In this blog post I’ll be highlighting my most memorable episodes of the This American Life podcast. I’ve been listening to this very popular podcast for a number of years now and currently I’ve listened to 62 of the 570 episodes (2015-10-30), at least since I’ve been tracking which I listened to. I plan to update this post once in a while with any new episodes I consider good enough (probably once a year or so). Also, here is their own favorites list, which I didn’t look at before producing this one. Every episode can be listened to from their site.
This American Life is a weekly public radio show broadcast (and podcast) which lasts about one hour per episode and focuses on a specific theme each week. Each theme is explored by telling a variety of stories about that theme. The thing they in my opinion do very well, is that each of these stories is told from a personal viewpoint, but together they give you a lot of insight in the theme they are talking about. The subject matter is very diverse, but in general it is about social / cultural things and it often focuses on American culture, which isn’t too strange considering it’s an American podcast. This American Life has been around since 1995.
Regarding how I choose which episodes to put on this list: I generally test a few months later whether or not I can still instantly remember an episode (or one of the acts in the episode) and if it still invokes a strong feeling of ‘that was really interesting’ (which generally means it was very insightful, shocking or very bright!). Otherwise I’d be including pretty much every episode as I enjoy about 90% of all the episodes. These are just the one’s that really made an impression on me and in many cases changed at least a bit how I view the world. Note: The episodes are listed in episode order, not in any kind of ranking.
As I’ve still listed 10+ episodes, these are the one’s I feel are the best of the best: #544, #561 and #502.
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