Back to Work

Reviews For Back to Work

Back to Work is possibly the greatest podcast available. Dan and Merlin have great chemistry and both offer equal, yet different insights. Whether it is a different way to do things or breakdown of new technology, these two will keep you up to date. There advice is helpful and just may brighten your day. Thanks for All The Great Shows
I’ve been listening to Back to Work since the very early days, and it is my favorite show! Even when the topic isn’t something that may interest me, the humor and the fantastic chemistry between Dan and Merlin always make it enjoyable. I just love it!
I am really enjoying this show!! I am working on listening to all of them! So for i have been on it for about 4 months and up to episode 68! Still enjoying the knowledge and the laughs! Dan and Mann make a great team!🤠
They love super heroes and children movies and reminiscing about how things used to be. If you’re into that stuff as an adult you’ll like this podcast. Usually a fan of Mann but this podcast isn’t his greatest.
Great podcast from Dan and Merlin. Good check in on two online friends.
I don't just randomly subscribe to stuff, since there's so much out there. Who has time to vet it all? But I do forget how I subscribed to this.... podcast... and couldn't, by the time the episode came to a close, figure out what the show was about! I mean this not in the way one might react to something avant garde or some thrilling juxtaposition that activates your creative jisms -- but more like the dullest of segments that begin 88% of all 2-guy chat podcasts where they get caught up on what's going on in their lives since the last episode, where they appear to think they're very funny or that they are expected to be so, as the typical fella who underestimates the job of a comedian and figures he can just wing it. It's the Morning Zoo, except without the cartoon sounds and without the headlines and without the humor or the topical, astute, dialectic. Tbh, I'm at a loss to recall much that was discussed... But maybe it was just me. Perhaps it sounded so much like that typical, Eye-rollingly dull segment of a show start just before they segue into the meat of the episode: "so today we're going to explore the...." except that instead of finally jumping into the topic at hand.... the show ended. I'd like to give them credit for somehow getting into my feed, and I'll give another episode some better attention. Because all I recall was one guy debating whether it was boring to describe dreams to others and yeah, it usually is, but not nearly so much as it is to listen to said debate. The other said something about learning about ctrl-shift-5, and said something cool happens, but couldn't be sure. The other wasn't sure if it only worked on Mohave.... This might be a clue. Is the show about tech? Is it about guessing what key combinations might do? Are we imagining that they're not allowed to Google for answers, perhaps? Nor prep topics for the show or research? Or do they figure the listeners will fill in those gaps and that the podcast might serve as inspirational, to pique the curiosity of their listeners? I couldn't be less curious, but I'll go ahead and play another, just in case I happened upon a non/representative, sad lump of a show. Perhaps they weren't aware that the mics were on? They do seem like perfectly nice fellas, and I'll come back to revise this if there's any there there. Good lord.
What is this show about? These guys have no direction and ramble for far too long. They complain about commonplace everyday problems and rarely offer anything helpful. Also, Merlin needs to stop interrupting the other guy because the other guy brings at least some focus to the discussion.


This is the best.
Thanks, Merlin and Dan, for making such a pleasant show. You both are very funny but also very knowledgeable about getting stuff done—project management and performance. So, I'm happy to listen to you.
They talk almost exclusively about tech, computers, IT and the like. Rarely do they have meaningful, challenging conversations about other things that matter, there are no countering arguments or differing opinions where conversations can be had that change minds or grow us in any way. The things they talk about are fluff that distracts from everything else, but they’re fun to listen to and Merlin always keeps the conversations rolling with something new to talk about
What the ever loving hell with the 8000 year ridiculous outro music???
Love listening to this one. There are four podcasts that always get filtered to the top of my ever-expanding list, and this is one of them. The mix of productivity tips and general life stuff is refreshing. And Dan/Merlin, if you're reading this, when is Darius coming on?
Every time I listen to Merlin Mann speak on this podcast, I am reminded of Napoleon Dynamite (the movie).
This is one of my favorite podcasts. I've listened to it since episode #1. Funny, "real" and smart.
The topics sound interesting, but the hosts waste too much time on "morning zoo crew" type dialog at the beginning. I don't need to know that you had a breakfast sandwich and that it burned your mouth. After a couple of minutes of this, I'm done and move on to something else.
Merlin and Dan put an entertaining spin on topics that are seemingly mundane (productivity tools, business headlines, etc). I hope these two guys continue to make impactful (and fun) podcast episodes. Keep 'em coming!
You start out listening to this podcast thinking that Merlin is a joker and Dan the straight man. After 60 episodes or so, it becomes clear that Merlin is the straight man and Dan has been the joker the whole time. It's like that movie Mrs. Doubtfire, except without Robin Williams, the transvestism or the children.
I've been listening since the show was good, and I've never stopped listening. Dan and Merlin's friendship has been a thing of joy in my life for some time, and I'm appreciative every week that it's here. Thanks a bunch.
I gave a couple of episodes a go. Not a valuable source of information. Neither host is an expert in anything. Somewhat entertaining, but if I want entertainment I'd go elsewhere.


