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The Decisions Project

Series produced by Aengus Anderson

Series image
Image by: Aengus Anderson 

"What is the hardest decision you have ever made?" During the summer of 2010, producer Aengus Anderson rode his motorcycle around North America and asked hundreds of people this question. Ultimately, 220 people agreed to share their decisions on tape, bravely opening windows into the most personal moments of their lives. The Decisions Project is a selection of these stories—stories that reveal a constellation of different worlds, moralities, and ways of thinking about the decision-making process.

From Tucson to Key West, Halifax to Omaha, Aengus Anderson rode his motorcycle around North America and interviewed people about the hardest decisions they had ever made. After three months and fifteen thousand miles, two hundred and twenty people had shared their hardest decisions on tape.

Hardest decisions are different than biggest decisions. Though they they occasionally overlap, hardest decisions reveal more about who we are. They catch us at moments that demand reflection, when we surprise ourselves by asserting deeply held beliefs or uncovering previously-hidden flaws.

All the interviewees bravely open windows onto personal moments of their lives, their stories revealing a constellation of different worlds, moralities, and ways of conceptualizing the decision-making process. If there is a common theme among them, it is a fundamental one: these are stories told by real people, shaded by all of their biases and idiosyncrasies. While their circumstances range from the painful to the surreal, their decisions are all ways of navigating our world.

We drive next to these people on the freeway, work with them at the office, and refuse to give them change when they panhandle. We vote with them. We vote against them. They are our lovers, friends, and enemies. Their stories whirl around us every day, a maelstrom of life that we rarely notice. Yet, if we knew their stories, our empathy might be more sincere, our understanding deeper. Stories make us human or, at least, they make us harder to dehumanize.

This is easy to know but difficult to feel. All of the interviewees shared their decisions because, on some level, they are challenging us to empathize with people we may disagree with and even dislike—to viscerally feel our common humanity rather than celebrate it to death with empty platitudes. Hide full description

From Tucson to Key West, Halifax to Omaha, Aengus Anderson rode his motorcycle around North America and interviewed people about the hardest decisions they had ever made. After three months and fifteen thousand miles, two hundred and twenty people had shared their hardest decisions on tape.Hardest decisions are different than biggest decisions. Though they they occasionally overlap, hardest decisions reveal more about who we are. They catch us at moments that demand reflection, when we surprise ourselves by asserting deeply held beliefs or uncovering previously-hidden flaws. All the interviewees bravely open windows onto personal moments of their lives, their stories revealing a constellation of different worlds, moralities, and ways of conceptualizing the decision-making process. ... Show full description


29 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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A veteran of 25 years witnesses a fellow soldier kill an eight year-old girl. Upon returning home, he develops Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and f...

  • Added: Aug 18, 2011
  • Length: 05:31
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A man learns that he is a father but, two weeks before his daughter's birth, his paternity is called into question.

Bought by KUT


  • Added: Aug 16, 2011
  • Length: 05:10
  • Purchases: 1
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A woman reflects on her decision to give up equestrianism and go to college.

Bought by KUT


  • Added: Jul 15, 2011
  • Length: 03:50
  • Purchases: 1
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A man shares his decision to drop out of his PhD program.

  • Added: Jul 13, 2011
  • Length: 02:28
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A young man proposes to his girlfriend... and then reconsiders.

Bought by KUT


  • Added: Jul 11, 2011
  • Length: 03:45
  • Purchases: 1
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A man gets in his car and leaves his life behind.

  • Added: Jul 09, 2011
  • Length: 03:15
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A single mom decides to marry her best friend before his deployment to Iraq.

  • Added: Jul 07, 2011
  • Length: 03:43
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A teenage girl talks about learning that her father is gay and her subsequent decision to stay with him.

Bought by KBCS 91.3 FM Community Radio and KUT


  • Added: Jul 05, 2011
  • Length: 02:45
  • Purchases: 2
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A man in his early forties decides to take a job in Afghanistan.

  • Added: Jun 19, 2011
  • Length: 03:43
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A father decides to take a transcontinental motorcycle trip and leave his children for a year.

  • Added: Jun 12, 2011
  • Length: 03:29
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A woman shares her decision to stop trying to help her mentally ill mother.

  • Added: Jun 05, 2011
  • Length: 03:27
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A 21 year-old abandons his carefree bachelor fantasy and reluctantly marries a girl he accidentally impregnated.

  • Added: May 26, 2011
  • Length: 02:24
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A man questions the advice of his doctor and decides to stop taking anti-anxiety medication.

  • Added: May 19, 2011
  • Length: 03:26
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A woman shares her decision to end a pregnancy.

  • Added: May 12, 2011
  • Length: 03:18
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A recent college graduate receives an unexpected job offer from his uncle: teach English in Ciudad Juárez.

  • Added: May 03, 2011
  • Length: 03:25
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A man reluctantly decides to sever ties with his father.

  • Added: Apr 28, 2011
  • Length: 04:08
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A man decides to leave his unfaithful ex-girlfriend and their daughter.

  • Added: Apr 26, 2011
  • Length: 03:33
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A woman talks about the decision to train and apply her psychic power.

  • Added: Apr 21, 2011
  • Length: 02:56
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A woman decides to cease prosecution of the man who bankrupted her.

  • Added: Apr 19, 2011
  • Length: 02:47
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A musician talks about his decision to skip an audition in Nashville.

Bought by KUT and WNPR


  • Added: Apr 14, 2011
  • Length: 03:32
  • Purchases: 2