About Paul @paulsolman
As you can see below (click on "Full Bio"), 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."
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$e Mar 22Seeing China’s economic evolution in one family’s story
When journalist Scott Tong began reporting on China's explosive economy, he was advised to look past the new skyscrapers of Shanghai and take the long view. In “A Village With My Name,” he explores his own family's history, finding stories…
Making Sen$e Mar 15Why sneakerheads are obsessed with the quest for a rarer pair
At "Sneakerhead" conventions around the country, anyone can buy, sell or trade a pair, and much-hyped limited releases demand premium prices. Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports on what drives this specialty sneaker culture.
Economy Mar 13Austin Goolsbee says the Trump tariffs are like his Aunt Trina’s lasagna
Host Peter Sagal asked for Goolsbee's take on the Trump tariffs, and the economist, quite amusing himself, offered this anecdote about his aunt Trina and uncle Bob, who lived in Lubbock, Texas.
Making Sen$e Feb 15Can this booming New Mexico art collective spark economic growth?
The Santa Fe arts collective Meow Wolf is a major job creator in New Mexico, a state that's struggled to recover from the Great Recession.
Making Sen$e Feb 15Column: How to lose weight with economics, and why it’s so damn hard
People are made up of various subconscious inner selves, and these inner selves compete with each other for control of the organism.
Making Sen$e Feb 08What we can learn from past stock market crashes
The stock market took another nerve-wracking ride on Thursday, with the Dow Jones Industrials dropping more than 1,000 points. One explanation of this week's jitters is the idea that market prices are out of whack. So how low could we…
Making Sen$e Feb 05Analysis: 5 reasons the market is crashing, and 2 caveats
How low could the markets go? After the Crash of '29, the S&P index bottomed out in March of 1933 at around six. In other words, the S&P dropped by more than 80 percent. (The Dow actually fell by almost…
Making Sen$e Feb 02Could Bill Belichick’s grasp of economics be the key to the Patriots’ success?
The summer after the New England Patriots won their first Super Bowl, I visited their training camp for a PBS NewsHour story on their — and the NFL’s — success, from the point of view of economics.
Making Sen$e Feb 01Can finance cure cancer?
How do you drive investors to spend money on cutting-edge cancer treatments? One idea, according to economist Andrew Lo, is to sell securities in a megafund of research projects. Economics correspondent Paul Solman explores how financial engineering could be the…
Making Sen$e Jan 25New Mexico invests in young entrepreneurs to kickstart its sluggish economy
While much of the U.S. economy is on the rebound, New Mexico remains in the dumps since the recession hit a decade ago. Part of the problem may be a statewide brain drain: educated young people taking their careers --…