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.



#512: You Have a Mustard Fetish

January 5, 2021 at 3:30PM • 1 hour 12 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin looks at a shelf and then, for some reason, discusses it; walls and Japanese beds and jokey-sized dishwashers all benefit from wheels; life is different when you live on a boat; it's important to find the right tool for the job; some people see forests, while others see trees; Merlin performs his very good Gordon Ramsey impression; Merlin also performs his very good David Lynch impression; in Follow-Up, we learn the extremely unsatisfying reason Personal Requests weren't working on a HomePod; there is discussion of the power of Siri alongside frustrations with its poor documentation; interesting bugs are discussed; your hosts explore the similarities between good documentation and good recipes; weird comic book feet are explored; tips on good media your hosts are enjoying; and, finally, there's some rapid-fire app and scripting recommendations.


#511: One Ringy-Dingy

December 29, 2020 at 2:30PM • 47 minutes

DISCUSSED: Making a problem go away is not the same thing as solving the problem.


#510: I Cannot Afford Your Loyalty

December 22, 2020 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 37 minutes

DISCUSSED: The generational struggle to understand things we can't understand, dealing with other people, and Star Wars.


#509: The End of the River

December 15, 2020 at 2:00PM • 1 hour 2 minutes

Sometimes, no one can see the ball—let alone reach the ball.


#508: Oscarbation

December 8, 2020 at 2:45PM • 52 minutes

DISCUSSED: Habits, cycles, and patterns of thinking. Why it's difficult to rehearse success—but surprisingly easy to rehearse failure.


#507: Voltron of Luck

December 1, 2020 at 3:15PM • 43 minutes

Discussed: the paths of thought and emerging from a rut the size of the Grand Canyon.


#505: Everything is Everything

November 24, 2020 at 1:30PM • 1 hour 26 minutes

DISCUSSED: From Jerry Lewis to a drinking bird in a scant 80 minutes.


#504: Double Wrong

November 17, 2020 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 26 minutes

DISCUSSED: lot of projects going on!; praise for Nicki Minaj; some recent TV shows that are important to your hosts; Merlin is a little obsessed with a new Mac productivity app; interrogating problems with deliveries and porch pirates; vehicle theft can be very confusing; and, finally, some insight nobody asked for into Merlin's ambitious new hardware project.


#503: My Emotional Porthole

November 10, 2020 at 4:30PM • 1 hour 23 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin's additions to Bunch have him stepping on his own dingus; maybe it's time to invert the permissive legacy model for who gets access to us (as well as how and when); there's no amount of technology that can make other people be decent; Oh. Hey. Defaults? Be better; also, please quit stealing my focus; Dan is not buying anything new; your hosts talk about the various (often non-obvious) costs of adding, changing, or removing features; maybe building your whole business on Facebook wasn't such a great idea; passing discussion of Bloom County, Muppet dogs, and a Tilikum bottle; the tale of Underscore's unexpected success, and the costs it brought; talk of affordances; and, finally, Just cough up some dough, Mac!


#502: Lifestyle Billy Butcher

November 3, 2020 at 2:15PM • 1 hour 10 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin has a lot to say about the benefits of making lists; this leads to an old-school stemwinder on "Journal" calendars, functional playlists, shared Notes, the lessons of the cutlery drawer, desire paths, arbitrary grids, "Reference" albums, urban bike hooks, auxiliary paper towel holders, and more; praise for The Boys; the magical combination of Halide and Pixelmator Photo; Dan resurrects a beloved podcast; and, finally, Merlin endorses a really weird British weather report that can help you sleep.