Having A Good Name is Everything

When you come out the womb, you are born into a world of signs and symbols, of words that mean different things to different people.

The name you are given may not mean anything at all, but the life that gets created around your name is shaped by that name. If you have the last name King, people will forever think of you as a king (even though you aren’t one).

In fact, there is a great scene in the movie “The Founder,” where Ray Kroc, who is battling the McDonald brothers over control of the company, talks about this. Asked why, as opposed to partnering with the brothers he didn’t just copy the the McDonald’s formula, he says this:

“… it’s the name, that glorious name, McDonald’s. It could be anything you want it to be, it’s limitless, it’s wide open. It sounds uh… it sounds like America. As compared to Kroc. Why Kroc. What a load of Kroc. Would you eat at a place named Kroc’s? Kroc’s has that blunt, Slavic sound — Kroc’s. But McDonald’s has beauty. A guy named McDonald, he’s never going to get pushed around in life.”

So, if have a cool last name, at least half of your problems are solved. But if you have a bad last name, or a forgettable last name, a last name that is hard to pronounce or easy to forget, then you are fucked.

In life, a strong name is everything.

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Wrote for the New York Times, New York Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Vice, Fader, Vibe, XXL, MTV News, many other places.

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