About Paul @paulsolman
As you can see below, Paul Solman, business, economics and occasional art correspondent for the PBS NewsHour since 1985, 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."
Having served as editor of the Brandeis newspaper, "The Justice," he got his first paid journalism job in 1970 at the alternative weekly "Boston After Dark." Then and now, he liked to talk on the phone.
Paul became founding editor of the rival alternative weekly The Real Paper in 1972, became its investigative reporter, and 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, just as the alopecia was making inroads. 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 Business and 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.
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," the necessarily revised and updated edition published in May of 2016.
In 2007, he joined the faculty at Yale, where he adds a dose of communications know-how and economics to the university's Grand Strategy course. 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 will not bore you with their extraordinary virtues and nascent achievements.
Paul’s Recent Stories
Making Sen$e Jul 09The formula for making a good college investment
Is college worth the financial cost? Here's what parents and students need to know to make the best financial decision when it comes to deciding on which college to attend.
Economy Jun 26Can you win this game? Behavioral economics says no
Economics correspondent Paul Solman sat down with Richard Thaler, who's been called the inventor of behavioral economics, to discuss human behavior in the field of economics. Most humans, he points out, aren't the rational mathematicians economists assume they are, and…
Making Sen$e Jun 18A lawyer and her client weigh in on the overtime scam
Overtime is a major labor issue in the United States today. While the Fair Labor Standards Act ensures that salaried workers making less than $23,600 a year must be paid time and a half for every hour they work over…
Making Sen$e Jun 11Soon, there may be no such thing as a free reservation
Walk-ins may be a thing of the past. Tock, a service that allows you to buy or put down a deposit for a reservation, could be coming to a restaurant near you.
Making Sen$e Jun 09Will the new killer ‘butler app’ kill our ability to fend for ourselves?
By completing your to-do list, Hello Alfred claims to give you back time for leisure. But do outsourcing apps simply open up more time for us to be imprisoned in other ways?…
Making Sen$e Jun 05Jobs up, joblessness up: How can that be? One explanation
The U.S. added 280,000 jobs in May, while the unemployment rate rose a tenth of a percent to settle at 5.5 percent. How do we reconcile May's numbers?…
Making Sen$e Jun 04Dirty laundry? Batman’s butler, Alfred, to the rescue
Paul Solman chats with Hello Alfred CEO Marcela Sapone about how more Alfreds will liberate people in busy careers.
Economy May 29Why the Freddie Gray riots began at a shopping mall
Editor’s Note: When economic correspondent Paul Solman went to Baltimore earlier this month to report on how the riots there affected the local economy, he spoke with Johns Hopkins historian N.D.B. Connolly. Connolly brought Paul to the mall where the…
Economy May 15Racism, riots and economics: If history is the guide, why Baltimore won’t recover soon
What do the race riots of the 1960s suggest for the economic recovery of places like Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, today? Boston University economics professor Robert Margo has studied the long-term effects, and says that even where the physical damage…
Economy Apr 23With dementia, reality sometimes hurts more than it helps
Both of Paul Solman’s parents lived into their 90s, and they both experienced bouts of confusion and dementia. He talked to dementia coach Kerry Mills for helpful advice for caretakers.