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

#579: My Damn Mind

The brain! It's powerful! We have the story of how one man's delusions lead him to a situation that's just as strange as the worst thoughts his mind is cooking up. That story's a collaboration with the New York Times. Our second story is about a man using the power of his own mind to deal with a problem.



Pictured: Alan Pean, with visible scar from a bullet wound. Photo by Chad Batka for The New York Times.

#549: Amateur Hour

This week, stories of people who are in put into positions they’re completely unqualified to handle … but who try to make it work anyway. Including one story of a tough group of soldiers who attempt to save lives through the power of show tunes.

#578: I Thought I Knew You

This week, stories of people who are feeling the ground shift underneath them when people they are close to change. Including conservative radio host Tony Beam in South Carolina who is completely baffled by the candidate his audience has decided to get behind this election season.

#214: Family Physics

We take the stately laws of physics—laws which mathematicians and scientists have spent centuries discovering and verifying—and apply them to the realm of human relationships, to see if they shed useful light on our daily lives.

#577: Something Only I Can See

When you’re the only one who can see something, sometimes it feels like you’re in on a special secret. The hard part is getting anyone to believe your secret is real. This week, people trying to show others what they see—including a woman with muscular dystrophy who believes she has the same condition as an Olympic athlete.