This American Life

This American Life describes contemporary life with themed episodes and a variety of stories on that theme — mostly true stories of everyday people, though not always. The stories presented are engaging, intimate, surprising, funny, disturbing and bittersweet.

Recent Episodes

#587: The Perils of Intimacy

Stories about mysteries that exist in relationships we thought couldn't possibly surprise us, and the strangeness of putting our wants on the line with someone who may not share them at all-- and how much we're willing to risk for someone we may never see again.

#253: The Middle of Nowhere

Stories from faraway, hard-to-get-to places, where all rules are off, nefarious things happen because no one's looking, and there's no one to appeal to.

#259: Promised Land

For millennia, people have tried to reach a spiritual promised land by fasting. Jesus did it. Buddha did it. Monks and saints and new age gurus have done it. And, for for this episode, the late David Rakoff tried it. He did a 20-day fast, to find out if it would bring him any form of enlightenment. Also, contributor Starlee Kine tells a story about getting as close to one promised land as you possibly can, without actually going in.

#586: Who Do We Think We Are?

It’s nice to belong, to feel connected to others. But what happens when you realize that your fundamental beliefs don’t line up with the people you want to be close to? Do you bring it up? And, what does that conversation sound like? Including a story by Mariya Karimjee, pictured. Guest host Sean Cole sits in for Ira.