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Book Review: Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky

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Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality by Jacob Tomsky tells about the author’s decades of experience within the hospitality industry. Mr. Tomsky has started working in hotels as a valet, got promoted to management and worked in many other roles within the industry.

This is a perfect book for the traveler, a look into what people in all levels in hotels go through to make your stay smooth and how you can make it smoother. The book is a quick read, funny and sometimes offensive (in a good way).

Mr. Tomsky started out his career in New Orleans, but has now been living for a long time in New York City. The writing reflects East Coast humor, jesting which in other parts of the country is deemed offensive, rude and would likely get you beaten up or killed in some parts.

In my travels, I have tipped room service and bellhops before but never thought to do so with desk clerks. Now I know that I need to shall out a few bucks to make my stay more enjoyable.

However, unlike other industries where tips are given, in the hospitality industry tips go a much longer way. The author claims that when you give a tip to the desk clerk (it’s a bribe, come on, who are we kidding?) the desk clerk will do a lot to make your stay better, from upgrades to free “stuff.” Something I will personally have to try next time I stay anywhere.

The difference between a bribe given to a front desk clerk at a hotel and your friendly neighborhood politician is that the bribe you give to the desk clerk actually gets better results. The desk clerk will work and hustle for you to earn the money he/she was given, and you will enjoy the results (or so the author claims). I’ll try it myself at my next hotel stay.

The book could use a bit of editing, not much but some of the sentences are too long and several of the chapters skip back and fourth between subjects. I read an advanced reader copy (ARC), so please take this with a grain of salt since I don’t know if the final book will be the one I read.

The author’s frustration with his chosen profession, or a profession which chose him (the case for most working Americans if it’s any consolation for Tomsky), comes out with wit and intelligence while spitting bolts of fire–a remarkable achievement in my opinion.

At the back of the book Mr. Tomsky included two very funny appendices “Things a Guest Should Never Do” and “Things Every Guest Must Know” which are an excellent way to close the book.

Buy this book in paper or electronic (Kindle) format.

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