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

#507: Confessions

Two crime scenes, two murders. One crime is solved, the other case went cold. Both raise the question: What should a person suspected of murder say?

#506: Secret Identity

A bank robber on an undercover mission. A teenage girl with the powers of a tiger. A vigilante seeking vengeance in Ciudad Juarez. All have secret identities. But not all of them chose those identities for themselves.




WEB EXTRA: A drawing by Alice Leora Briggs accompanies the text of "Diana, Hunter of Bus Drivers."

#414: Right to Remain Silent

Stories about people who have the right to remain silent... but choose not to exercise that right—including police officer Adrian Schoolcraft, who secretly recorded his supervisors telling officers to manipulate crime statistics and make illegal arrests. The Village Voice series that broke Schoolcraft's story, written by Graham Rayman, is here.

#505: Use Only as Directed

One of the country's most popular over-the-counter painkillers — acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol — also kills the most people, according to data from the federal government. Over 150 Americans die each year on average after accidentally taking too much. And it requires a lot less to endanger you than you may know. We reported this alongside ProPublica. Their stories here and here.

#475: Send a Message

This week people reach out in all kinds of ways to try to get their point
across. And the recipients of those messages try to decipher what
they mean. Messages in code, over the phone, and from beyond the grave.

#504: How I Got Into College

Students all over are starting college this month, and some of them still have a nagging question: what, exactly, got me in? An admissions officer tells us the most wrongheaded things applicants try. And Michael Lewis has the incredible story of how a stolen library book got one man — Emir Kamenica — into his dream school. (Photo: Emir as a Harvard undergrad. Credit Terri Wang.)