About Paul @paulsolman
Paul Solman has been a business, economics and occasional art correspondent for the PBS NewsHour since 1985.
As you can see below, he used to have lots of hair. In the '60s, his father found it amusing to say, "you don't need a haircut so much as an estimate." His intramural softball teammates at Brandeis University dubbed him "the Black Medusa."
That same year, 1963, he joined the Brandeis newspaper, The Justice, and eventually became its editor. He got his first paid journalism job in 1970 at the alternative weekly Boston After Dark, where the picture was taken. Then and now, he did much of his work on the phone.
Paul became founding editor of the rival alternative weekly The Real Paper in 1972 and went on to become a feature writer and investigative reporter. He became interested in business when he set out to do a story about municipal bond rates (this was 1976) and realized he was clueless. As was, he realized, the entire booming generation in his wake. Here was an opportunity. But how to seize it? How about going to business school?
Having no money for tuition, Paul applied for a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard and lucked out, joining the Harvard Business School MBA class of 1977-8. He embarked on a career as a business reporter at WGBH Boston immediately thereafter. It was about this time, as one grandchild later put it, "your hair got lost."
After a few years of local PBS reporting, he inaugurated the PBS business documentary series, ENTERPRISE with fellow Nieman Fellow Zvi Dor-Ner. (There was also a Nieman felon in their class, but that's for someone else's biography.)
In the 1980s, Paul produced documentaries, returned to local reporting, and joined the Harvard Business School faculty, teaching media, finance and business history in the school's Advanced Management Program. He also co-authored a better-than-average-seller, Life and Death on the Corporate Battlefield (1983), which appeared in Japanese, German and a pirated Taiwanese edition. He joined "MacNeil/Lehrer" in 1985, two years after it become an hour-long news show, and has been the program's Economics Correspondent ever since, with occasional forays into art and sport.
In the '90s, with sociologist Morrie Schwartz, a teacher of his at Brandeis, Paul helped create -- and wrote the introduction to -- the book "Morrie: In His Own Words," which preceded "Tuesdays with Morrie" by a year or more, but failed to outsell it by several orders of magnitude.
In 2015, Paul co-authored an actual bestseller (#1 on Amazon for four straight days!), Get What's Yours: the Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security. It had to be revised in 2016 because Social Security provisions were changed, perhaps in response to the book.
Paul has lectured on college campuses since the '80s and has written for numerous publications, including the Journal of Economic Education. He thinks he's the only person, besides John Kenneth Galbraith, to have written for both Forbes and Mother Jones magazines; he was for years East Coast editor of the latter. A one-time cab driver, kindergarten teacher, crafts store co-owner and management consultant, he is also the author and presenter of "Discovering Economics with Paul Solman," a series of videos to accompany introductory economics textbooks.
In 2007, he joined the faculty at Yale, where he added a dose of communications know-how and economics to the university's Grand Strategy course for a decade. In 2011, he was the Richman Distinguished Visiting Professor at his alma mater, Brandeis, where he taught a seminar, "Economic Grand Strategies: From Chimps to Champs? Or Chumps?" He has lectured at campuses across the country, has taught regularly at West Point, and at Gateway Community College in New Haven, CT. In 2016, he was a Visiting Fellow at Mansfield College, Oxford University. He is also president of the new making-friends-across-the-political-divide group, "Us."
Paul took up tennis at 50 and plays with a knee brace. He'd like to shave off his mustache but is afraid to. He wears a hat because his doctor insists. He is married with children and grandchildren. He loves them to death.
Paul’s Recent Stories
Making Sen$e Aug 23Why recent stock market gains might not benefit the economy
This week has marked the longest uninterrupted stock market gains in U.S. history, thanks in part to a steady economic recovery now nine years old. But another driver is the growth of stock buybacks: companies purchasing their own shares. Whether…
Making Sen$e Aug 16The economic principle that powers this kidney donor market
A hundred thousand Americans are on a waiting list for a kidney from a deceased donor. But another option is the paired-organ exchange, which allows living kidney donors who are not a match with their intended recipient to network with…
Making Sen$e Aug 09The U.S. needs more home care workers. Is this the solution?
America's home care shortage is critical, and growing. The industry's shortage seems to be driven by low wages, few benefits and a lack of respect for workers, 90 percent of whom are women. Would giving them more responsibilities and more…
Making Sen$e Aug 03How online video sensation Shonduras reinvents himself regularly to stay successful
After making a career out of stunts like refrigerator-skiing -- drawing millions of eyeballs from the coveted under-35 demographic -- Shaun McBride has learned how to adapt to new platforms and invest in evolving business models.
Making Sen$e Jul 26Why does one of the most needed jobs pay so poorly?
With about 10,000 baby boomers retiring every single day, home care is one of the fastest growing, most needed occupations in America. But there's a problem: The current median pay is just $10.49 per hour. Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports…
Making Sen$e Jul 19Iran pays kidney donors. Should the U.S. follow?
In the U.S., Medicare spending on dialysis accounts for nearly 1 percent of the entire federal budget, and the cost is growing. On the other hand, kidney transplants are actually less expensive and offer the possibility of getting back to…
Making Sen$e Jul 12The highs and lows of being a professional online streamer
As more people consume video online, "streaming" is the internet's version of live TV, but with instant feedback from fans. How have star streamers turned activities like taping themselves playing video games into profitable careers? Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports…
Making Sen$e Jun 28How a new aristocracy’s self-segregation puts stress on society
Growing class division is destabilizing our society, argues author and philosopher Matthew Stewart in a provocative Atlantic magazine cover story. He says there's a group in between the top 0.1 percent and bottom 90 percent that plays an important role…
Making Sen$e Jun 21ESports mesmerize as traditional sports worry about decline
It's drawn millions of fans, its competitors get paid big money and the Olympics are considering adding it. As an industry, eSports -- professionals playing video games for spectators -- is set to gross nearly $1 billion by the end…
Making Sen$e Jun 07Cheap power drew bitcoin miners to this small city. Then came the backlash
Plattsburgh, New York, doesn't look like ground zero for a gold rush. But cryptocurrency prospectors have installed thousands of energy-gobbling mining machines while taking advantage of dirt-cheap electric rates. And the invasion has some locals up in arms, while offering…