Imagine creating a timeline of your country’s whole history stretching back to its inception.
It would be no small task, and simply weighing the relative importance of so many great people, technological achievements, and pivotal events would be a tiny miracle in itself.
While that seems like a challenge, imagine going a few steps further. Instead of a timeline for just one country, what about creating a graphical timeline showing the history of the entire world over a 4,000 year time period, all while having no access to computers or the internet?
An All-Encompassing Timeline?
Today’s infographic, created all the way back in 1931 by a man named John B. Sparks, maps the ebb and flow of global power going all the way back to 2,000 B.C. on one coherent timeline.
View a high resolution version of this graphic
Histomap, published by Rand McNally in 1931, is an ambitious attempt at fitting a mountain of historical information onto a five-foot-long poster. Although the distribution of power is not quantitively defined on the x-axis, it does provide a rare example of looking at historic civilizations in relative terms. While the Roman Empire takes up a lot of real estate during its Golden Age, for example, we still get a decent look at what was happening in other parts of the world during that period.
The visualization is also effective at showing the ascent and decline of various states, nations, and empires.
Since this chart was created at the beginning of the Great Depression, one does have to consider to what extent Sparks saw history as a zero-sum exercise; a collection of nations battling one another for control over scarce territory and resources.
Crowning a world leader at certain points in history is relatively easy, but divvying up influence or power to everyone across 4,000 years requires some creativity, and likely some guesswork, as well. Some would argue that the lack of hard data makes it impossible to draw these types of conclusions (though there have been other more quantitative approaches.)
Another obvious criticism is that the measures of influence are skewed in favor of Western powers. China’s “seam”, for example, is suspiciously thin throughout the length of the timeline.
Lastly, the histomap refers to various cultural and racial groups using terms that may seem rather dated to today’s viewers.
The Legacy of Histomap
John Spark’s creation is an admirable attempt at making history more approachable and entertaining. Today, we have seemingly limitless access to information, but in the 1930s an all encompassing timeline of history would have been incredibly useful and groundbreaking.
Critiques aside, work like this paved the way for the production of modern data visualizations and charts that help people better understand the world around them today.
Flowchart: Are You Working for a Toxic Boss?
Most people have had bad bosses, but is your boss toxic? This flowchart helps you discover if you have a toxic boss and what to do about it.
Flowchart: Are You Working for a Toxic Boss?
The experience of less-than-ideal work situations are common, and the global pandemic has likely heightened challenges for bosses and employees alike. How can mediocre or outright hostile leadership impact your ability to work well?
This flowchart from Resume.io helps you figure out if you’ve got a toxic boss weighing you down. It covers seven archetypes of toxic bosses, and how to respond to each one.
The 7 Types of Toxic Bosses
Barbara Kellerman, a professor of public leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School identifies seven types of toxic bosses that can exist.
|Number||Toxic Boss Type||Description|
|#1||Incompetent Boss||Unable or unwilling to do their job well|
|#2||Rigid Boss||Confuses inflexibility with strength|
|#3||Intemperate Boss||Lacks self-knowledge and self-control|
|#4||Callous Boss||Lacks empathy and kindness|
|#5||Corrupt Boss||Steals or cheats to promote their own interests|
|#6||Insular Boss||Is cliquish or unreachable|
|#7||Evil Boss||Causes pain to further their sense of power and dominance|
Some bosses simply don’t have the capacity to do their jobs, which makes it more difficult for their employees. Others can be corrupt or callous, creating a highly unmotivating work environment.
But how many people are in this situation?
To give a few quick examples, around 13% of all employees in Europe work under a toxic boss. In the U.S., a whopping 75% say they have left a job primarily because of a bad boss.
What’s so Bad about a Bad Boss?
Bosses can make or break your job experience. Having a toxic boss can cause your quality of work to suffer, which can then trickle down to impact your overall career.
In fact, Harvard Business Review found that a toxic work environment can lead to decreased motivation and employee disengagement. This has significant knock-on effects such as:
- 37% higher absenteeism
- 60% more errors in their work
- 18% lower productivity
According to the same study, this can cause companies to have 16% lower profitability and a 65% lower share price over time.
The physical side effects are not to be underestimated, either. One Swedish study found that a bad boss who increases your job strain can, in tandem, increase your chance of cardiac arrest by 50%. Additionally, a study out of Stanford found that mismanagement in the American workplace and subsequent stress could potentially be responsible for 120,000 deaths per year.
Tips to Deal with a Toxic Boss
Bad bosses can hurt the company, the overall work environment, and can impact your professional growth and personal health.
So, what can you do about it?
|Number||Toxic Boss Type||Solution|
|#1||Incompetent Boss||Use initiative|
|#2||Rigid Boss||Use the power of persuasion|
|#3||Intemperate Boss||Look for opportunities|
|#4||Callous Boss||Ask for a 1-on-1 meeting|
|#5||Corrupt Boss||Find co-workers who share your concerns|
|#6||Insular Boss||Offer them opportunities to open up|
|#7||Evil Boss||Take a stand|
Different kinds of bosses require different approaches, and some simply aren’t worth putting up with. For instance, taking initiative with an incompetent boss is one relatively easy solution, but having a 1-on-1 with a callous boss takes more effort. An evil boss requires intervention from HR.