By lbrews
A great podcast. I really love it. Thank you, Dan and Merlin.
Dan and Merlin are two of the most insightful podcasters I’ve heard in over 8 years of listening to podcasts. It’s tough to actually say this show is about X because it’s so much more. They chit chat about tech and entertainment while also discussing deep productivity topics. This show might not be for everyone but it has helped me improve my professional and personal life in so many ways. This is a must listen every week for me! Keep up the great work guys.
I don’t mean to come off as bashing Dan and Merlin, I do enjoy their two-dudes-talking show (let’s be honest, that’s all this is), but how have they been releasing episodes consistently for 5 years?! I listened to their first 20 shows from 2011 then skipped all the way to #253, and aside from a slight change in their voices, they’re still talking about the exact same stuff (with some different movie references)! How are they able to reiterate the same exact ideas in so many different ways?! A captivating show nonetheless, just rant-y and repetitive sometimes.
My podcast listening journey began here with Dan and Merlin. And still, all these years later, I still eagerly play new B2W episodes the first moment I get. My life is better for having listened to all these great shows.
Merlin is an interesting listen when there’s a topic. Dan Benjamin generally abducts the first half of the show, using Merlin as his own personal therapist and fretting over the latest fear du jour (gluten, TV, sugar, plastics). He’s a modern-day, squishy, hipster worry wart and drones on and on about his kids, and everything he worries about (which is a seemingly endless list). Generally speaking, one can skip the first 45 minutes of the show, and eventually get to some useful information for improving one’s life.
I’ve listened to them all, so maybe it’s me and the fact that Merlin is now on 6 shows a week. But B2W has now pretty much covered everything. It typically opens up with 30 minutes about comics and banter that’s often humorous (when it’s NOT about comics), but then dives into 60 minutes on priorities and time management which has been covered between 5 and 10 times already. So that’s not about time management, if you’ve heard it before. I think if you really like it, go back to the start and listen, and by the time it gets to episode 150 you can give it up if you listen for the content. You can just listen to the rapport that Dan and Merlin have which is great, but the subject matter is played OUT.
If you love existentialism and what is says about ethics (all the complexities and ambiguities), you’ll love this podcast. Consider it perhaps as an existentialism of work. Simone de Beauvoir now podcasts. - Cheers.
Designers talking about great topics ranging from web to philosophy. These guys are sharp.
Listen to this podcast and good things will happen.
These two are awesome. Just enough thinky balanced with just enough funny.
I tried to listen and understand what they are talking about. I don't find Merlin funny and I find Dan forcing topics and conversation. I did not find any of the tips useful as they are always using the latest gadgets.
A lot here. A lot there. But generally the show goes nowhere.
This is the best show about kids and Buddhist comics you will ever find.
One show I constantly look forward to.


Good discussion about stuff and things, and super great productivity advice.
Just finished the latest episode and, as usual, got great suggestions. I just ordered No Stress Chess so my 9-year-old will be less intimidated by the complexity of chess. Thanks, guys! Update for Ep 229 - Every episode has a nugget of awesomeness that makes my adrenaline rush as I change my perspective or hear a Dennis Miller-like arcane reference. Hey now, hey now now. I almost fell out of my chair.
Back to Work is an outstanding source of entertainment and enlightenment, and listening with the open mind of a beginner has actually changed the way I approach my creative work. I now guard, respect, and budget my time and attention, and the results in my life have been great. I can't recommend this show highly enough. For an extra dash of fun, listen live and participate in the chat room at on Tuesdays at 11:00 a.m. Central.
I know “helping people” is a bit of a tongue in cheek phrase on this show, but I really believe it really does “help people”. Has been very encouraging for my wife and me.
Merlin isn't know for staying on topic if he doesn't want to, but I always come away having learned something and with lots of thought provoking ideas to mull on. He's an intense host to listen to (one of the few shows I consider listening to at normal speed instead of 1.3x) and I end each episode feeling energized.
Dan and Merlin truly changed my life. This show started a few years ago when I really needed direction. Their conversations are always amazing and helped me figure out my career path (and renewed love for comics). I could never thank Dan and Merlin enough for the wisdom, knowledge, and honesty they’ve brought to my life.
I'm not a comics reader, so I get a bit bored when Merlin and Dan delve into discussions about Spider-Man artists or whatever, but apart from that B2W is one of my favourite podcasts - composed as it is of both deep insights and fun and personal experiences.
Dan and Merlin are a great team.
I find the 300 or so 5by5 episodes I've listened to quite enjoyable. The hosts are easy to identify with, fun to listen to, and easy to understand. The info covered on the 5by5 shows is both entertaining and enjoyable all while being informative. For me, it's a good use of my time. Maybe it's Dan's mellow voice. Maybe it's Andy's interesting outlooks. Maybe it's Merlin's intelligent wit. Maybe it's John's unique storytelling. It could be any other number of things. The bottom line is that I enjoy the time I spend listening to these guys. (And Haddie.)
I keep giving this podcast a try, I really want to like it. But they need to have a plan while recording AND an editor afterwards to snip out the unrelated, meaningless chit-chat. Spending an hour and forty minutes listening to this just to get a handful of useful nuggets -- it's more frustrating than it is useful.
Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin are really sharp thinkers and they talk a lot about what it's like to be a creative technical person and productivity with help from tech. They are also very funny.
One of the best podcasts I've ever listened to, and my gateway podcast to 5by5 and Merlin Mann. Took a while to warm up to but now I love the show. Be sure to listen to the episodes where David Sparks and John Roderick guest star on the show as well.
About 20 minutes into the first episode I listened to (203) I had a "What the heck am I listening to?" moment. Now I can't stay away. I went to the beginning and am slowly catching up. This is a collection of some of the best and most entertaining conversations I have ever had the privilege of eavesdropping on.
Ever since I discovered this podcast two years ago, I’ve looked forward to listening to it almost every week. It’s great and often very thought-provoking.
If you don't already "get" Merlin Mann, you won't "get" this podcast. His thing is that he's done it all before (school, music, web design, tech journalism, "lifehacking", writing, speaking, podcasting, parenting, and so on), he's eff'ed up most of it (by his own admission), and he's thought hard about what went wrong (using a mind that's wired a bit differently). He wants us to learn from his mistakes, to realize just how absurd the world is, and to refocus on what truly matters in our lives. Such fundamental changes can't be neatly packaged into a new iOS app or productivity workflow, so if you're sitting there demanding that he get to the point, you are missing the point.