This American Life

Sunday 10 a.m.
Ira Glass

So usually we just say what we're not. We're not a news show or a talk show or a call-in show. We're not really formatted like other radio shows at all. Instead, we do these stories that are like movies for radio. There are people in dramatic situations. Things happen to them. There are funny moments and emotional moments and—hopefully—moments where the people in the story say interesting, surprising things about it all. It has to be surprising. It has to be fun.


Audio Archive

  • Sunday, July 27, 2014 6:00pm
    There is a special comfort that comes from knowing someone's got your back. You can do things that just weren't possible before. You take huge risks, including some that aren't necessarily advisable. This week: stories where one person's powerlessness is transformed when they discover they have backup. And we see what happens when that backup goes away.
    Note: This episode contains un-bleeped curse words. BLEEPED VERSION



Fri August 23, 2013


Tue June 4, 2013
Planet Money

President Obama Wants To Tackle The Patent Problem

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 12:42 am

The red part of the bars shows patent lawsuits brought by patent assertion Entities (PAEs, also known as "patent trolls").
Colleen Chien Patent Assertion And U.S. Innovation

On this week's This American Life, we took a close look at a patent lawsuit involving the online backup company Carbonite. Carbonite was sued for patent infringement by a shell company called Oasis Research. According to Carbonite, Oasis was seeking $20 million in damages.

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Tue June 4, 2013
Planet Money

When Patents Attack ... Part Two!

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 6:29 pm

National Archives

This story from Planet Money's Alex Blumberg and NPR's Laura Sydell aired this weekend on This American Life. A shorter version of the piece is also airing today on All Things Considered. Here's the story.

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Thu March 28, 2013
Planet Money

Comment On Our Disability Series

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

Hundreds of people on Facebook and Twitter have already commented on our disability series. We wanted to give readers and listeners a chance to comment here, as well.

So: Read the full story here, and add your comment below.

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Fri March 22, 2013
Planet Money

Episode 446: The Invisible 14 Million

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 10:33 am

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

We're an economics show. We cover the economy. But it's come to our attention that, until now, we've missed one of the biggest stories in our economy: The startling rise in the number of people on federal disability programs.

It's the story of 14 million people who don't show up in most of the numbers we look at to understand the economy. These 14 million Americans don't have jobs, but they don't show up in any of the unemployment measures that we use. They receive federal assistance, but are often overlooked in discussions of the social safety net.

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