Cover image of Back to Work
(1995)

Rank #164 in Technology category

Technology

Back to Work

Updated 2 months ago

Rank #164 in Technology category

Technology
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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 & Dan Benjamin.

Read more

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 & Dan Benjamin.

iTunes Ratings

1995 Ratings
Average Ratings
1730
107
45
55
58

Great Podcast

By Chi Sox Keith - Apr 10 2019
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Great podcast from Dan and Merlin. Good check in on two online friends.

Great show but what the....

By andyselby - Mar 12 2018
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What the ever loving hell with the 8000 year ridiculous outro music???

iTunes Ratings

1995 Ratings
Average Ratings
1730
107
45
55
58

Great Podcast

By Chi Sox Keith - Apr 10 2019
Read more
Great podcast from Dan and Merlin. Good check in on two online friends.

Great show but what the....

By andyselby - Mar 12 2018
Read more
What the ever loving hell with the 8000 year ridiculous outro music???
Cover image of Back to Work

Back to Work

Latest release on Jul 28, 2020

Read more

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 & Dan Benjamin.

Rank #1: 459: Alley Oop to Yourself in the Future

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Merlin needs help in the NOC; Dan discovers sensitive sauce; there are thresholds; hurting your roller skating muscles; new printer; and, finally, Merlin conducts a long exploration of unnecessary efficiencies, evolved technologies, and the minimum viable productivity system.

Links for this episode:

Brought to you by:

  • Squarespace (Start your free trial site today, at Squarespace.com and when you sign up make sure to use the offer code ITSYOURSHOW to get 10% off your first purchase).

  • Native (For 20% off your first purchase, visit nativedeodorant.com and use promo code BACKTOWORK during checkout).

Jan 07 2020

1hr 8mins

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Rank #2: 239: Starving African Child

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TOPIC: Block! Block! Body blow! Uppercut!

This week, Dan and Merlin talk less about ad-blocking and more about what kind-of feels like (but might not actually be) a point of change for web advertising, podcasting, and media as a whole, which could affect, like, everything, man.

Links for this episode:

Brought to you by Harry's (Use the code COMICS to get $5 off the starter shave set), Squarespace (Use the code ITSYOURSHOW for a free trial and 10% off of your first purchase), Pond5 (For 25% off your next purchase of royalty-free media just visit Pond5.com and enter the 'BACKTOWORK' at checkout), and Freshbooks (Visit the link to try FreshBooks free for 30 days and enter 'Back to Work' in the “How Did You Hear About Us?” section during signing up).

Sep 23 2015

1hr 49mins

Play

Rank #3: 168: It's Okay for Cats to Wander Around on Planes

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TOPIC: Standing up to Attention Bullies.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the world's impossible expectations regarding each of our own time, attention, and access.

What happens when we tacitly allow the universe to ask us anything any time for any reason? How do we develop the sympathy to understand how vastly our schedules and priorities differ at a given moment?

Well. One possible solution is to learn to find the courage to not be terminally ""busy"" all the time. That's all on us.

Links for this episode:

This week’s episode of Back to Work is kindly sponsored by Harry’s Quality Men’s Shaving Products. ($5 off your purchase with discount code, “QUIT”)

Apr 22 2014

1hr 11mins

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Rank #4: 238: A 100-Year Problem

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TOPIC: Knowing what you'll need to know.

This week, Dan and Merlin answer a listener question about how the "slow your roll" thought technology can apply to learning new skills.

Links for this episode:

Brought to you by Casper (Visit Casper.com/backtowork and use the code BACKTOWORK to get $50 towards your brand new mattress), Wealthfront (Visit wealthfront.com/5by5 to get your first $15,000 managed for free), lynda (Learn something new today by visiting lynda.com/backtowork to get a free 10 day trial to their 3,000+ courses), and Freshbooks (Visit the link to try FreshBooks free for 30 days and enter 'Back to Work' in the “How Did You Hear About Us?” section during signing up).

