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Otovent Glue Ear Treatment Pack
Otovent Glue Ear Treatment Pack
Price: £7.56

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It Works - But Needs Two Extra Instructional Tips (see end of review), 12 Jan. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I tried the Otovent kit yesterday after six frustrating weeks with a blocked middle right ear (glue ear) that wasn't getting any better.

Throughout this time my right ear had felt stuffed up and my hearing was impaired. I was told the ear wasn't infected, that it should just clear of its own accord... eventually. Over the weeks I'd tried Beconase, Sudafed, the Valsalva manoeuvre (trying to forcibly exhale while keeping the mouth and nose closed), drinking lots of water, Ibuprofen, steaming with my head over a bowl, hot showers - the lot. Everything I'd seen recommended on the Internet, I tried. Repeatedly. Nothing worked. What was extra frustrating was that sometimes I thought the ear was improving, but then it would worsen again.

Anyway, I tried Octovent yesterday and hey presto - instant progress! The thing works. I found it much more powerful and effective than the Valsalva manoeuvre. The right ear responded to the technique immediately, with popping and other internal sensations and a 90% improvement in the stuffed up, internal pressure feeling. I used it once more last night before bed and have used it twice so far today (they recommend you use it three times a day for 2-3 weeks) and my ear (and hearing) is already spectacularly better.

I'm impressed. However, I'm only giving Otovent four stars because the written instructions, although not bad, could be better. I'm offering two tips from my experience that I think the manufacturer should include on the sheet:

TIP #1 - I've seen one star reviews here from users complaining they couldn't inflate the balloon. Well I couldn't either the first time I tried it and it seemed impossible. But the point is: don't worry about it. I found that simply trying to inflate the balloon using one nostril was enough to produce effects (like popping) in my ear. Interestingly, today, I could inflate the balloon... so don't be put off by this concern.

TIP #2 - It's essential to try the second part of the Otovent technique, which involves trying to swallow with the device at one nostril, the other nostril closed with your finger, your mouth closed and, crucially, the balloon inflated. Unfortunately, if you don't inflate the balloon, you can't do this part of the procedure. Now yesterday I couldn't inflate it through my nostril, so I blew it up with my mouth to the size of a grapefruit, just like blowing up a party balloon. Then I pinched the balloon just above the Otovent device to stop the air escaping, put it to nostril 1, closed my mouth, blocked up nostril 2, then released the fingers pinching the balloon to let the air into nostril 1, and tried swallowing. Swallowing wasn't easy at first, but when I succeeded there was an instant response in my right ear. It was a different sensation to the blowing part of the technique and, I judge, perhaps a bit more powerful. This is something you can do if you can't inflate the balloon via your nostril.

So my recommendation is: give it a go. I just hope the manufacturer improves the instructions so others who struggle on first use aren't put off. I hope it works for you.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 14, 2015 9:54 PM GMT

Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium 12.0 (PC)
Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium 12.0 (PC)
Offered by softpursuit
Price: £59.93

63 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Big Improvement on Dragon v11, 19 Nov. 2012
I have been using Dragon NaturallySpeaking for a few years now and this latest version 12 is a definite improvement on previous editions.

For a start, I notice that its accuracy is significantly better.

Second - and this is very important to me - I no longer find when dictating in Microsoft Word that Word freezes (crashes), which is something that happened at least once a session every time I used versions 10 & 11.

If you are wondering whether it's worth upgrading to v12, I would say definitely yes, for the two reasons I've given above. It isn't perfect, it still makes mistakes (but that's often because I have spoken too quickly or indistinctly), but it's a fantastic productivity aid and the fact that it has stopped crashing has taken away my old frustration with it.

I do recommend it. However, make sure your computer can cope with the processing power demanded by Dragon 12. I'd also suggest you invest in a really good quality noise-cancelling microphone to get the most benefit from it.
Comment Comments (6) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 15, 2014 4:09 PM BST

Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos and Luck - Why Some Thrive Despite Them All
Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos and Luck - Why Some Thrive Despite Them All
by Jim Collins
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £22.95

5.0 out of 5 stars Well Worth Reading, 20 Sept. 2012
For fans of Good to Great who are wary of reading something that may muddy the waters of the mind by offering yet another set of secrets of greatness, I'd say you have nothing to fear. Collins and Hansen do sharpen their understanding of the key principles by looking at how the best firms cope with extreme conditions, but Great by Choice doesn't overturn the findings of their previous classic.

