global model clock with Euro banknotesIn a world drowning in data, the ability to cleverly and visually capture the essence of information and communicate it in thought-provoking ways is a much needed skill which few leaders have. This is a shame because there are awesome resources which can help them do so.  Gapminder run by the eccentric Swedish statistician Hans Rosling, and, Informationisbeautiful  led by Brit David Mccandless are examples of how to brilliantly take Big Data, bring information to life and share powerfully the hidden patterns and rich insights.

 HowMuch.Net: maps and visualisations of money; is another awesome resource which I recently discovered. I love their video below of how the world’s economies “breath and exhale” as they grow or contract. Watch this 20 second video and keep your eye on the spectacular growth of China’s economy over this period, very much at the expense of Japan’s


According to HowMuch here are the key points that this diagram has teaches us:

  • History doesnt go in a straight line: for many countries (including the US), the last 35 years have been an economic rollercoaster ride. Another example is Japan, which reached a peak of 17.6% of the global economy in 1994, but now stands at just 6%.

  • The global economy actually moves in waves: over the years, recessions in the US have impacted the entire global economy. For instance, rising US interest rates from 1986-1989 and an oil price shock in 1990 briefly slowed economic growth in the US. Also, the year 2001 saw the dot-com bubble burst and 9-11 attacks, which ended a decade of economic growth. But it was the Great Recession from 2007-2009 that had the biggest impact, causing the US and European economies to slow while emerging countries (mostly in Asia) continued to gather steam.

  • While off its peak, the US remains the most dominant single economy, representing almost one-quarter (22.5%) of the world’s GDP — equivalent to the Europe’s share.

  • China’s economy has skyrocketed, growing from a relatively small economy in 1980 (2.8% of global GDP) to the second-largest economy today (13.4% of global GDP).

  • In terms of GDP, Asia is the new Europe — Asia’s current share of the global economy is roughly equivalent to Europe’s in 1980 (32%).

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