Remember: hard drives die unexpectedly in most cases. (Solid State drives too, in case you’re wondering). It will happen when least you expect it. It will happen at an inconvenient time. You will be bothered. If you don’t have a backup of your stuff, you will also be panicking. Be prepared.
Wise words. Thomas Brand also had a good piece about Time Machine:
When I was a Mac Genius in 2004, Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard had yet to be released, people were not backing up. When a Mac came to the Bar that wasn’t booting, that was making strange clicking sounds, I got scared. The diagnosis was simple, the hard drive hard failed. The repair was straightforward, the hard drive had to be replaced. But someone would have to tell the customer that if there wasn’t a backup, they had lost everything. That someone was me.
I use SuperDuper, and run a backup on a weekly basis. SuperDuper helped me recover from hard drive crashes in the past, and it couldn't be easier to use (because you don't really use it, after all).
However, I'm not as anxious about backups as I used to be. With the move from local storage to cloud services, I feel comfortable knowing that my documents always exist somewhere. I see this every time I set up a fresh install of OS X: my documents, passwords, and photos are in Dropbox and Evernote, my music is on Rdio, my purchased apps are on the Mac App Store, and if they're not, I have a license saved in my Gmail account. My movies and TV shows are on Plex and iTunes in the Cloud.
I'm not saying backups aren't important. But I'm lucky enough to not having to work with large files that require local storage, and I know that restoring my Mac from scratch isn't as painful as it would have been three years ago.