By way of help, it has an excellent FAQ section that connects the ideas of Great by Choice to those of Good to Great, which I found helpful.

Overall, it's interesting, well-written and recommended. Not too long either (the main part of the book is only 184 pages).

Coaching for Performance: GROWing Human Potential and Purpose - the Principles and Practice of Coaching and Leadership (4th Edition) (People Skills for Professionals)
Coaching for Performance: GROWing Human Potential and Purpose - the Principles and Practice of Coaching and Leadership (4th Edition) (People Skills for Professionals)
by John Whitmore
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.49

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great on Coaching... Not So Good on Leadership, 17 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I bought the third edition (which concentrated entirely on coaching) about eight years ago and thought it was excellent.

However, for me, this new fourth edition, which is subtitled "The principles and practice of coaching and leadership", over-promises and fails to deliver on the "leadership" bit.

John Whitmore has added three new chapters on the subject of leadership. The first is largely a re-presentation of an old chapter ("Coaching the Corporation") under a new chapter heading ("The Challenge to Leaders"). The second stresses the need for leaders to get beyond their old conditioning and free themselves from fear (which I am all for) but it does not say much about its practice other than, "It can be achieved by coaching." The third lists the author's views on the ideal leader's qualities: (1) values-driven (2) vision (3) authenticity (4) agility - that is, flexibility, ability to get beyond old conditioning, and creativity (5) inner psychological alignment (6) selfless purpose. And that's largely it.

Admittedly, he does suggest that the way for leaders to develop these qualities is through transpersonal coaching and he offers a new "Tools of Transpersonal Coaching" chapter. However, some of its content is a re-presentation of what was in the old "Coaching for Meaning" chapter. The rest is interesting in that it introduces (with little detail) the idea of sub-personalities and a transpersonal model of the psyche. However, I just do not think this all adds up to the "principles and practice of leadership". The principles and practice of modern coaching, yes, but not leadership per se.

In summary, if you are looking for a good book on coaching, this is one. But if you are looking for something to guide you in developing others as leaders (or developing yourself as a leader), for me, this isn't it. What would I recommend instead? If you want something that does address the principles and practice of leadership and gets into the leader's underlying psychology in more depth than Whitmore does, try James Scouller's "The Three Levels of Leadership". If you want just the principles and practice of leadership without the psychology, you cannot go far wrong with John Adair's classic, "Effective Leadership" although he puts less emphasis on values, vision, authenticity and servant leadership than Whitmore and Scouller.

Logitech R400 Wireless Presenter
Logitech R400 Wireless Presenter
Price: £32.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Purchase, 7 April 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've had this Logitech R400 presenter for two months now and I'm impressed. The design is excellent, it feels good in your hand and it works beautifully. Plug the antenna into your USB slot, wait maybe 20 seconds and you're up and running. It's worked flawlessly so far and packs away neatly in its handy little padded carrier case. I read in one review that its design means there's a danger of pressing the wrong button, but that's not been my experience. Recommended without reservation.

Coaching the Team at Work
Coaching the Team at Work
by David Clutterbuck
Edition: Paperback
Price: £19.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't Say Much That's Useful, 28 Nov. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I cannot recommend this book. To me, it's high on word count and low on added value. It runs to over 270 pages, but in my view it doesn't say much that's useful.

A more helpful guide to team coaching is the recently released "Leadership Team Coaching" by Peter Hawkins. There's another very good book on teams - even if it isn't specifically on team coaching - called "The Wisdom of Teams" by Jon Katzenbach & Douglas Smith. If you want to get into the psychology of groups (yes that's groups, not teams, but it's nonetheless helpful) and how to understand them and improve the way group members work together, try "Working More Creatively with Groups" by Jarlath Benson.

Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth about Our Money System and How We Can Break Free
Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth about Our Money System and How We Can Break Free
by Ellen Hodgson Brown
Edition: Paperback
Price: £16.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing and readable - not for conformist thinkers, 28 Nov. 2011
An extraordinary and important book that manages to be very readable despite the (sometimes) density of the subject. It may leave you gasping at times as you realise what an unsound money system our world is based on. Fortunately it doesn't just explain what has gone wrong and why; it offers remedies. However, because the reader's mindset is inevitably challenged, it can cause initial disbelief.

