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
Economy Jan 17Promises, Promises: The Public Pension Pinch
Paul Solman answers questions from NewsHour viewers and web users on business and economic news most days on his Making Sen$e page. Here's Monday's query: Name: Sharon McDonnell Question: I am so very sorry we do not have a…
Economy Jan 13More Than One Million Homes Foreclosed on in 2010
We've devoted a fair portion of our reporting over the past year to home ownership and foreclosure. Some of those stories ran again, with updates, during the last week of the year. Today comes the official tally for…
Economy Jan 12Making Sen$e: Is the Fed a Scam?
Paul Solman answers questions from NewsHour viewers and web users on business and economic news most days on his Making Sen$e page. Here's today's query: Name: Charles, San Francisco, Calif. The Fed Chairman and President Obama often…
Economy Jan 11Making Sen$e: What IF the Banking System Failed?
Paul Solman answers questions from NewsHour viewers and web users on business and economic news most days on his Making Sen$e page. Here's today's query: Name: Paul, El Cerrito, Calif. I have been a dedicated viewer of…
Economy Jan 07December’s Job Numbers: Do They Represent All Job Seekers?
I was all set to label our monthly post on the unemployment data "Hold Your Horses" or "Not So Fast," a warning not to overplay the apparently sizable drop in the official unemployment rate from 9.8 percent to 9.4. But…
Economy Jan 07Strategic Default: Immoral or Not?
Rounding out our series today, those of you considering strategic default might find particular encouragement from the web chat with law professor Brent White of the University of Arizona, who thinks it is both legally and morally okay.
Economy Jan 06Who Do You Hurt When You Walk Away?
More from the strategic default debate today. Economist Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago, also in our original story, argues there are damaging spillover effects ("negative externalities") when homeowners strategically default. "By walking away, not only do you…
Arts Jan 05Strategic Default: Right or Wrong?
We've been concentrating on the housing crisis over the past several days here on the Business Desk. For the rest of the week we'll be focusing on the issue of strategic default. If you're an underwater homeowner who can afford…
Arts Jan 04A Mortgage-Backed Security Map: The Fantastic Fate of One Man’s Loan
The complexities of getting or refinancing a mortgage are many: the broker you can or can't trust, the screening of your income and credit, the appraisal, the fear that rates will rise before approval, the title search, the paperwork at…
Economy Jan 03Should You Swim Away From an Underwater Mortgage?
Your mortgage is underwater. Making the payments is both difficult and demoralizing. Is it ethical for you to walk away? As we've reported, there are arguments both ways. Here's a feature to help you make up your…