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
Making Sen$e Oct 04Why your recyclables might have no place to go
Until this year, China had been America's -- and the world's -- number one recycling market. But China has shut its doors to plastic waste, which could result by 2030 in more than 100 million tons of trash with nowhere…
Making Sen$e Oct 02Why Social Security’s annual increase doesn’t actually keep up with cost of living
The government adjusts Social Security benefits each year based on inflation rates, but that increase has not kept up with the rising cost of medical care and other expenses.
Making Sen$e Sep 28The world’s rich are parking their money in cities. Where to next?
Data showing apartment costs compared to the average income suggests investors are causing housing prices to spike in cities like Hong Kong and London.
Making Sen$e Sep 26Analysis: The dangers of the Fed rate hike
The conventional wisdom was that the Federal Reserve would again hike short term interest rates today. That wisdom proved correct, as did the prediction that the Fed would say it is committed to further hikes. The conventional explanation is that…
Making Sen$e Sep 20This researcher taught us how to resist temptation
Researcher Walter Mischel’s most famous contribution was the marshmallow test, a widely replicated experiment that explored the connection between saving and psychology. Economics correspondent Paul Solman remembers Mischel, who died last week at the age of 88.
Making Sen$e Sep 14What we learned from Walter Mischel, the late creator of the marshmallow test
Psychologist Walter Mischel's marshmallow test studied the concept of delayed gratification and its correlation to economic success.
Making Sen$e Sep 13How the 2008 financial crisis crashed the economy and changed the world
Ten years ago this week, the collapse of Lehman Brothers became the signal event of the 2008 financial crisis. Its effects and the recession that followed, on income, wealth, disparity and politics are still with us. Economics correspondent Paul Solman…
Making Sen$e Sep 13The surprises behind this week’s big economic headlines
Inflation is rising, according Bureau of Labor Statistics data, but other reports show wages are barely keeping pace.
Making Sen$e Sep 10One survey shows jobs added, another fewer Americans employed. How can that be?
While one survey showed 201,000 jobs added in August, other government data recorded 423,000 fewer Americans “employed.” How can that be?…
Making Sen$e Sep 06How Wisconsin is trying to head off a major worker shortage
In Wisconsin, "Help Wanted" is on virtually every restaurant window, store front and city bus. With an aging population and few immigrants, the state could have a shortage of 45,000 workers by 2024, which could pose a threat to business.