Sep 15 2015

1hr 55mins

Play

Rank #5: 161: Zeitgeist Helmut

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TOPIC: Time, Sleep, and Aspirations

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about impossible trade-offs and the benefits of remembering this is actually your life.

Links for this episode:

This week's episode of Back to Work is kindly sponsored by:

  • FreshBooks (60-day free trial. Tell 'em you heard about it on "Back to Work")
  • HostGator (Use code "BACKTOWORK" for 30% off)
  • Shutterstock (25% off everything with discount code "BACKTOWORK314")
  • Warby Parker (Free 3-day shipping for Back to Work listeners)

Mar 04 2014

1hr 32mins

Play

Rank #6: 140: Silicon Circus

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TOPIC: Special Guest, Matt Alexander

This week, Merlin is joined by Bionic co-host, Matt Alexander. They discuss ““technology ecosystems,”” life as a self-described trans-atlantic, tech scenes that thrive and don't, dating someone from Florida (and her Mum), and getting back into Marvel comics.

Links for this episode:

This week's episode of [Back to Work][b2w link] is kindly sponsored by:

  • MailRoute (15-day free trial -- AND get 10% off for the lifetime of your account with promo code BACKTOWORK)
  • Squarespace (use discount code GOBLIN for 10% off)

Oct 08 2013

1hr 24mins

Play

Rank #7: 188: The Smell of Snake Anxiety

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TOPIC: Media, Rarely Well Done

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about the modern consumer media landscape and how we seem to be changing almost as fast as the technology. Almost.

Links for this episode:

Sponsored by PDFpen Scan+ (Start scanning documents right from your iPhone and iPad with PDFpen Scan+), SOLARO (Start studying for all your 3rd-12th grade courses online and get 50% the entire life of your SOLARO subscription when you use the code GOAHEADCALLER at checkout), Citrix ShareFile (Click the link then click on the microphone at the top of the homepage and enter the code BTW for a special 30-day FREE trial), and Squarespace (use code ITSYOURSHOW for a free trial and 10% off).

Sep 23 2014

1hr 48mins

Play

Rank #8: 237: Slow Your Roll

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TOPIC: Stop that train!

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about some ideas for noticing and then battling the surfeits of negative thought that sometimes threaten to overrun us.

Also: talk of a cool new computer mouse, evolution in the comic book industry, and what constitutes "real camping."

Links for this episode:

Brought to you by JustWorks (Get 15% off your first year when you visit justworks.com/backtowork to sign up and use the code BACKTOWORK), Wealthfront (Visit wealthfront.com/5by5 to get your first $15,000 managed for free, Backblaze (Don’t lose your work, back it up! Get a two week free trial by going to Backblaze.com/BackToWork), and Squarespace (Use the code ITSYOURSHOW for a free trial and 10% off of your first purchase).

Sep 08 2015

1hr 38mins

Play

Rank #9: 185: David Foster Wallace Morning

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TOPIC: The Durable Impossibility of Email.

This week, Dan and Merlin return to an evergreen topic: the impossibility of email.

Chaotic, paradoxical, debilitating, frustrating, buoyant, and occasionally capable of causing short-term madness, email is still the medium that we'll never get right.

But, quixotically, it never stops us from trying.

Links for this episode:

This episode was sponsored by our friends at lynda.com (Start learning something new by visiting lynda.com/backtowork and get a free 7-day trial where you can access all of their 2,400+ courses), and Varonis DatAnywhere (Try turning your own network shares into a private cloud free for 30 days with an unlimited amount of users and if you visit varonis.com/backtowork you get 5 users free forever).

Sep 02 2014

1hr 29mins

Play

Rank #10: 181: A Broom Pusher for Johnny Carson

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While Merlin takes a short sabbatical, Dan is joined by special guest David Sparks to talk about presentations, making your thing, balancing acts, iBooks author, paying for your kids' school with side projects, old man glasses, and more.

Links for this episode:

Sponsored by lynda (Learn something new by visiting lynda.com/backtowork and get a 7-day free trial where you can access to over all of their 2,400 courses), Warby Parker (visit warbyparker.com/dan to get FREE 3-day shipping on your order of boutique-quality, classically crafted eyewear at a great price), and Smile (Start editing your PDFs the easy way with PDFpen from the great people over at Smile Software).

