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
Arts Dec 10Loan Modifications: A Question of Economic Injustice?
Paul Solman answers questions from NewsHour viewers and web users on business and economic news most days on his Making Sen$e page. Here's Friday's query: Three questions today, one answer. Name: James Tracey Question: On a recent…
Economy Dec 09Good Ideas to Save the Economy Can Have Unintended Consequences
Paul Solman answers questions from NewsHour viewers and web users on business and economic news most days on his Making Sen$e page. Here's Thursday's query: Name: Fred Damato Question: Would this work to jump start the economy?…
Economy Dec 07Two Retirement Planning Tool$ to Use NOW
Retirement tools. The questions they ask you to fill in seem designed to scare your pants off: How much do you expect to earn on your assets? When are you planning to retire? When are you going to die?…
Economy Dec 03Unemployment Figures: Worse Than They Appear
The verdict on today's unemployment numbers is unequivocal. Conservative economist Peter Morici writes: "Terrible! Only 39,000 new jobs created is awful. After we back out health care and social services, which are largely government funded, the…
Arts Dec 02Tips for Help With Your Home Loan Modification
Paul Solman answers questions from NewsHour viewers and web users on business and economic news most days on his Making Sen$e page. Here's Thursday's query: Name: Ben Roman Question: I am having a problem with trying to…
Economy Dec 01Million Dollar Question: How Can ‘Europe’ Bail Out ‘Europe’?
I'm OK, EuroK? Maybe not. Here's an Australian parody video of what you might call "EuroK thinking." It's making the rounds in Europe at the moment. (The link was sent by a friend in Spain.)…
Arts Nov 30Tool$ Tuesday | The Bush Tax Cuts
Today's Tool$ Tuesday is another look at how the tax cuts might be implemented. This Bush Tax Cut tool comes by way of the Tax Policy Center, a much-appreciated think tank in today's hyper-polarized environment.
Economy Nov 29Doesn’t Social Security Pay for Itself, Since It’s Taken Out of My Paycheck?
Paul Solman answers questions from NewsHour viewers and web users on business and economic news most days on his Making Sen$e page. Here's Monday's query: The following email comes via the PBS Ombudsman: Name: Phyllis Koch Question:…
Arts Nov 24What Does Justice in the Foreclosure Crisis Look Like?
Paul Solman answers questions from NewsHour viewers and web users on business and economic news most days on his Making Sen$e page. Here's Wednesday's query: An amended answer today to a question answered imperfectly (or worse) last month.
Economy Nov 23Introducing Tool$ Tuesday: A New Feature
Today we present Tool$ Tuesday- the first in a series of online calculators and tools that I or others on the Making Sen$e team have actually used. The primary purpose is to present tools that we have found helpful in…