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.



#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.


#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.