Aug 06 2014

1hr 7mins

Play

Rank #11: 171: Put a Sweatshirt In My Wallet

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TOPIC: It's like wallets and backpacks.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about H.R. Giger, Dan's latest Android experiment, more on app privacy, and why we need both wallets, backpacks, and suitcases. You know. Analogies.

Links for this episode:

This week's episode of Back to Work is kindly sponsored by:

May 13 2014

1hr 17mins

Play

Rank #12: 155: Newton's Fifth Law of Politeness

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TOPIC: Isolation and Identity

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about civility, identity, Florida, and how you can't unsee Idiocracy.

Links for this episode:

This week's episode of Back to Work is kindly sponsored by:

  • FreshBooks (They're giving away birthday cakes! Tell 'em you heard about it on "Back to Work")
  • New Relic (Use code "BACKTOWORK" to get your extended 30 day trial)
  • Shutterstock (25% off everything with discount code "BACKTOWORK114")

Jan 21 2014

1hr 31mins

Play

Rank #13: 175: Andy is the Stuff of Nightmares

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TOPIC: "Creativity" where you din't expect it.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about PIXAR, creativity, and FoldingText before finally succumbing to the treachery of Skype.

Links for this episode:

This week's episode of Back to Work is kindly sponsored by:

Jun 10 2014

50mins

Play

Rank #14: 260: Stuck in Green Forever

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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.

Links for this episode:

Brought to you by:

  • Squarespace (Visit Squarespace.com/backtowork and use the code ITSYOURSHOW for a free trial and 10% off).

  • Bench (Visit the link to get 20% off your first six months).

  • GoToWebinar (Get started with GoToWebinar today You focus on the content. GoToWebinar handles the rest. Visit the link today to learn more).

  • PDFpen (Visit the link to see what PDFpen can do for you).

Feb 23 2016

2hr 1min

Play

Rank #15: 373: Red Cheekums

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Discussed: Dan's gummi vitamins, vitamins in general, the childhood shame of those weird plaque pills, exotic sickness images, Fifth Disease comes to Austin, Dan's car troubles, Faraday Cages and how to build them, a potential t-shirt for you.

Dan was cleaning out his garage, and Merlin has a lot to say about the philosophy and practical components of getting rid of junk at scale. Also, Dan really kills it on eBay.

Merlin is very excited about Fantastic Four coming back and has some potential warnings about the new Wes Anderson film. Spoilers: there's nothing weak about knowing what freaks you out.

Also, the boys discuss why Merlin changed his mic setup. Which is fascinating.

Links for this episode:

Brought to you by:

  • FreshBooks (To claim your month long unrestricted free trial, go to FreshBooks.com/backtowork and enter BACK TO WORK in the “How Did You Hear About Us?” section).

  • Slack (Slack: Where work happens. Find out why at Slack.com).

  • Squarespace (Start your free trial site today, at Squarespace.com and when you sign up make sure to use the offer code ITSYOURSHOW to get 10% off your first purchase).

Apr 24 2018

1hr 48mins

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Rank #16: 404: Very Advanced Camping

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Discussed: Merlin worries that Dan is getting ground down; web sites are getting very thirsty; Dan thinks it's like pads in football; Dan has updates and more thoughts about doing development work on an iPad; Merlin thinks we should talk more about which devices we choose for doing which things; the boys also have some recommendations.

Links for this episode:

Brought to you by:

  • FreshBooks (To claim your month long unrestricted free trial, go to FreshBooks.com/backtowork and enter BACK TO WORK in the “How Did You Hear About Us?” section).

  • Palm (Go to palm.com to learn more, and run to your nearest Verizon store to check out Palm for yourself).

Dec 11 2018

1hr 13mins

Play

Rank #17: 166: 404 - Friends Not Found

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TOPIC: The future we can't know.

