Paul Solman

About Paul

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.

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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 now teaches economics 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 Aug 31

Negotiation Expert Robert Mnookin Answers Your Questions

Last week, Paul Solman spoke with Harvard Law School professor Robert Mnookin, an expert on negotiation, about his new book "Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight." Mnookin offered to take some viewer questions. Here…

Economy Aug 27

The Fed Speech: Paul Solman Channels Ben Bernanke

Years ago, Saturday Night Live's Kevin Nealon debuted a character named "Mr. Subliminal" whom he still reprises. The gimmick: Nealon talks and then occasionally, under his breath, says what he's really thinking. In October, President Obama economic adviser Austan…

Economy Aug 26

Ask Negotiation Expert Robert Mnookin Your Questions

On Thursday's NewsHour, Paul Solman talks to Harvard Law School professor Robert Mnookin, an expert on negotiation, about his new book "Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight." "My approach is always to see if I…

Economy Aug 18

A Second Look at Strategic Mortgage Defaulters

In anticipation of Tuesday's rerun of our report on strategic mortgage defaults, producer Lee Koromvokis checked back in with the characters we interviewed back in April for the story. _pap_embed_custom('news01n3e69qe80',482,304,""); Fort Myers restaurant manager Josh Bartlett is still…

Economy Aug 12

More from 99ers: Unemployment Leads to Foreclosure

Updated 4:19 p.m. Given today's news that foreclosures jumped 9 percent in July, we've posted the last of our 99er interview outtakes, in which Faith Phillips tells a striking story: She'll be paying off condo fees on her foreclosed…

Economy Aug 11

Making Sense: More From the ’99ers’

There's been quite a bit of reaction to our story last Friday on the extension (or non-extension) of unemployment insurance benefits past 99 weeks. You can read some of it here in the comments section on the Making…

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