585 episodes

Back to Work is an award winning talk show with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin discussing productivity, communication, work, barriers, constraints, tools, and more.

Back to Work 5by5

    • Technology
    • 4.7 • 2K Ratings

Back to Work is an award winning talk show with Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin discussing productivity, communication, work, barriers, constraints, tools, and more.

    Episode 586: We Have Met the Audience, and He Is Us

    Episode 586: We Have Met the Audience, and He Is Us

    DISCUSSED: A very moist man's lawyer learns how Dropbox works; Merlin introduces "The Bump"; Dan has a cool new calendar technology; and Merlin speed-rounds some odds and sods.








    Links:
    Songlink/OdesliTed Leo and the Pharmacists - "The Tyranny of Distance"Start Here (fs.blog)The Feynman Learning Technique — Information is learned when you can explain it and use it in a wide variety of situations. The Feynman Technique gets more mileage from the ideas you encounter instead of rendering anything new into isolated, useless factoids.There are two types of smoke alarm. One of 'em ain't so good. - YouTubeOnelink | Smart Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide AlarmAmazon: Onelink Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector | Battery Powered| First AlertDrafts on Twitter: "If you use TextExpander with Drafts on iOS, please read this update about TextExpander’s future integration plans: https://t.co/8ewSNATHHn" / TwitterTextExpander Changes Coming on iOS - News & Updates - Drafts Community — "If you use TextExpander integration on iOS, be aware that the direct integration in existing versions of Drafts will stop being able to refresh snippets and fill-in snippets will cease functioning after a TextExpander update sometime this Fall. Around the same time, TextExpander support will be removed from Drafts in an update."TextExpander - We’re Saying Goodbye to SDK — We’ve been hard at work on a new TextExpander keyboard that incorporates much of the in-app functionality enabled by the TextExpander touch SDK.

    In light of this, we’ve decided to sunset the TextExpander Touch SDK in favor of this new enhanced user experience.From TextExpander to Keyboard Maestro… again - All this — And I decided to tackle the one big advantage TextExpander had over Keyboard Maestro: the ability to make a new snippet quickly. By combining AppleScript with Keyboard Maestro itself, I now have a way to make a KM snippet out of what’s on the clipboard.Do-By-Friday/How To Bump.md at main · merlinmann/Do-By-FridayCalm CalendarDon't Talk to the Police - YouTubeFormer FBI Agent Breaks Down Interrogation Techniques | WIRED - YouTubeThis Is Why You Should NEVER Talk to Police - YouTubeAlex Jones’ Damning Texts ACCIDENTALLY Sent to Sandy Hook Lawyer — “You know what perjury is, right?” attorney Mark Bankston asked the Infowars host on the stand. “You lied.”Tucker Carlson ‘Shitting Himself’ Scared That His Alex Jones Texts May Leak — …the Fox News star is deeply concerned about his personal texts with the raving conspiracy blowhard possibly leaking.Alex Jones's Lawyer Face Plants In EPIC Discovery Fail - Above the LawAbove the Law — Apparently, Reynal put the digital copy of Jones’s iPhone in a shared Dropbox folder, and then blew it off when Bankston sent a HEY, IDIOT notice. And now, it’s too late.Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 on Twitter — "Sandy Hook families’ lawyer confirms that a naked photo of Alex Jones’s wife was on his phone, but adds that Alex sent that naked photo of his wife to Roger Stone."

    • 1 hr 6 min
    Episode 585: The Wahlberg Uncertainty Principle

    Episode 585: The Wahlberg Uncertainty Principle

    Frankly, it was a bit of a fever dream, but your hosts discuss sportsball, collective singular nouns, Coleridge's trap street, LEGO, and a handful of Merlin's recent wins.





    Links:
    Matter — via Alex CoxWalk With Me | To The Best Of Our KnowledgeTextSoap - Automate Your Text CleanupSearchLink - BrettTerpstra.comForgetfulness - Billy Collins Animated Poetry - YouTubeMasterClass - Chris Voss Teaches the Art of NegotiationFirefox (film) - WikipediaYayText: A text styling tool for Facebook, Twitter, etc.» 30 for 30 Shorts: ‘The Schedule Makers’Galaxy Explorer 10497 | LEGO® ICONS™ | Buy online at the Official LEGO® Shop UST. rex Breakout 76956 | Jurassic World™ | Buy online at the Official LEGO® Shop USHagrid's Hut: Buckbeak's Rescue 75947 | Harry Potter™ | Buy online at the Official LEGO® Shop USHow to get an upgrade: Tips from FBI hostage negotiator Chris VossAmazon.com : Maruman MNEMOSYNE Notebook 8.27 x 5.83 Inches (A5), 5mm dot grid, 80 Sheets (N105), white : Office Products — Merlin's preferred desk notebook.Amazon.com: Tul Retractable Gel Pens 0.5mm Needle Point, Black (8 Pack) : Office Products — Merlin's preferred ink pen.The Greatest haka EVER? - YouTubeHomepage - WahlburgersAmazon: Small Ceramic Dipping Bowls, White Oblong Dishes (3 oz, 12 Pack) : Home & Kitchen — The ramekin, evolved.