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about how quickly technology is evolving, how janky that evolution can be, and how terrible we all are at forecasting what will come next and beyond.

Could Merlin have ever imagined he'd pay $3.00 for an episode of Under the Gunn? No, he could not.

Links for this episode:

This week’s episode of Back to Work is kindly sponsored by:

  • Squarespace (10% off with offer code, “TOOTHFAIRY”)
  • BusyCal - BusyCal is an alternative to the built-in Calendar app on OS X that provides powerful time-saving features in a friendly, easy-to-use package.

Apr 08 2014

54mins

Play

Rank #18: 258: Means of Egress

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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.

Links for this episode:

Brought to you by:

Feb 09 2016

1hr 45mins

Play

Rank #19: 183: Remember Who Has the Cannon

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TOPIC: Wait, what'd I DO?!?

This week, Dan and Merlin talk about anger, misunderstandings, and trying to do the right thing. How bewildering (and emotional) it can be to feel misunderstood—as well as trying to better understand what we may have done wrong.

Emotions are armor-piercing bullets.

Links for this episode:

This episode was sponsored by our friends at lynda.com (Start learning something new by visiting lynda.com/backtowork and get a free 7-day trial where you can access all of their 2,400+ courses), Harry's (Get a better more affordable shave by using the code COMICS and you'll get $5 off your first purchase), and Varonis DatAnywhere (Try turning your own network shares into a private cloud free for 30 days with an unlimited amount of users and if you visit varonis.com/backtowork you get 5 users free forever).

Aug 19 2014

1hr 30mins

Play

Rank #20: 164: Back in the Medieval Village

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TOPIC: Curiosity & Creativity

This week, Dan and Merlin talk more about expertise and how it relates to the ineffable qualities of curiosity and creativity. Can curiosity be inspired or taught? Or, is it just something you either have or don't? How do we buck the implicit authority to explore the vast universe of "unnecessary things?"

Links for this episode:

