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.

#54: Freemium Mason

February 16, 2012 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 35 minutes

Merlin and Dan talk about returning to paleo, the nature of wieners and discouragement, crown vic habits and anxiety addiction.

You won't beat it without a cocktail of grit and care with just the right amount of sacrifice.

#53: The Wages of Security

February 7, 2012 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 55 minutes

In the most average episode ever, Merlin and Dan talk physical and digital work environments so you can get going in the right direction and don't have to spend all day on it.

And, when do you know you don't want 10 times more of something and what do you do about it? There's no guarantee of security, even if you show up sober, so start acting like an entrepreneur and choose what you want 10 times more of.

#52: Walk the Coastline, Bitches

January 31, 2012 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 16 minutes

TOPIC: The Hidden Cost is the True Cost

Merlin is back from MacWorldPipeiWorld to talk with Dan about the True Cost of iceberg lettuce, an anchor tenant, 20 minutes of your time, and how much of your life you're going to eat sand.

You don't have a TARDIS to make it back to pick up your kid or make it to Built to Spill so walk the coastline.

#51: Living Inside the Nonsense

January 24, 2012 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 22 minutes

TOPIC: Slipping on Dates, Sliding on Days

Merlin and Dan talk about managing projects, scheduling calls, and being home when you scheduled a party. It SEEMS SO SIMPLE but then Jeannie has to go to Guam and slipping is your SOP.

The way out of this quagmire is to admit you can't get out of it. You can't change a culture of slipping with a poster or a fairy princess. You have to fix the slides if you want to fix the slips.

#50: The Pork Soup Paradox

January 17, 2012 at 9:30PM • 1 hour 24 minutes

TOPIC: What to do if you fear a layoff.

Merlin and Dan talk about rumors of layoffs—when the fear gets you, and you start filing in the narrative with a panther, even if you're developing the best-of-breed cereal portal or have been in the newspaper's Accounts Payable department for 20 years.

What do you do at the fork in the road? Do you interview with The Bobs? Do you just grow up and ask what the hell's happening? Do you try to pray away the hurricane?

Or, do you just get tragically okay with being 10 times more terrified for 10 more years?

Yes: there are lessons from The Wire.

#49: The Field of Completion

January 10, 2012 at 9:45AM • 1 hour 41 minutes

John Gruber joins Merlin to talk about blog engines, Lego, bias, credibility, the project triangle, and (duh) Star Wars

Special guest John Gruber.

#48: An Abrupt Existential Jerk

January 3, 2012 at 6:45PM • 1 hour 17 minutes

TOPIC: How habits get made. 

Dan and Merlin are back for 2012 to discuss how habits are like little hairs or inertia or homeostasis or something. How we build habits, how they get built for us, and what we can learn about habits from making our daily coffee.

#47: Utter Failure & Hotel Steak

December 27, 2011 at 7:45PM • 1 hour 4 minutes

TOPIC: Resolving to skip the New Year's resolutions.

In the last episode of 2011, Merlin and Dan talk about fresh starts and modest changes rather than rehearsing for sucking. You don't need a calendar to tell you to change. Whether you want to give up nail biting, onanism, or drinking a gallon of vodka a day, you need a plan and a tolerance for failure. Plus, a little care never hurts.

How to do it? Keep it small, keep it time-limited, keep it action-oriented.

Happy New Year, jackals. We love you.

#46: Not Counting the Mezzanine

December 20, 2011 at 5:00PM • 1 hour 23 minutes

Topic: The Meta-Distractions of "Minimalism"

This week, Merlin and Dan get all "Zen" about bias and minimalism. Your background won't get any blacker, so stop burning cycles arguing on the internet or worrying about what other people think or how minimal you are. It's not about the bird skeletons, lion skins or barefoot girls. Unless that's what works. Just make sure it really works. 

#45: Finagling the Tree Bag

December 13, 2011 at 5:45PM • 1 hour 9 minutes

Topic: The Narcissism of Small Differences

This week, Merlin has a quiz for Dan to determine whether Ben Franklin, "The Immigrant Song," or Quantum Mechanics has the most cultural impact--as well as his teasing out Dan's go-to for uninstalling Android apps.

Paying attention to the same degree you care goes nicely with keeping a sense of humor. Especially about those small differences regarding couch cushions, pink spaceships, and Sgt. Pepper's.

The answers are Moby Dick, Julian calendars, ZoSo, chigger bites, and--yes--The Greater Nerd Theory.