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

#317: Unconditional Love

Can love be taught? A family uses a controversial therapy to train their son to love them. And other stories about the hard and sometimes painful work of loving other people.

#452: Poultry Slam 2011

We bring you our sort-of-annual holiday tradition: The Poultry Slam! Stories of what happens when humans and fowl collide, including the tale of one notorious turkey who unleashed a long reign of terror on an unsuspecting neighborhood.

#512: House Rules

Where you live is important. It can dictate quality of schools and hospitals, as well as things like cancer rates, unemployment, or whether the city repairs roads in your neighborhood. On this week's show, stories about destiny by address.




Much of this story is told to Nancy Updike by ProPublica reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, whose series on the Fair Housing laws — with more stories, research and interviews — is here.

#477: Getting Away With It

Stories of people breaking the rules fully, completely
and with no bad consequences. Some justify this by saying they’re doing it
for others, or for a greater good. Some really don’t care. And, unlike the
mealy weaklings you usually hear on this program: None of these wrongdoers
seem regretful about what they’ve done in the slightest.

#511: The Seven Things You're Not Supposed to Talk About

Producer Sarah Koenig's mother lives by a set of rules about conversation. She has an actual list of off-limits topics, including how you slept, your period, your health, your diet and more. You don't talk about these things, she says, because nobody cares. This week we try to find stories on these exact topics that will prove her wrong.

#510: Fiasco!

Stories of when things go wrong. Really wrong. When you leave the normal realm of human error, fumble, mishap, and mistake and enter the territory of really huge breakdowns. Fiascos. Things go so awry that normal social order collapses.

An updated version of a classic episode, now including one of the most popular stories we've ever aired... about a police officer and a squirrel.