “Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything” by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. It’s a fascinating read, controversial to say the least, and I highly recommend it. Grab yourself a copy from Amazon or your local library (the frugal choice).


Freakonomics [Revised and Expanded]: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

In this true story, Robert Lane named his first boy Winner. Imagine being saddled with that moniker from an early age? And as you can guess, things didn’t turn out so well for Winner Lane. He became a small-time crook, racking up 31 arrests before being jailed for two years. And at the time the book was published, Winner Lane was living in a homeless shelter, trying to get his life back on track. He’ll be around 50 years old now, I do hope he’s found that better life.

But like all great true stories, this one has a flip side. Winner has a younger brother. And his name? Loser Lane. Yep, the father who made one terrible mistake with the name Winner decided to go one better and name his younger son Loser!

What do you think happened to old Loser Lane? Well, despite being saddled with the rotten name, he was a model student and athlete. He went on to earn a scholarship at an elite prep school, then on to Lafayette College in Pennsylvania, before finally joining the police force. Loser, known to his friends as Lou, is now a respected detective in the South Bronx and is known as an all-around great guy.

Did their names jinx them both with good and bad luck from day one? Should any of you prospective parents think about calling your next kid Loser? I hope not. What I think this does show is that whatever you may think, there is a lot in a name. Freakonomics also shows studies that prove ethnic-sounding names have given people a distinct disadvantage in the hiring field. And no-one in this day and age needs any kind of ball and chain when facing this uphill struggle we call life.

Can financial success and a great career come from a name? Can failure and destitution be blamed on a name? Personally, I wouldn’t want to take the chance with my own name, let alone those of my children. Food for thought.



No votes yet
Your rating: None

Disclaimer: The links and mentions on this site may be affiliate links. But they do not affect the actual opinions and recommendations of the authors.

Wise Bread is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Guest's picture

Coming out of the lurker woodwork to say how much I FREAKING LOVED THAT BOOK! Like, DEVOURED.

Guest's picture
j l

I named my daughter Hero!

Hm, I guess I don't need to worry about her becoming a firefighter or caped vigilante any time soon.

Guest's picture

Remember "A Boy Named Sue"?

Guest's picture
Harmoic Wealth Fan

An interesting point! It made me think about something I just read, James Arthur Ray’s newest book, Harmonic Wealth. I have to share this concept he has that I think makes so much sense: LIVING FROM THE OUTCOME (Page 322). James says that most people live toward the outcome, meaning you are living like you don’t have it yet. He says you should shift your thinking so that you are LIVING FROM THE OUTCOME and thus sending out the energy to the world that you already have it. Think, feel, and act like you’ve already made it and the universe will say “Your wish is my command.”
For me, that meant acting like I was more valuable as an individual – acting like a $500 a day earner instead of a $150 a day earner (no more reality TV marathons!) and acting like a thin and fit woman instead of a slightly overweight and sometimes lazy woman (goodbye Ranch Doritos!). Honestly, in the two weeks since I put down the book, things have started changing. And I think it really comes down to that one concept.
Check out the Harmonic Wealth site and link to the book:
- A James Ray Fan

Guest's picture

My dad ready freakanomics ... I think. How interesting that his sons were such opposites. Kind of makes you wonder how Moonunit and Dweasel Zappa are doing these days.

Paul Michael's picture

...someone out there has the name Shithead (pronounced shateed)

Guest's picture

Good post, very thought provoking :) Thanks to the poster