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Book shows how tipping helps you get ahead

By Thurston Hatcher

(CNN) -- You've just arrived in the city, you've got a client you need to impress, and you really want to snag a table at that exclusive downtown eatery.

Mark Brenner knows how to get you that reservation. It's all, he says, in the tip.

Here's a tip: Get a grip on gratuities  

His new book -- "Tipping for Success!" -- isn't as much about what to tip as how to tip, and how to use it to your advantage.

"Of course you have to tip, but if you don't conduct yourself in an elegant way, no matter what you tip it's not going to work because no one wants to be bullied and treated like a circus animal with a $20 bill in front of them," says Brenner, a California-based businessman.

In the case of the restaurant, he recommends finding out the name of the maitre d', calling him or her and politely, empathetically noting that you recognize the difficulty of your last-minute request.

Then comes the finishing touch: "Tell him you'll be more than happy to take care of him the right way if he makes those arrangements." Or to borrow a line from Dick Cheney: "I'll take care of you big time."

"You can't shrink from these expressions. This is entrepreneurial stuff," Brenner says.

Whatever you do, don't be abrasive, and don't talk dollars.

"You do that, you're finished," he says. "That is so tacky, it's like a payoff."

Don't be shy

Brenner's book offers a variety of tips for getting what you want, including quick service from a busy skycap and hailing a cab in a crowd. He even addresses the process of discreetly handing over the cash.

"The object is to develop what I call stealth techniques so you become a stealth tipper, never disrespectful, never obnoxious, always kind of below the watchful eye," he says.

Patrons need to get over the notion that tips are the unseemly equivalent of bribery, Brenner says. They're perfectly legal, they're part of the game, and the recipients want and appreciate them.

"People have really come through for me, and I have come through for them," he says. "It's really made a world of difference. A world of difference."

• Tipping for Success

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