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27 Segments




Skeptic Takes A Tour Of Self-Help's 'Promise Land.'

Despite being the daughter of a child psychologist and self-help author, Jessica Lamb-Shapiro has spent most of her life recoiling from the self-help industry. But eventually, her curiosity got the best of her. She tells Fresh Air about self-help's high- and low-brow iterations and the ways the industry helped her address her fears.


Comedian Joan Rivers, Still A 'Piece Of Work.

Few topics are off-limits for the brash comedian: She has joked about her many face lifts, her husband's suicide, her bankruptcy and the sacrifices she made as a female performer. The documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work follows the comedian as she fights to still make people laugh.


In Memoriam: Sweet, Sad Rocker Vic Chesnutt

Vic Chesnutt was paralyzed from the waist down at the age of 18, but he's still a massively productive songwriter. Chesnutt has fifteen albums under his belt and his songs have been covered by Madonna, Smashing Pumpkins, and R.E.M. His new album, At The Cut, is a collaboration with Guy Picciotto of the band Fugazi. (


Reducing Suicide Rates In The Military

Army Major General Mark Graham lost two sons who were serving in the military, one by suicide, and the other died when a roadside bomb exploded in Iraq. Graham was struck by the different ways his sons' deaths were regarded. He has since enacted measures to ensure that all soldiers from the base he commands in Fort Carson, Colo. receive full military funerals and memorial services, regardless of whether they died in combat or by their own hand.


Nick Hornby on His New Novel, 'A Long Way Down'

The latest novel from best-selling English author Nick Hornby, A Long Way Down, focuses on a group of suicidal people who accidentally meet atop a tall building — and how that meeting changes their fates. He also writes "Stuff I've Been Reading," a column for The Believer magazine. Many of Hornby's novels have been made into films, including About a Boy, High Fidelity and Fever Pitch.


Writer Irene Vilar on Three Generations of Troubled Women

Vilar's memoir "A Message from God in the Atomic Age" chronicles three generations of self-destructive behavior: in 1954, her grandmother was imprisoned for opening fire at the U.S. House of Representatives; in 1977, her mother leapt to her death from a speeding car; and in 1988, Vilar herself was committed to a psychiatric hospital after attempting suicide. Alternating between her notes from the psychiatric ward and the chronicling of the history of her family, Vilar tells of her own attempts to come to terms with her family history.


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