In the past few years, the concept of intellectual capital has been expanded from organizational level to national and regional level. A model of 29 national intellectual capital indices (NICI40) has been constructed and validated by utilizing data of the IMD Competitiveness Yearbook. Research on the 14 years data, spanning from 1995 to 2008, indicates the pattern and progression of national intellectual capital in 40 countries. Trend analyses of this set of panel data disclose very interesting phenomena, such as Iceland shows the most rapid progress in national intellectual capital and is a rising star in economic development with an outstanding 94% GDP per capita (ppp) growth over 14 years. Moreover, it was number one of the OECD countries according to The Global Benchmark Report 2006 and received a consistently high ranking in world standard‑of‑living surveys. Unfortunately, the recent financial crisis almost crippled its national financial system and wrote off its past economic performance. On the contrary, Norway lags behind its Nordic peers in national intellectual capital development; yet its resilience to the 2007‑2009 financial crisis impact is noticeable. Furthermore, Norway generously offers financial support for IMF to assist some ailing neighboring countries. Why the intellectual capital rising star crumbled down and the seemingly static country sustained the crisis? What is the implication of this controversy? The research results of this study have some implications for relevant policy makers.