    Watch out, chickens.Archers of Loaf - "In the Surface Noise" (2022) — The new Archers of Loaf single.Archers of Loaf - "Raleigh Days" (2020) — Merlin's favorite Archers of Loaf song since their 90s glory days.Archers of Loaf - "Harnessed in Slums" (1995) — Probably Merlin's favorite Archers of Loaf song.Archers of Loaf - "Wrong" (1994) — A close second place for Merlin's favorite Archers of Loaf song.

    • 1 hr 16 min
    Episode 584: Groomsman Gifts for the Funeral

    Episode 584: Groomsman Gifts for the Funeral

    Merlin has thoughts on survival, aging, and whether to bother trying to understand whatever NFTs are. Next up, the triumphant return of "Cool Thing I Learned This Week" brings updates on iOS dictation and a very Merlin video about organization.





    Until such time as the world ends, we will act as though it intends to spin on.


    —Nick Fury, The Avengers (2012)

    Links:
    5 Principles of Organization - YouTube — via Brad Siefert (@bksiefert)Siri: Everything You Need to Know - MacRumorsiOS 16 dictation: Much improved, but up to Google Pixel standards? - YouTubeLight as a feather, stiff as a board - Wikipediawisdom/wisdom.md at master · merlinmann/wisdom — "It's only advice for you because it had to be advice for me."Quotes to get right. #runx — "Authoritative-ish citations are added and updated as available."

    • 1 hr 36 min
    Episode 583: The Dentist Picks the Chair

    Episode 583: The Dentist Picks the Chair

    Your hosts discuss dramaturgy, package managers, and monospaced fonts.


    Ladies?
    Links:
    Ruby on Mac: Get Ruby working on your Mac in minutes with a single command.MonoLisa - A font family designed for software developers. Font follows function.iTerm2 - macOS Terminal ReplacementFonts - Apple DeveloperDownload the Atkinson Hyperlegible Font | Braille InstituteInconsolata - Google FontsThe Elements of Typographic Style: Bringhurst, Robert: 9780881791327: Amazon.com: Bookswisdom/wisdom.md at master · merlinmann/wisdom

    • 1 hr 19 min
    Episode 582: Dadsplaining

    Episode 582: Dadsplaining

    DISCUSSED: Dan misses going to the movies; cool ways to save your bacon in Git; and Merlin is excited about a (new to him) app for personal tracking and quantization.
    Links:
    Dangit, Git!?! — Git is hard: messing up is easy, and figuring out how to fix your mistakes is impossible. Git documentation has this chicken and egg problem where you can't search for how to get yourself out of a mess, unless you already know the name of the thing you need to know about in order to fix your problemBearable | Mood & Symptoms Tracker App | All of Your Health in One Place — Track anything and discover how it affects your health.John Dickerson on Twitter: "For you sleep obsessives. https://t.co/nDlqkhWFvC" / Twitter[OC] 2 years of my GF and I tracking the sleep quality impact of various choices/behaviours. These were the 8 most significant effects : dataisbeautifulExist · Understand your behaviour.Gyroscope · Your Personal Health CoachAFI’s 100 YEARS…100 MOVIES | American Film InstituteAmazon.com : Packer's Pine Tar Soap 3 Pack | The Original Men’s Bar Soap With Natural Pine Tar and Pine Oils | All Natural Pine Soap Bar with No Harsh Chemicals. (3 BAR PACK) : Nutritional Supplements And Vitamins : Beauty & Personal Caremerlinmann/dbf-voice-log: Alex and Merlin want to just say things into the air. — Alex and Merlin just want to yell things into the air.fish shellSeconds Pro Interval Timer on the App Store