If you don’t have a toxic boss, consider yourself lucky. Here are two ways to keep your working relationship strong:
- Take initiative
- Keep up open communication
- Ask for constant feedback so you know where you stand
- Under-promise and over-deliver
What Can Bosses Do?
Toxic bosses can have disastrous consequences on employees and companies. According to one Gallup survey, at minimum, 75% of the reasons for voluntary turnover can be influenced by managers.
After looking at some of the ways employees can address toxic bosses, how can bosses ensure their work environment is healthy? Harvard Business Review recommends four main things:
- Encourage social connections
- Show empathy
- Go out of your way to help
- Encourage employees to talk to you—especially about their problems
The future of work may be changing, with remote work becoming more popular and feasible. This can pose problems in creating a strong work culture.
However, if bosses and employees can work together to foster a positive and healthy work environment, everyone, including the bottom line, will benefit.
Figures of Speech: 40 Ways to Improve your Writing
Figures of speech are important literary tools that can help improve your writing. Here are 40 different types, and how to use them.
Figures of Speech: 40 Ways to Improve your Writing
View the high resolution of this infographic by clicking here.
Figurative speech plays an important role in our ability to communicate with one another. It helps create compelling narratives, and evoke emotion in readers.
With this in mind, this periodic table graphic by Visual Communication Guy groups the 40 different figures of speech into two distinct categories—schemes and tropes.
What’s the difference between the two, and how can they help improve your writing?
Types of Schemes
In linguistics, a scheme is language that plays with sentence structure to make a sentence smoother, or even more persuasive, using syntax, word order, or sounds.
Here are four different ways that schemes fiddle with sentence structure.
This is especially important when trying to make a sentence smoother. A good example of balance is parallelism, which is when you use the same grammatical form in at least two parts of a sentence.
- Not parallelism: “She likes reading, writing, and to paint on the weekends.”
- Parallelism: “She likes reading, writing, and painting on the weekends.”
Changing the position of words can have an impact on the way a sentence is understood. For instance, anastrophe is the deliberate reordering of words in a sentence to either emphasize a certain point, or distinguish a character as different.
- An example of anastrophe: “The greatest teacher, failure is.” -Yoda
Omission and/or Inclusion
Omissions and inclusions are useful in order to build suspense or add emotional expression to text. For example, an ellipsis is a form of punctuation that uses three dots (…) to either replace a word in a sentence or indicate a break in speech or an incomplete thought.
- Example of an ellipsis: “I was thinking of calling her Susie. Well, at least I was until…never mind. Forget I said anything.”
Similar to the other types of schemes, repetition allows you to emphasize a certain point you want the reader to pay attention to, but it’s also used to create rhymes and poetry.
A well-known literary device, alliteration uses the same consonant sound at the start of each word in a sentence. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the same letter, so long as the sound is the same.
- A popular example is this nursery rhyme: “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.”
- Another example: Phillip’s feet. (different letter, but same sound)
Types of Tropes
While schemes play around with the mechanics of a sentence, tropes stray from the literal or typical meanings to evoke emotion, and keep a reader engaged and interested.
Tropes help create an alternative sense of reality, using these five strategies.
These are literary devices that help paint a deeper picture of a concept, using a reference to something related, but different.
Metaphors and similes are common examples of references, but a lesser-known type of reference is a synecdoche, which is when a small part of something is used in reference to the thing as a whole.
- An example of a synecdoche: “Check out my new wheels.” (where wheels refer to a car)
Wordplay & Puns
This type of literary device plays with sounds or meaning to add depth to a sentence. For instance, a syllepsis uses one word to create parallels between two separate thoughts, while an onomatopoeia is a figure of speech that uses words (either real or made-up) or even letters to describe a sound.
- An example of a syllepsis: “When I address Fred I never have to raise either my voice or my hopes.” – E.B. White
- An example of an onomatopoeia: “Ding-dong” (the sound of a doorbell)
This is when someone replaces a word or thought with something else. For instance, anthimeria is the use of a word in a grammatical form it’s not generally used in, while periphrasis is when someone intentionally elaborates on a point, instead of expressing it succinctly.
- An anthimeria: “I could use a good sleep.” (Sleep is normally a verb, but here it’s used as a noun)
- Example of a periphrasis: Instead of saying, “It’s cold outside.” you say, “The temperature of the atmosphere when I exited my home this morning was quite chilly and exceptionally uncomfortable.”
Overstatement and/or Understatement
These are intentionally exaggerated, or downplayed situations that aren’t meant to be taken literally. A hyperbole is an example of an overstatement, while litotes are the opposite—deliberate understatements.
- An example of a hyperbole: I’m so hungry, I could eat a horse.
- While a litotes looks like this: It’s not rocket science.
This type of literary technique uses contradictory ideas and indirect questions for dramatic effect, or to emphasize a point. For instance, an oxymoron is when two contradictory words are used back-to-back.
- An example of an oxymoron: Act natural
Using Figures of Speech to Craft Content
First, let’s just address it…Yes, I did use alliteration in the above header, and yes, now I’m using an ellipsis in this sentence.
Because let’s face it—in the age of information overload, writing articles that are interesting and compelling to readers is a top priority for online content creators. And using figurative language is a good way to keep readers attention.
So, if you’re a content creator yourself (or simply looking to beef up your knowledge on linguistics), hopefully this graphic has helped you on that journey.
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