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

#542: Wait - Do You Have The Map?

Stories about people feeling lost and trying to figure out how to move ahead: two brothers take a doomed road trip through through Mexico and a couple from radically different backgrounds draw up a contract for their unlikely romance.

#541: Regrets, I've Had a Few

Every day we make mistakes, and most of the time we just ignore these failings and move forward. But every so often, there is one that makes us pause and take notice. This week, people struggling with those regrets — big and small — that take root and have to be dealt with.

#540: A Front

Stories about people and places that are fronting in order to hide the truth. We visit a bizarre store in Milwaukee called Fearless Distributing, government checkpoints scattered on highways out west, and a front in a doctor's office.

#539: The Leap

Most of us go from day to day just coasting on the status quo. If it ain’t broke, why fix it, right? But when routines just get too mundane or systems stop making sense, sometimes you just have to hold your breath…and jump. This week, stories of people who leap from their lives, their comfort zones…even through time.

#246: My Pen Pal

Stories of very unusual pen pals, people whose relationship could not exist without the help of the postal service.

#538: Is This Working?

Stories of schools struggling with what to do with misbehaving kids. There's no general agreement about what teachers should do to discipline kids. And there's evidence that some of the most popular punishments actually may harm kids.