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
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$e team have actually used. The primary purpose is to present tools that we have found helpful in…
Economy Nov 22Small Business Owners and the Bush Tax Cut Debate: No Easy Answers
Paul Solman answers questions from NewsHour viewers and web users on business and economic news most days on his Making Sen$e page. Here's Monday's query: Name: Howard Herbst Question: Republicans say they want to keep the Bush…
Economy Nov 19Joe Nocera’s Economic ‘Hall of Shame’
"We titled the book 'All the Devils are Here'," said Joe Nocera's co-author, Bethany McLean, "because in the wake of the crisis there has been this search for a simplistic answer. Ah! Fannie and Freddie, they must be the…
Economy Nov 15How Would YOU Balance the U.S. Budget?
The Sunday Times recently featured an exercise that it might make sense for all Americans to try, and certainly members of Congress pressing to balance the budget- Budget Puzzle: You Fix the Budget. And, if you prefer to get…
Arts Nov 10How Stimulating is Military Spending?
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: Name: Rich Tuloch Question: I learned long, long ago in school that…
Arts Nov 08The Fed’s $600 Billion Move: Monetary Debauchery?
Forgive me for not answering a question today, but for posting a note about the Fed. Its decision last week: to purchase a further $600 billion of longer-term Treasury securities by the end of the second quarter…