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

#518: Except For That One Thing

Mike Anderson was 36 years old, married, a suburban father of four. He owned a contracting business and built his family’s modest, three-bedroom house in St. Louis from the ground up. He volunteered at church on the weekends and coaches his son’s football team. All pretty normal, right? Except for one thing … which surfaced one day last summer.

#486: Valentine's Day

Love makes us do crazy things. But usually not this crazy. This week for
Valentine's Day we have stories of people going to extremes to find and
pursue their one true love.

#517: Day At The Beach

It's January, and freezing outside. This week 5 stories from the sunny beach! Including David Sedaris telling us how losing a sister in 2013 prompted a family reunion, and an impulse buy of a lifetime — an oceanfront cottage big enough for all of them.

#399: Contents Unknown

A man named David Maclean finds himself in a train station in India, with no idea how he got there or who he is. His memory gone, he has no choice but to let other people—police, doctors, friends, family—create an identity for him. David's book about this incident is called The Answer to the Riddle Is Me. Plus other stories of filling in the blank.

#516: Stuck In The Middle

Jan Brady is not the only one who hated being in the middle. This week we have stories about how it sucks to be in limbo or be the mediator, but we also hear from a man who absolutely loves being in that uncertain and boring middle most of us dread — on hold, listening to hold music.

#515: Good Guys

Lots of men think of themselves as "good guys." But what does it actually take to be one? To be a truly good guy. Stories of valiant men attempting to do good in challenging circumstances: in war zones, department stores, public buses, and at the bottom of a cave 900 feet underground.