Back to Work

Back to Work

Back to Work is an award winning talk show with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin discussing productivity, communication, work, barriers, constraints, tools, and more.

Hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin.


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#192: Party City Trophies

October 21, 2014 at 12:00PM • 1 hour 33 minutes

TOPIC: Reinforcement, Aikido, and Fear

This week, Dan and Merlin try to tackle positive versus negative reinforcement.


#191: Heisenberg Uncertainty Dog

October 14, 2014 at 2:00PM • 1 hour 27 minutes

TOPIC: People, amirite?

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about neighbors, dogs, Macs, MLB.tv, and flavors of reinforcement.


#190: C-3PO's Beard

October 7, 2014 at 2:45PM • 1 hour 21 minutes

TOPIC: The Ultimate Existential Investor

This week, Dan and Merlin vent about Apple as only its superfans really can. What happens when things…don't…just work?


#189: That's How You Roll When You're a Lobster

September 30, 2014 at 10:00AM • 1 hour 17 minutes

TOPIC: Starting the stuff we haven't started.

This week—after some entertaining random talk and a handful of hardware and software recommendations—Dan and Merlin dive back into a familiar evergreen topic: why is it so hard to get started with a project? And, just as importantly, what can we learn from that persistent difficulty?

In a nut? Just start trying to suck more regularly.


#188: The Smell of Snake Anxiety

September 23, 2014 at 2:00PM • 1 hour 48 minutes

TOPIC: Media, Rarely Well Done

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the modern consumer media landscape and how we seem to be changing almost as fast as the technology. Almost.


#187: Peeling a Dangerous Onion

September 16, 2014 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 29 minutes

TOPIC: Knowing What You'll Need to Know

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about a recent presentation Merlin gave on expertise and curiosity. They also pour out a 40 for Macworld Magazine.


#186: I Wish John Siracusa Were Here

September 9, 2014 at 2:00PM • 1 hour 6 minutes

TOPIC: Grab bag.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about—what? Well. They talk about privilege, empathy, bikes, bass players, Merlin's new mic, more bathroom signs, and a controversial anecdote about how Apple was maybe kinda not nice to a customer.


#185: David Foster Wallace Morning

September 2, 2014 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 29 minutes

TOPIC: The Durable Impossibility of Email.

This week, Dan and Merlin return to an evergreen topic: the impossibility of email.

Chaotic, paradoxical, debilitating, frustrating, buoyant, and occasionally capable of causing short-term madness, email is still the medium that we'll never get right.

But, quixotically, it never stops us from trying.


#184: Days of Bathrooms Past

August 26, 2014 at 11:00AM • 1 hour 28 minutes

TOPIC: Is there anything else you want to tell me?

This week, Dan and Merlin discuss what bathrooms can teach us about learning, expertise, and empathy.


#183: Remember Who Has the Cannon

August 19, 2014 at 1:00PM • 1 hour 30 minutes

TOPIC: Wait, what'd I DO?!?

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about anger, misunderstandings, and trying to do the right thing. How bewildering (and emotional) it can be to feel misunderstood—as well as trying to better understand what we may have done wrong.

Emotions are armor-piercing bullets.