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.



#541: Proprietary Escape Key

July 27, 2021 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 24 minutes

A celebration of M1 devices, the benefits of learning how to learn, and considering when a new learning curve might be worth the climb.


#540: Extreme Medical Sloth

July 20, 2021 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 9 minutes

Find the tool you need—but, keep asking yourself, "Soooooo…now what?"


#539: Where the Ghosts Live

July 13, 2021 at 5:30PM • 1 hour 19 minutes

Things get pretty silly, yet somehow land on some extremely Back to Work points about time management, compression, values, and moving your own goalposts. For some reason, McDonald's becomes an important controlling metaphor.


#538: Tossed Salad of Remembrance

July 6, 2021 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 31 minutes

DISCUSSED: Dan begins a journey into new worlds of voice control and home automation.


#537: Insane Corner of My Own Design

June 29, 2021 at 5:30PM • 1 hour 10 minutes

DISCUSSED: Some ups and downs of living the smart speaker lifestyle.

Also: the dramatis personae of The Land of Make Believe; feeding the demon dogs; and learning to be careful with the words we put in front of other words.


#536: Fonzie Slap

June 22, 2021 at 10:00AM • 1 hour 20 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin and his wife realize the moment they crossed a line; in Follow-Up, your hosts celebrate the late great Fred Willard; in further Follow-Up, the state of the union in smart voice devices is considered; and, finally, the long arc of calendar talk starts to wind down with some hard talk on disambiguation and actually really getting real.


#535: Long-Term Play Value

June 15, 2021 at 8:00PM • 1 hour 24 minutes

DISCUSSED: Dan finally gets more three-six-five, and Merlin gets extremely deep in the stack. Also, just a little more calendar talk, including a model for deciding where something goes.


#534: Manga and Others

June 8, 2021 at 7:00PM • 1 hour 55 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin runs into some problems reporting live from the show floor; is social media making us as happy as we'd like to think?; thoughts on pro wrestlers and the films of John Carpenter; finding the triggers for action that you didn't know you needed; recommendations for videos and Firefox extensions; why we use the web browsers that we use; your hosts dive into their favorite announcements coming out of WWDC; how exactly do you decide where something should go?; Dan reveals he has become the third kind of calendar person; exploring the ineffable (but indisputably real) value of finding technologies and experiences that you actually enjoy; and, finally, Merlin shares a novel misunderstanding with a voice dingus.


#533: A Container for Your Future Plans

June 1, 2021 at 6:45PM • 1 hour 46 minutes

DISCUSSED: Part one of a deep dive into calendars.


#532: That's Not My Ghost

May 25, 2021 at 2:00PM • 1 hour 36 minutes

DISCUSSED: Merlin is full of beans this week.