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$e Oct 26Where you grow up matters in an unequal economy. Here’s how.
Is geographic mobility the key to moving up the economic ladder? Economists are finding that the odds no longer favor American kids in doing better than their parents, but some hope that uprooting their families and moving to safer streets…
Making Sen$e Oct 26Achieving the American Dream may depend on where you live
Research shows that social mobility and income equality in the U.S. has a lot to do with where people live.
Making Sen$e Oct 19How these famous women used food as social status
Every food story is an economic story, says author Laura Shapiro. In "What She Ate," Shapiro offers tales of female empowerment or self-definition by way of the kitchen and dinner table, cooking up portraits of Eleanor Roosevelt, Eva Braun, Helen…
Making Sen$e Oct 06The unemployment rate and jobs total went down? What’s up?
The unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent in September, while the economy lost 33,000 jobs, according to the monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics' latest jobs report.
Making Sen$e Oct 05‘Boosting’ to support her habit — one woman’s nightmare
As part of the NewsHour’s series on the opioid epidemic, Paul Solman interviewed Donna Dibo, a former addict who is participating in a jobs training program in Youngstown, Ohio. Dibo recalled her struggling with opioid addiction and its impact on…
Economy Sep 28Ellen Pao on her gender discrimination suit: ‘If I didn’t do it, then who would?’
Ellen Pao’s new book, “Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change,” chronicles her career in Silicon Valley and gender discrimination lawsuit against the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Pao recently spoke with PBS NewsHour economics correspondent…
Economy Sep 21How will climate change impact future floods and flood insurance?
NewsHour economics correspondent Paul Solman speaks with Columbia University professor Radley Horton about climate change and flood insurance.
Making Sen$e Sep 01Jobs grade for August: a ‘mild disappointment’
The economy added 156,000 jobs in August, and the unemployment rate remained largely unchanged at 4.4 percent.
Making Sen$e Aug 10Stopping Superbugs
View our complete series here.
Economy Aug 04How Uber drivers game the app and force surge pricing
A new economics paper says Uber’s drivers are in revolt.