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.



#359: You Can't See Inside the Dog

January 16, 2018 at 5:00PM • 1 hour 18 minutes

This week, Dan has some weather, Cash makes a battery, homework can be a silly drag, management is about scalability and quantification, how to figure out how much you have to do, 80s movies can be problematic, ultracrepidarianism, making fish wanna get nasty, and you gotta give people ONE suggestion.

Great listener feedback on the evolution of pro kitchens, real-life risk aversion, and a terrific use of Echo's drop-in functionality.

Also, the possibilities and shortcomings of Machine Learning are discussed.


#358: Dumb Ohio Mouth

January 9, 2018 at 4:45PM • 1 hour 32 minutes

This week, your hosts cover some odds and sods, share some recommendations, design some fantasy podcast apps, and introduce an exciting new feature involving the Internet Science Site.

They also respond to a listener's thorny question about dealing with negative chatter in the workplace.


#357: Scrolling Carousel of Pain

January 2, 2018 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 26 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about why they're trending, an exciting update on the Mr. Robot ATV bug, the frustrating opacity of using Apple's stuff, Dan's love for Nintendo Switch, nostalgia for NASA, Merlin's love for the Amazon Spot, the problem of fish food and regret, updates on your hosts' sleep technologies, possible solutions for killing spam on iPhone, and some more thoughts on dealing with Netflix's filtering, ratings, and…jeez kinda just everything about their dingaling interface.


#356: Politics or Gender or Iron Man

December 29, 2017 at 4:45PM • 1 hour 19 minutes

The boys wrap up a big year—a huge year—with an unintentionally thematic episode about feelings, expectations, nostalgia, and the black boxes of life, technological and otherwise.


#355: Eleven Dollars and a Bottle of Yoo-hoo

December 19, 2017 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 39 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about keyboard preferences (and their noises), Merlin catching Dan's weird "Mr. Robot" bug on Apple TV, feedback about "inside jokes," exclusion as a weapon, more good Robert Wright interviews, a deepish dive on Netflix personalization techniques (alongside some speculation on how well it's working), platforms and technologies as lobster traps, the problem with cartoons about screaming, how much kids love YouTube, the challenge of partnering with podcast middlepersons, a new Netflix show Dan likes, possibilities for new Marvel properties, and listener feedback on the potential benefits of using work tools you don't prefer.


#354: One Whale

December 12, 2017 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 45 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about (partial) resolution to Dan's Apple TV bug, some venting about delivery problems, general complaining about customer service, a good TV podcast episode, a very good Buddhism podcast episode, some excellent Buddhism talk, listener follow-up on Dan's strange video mail package, shakeups and wild innovation in the TV bidness, that creepy/mean Netflix tweet, and a listener's question about whether the tech requirements at a promising new job should be a deal-breaker.


#353: Superagency

December 5, 2017 at 3:00PM • 1 hour 40 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin discuss theories on Dan's Mr. Robot/Apple TV bug, living in an opinion bubble, an update on flu shot efficacy, Dan's recent insane mail delivery, speculation on how giant ad buys work, consternation about memory-holed media.

Your hosts respond to a listener's question about the difficulty of choosing a career path that wasn't what you'd expected.

Merlin also explains his shaving strategy.


#352: Get Away From My Formular!

November 30, 2017 at 8:00PM • 1 hour 43 minutes

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about…so many things. Merlin had a lot of coffee.

Big topics include:

  • Flickr nostalgia (and smart photo backup tips)
  • Dan's crazy Apple TV bug
  • A terrific podcast episode about Buddhism and the human mind
  • A tough listener question about gracefully leaving a job


#351: Your Chest Is a Tunnel

November 21, 2017 at 3:15PM • 1 hour 30 minutes

This week, your hosts discuss: holiday disruptions, life patterns, the joys of regularity, discovering unnecessary existential vulnerabilities, scheduling as a video game, getting your head around sous vide cooking, modern kids' arithmetic, CBD dosage stuff, using the Sway app, meditation for improving attention management, dealing with the character who speaks your internal voice, some hot tips on starting meditation, a historical video series Merlin's family likes, a quest for a typeface, nostalgia for teeny tiny fonts, a listener question about how to end a conference call, a recommendation for Netflix's The Punisher, and some angry attempts to conceal ma' secret formular.


#350: Stacking Stones and Inspiration

November 14, 2017 at 3:45PM • 1 hour 42 minutes

TOPIC: Integrity and Fear.

This week your hosts discuss: sandwiches, solar power, some recent movies and what makes them memorable (or not), the glory of Edgar Wright, fun movie commentaries, Dan's rowing machine, big changes for Chairman Bendis, a cool free font from IBM, awesome creativity from a listener, some thoughts on apps for meditation and relaxation (and the important distinction between those things), the downside of Competitive Mindfulness and similar, some excellent feedback on last week's episode, the fear of integrity loss, Dan's trip to NYC, follow-up on resetting an iPhone, and the fine art of computer troubleshooting.