  • 21 Compelling Reasons Why Florida Should Be Kicked Out Of The United States | Thought Catalog
    Let me just start this by saying that I was born in Florida, lived there for a while, and have/visit many a family member there. Losing Florida will be an emotional hit for me as well. But it’s high time we just took that table saw of democracy and severed Florida off to float in the Atlantic. Here is why.
  • 5by5 | Back to Work #163: Head Lice :-(
    TOPIC: LEGO and ExpertiseThis week, Dan and Merlin talk about LEGO and what becoming a Master Builder can teach us about expertise.Also: tooth fairies, binder clips, and the pedagogical warning shot.WARNING: This episode of B2W contains information about holiday-related personalities that may be of a sensitive nature. Listener discretion is advised.
  • 5by5 | Mac Power Users #183: Episode V: Merlin Strikes Back
    Merlin Mann returns to Mac Power Users for his annual visit. This year we dive deep into Merlin's new obsession with home automation and talk about what makes some apps stick while others never do.Thanks to MPU listener Jigar Talati for assistance with the shownotes this week!
  • Knocking on wood - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Knocking on wood, or to touch wood, refers to the apotropaic tradition in western folklore[citation needed] of literally touching, tapping, or knocking on wood, or merely stating that you are doing or intend same, in order to avoid "tempting fate" after making a favourable observation, a boast, or declaration concerning one's own death.
  • Nasal irrigation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Nasal irrigation or nasal lavage or nasal douche is the personal hygiene practice in which the nasal cavity is washed to flush out excess mucus and debris from the nose and sinuses. The practice is generally well-tolerated and reported to be beneficial with only minor side effects.[1] Nasal irrigation in a wider sense can also refer to the use of saline nasal spray or nebulizers to moisten the mucous membranes.
  • Consumer Updates > Is Rinsing Your Sinuses Safe?
  • Oil pulling - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Oil pulling or oil swishing is a traditional folk remedy where oil is swished or held in the mouth. Ayurvedic literature states oil pulling is capable of improving oral and systemic health, including a benefit in conditions such as headaches, migraines, diabetes mellitus, asthma,[1] and acne, as well as whitening teeth.[2] Oil pulling is known as "Kavala" or "Gandusha" in the Ayurvedic text Charaka Samhita.[1][3] Its promoters claim it works by "pulling out" "toxins", which are known as ama in Ayurvedic medicine, and thereby reducing inflammation.[4]
  • Swishing With Oil for Oral Health: Not Recommended - Julie Beck - The Atlantic
    The Internet’s new quasi-health obsession is actually very old. Oil pulling—swishing oil  (coconut and sesame seem popular, preferably unrefined) around in your mouth for 10 to 20 minutes—is an oral health practice that has been done in India for years and years. It’s mentioned in the Charaka Samhita, one of the key texts of the Indian traditional medicine known as Ayurveda.
  • Amazon.com: Flents Dental Disclosing Tablets (30) - Eliminate Plaque Build-up: Health & Personal Care
  • Dan Slott Unveils "Spider-Verse," Featuring "Every Spider-Man Ever" - Comic Book Resources
    Marvel divulged the first details of what exactly that teaser was teasing with a "Next Big Thing" press call, headlined by "Amazing Spider-Man" writer Dan Slott and senior editor of the Spidey titles, Nick Lowe. The preview art released by Marvel to accompany the call provided some very strong hints about the upcoming event: The story will start November 2014, it will feature "Every Spider-Man Ever" (including Spider-Man 2099, Peter Porker the Spectacular Spider-Ham and the original Scarlet Spider, among others). It also involves Morlun, a villain created by J. Michael Straczynski and John Romita Jr. during their 2001 "Amazing Spider-Man" run.
  • Watch this: people illegally BASE jumping from the top of 1 World Trade Center | The Verge
    A group of men who BASE jumped from the top of the 1,776-foot tower at 1 World Trade Center last September turned themselves in to police on Monday. The men — three of whom parachuted from the building, while a fourth kept watch — questioned the level of security in and around the tower. Andrew Rossig, one of the men who was involved with the stunt, said "we just kind of walked in."
  • Showbot
    Listener-suggested titles for this week's episodes.
  • Upper respiratory tract infection - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Upper respiratory tract infections (URI or URTI) are the illnesses caused by an acute infection which involves the upper respiratory tract: nose, sinuses, pharynx or larynx. This commonly includes: tonsillitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, sinusitis, otitis media, and the common cold.
  • Valeria Richards - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    She was revealed to be the second, unborn child of Reed and Sue Richards, whom Sue had seemingly miscarried years before, and who had originally been named Valerie Meghan Richards. Under the guidance of Roma, Franklin had used his powers to save the child, taking her from her native reality and sending her "someplace else" where she was raised by another Invisible Woman who had married a heroic Doctor Doom after the death of her first husband. As the FF went up against the cosmic menace of Abraxas, she was summoned by Roma and fulfilled her purpose by merging her powers with Franklin and reconstituting Galactus to stop Abraxas. In the restructuring of reality that ensued, Valeria was regressed to a fetus within Sue's womb once again, on the cusp of being born.
  • Edmond Halley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • Quote Details: Albert Einstein: You see, wire telegraph... - The Quotations Page
    You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat.
  • Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Latin for "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy", often referred to as simply the Principia, is a work in three books by Sir Isaac Newton, in Latin, first published 5 July 1687.
  • Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism popularized the term "thought-terminating cliché". This refers to a cliché that is a commonly used phrase, or folk wisdom, sometimes used to quell cognitive dissonance. Though the clichéd phrase in and of itself may be valid in certain contexts, its application as a means of dismissing dissent or justifying fallacious logic is what makes it thought-terminating.
  • Silicon's Valley's Brutal Ageism | New Republic
    "In talking to dozens of people around Silicon Valley over the past eight months—engineers, entrepreneurs, moneymen, uncomfortably inquisitive cosmetic surgeons—I got the distinct sense that it’s better to be perceived as naïve and immature than to have voted in the 1980s."

