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.



#531: Where Grog Got Eaten

May 18, 2021 at 2:45PM • 1 hour 13 minutes

DISCUSSED: A classic, old-school “Odds ’n Sods” episode that includes: Apple’s audio upgrade announcement; AirTags and the promising future of UWB; lots of thoughts on anxiety; caffeine weaners; tongue-rolling; and a salt and pepper of media recently enjoyed (and now recommended).


#530: Nouns in America

May 11, 2021 at 5:00PM • 1 hour 7 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin has been cracking nuts, and Dan is enjoying a beverage; in Follow-Up, Dan has made great progress with his new voice assistant; Merlin has thoughts on choosing a dingus ecosystem that’s right for you; words mean things, and often you want the right “procedure word”; Merlin has some good Back to Work-adjacent media recommendations; do we really want to rebuild The Embarcadero Freeway? Really?; and, Dan has some new scholarship on the films of Stanley Kubrick.


#529: Different Flavors of Fear

May 4, 2021 at 3:45PM • 1 hour 26 minutes

DISCUSSED: Dan is actively gaslighting Merlin, and this can be proven; please stop stealing focus; praise for Ferris Bueller in general and the knees of Sloane Peterson in particular; passing thoughts on fear, procrastination, impostor syndrome, and solving the right problem; Merlin is delighted to discover a much-improved Little Snitch; Dan has thoughts on his Ford’s weird button; in gadget updates, Dan has found some useful headphones and has thoughts on trying to use his new Google dingus; finally, just in general, try to keep your hands away from the dragon’s mouth.


#528: Half a Parachute

April 27, 2021 at 1:30PM • 1 hour 30 minutes

Merlin has a whole new setup, and Dan has a whole new TV.


#527: Classic Mentos Situation

April 20, 2021 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 4 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin is reporting live from the show floor; sleep is complicated; food is complicated, too; Dan tries to build muscles the right way; he also has strong feelings about TV shopping; Merlin just wants someone to tell him which is The Good One.


#526: Above-Average Practices

April 13, 2021 at 1:00PM • 60 minutes

DISCUSSED: some important movie follow-up; films (and other media) can be a powerful way to talk about things we aren't supposed to be talking about; Merlin has some links to help think about what comes next as we get back to ““normal""; plus, follow-up on Dan's Kindle journey, including some really useful tips.


#525: The Pollution of Modernity

April 6, 2021 at 2:45PM • 1 hour 30 minutes

DISCUSSED: fake southern accents lead to some movie talk; Merlin apologizes; Dan does not want to spend a night in The Box; please utilize the restroom that conforms to the color of your gender; a guardsman pitches Merlin's wife; Merlin goes off on a surprisingly long tangent on kung fu movies--especially the work of The Great Gordon Liu; Dan needs a syllabus to get Cash even more into Godzilla movies; there are some words on DC movies; your hosts begin a dive into the Kindle ecosystem that turns into a dive into ""The Kindle Ecosystem""; Friend-of-the-Show, Moisés, provides some beneficial real-time follow-up regarding the king of monsters; Merlin needs some movie backstory but also wants wants to make it extremely clear that he is very attracted to an English actress.


#524: The Silver Linings Guy

March 30, 2021 at 2:15PM • 1 hour 33 minutes

DISCUSSED: iOS has gotten really good; still, there's some Apple stuff we'd love to see get better; some Covid updates; anxiety and OCD in these fraught times; finally, Dan and Merlin need your advice for some networking upgrades.


#523: My Fingers Know It

March 23, 2021 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 22 minutes

DISCUSSED: DST and rebooting sleep; some quick documentary talk; a challenging H.R. Giger poster; updates on sane prepping, looking at some interesting sources for electric power; on rational prepping; oh, boy, fatbergs; and, finally, a quick dive into the joys of "The Everything Button" and the myriad benefits of learning the key commands.


#522: Where All the Memories Go

March 16, 2021 at 5:15PM • 1 hour 27 minutes

Diving deep on the power of infrastructure. Yes, for you, too.