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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#129: Putting Your Meat by the Pool

July 23, 2013 at 3:15PM • 1 hour 32 minutes

TOPIC: Lists

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about 3½ kinds of lists that can change your game.

Merlin knows a lot about Productivity.


#128: Eating Scones in the Closet

July 19, 2013 at 2:00PM • 1 hour 33 minutes

TOPIC: Time Awareness & Scope Wormholes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about why we (and Frank) are terrible at estimating time, as well as what we can do to get better at it.


#127: Loki Situation

July 9, 2013 at 3:30PM • 1 hour 33 minutes

TOPIC: Employers, Bosses, Leaders, and Managers

This week—in what may easily turn into a multi-episode arc—Dan and Merlin talk about bosses.

Whether we're looking at it from up or down, management is tricky business. The question is, what makes a boss a good manager, and what makes a good manager a great leader?


#126: Howard Chicken

July 3, 2013 at 9:00PM • 1 hour 53 minutes

TOPIC: How many Saturdays do you get?

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about time. Its scarcity, its passing, its tyranny, and its possibilities.


#125: Hakuna Potato

June 28, 2013 at 5:45PM • 1 hour 59 minutes

TOPIC: There are Only Two Prices: Free and What It Costs

This week, Dan and Merlin return to the classic lineup and some classic topics, including knowing your value, learning what to charge, and realizing what you can live with.

Also: jury duty, traveling, bathrooms, the sliding scale of suffering, and what-have you.


#124: The Tuesday Afternoon Version of Me

June 23, 2013 at 8:00PM • 49 minutes

TOPIC: The Chinese Symbol for 'Pants' Inside of The Chinese Symbol for 'Jury Duty.'

This week, Dan's away, so Merlin goes solo, taking a break from jury duty to talk about the opportunities that can be hiding inside change, inconvenience, and tumult.


#123: I Want to See Your Face the Whole Time (LIVE)

June 11, 2013 at 5:00PM • 1 hour 29 minutes

TOPIC: First Meeting, Gifts, and Grifts

This week—after 122 episodes, plus almost a decade of internet pal-dom—Dan and Merlin finally meet and record in a room together for the first time.

With only passing nods to the nominal topic of "gifts," Dan and Merlin mostly get to know each other.

Why is Dan staring so penetratingly at Merlin? Does Dan think Merlin is fat as well as old? Why does Dan keep looking at his phone? Does that look clean to you? Whose show is it, really? Is John Siracusa slender or sickly? Why can't I show you the sole of my shoe? Should we stand up? Who am I thinking of? Is it hot in here or is it just me? Which one am I?

Also, bathrooms.

Inarguably, a Very Important Episode™.


#122: The Crowbar of Loyalty

June 4, 2013 at 4:30PM • 1 hour 46 minutes

TOPIC: Loyalty, Altruism, Reality Check, or Extortion?

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about what we talk about when we talk about "loyalty."


#121: I Just Had a Dog Delivered

May 28, 2013 at 5:00PM • 1 hour 9 minutes

TOPIC: Dan's Recent Bathroom Incident, et al.

This week, Dan and Merlin exhale. Don't search for secret doors.


#120: Egg MacGuffin

May 21, 2013 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 36 minutes

TOPIC: What would you do differently if you had a "safety net?"

This week, Dan and Merlin congratulate their pal, Marco, on the acquisition of a company he helped co-found.

Which leads to the nominal topic: what kind of safety net would you need to feel secure, do the things you'd like, and mostly banish the more persistent cumulonimbus clouds of your own anxiety?

Many angles are explored. Why was Elvis unhappy? How is habitual Schadenfreude and automatic bile ensmallening our culture? Can we ever be—let alone feel—truly secure? And, how much of our old selves do we end up lugging along inside every suitcase we carry?

Pretty great episode. Especially if you like the ones where Merlin gets all mad. Those are usually good ones.