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

#525: Call For Help

Stories of people coming to terms with being in serious trouble. They need help. Figuring out how to get it, that's another problem.

#524: I Was So High

Your waitress. Your colleagues at work. Your doctor. Maybe even your parents. They’re all high. All the time. That’s what it feels like anyway. This week, stories in which drug use and daily life intersect – and in which people get high in secret and then do their best to function in the non-high world. Also, we hear some “I Was So High” stories from our very own listeners.

#523: Death and Taxes

It is a peculiar feeling to know with certainty that something big is about to happen to you. This week we watch people go right up to the edge of inevitable change. We hear from preteens about the terrifying knowledge that puberty is about to happen...any minute now. And true to the death and taxes saying, we found it unavoidable to include a story about each one of those things.

#489: No Coincidence, No Story!

We asked listeners to send us their best coincidence stories, and we got more than 1,300 submissions! There were so many good ones we decided to make a whole show about them. From a chance encounter at a bus station to a romantic dollar bill to a baffling apparition in a college shower stall. See more of your coincidence stories — with photos — here.

#522: Tarred and Feathered

This week, stories of people being threatened and punished with public shame. Including the story of someone who was literally tarred and feathered. It happened a lot more recently than you'd guess.

#491: Tribes

A Native American tribe is doing exactly the opposite of what you'd think they'd do: they're kicking people out of the tribe, huge numbers of them, including people whose ancestors without question were part of the tribe. And the story of a white guy who only wants to date Asian women, who then has to adjust to the reality of a real actual Asian woman in his life. The phrase "finding your tribe" is a total cliche — but one that does apply to certain situations.