    • 1 hr 19 min
    Episode 581: A Frog That No One Saw

    Episode 581: A Frog That No One Saw

    DISCUSSED: Merlin runs the table this week with: unseasonable heat; the joy of realizing when someone obviously loved (and probably had to fight for) the thing that they made; and finally, an extended meditation on a phone charger and the decisions that seek to bridge past and future.
    Links:
    Blot – A blogging platform with no interface. — Blot is a blogging platform with no interface. It turns a folder into a website.How to use Blot - Blot — Blot turns a folder into a blog. When you put files inside your blog’s folder they become blog posts. Posts - Blot — A collection of guides to formatting your posts and pages.Metadata - BlotConfigure - BlotWhy I Went HTML Only :: Barry Hess :: bjhess.comThe most minimal blog you can find – The Jolly TeapotSF Symbols - Apple DeveloperFonts - Apple DeveloperDEWENWILS Remote Control Outlet Wireless Wall Mounted Light Switch, Electrical Plug in On Off Power Switch for Lamp, No Wiring,100 Feet RF Range, ETL Listed,Programmable - - Amazon.comWatch Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey | Netflix Official SiteQuick Journaling | Drafts DirectoryProphet's Prey (2015) - Plot Summary - IMDb — When Warren Jeffs rose to Prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, he took control of a religion with a history of polygamous and underage marriage. In a short time, Warren managed to expand these practices and the power of his position in unprecedented ways.AmazonSmile: Anker 633 Magnetic Battery (MagGo), 10,000mAh Foldable Magnetic Wireless Portable Charger, 20W USB-C Power Delivery for iPhone 13/13 Pro / 13 Pro Max / 12/12 Pro and 12 Pro Max (Black) : Cell Phones & Accessories — Merlin likes this.Assemble diary | Drafts DirectoryProphet's Prey (2015) - Reference View - IMDbNotes - Blotwisdom/wisdom.md at master · merlinmann/wisdom — "It's only advice for you because it had to be advice for me."Merlin Mann on Twitter: "You can tell when somebody really loved what they were making." — "You can tell when somebody really loved what they were making."T. Rex Dinosaur Fossil Exhibition 76940 | Jurassic World™ | Buy online at the Official LEGO® Shop USBro Thor’s New Asgard 76200 | Marvel | Buy online at the Official LEGO® Shop USLEGO® Friends Toys | Official LEGO® Shop USPeoples Temple - FoundSFBacon Ray - "Dance of the Monotremes" (The Swab, 1999) — On Merlin' band's last record, they made a song that included every fact they knew about the platypus—ultimately celebrating the distinctive parenting skills of a loving monotreme mother.

    • 1 hr 38 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
2K Ratings

2K Ratings

Macioce ,

Laa-La-La

I’ve been a listener for over a decade now. Fun and helpful show for anyone that works a jobby job, manages personal technology, streams movies, or deals with some degree of stress and anxiety. I guess you could say this show is what I want (“what I want”).

instanttaylor ,

Still great after all this time.

The degree of difficulty of having a podcast for 10 years and keeping it relevant and interesting is high. I think Dan and Merlin have been able to do this by basically just being themselves. I’ve listened since episode 1 during an interesting work transition in my life and never looked back.

Daniel Rutherford ,

It’s always two things

2nd: I mean this in a well-intentioned way: Merlin should probably see an actual honest to God (maybe different) Psychologist or Therapist and consider tweaking down the ADHD meds because they are making the obsessions worse, it’s plainly obvious after a decade+ when he’s in a rut or not like, sure we can all get in to, but the obsessions over the last year or two have really gone to the next level in a way that I think could harm his audience.

1st: That said, this is Merlin’s work product and it suffers when he does, and if you don’t step back and pay close attention, looking past the repetitive bits and sometimes genuine camaraderie (which is great when it happens, ROTL is still excellent as always) it’s easy to miss the slide this show has taken because its host has been suffering.

I think having it in your ears every week can actually be detrimental because the neuroses are just normalized after hearing someone constantly re-frame similar repetitive obsessions, which seem to be cycling every 1-3 months if you listen to his other shows. In particular the last couple years this has gotten significantly worse and I genuinely hope he gets some different kind of help because when he’s on he’s still ON, but the hypomania-like world ending months-long level of focus on something like home automation, or sleep/health tracking, etc. just seems unhealthy, and I no longer think it’s a persona he’s putting on for entertainment.

The Trauma book is a great example of something Merlin encountered that has a profound effect on him where he could have done the work for months offline with professionals once he was impacted, but instead the defense mechanisms go up and he shares advice with an audience about how it’s a good way to explain OTHER people. It very clearly affected him, it came up for months on end, and what changed as a result, introspectively? THAT is the stuff that could be profound. But he needs to be willing to do that work, and it is very very hard. I truly feel for him. But working out what it actually means with a podcast co-host is not even in the same universe as therapy with a professional who is equipped to help navigate these things, and too often it’s re-framed in a way to an audience that I do think could be kind of dangerous, i.e. your world view will be informed by someone who themselves is basically working through deep issues on a podcast which doesn’t have the trained professional on the other end going “wait, hold on, this is a cognitive distortion.” And frankly that’s something a podcast co-host should not be put in a position to navigate.

The bathroom sanitization discussion from years ago which other reviews mention was Dan talking about genuine OCD and it’s sort of ironic that Dan seems to have handled some unknown major life events in way that has kept him grounded and even-keeled and I think some of that advice vs. the mania of the month would actually help a lot more people at this point.

I want to love it, and I recognize that things change, and I am so grateful for the help and direction I got from these folks years ago… but now I’m kind of at a loss as to what the point is except to hear an older para-social friend slowly unravel in real-time.

And yeah, this is kind of none of my business, to make any judgment about a total stranger. However, this is all based on public content released every week across multiple venues, some of which I pay for the privilege of accessing. I’m not saying I’m entitled to anything, I just hope my ‘internet friend’ gets some honest to God help, because I’m worried about him.

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