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.



#223: Normal is Whatever is There

June 2, 2015 at 1:15PM • 1 hour 10 minutes

TOPIC: Interstitial time and why you want it back.

This week, after some preliminary discussion of smoking and the children who throw rocks and run track, Dan and Merlin answer questions from listeners.


#222: Full-Stack Obsessive

May 28, 2015 at 3:30PM • 1 hour 42 minutes

Merlin and Dan use The Aviator as a jumping-off point to talk about OCD as it relates to perfectionism, creativity, and drive in the workplace. They discuss rituals and their consequences, the importance of mise en place, and eliminating disruptive processes.

Also, Merlin invokes the term "workflows".


#221: Minimally Viable Interruption

May 19, 2015 at 3:30PM • 1 hour 38 minutes

TOPIC: Time, Stones, and Giving Yourself a Break

Just…give yourself permission to not feel like a dick today. Especially if you think you don't deserve it.


#220: Canadian Gentle

May 12, 2015 at 11:15AM • 1 hour 33 minutes

TOPIC: Hopeless and Impossible.

This week, Dan and Merlin, delve deeper into the impossibly hopeless nature of email.


#219: At Sixes and Sevens

May 5, 2015 at 1:45PM • 1 hour 36 minutes

TOPIC: Jumping Over the Precipice.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about what to be courageous about and when. It's rarely as easy or as simple as it seems.


#218: The Tigers in Your Kitchen

April 28, 2015 at 2:00PM • 1 hour 35 minutes

TOPIC: Fear, Anxiety, and Existential Whack-A-Mole

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about Color Guard, the science of binge watching, and the uncertain future of podcasts.

But, mainly, they talk a lot about fear and anxiety. Deep dive here. How are fear and anxiety different? What's a habitual thought feel like? And, what are some little ways to start gently climbing out?


#217: The Worst Most Advanced Teenager

April 21, 2015 at 5:00PM • 1 hour 59 minutes

TOPIC: Take it personal and make it personal.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about culture, solipsism, hiring, and needle-moving things.


#216: Safety Sword

April 14, 2015 at 6:45PM • 1 hour 11 minutes

TOPIC: Kremlinology and Verbing

This week, Dan and Merlin follow-up on Dan's neighbor and The Trailer Incident. They also undertake a rather circuitous exploration of how little we understand about how stuff gets made. This leads to a semi-useful discussion of how the verbs we verb do and don't constitute the nouns we noun—and when we realize that.


#215: Legacy Cat

April 7, 2015 at 3:45PM • 1 hour 40 minutes

TOPIC: With great power comes…uh, uh, what-have-you.

This week, Dan and Merlin cover a lot of ground. What makes a great comics movie. What movies to show (and not show) your kids. The majesty of The Big Lebowski. And, what exactly Dan should do about a construction trailer and a crawfish-pinching doctor.


#214: Destroyed by Farm Equipment

March 31, 2015 at 7:30PM • 1 hour 16 minutes

TOPIC: Youth as exception.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about chess, the problem with SEO, and why getting old is normal (if you're lucky).