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.



#263: The Working Definition of Love

March 15, 2016 at 3:30PM • 2 hours 7 minutes

TOPIC: No one cares about your demo anymore.

This week Dan & Merlin talk about realizing when life isn't all about you and getting better at learning how to say "thank you."

Also, lots of great practical (and philosophical) suggestions for getting started with or back into comics.


#262: Large Platinum Spoon

March 8, 2016 at 4:30PM • 2 hours 23 minutes

TOPIC: Staying out of Technology Detention

This week, Dan and Merlin do another giant-size grabbag episode that covers a lot of ground, including:

  • movies, kids, and ratings, oh my!
  • better text editing on iPad, faster typing on iOS
  • complexities of picking the right pairings of Apple devices
  • what's up with apps not launching in iOS?
  • Hound, and the future of voice-controlled computing
  • staying provisionally joyful about the possibilities of new technology
  • exploring Merlin's early experience with a Synology NAS


#261: The Illusion of Ease

March 1, 2016 at 5:45PM • 2 hours 2 minutes

TOPIC: That's Not How the Future Works.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about evolving technology culture, the weird landscape of semi-smart devices, and why Merlin does and kinda doesn't do Getting Things Done so much anymore.


#260: Stuck in Green Forever

February 23, 2016 at 4:15PM • 2 hours 1 minute

TOPIC: Grab Bag.

This week, Dan and Merlin cover the waterfront. This wide-ranging episode covers lots of listener feedback, corrections of egregious errors, D&D alignment, the danger of guessing why people are how they are, some fun Tumblr recommendations, considering the yak-shaving ordeal of time-shifting broadcast TV, plus further discussion of last week's topic re: kids and computer access.


#259: The Transitive Quality of Misunderstanding

February 16, 2016 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 44 minutes

TOPIC: Epistemology and Parenting as Dumpster Fire

This week, Dan and Merlin end up talking a lot about what they don't know and how they know they don't know it. The biases, errors, and frames that make us feel wiser than we probably are.

Sometimes it pays to learn how to be a dummy.

Also, Dan learns what a "film projector" is.


#258: Means of Egress

February 9, 2016 at 3:45PM • 1 hour 45 minutes

TOPIC: Feelings, Slide Rules, and The Franklin Test

This week Merlin hasn't had enough coffee and may have early-onset toxoplasmosis, so he and Dan respond to great feedback from listeners, mostly on feeling feelings.


#257: Homemade Science Mayonnaise

February 2, 2016 at 4:00PM • 1 hour 34 minutes

TOPIC: Information, Context, and Courage.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the reaction to last week's episode about work and identity and respond to follow-up questions from listeners.

Also, Merlin buys a faucet.


#256: Every Minute Weighs the Same

January 26, 2016 at 3:30PM • 1 hour 37 minutes

TOPIC: Coder, Kayaker, Father, Person.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about Dan's attempt to vastly rejigger his schedule in the interest of mental and physical health.

This leads to a long discussion of work, identity, expectations, and choosing which of the voices in your head to listen to and when.


#255: A Ladle of Ladling

January 19, 2016 at 1:45PM • 1 hour 46 minutes

TOPIC: Say something funny.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about entertainment as a career and how difficult it can be to know whether you're suited for it.

Plus, discussions of X-Men, San Francisco's collapse, and the best way to get vomit out of the bathroom sink.


#254: Fixed Points in Time

January 12, 2016 at 1:00PM • 1 hour 13 minutes

TOPIC: Budgeting the Primary Secondary Project

This week, Dan and Merlin do a deep dive on a very old and very thorny topic: managing time.

Thing is: this is not about bookkeeping—it's about accounting. Being honest, humble, and diligent in mindfully applying your time and seeing how it went.

(This is a good one.)