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 its feature write 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. 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 that can be found online.
He is, most recently, co-author (with Larry Kotlikoff and Phil Moeller) of the "runaway New York Times bestseller," Get What's Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security (2015). A necessarily updated edition was published in May of 2016.
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.
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
Economy Sep 01What’s Clinton’s position on trade? She’s ‘standing with us,’ says Sherrod Brown
Economics correspondent Paul Solman traveled to the Keystone suit plant outside of Cleveland, Ohio, to discuss Hillary Clinton's stance on trade with Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown…
Economy Aug 25What is the Trump trade doctrine? His economic adviser explains
"Donald Trump is not a protectionist. If he imposes tariffs on China or any other country that cheats, all he wants to do is defend America against unfair trade practices," says economist Peter Navarro.
Economy Jun 30Column: Why the Fed should print more money, not less
In the current economic environment, central banks certainly should create new money -- not only to shore up the world banking system short-term in a time of tremulous uncertainty, but more importantly, in order to make necessary investments.
Economy Jun 24Brexit: 4 reasons it comes as a shock
First, of course, are the political implications. Second, these are millions upon millions of people who were voting against their pocketbooks. The third shock is more personal: my apparent over-reliance on the prediction markets, and on economists like Justin Wolfers…
Economy Jun 21Can you guess how many Americans have absolutely no savings at all?
Sixty-six million Americans have zero dollars saved for an emergency expense -- zero -- and 28 percent have only six months worth of savings, according to a new report by Bankrate.
Economy Jun 17The case for Britain to stay in the EU
Britain's European Union memebership benefits not only its economy, but its labor standards too.
Economy Jun 16As Brexit vote approaches, why some have no confidence in European Union
"I have no confidence in the basic ability or competence of anybody in the European Parliament," said one Brit in favor of exiting the European Union.
Economy Jun 09Why the secret to gaining power is different today
Is it better to be feared than loved? Or are charisma and community-building the answer? Economics correspondent Paul Solman talks to Dacher Keltner, author of the new book "The Power Paradox."…
Economy Jun 07Why universal basic income isn’t going away any time soon
On June 5, the Swiss voted on a proposal for universal basic income. While the proposal was rejected, supporters claim that this is just the beginning of a transition as inevitable as the eight-hour-day once was.
Economy May 31The best insurance policy on Earth: waiting until 70 to take Social Security
Viewing Social Security as an investment is economically blockheaded. Instead, think of Social Security as an insurance policy.