This week’s episode of Back to Work is kindly sponsored by:

Mar 25 2014

1hr 38mins

Play

488: Uncle Dad

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DISCUSSED: Merlin has discovered a unique new voice emerging from the medical and spiritual communities; your hosts interrogate the implications of this new material; Dan and Merlin have media recommendations; as a main topic, your hosts explore the many, intertwined complexities of trying to figure out "the future" right now.

Links for this episode:

Jul 28 2020

59mins

Play

487: Nostradamus Pants

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DISCUSSED: There's really only one topic right now, and it's not going away any time soon. Many analogies and historical echoes are explored. The future, if it exists, is going to be very weird.

Links for this episode:

Brought to you by:

  • Squarespace (Start your free trial site today, at Squarespace.com and when you sign up make sure to use the offer code ITSYOURSHOW to get 10% off your first purchase).

  • Feals (Become a member today by going to Feals.com/backtowork and you'll get 50% off your first order with free shipping).

  • Indeed (Try Indeed out with a free $75 credit at Indeed.com/BACKTOWORK. This is their best offer available anywhere).

Jul 21 2020

56mins

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485: Travis County, P.I.

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DISCUSSED: Merlin has flies in his bathroom; Dan's town is really going through some times; there's some COVID talk, duh; Merlin solved a very strange iOS beta bug; main topic involves some thoughts on the Apple betas and the tantalizing future that they imply; Dan has a new keyboard and an accompanying conspiracy theory; leathers men are discussed; and, finally, Merlin needs to use the bathroom—provided the flies will allow it.

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Jul 07 2020

1hr 14mins

Play

484: Default Settings for America

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DISCUSSED: the things we can and cannot do anything about; the things that can and cannot change; and the wisdom to know all of the differences.

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Jun 30 2020

1hr 15mins

Play

483: You Are Free to Leave

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DISCUSSED: Dan and Merlin take a first look at Apple's recently-announced iOS and iPadOS updates.

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Jun 23 2020

1hr 9mins

Play

482: Two Pills Only

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DISCUSSED: Merlin is nauseated, and Dan has advice on what you definitely should or should not buy at a gas station; Merlin says he'll be brief, but, as usual, it turns into a real stem-winder as…; Merlin addresses the complexity of treating mental illness in a way that doesn't upend your body and life; Dan needs some TV show recommendations, but has very strong feelings about talking animals; Merlin wonders aloud if he's ever met @Darth; case close.

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Jun 19 2020

58mins

Play

481: Feelings of Mouth

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DISCUSSED: Dan and Merlin talk about hot dogs.

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Memberful (Memberful is the easiest way to sell memberships to your audience, used by the biggest creators on the web. Sign-up for FREE by visiting the link).

Jun 09 2020

1hr 12mins

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480: A Gracious Dyad

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DISCUSSED: not everything can be everything; pain accumulates; getting weepy about a cool teacher; expanding on our new thought technology for reframing negative thoughts and feelings; abstracting that new thought technology to tons of different endeavors; why won't they just let me win this video game?; the scissors and Scotch Tape are wherever you left them; the joys of ritual and control; the importance of infrastructure; break the big thing into a bunch of little things; Merlin performs a brief recitation of Back to Work's Greatest Hits; please cut up my food for me please; theme dining nights rule; praise for Daniel Kahneman; it used to be so confusing when TV shows had inside film and outside film.

Links for this episode:

Brought to you by:

  • Squarespace (Start your free trial site today, at Squarespace.com and when you sign up make sure to use the offer code ITSYOURSHOW to get 10% off your first purchase).

Jun 02 2020

1hr 10mins

Play

479: Use or Avoid

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DISCUSSED: Skype struggles; nobody likes parsnips; Dan remotely teaches Merlin to cut his own hair; Dan introduces a new game show, and Merlin is dealing with poop; life is not currently optimized for multiple-event days; Merlin challenges you to remember when exactly eight minutes has gone by; why we'll eventually each discover what the hell happened on our personal Galápagos; the exhaustion of Zoom calls; an omnibus recommendation related to movies; finally, Dan Columbos Merlin with a question about napping, which leads to some surprising insights on our feelings about success and failure.