Web of Debt is bound to attract criticism - partly because it questions previously unquestioned aspects of economics, partly because it's going to embarrass some people and partly because it makes some historical assertions (e.g. about Lincoln's assassination) that may or may not be correct - so expect this book to get some flak from reviewers. I hope their criticism doesn't put you off because the book's central message is hugely important as the seriousness of the global financial crisis continues to grow.

Highly recommended.

Effective Leadership (NEW REVISED EDITION): How to be a successful leader
Effective Leadership (NEW REVISED EDITION): How to be a successful leader
by John Adair
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, but..., 26 Nov. 2011
John Adair knows his stuff and is always worth reading when he writes about leadership. He has a grasp of the subject and its subtleties that few can match.

However... there is a "but". His other writings (e.g. Not Bosses But Leaders) reveal his more nuanced view of leadership, but he hasn't updated his basic three circles model since the 1980s. Meanwhile the importance of authentic leadership has grown and the search for a more psychological model to support a leader's character development has become more urgent. This is where this fine book is showing its age in my view.

Where can you find something that builds on but goes further than Adair's thinking? You could try a newer book like James Scouller's "The Three Levels of Leadership". He accepts Adair's three elements of Task + Group + Individual but adds a fourth (Motivating Purpose) to give equal weighting to vision. More important, his model tackles the psychological aspect of leadership full on in a clear, practical way.

Do I recommend you buy this book? Yes, definitely. All I'm saying is that time has marched on and John Adair's thinking has, in my view, got to be partnered up with more recent writings to gain a fuller view of leadership.

21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
by John C. Maxwell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wouldn't Argue with the 21 Laws, but Disappointing, 20 Nov. 2011
I can't think of anything I disagree with in this well-written book... and yet I found it unsatisfying.

It offers 21 observations about successful leadership, each of which is entirely reasonable. But as a guide to becoming a better leader, I felt there were just too many laws. In the end it felt like an exhortation to be the perfect hero-leader, which I didn't find helpful.

For me, the book doesn't penetrate deep enough to the heart of how to become a better leader. It's one thing to point out 21 "laws" - basically a set of truths around leadership and some ideal characteristics of leaders - but it's quite another to identify their psychological roots and suggest a way to work on them. What I missed here was a deeper, more fundamental view of how to become a successful leader; something that would help an aspiring leader learn how to embody the 21 laws, not just know about them intellectually.

Gary Hamel's criticism of the book "The Profit Zone" springs to mind. The authors of TPZ describe 22 "profit zones" - 22 distinct ways of earning a profit margin. Hamel wrote of the authors, "They know a strategy when they see one - Look! Twenty two profit zones! - but they don't know where new strategies come from. They don't have a theory of strategy creation..." I feel The 21 Laws of Leadership has the same problem.

So '21 Laws' is okay, but even though they are mostly 20 years older, I prefer John Adair's books with their simpler action-centred leadership model. If you want a more modern view, try James Scouller's "The Three Levels of Leadership," which goes deeper into the moral and psychological roots of leadership while managing to say compact. Or you could try Steve Radcliffe's "Leadership Plain and Simple."
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 5, 2014 3:54 AM GMT

Leadership and the One Minute Manager (The One Minute Manager)
Leadership and the One Minute Manager (The One Minute Manager)
by Kenneth Blanchard
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in its time, but has two flaws, 13 Nov. 2011
When I first read Leadership and the One Minute Manager back in the 1980s, I loved its situational leadership model, but that was 25 years ago. Since then, two flaws have become clear.

One is that it focuses on the handling of individuals whereas leadership is more than that - it's about influencing individuals AND whole groups, sometimes very large groups, but this book doesn't address that. Its other flaw is this: it ignores the reality that many leaders won't adapt their behaviour according to the competence and commitment of each follower (which is the book's main idea) because of their old mindsets and behavioural habits. It assumes we can all change our behaviour at will without working on our psychology.

It's still a good read, but in my view it's not teaching "leadership" per se and it ignores the power of mindsets. So you might also want to consider a book that offers a more complete model of leadership and teaches you how to master your psychology as a leader. There are not many, but in my view the best example is "The Three Levels of Leadership" by James Scouller. Hopefully there will be others in the future.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 29, 2012 4:07 PM BST

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