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Extended Audio Sample Heads in Beds: A Reckless Memoir of Hotels, Hustles, and So-Called Hospitality, by Jacob Tomsky Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (3,994 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jacob Tomsky Narrator: Jacob Tomsky Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Jacob Tomsky never intended to go into the hotel business. As a new college graduate, armed only with a philosophy degree and a singular lack of career direction, he became a valet parker for a large luxury hotel in New Orleans. Yet, rising fast through the ranks, he ended up working in “hospitality” for more than a decade, doing everything from supervising the housekeeping department to manning the front desk at an upscale Manhattan hotel. He’s checked you in, checked you out, separated your white panties from the white bed sheets, parked your car, tasted your room-service meals, cleaned your toilet, denied you a late checkout, given you a wake-up call, eaten M&Ms out of your minibar, laughed at your jokes, and taken your money. In Heads in Beds he pulls back the curtain to expose the crazy and compelling reality of a multibillion dollar industry we think we know.

Heads in Beds is a funny, authentic, and irreverent chronicle of the highs and lows of hotel life, told by a keenly observant insider who’s seen it all. Prepare to be amused, shocked, and amazed as he spills the unwritten code of the bellhops, the antics that go on in the valet parking garage, the housekeeping department’s dirty little secrets, not to mention the shameless activities of the guests, who are rarely on their best behavior. Prepare to be moved, too, by his candor about what it’s like to toil in a highly demanding service industry at the luxury level, where people expect to get what they pay for (and often a whole lot more). Employees are poorly paid and frequently abused by coworkers and guests alike, and maintaining a semblance of sanity is a daily challenge.

Along his journey Tomsky also reveals the secrets of the industry, offering easy ways to get what you need from your hotel without any hassle. This book (and a timely proffered twenty-dollar bill) will help you score late checkouts and upgrades, get free stuff galore, and make that pay-per-view charge magically disappear. Thanks to him you’ll know how to get the very best service from any business that makes its money from putting heads in beds. Or, at the very least, you will keep the bellmen from taking your luggage into the camera-free back office and bashing it against the wall repeatedly.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “You will never not tip housekeeping or your bellhop again. Tomsky fell into hotel work and proved to be rather good at it; the same can be said for his writing.”


  • “Tomsky is no longer a hotel employee and now, with good reason, thinks of himself as a writer.”

    New York Times

  • “Coarse, smart, and wickedly funny.”

    Washington Post

  • “Tomsky, who may be an even better writer than a hotelier (and he’s a damn good hotelier) has worked every job and every shift; he takes us into the bowels (sometimes literally) of the hotel business, with all the pomp and circumstance, the hidden filth, and the fears and aspirations and secrets of guests and staff alike.”


  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for November 2012
  • Selected for the December 2012 Indie Next List
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Chris | 2/19/2014

    " To be honest, I found it self indulgent and very dull. I travel a lot for work, so thought it'd be full of great tips, but it's more about him (generally his unhappiness with life and his career at the front desk). Also, a lot of the advice you could never stay in a hotel and know--guess what, tipping helps! I did learn that I should stop drinking from the bathroom glasses and that you can view movies without paying. Also, provided your moral compass is OK with it, you can generally take what you want from the minibar and say you didn't eat it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Karen | 2/14/2014

    " This book is one part memoir, one part travelers' tips. I hoped to glean more tips from the insiders take on hotel travel but those tips, interspersed through the blow-by-blow of the author's career, can be condensed down to a few-minute expose, like the one the author did on 20/20. I felt it was the selling point for this book and could otherwise be a page-long bullet-pointed article in a travel mag. The take-away I most appreciated was the author's absolute assurance that a confidently placed tip to a seasoned front desk agent will get upgrades - even for Priceline junkies like myself. The memoir aspect sometimes got bogged down in the details of a less than transcendent career, but there's still the voyeuristic value in his tales of cooky travelers. What we've all heard or imagined or seen going on in hotels, actually goes on. The essential points of the memoir aspect of this book are 1. A degree in Philosophy is useless, 2. working with the general public sucks, and 3. bellhops make good money. The "reckless" descriptive in the subtitle must refer to the language. I'm not one to blush at a little language in an otherwise decent book, but this was excessive. It was like the author was constantly shouting that he learned a new F word and he wants to use it as much as humanly possible. It read as juvenile and became distracting. Otherwise... would be more stars. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jean | 2/9/2014

    " This memoir has been getting a lot of attention lately. Noticing that the hotels pinpointed were in New Orleans and NYC, I decided to give it a go. Not as entertaining as I had hoped. Maybe this one would be good for people who have never worked in the hospitality industry. I worked in restaurants for ten years as a younger person. Let me tell you, I have stories to tell. Some of them would make these episodes look childish. But, the writing is good, and it does shed a light on the lives of the men and women who work the desks and door at big hotels. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Lesli | 2/8/2014

    " Fantastic book. For those who've worked in the Hotel Industry and for those who just frequent hotels, this book is a must read! Very informative,yet entertaining. Loved the writing, extremely witty. "

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