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May 26 2020

1hr 12mins

Play

478: Morbidly Obese Clemenza

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DISCUSSED: discussion of The Freshman and thoughts on what makes a movie "hold up"; has anyone ever craved a three-star movie?; what Merlin really wants is a smart friend; Dan is enjoying On Becoming a God in Central Florida; the difficulty of making weird good; I didn't buy it a beer; your mask is not a case for your beard; Dan has follow-up on bikes; Merlin has follow-up on companies and WFH help; thoughts on what we know and don't know about the difficulties of ““reopening””; the benefits and challenges of being a chain-worrying project manager; praise for the Austin Grackles.

Links for this episode:

Brought to you by:

  • Squarespace (Start your free trial site today, at Squarespace.com and when you sign up make sure to use the offer code ITSYOURSHOW to get 10% off your first purchase).

May 19 2020

1hr 13mins

Play

477: The Immediacy Filter

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DISCUSSED: Here we are in Spain; a lot went on behind the scenes of The Wizard of Oz; also Modern Problems existed; further discussion of 80s movies; they used to make more movies; B-MO gets a show?; secrets of the child whisper network; Saturday morning memories; C19 is making a lot of holes and gaps in kids' lives; what even is the deal with colleges?; wisdom from the great Kevin Kelly; it's one thing to know something, but it's another thing to know something; and, finally, beginning to explore how best to level resources and expectations as many of us work from home.

Links for this episode:

Brought to you by:

  • Squarespace (Start your free trial site today, at Squarespace.com and when you sign up make sure to use the offer code ITSYOURSHOW to get 10% off your first purchase).

May 12 2020

1hr 14mins

Play

476: Paul Williams Sat Alone

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DISCUSSED: Dan has concerns!; every road has many parts, but you seriously need to show your humanity; stop signs are really just velocipede serving suggestions; not all wood floats; too soon; an ambitious crossover is proposed; Cormac McCarthy rules; Phillip W. Battery sure has a lot going on for a busy and attentive new dad; as a main topic, your hosts bounce off a terrific recent episode of Merlin's beloved You're Wrong About; hey, what B2W-ish lessons can be drawn from the response to the Y2K "bug"?; ultimately, it is just so hard to solve one problem without potentially creating five other problems; memories of New Year's Eve, 1999; for once, Dan wasn't concerned at all; more praise for YWA, and a humble apology to Sarah; hey, listen, don't be ashamed to find delight; praise for Slugline 2; a recommendation for a James Franco movie.

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  • Audible (Start your spring off completely lost—in comedy delight! Escape From Virtual Island. Listen free with a 30-day trial. Just go to audible.com/virtualisland or text VIRTUAL ISLAND to 500500).

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May 05 2020

1hr 23mins

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475: ¿Why Not Dos Otros?

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DISCUSSED: Merlin is having a strange day, and Dan notices everything; please remember that fear and stress and anxiety are pretty terrible motivators; praise for On Becoming a God in Central Florida and 1Password; security theater vs. security reality; Dan's new mouse is as quiet as a…what's the word?; Brushing with Hardest Available Toothbrush Considered Harmful; Dan is gently exposing his son to one of the great films. So what?; a couple great pieces on making actual good passwords; recommendations for a Sondheim special and a terrific YouTube guy; extensive advice and suggestions for a listener moving to a Mac; learning almost anything is a lot like learning The Metric System; and, finally, praise for the great Peter N. Lewis.

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  • Audible (Start your spring off completely lost—in comedy delight! Escape From Virtual Island. Listen free with a 30-day trial. Just go to audible.com/virtualisland or text VIRTUAL ISLAND to 500500).

Apr 28 2020

1hr 13mins

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474: The Confidence to Keep Pedaling

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DISCUSSED: our perception of value is definitely personal and maybe even a little generational; sometimes, the only thing you can afford is the best; a listener question about where your hosts are with comics; further praise for TaskPaper; updates on macOS text editing; Merlin capitulates to Catalina; Dan answers a listener question about coping with chronic back pain; learning how to stop rehearsing frailty by embracing the wonders of momentum.

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  • Feals (Become a member today by going to Feals.com/backtowork and you'll get 50% off your first order with free shipping).

  • Audible (Start your spring off completely lost—in comedy delight! Escape From Virtual Island. Listen free with a 30-day trial. Just go to audible.com/virtualisland or text VIRTUAL ISLAND to 500500).

Apr 21 2020

1hr 6mins

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473: French on Tom Sawyer

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DISCUSSED: Dan loves it when things just work and so does Merlin; Dan is composting, and Merlin is down to clown; ¡repita después de mi!; massive real-time follow-up; playing with iBeacons; excellent follow-up and notes from listeners; many reccomendations; memories of Grad Night; this is a very silly one.

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  • Molekule (For $75 off your first order, visit Molekule.com and enter BACKTOWORK at checkout).

  • Audible (Start your spring off completely lost—in comedy delight! Escape From Virtual Island. Listen free with a 30-day trial. Just go to audible.com/virtualisland or text VIRTUAL ISLAND to 500500).

Apr 14 2020

1hr 12mins

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472: Sunday Afternoon Feeling

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TW: very brief mention of suicide around minute 24.

DISCUSSED: a classic three-act episode! Expertise is difficult to explain—let alone to teach; the Sunday Scaries are real; it's an interesting (and surprising) time for people with anxiety and depression; let's keep trying to give each other a break; some follow-up on Descript and the One-Drawer Project; You Look Nice Today is back; finally, Dan has some tips on surviving working from home.

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  • Audible (Start your spring off completely lost—in comedy delight! Escape From Virtual Island. Listen free with a 30-day trial. Just go to audible.com/virtualisland or text VIRTUAL ISLAND to 500500).

Apr 07 2020

1hr 18mins

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471: One-Drawer Project

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In this very intimate episode, Dan and Merlin share some ideas for positive yet do-able projects to improve your life and world in these dumb, scary times.

Also, covered in this episode: recommendations for Max Richter's Sleep and an insane new podcast production app called "Descript".

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Mar 31 2020

1hr 6mins

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470: Battery Car Man

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Difficult times and the Venn overlap between anxiety and OCD. Hang in there, everybody.

Links for this episode:

  • Epistemic Trespassing | Mind | Oxford Academic
    Epistemic trespassers are thinkers who have competence or expertise to make good judgments in one field, but move to another field where they lack competence—and pass judgment nevertheless. We should doubt that trespassers are reliable judges in fields where they are outsiders.
  • On "epistemic trespassing"
    In which Merlin has learned a useful new concept!
  • Found My Place - Blog
    Found My Place is a creative musical project by me, Merlin Mann. It is generously sponsored by Squarespace, in conjunction with their kind support of the Back to Work podcast I do with my pal Dan Benjamin. I hope you enjoy it, and many thanks to Squarespace for making this possible.
  • Attractive nuisance doctrine - Wikipedia
    It states that a landowner may be held liable for injuries to children trespassing on the land if the injury is caused by an object on the land that is likely to attract children.
  • The Picard, a Podcast About Star Trek: Picard

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Mar 24 2020

57mins

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469: Israel, Jr.

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DISCUSSED: “CATS — Now and Forever!”; BokBok.wtf; on civic responsibility; Dan browses worms, and Merlin finds him a spider; Dan wants some keyboard advice, and Merlin just needs a ride; some thoughts on engaging versus escaping right now; praise for Danny Elfman and Oingo Boingo; suggestions for leveraging the wonder of libraries today; Dan is working on a big Minecraft project, also some listener letters.

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Mar 17 2020

1hr 18mins

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iTunes Ratings

1995 Ratings
Average Ratings
1730
107
45
55
58

Great Podcast

By Chi Sox Keith - Apr 10 2019
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Great podcast from Dan and Merlin. Good check in on two online friends.

Great show but what the....

By andyselby - Mar 12 2018
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What the ever loving hell with the 8000 year ridiculous outro music???