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 a feature writer 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. It was about this time, as one grandchild later put it, "your hair got lost."
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.
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. In 2016, he was a Visiting Fellow at Mansfield College, Oxford University. He is also president of the new making-friends-across-the-political-divide group, "Us."
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 Jul 19Country Singer Merle Hazard Tackles the Greek Debt Crisis
We here at Making Sen$e have long been fans of Nashville investment adviser Jon Shayne, who became known to us as Merle Hazard, the singer and author of country-and-western songs about economics. We featured snippets of his performances…
Economy Jul 19Merle Hazard on the Greek Debt Crisis
We here at Making Sen$e have long been fans of Nashville investment adviser Jon Shayne, who became known to us as Merle Hazard, the singer and author of country-and-western songs about economics. We featured snippets of his performances in…
Economy Jul 06Paul Solman: In Greece, Underground Economy Fuels Financial Crisis
Paul Solman is reporting from Europe this week about economic woes abroad and tough choices those problems pose. This entry is cross posted on his Business Desk page. My travels have taken me to France to talk with the…
Arts Jun 24Paul Solman: Viewers Respond to Chicken Chase Scene
We received a very sobering set of viewer responses to the opening sequence of our credit crunch story from Springfield, Mo., the other night, of which a few are excerpted below. I have to confess, I was so caught…
Economy Jun 16Ask Roubini and Taleb Your Questions on Stimulus Spending, U.S. Debt
Back in 2006, economist Nouriel Roubini and scholar Nassim Taleb shared some words of warning about the state of the financial and housing markets. On Tuesday night's NewsHour, we spoke with both of them again…
Economy Jun 10Paul Solman: How Do Oil Imports and ‘Oil Independence’ Intersect?
This entry is cross-posted on the Business Desk blog, where economics correspondent Paul Solman answers your questions on economic news. Question: I'm befuddled by the "oil independence" movement that is neatly summarized by the slogan "drill baby drill." This…
Economy May 06Thoughts on Thursday’s Wild Market Ride
For anyone visiting my Making Sen$e page Thursday to find out why markets are quaking, allow me to repeat the phrase that ought to be the motto for this page, so often have I used it: Credit comes…
Economy Jan 27Country Crooner Merle Hazard Sings the Recession Blues
Merle Hazard, who calls himself the “first and only country singer to write about mortgage-backed securities, derivatives, and physics,” provides the soundtrack to our segment Wednesday night about whether the Fed’s interest rate policies will drive us toward inflation…
Economy Dec 31Year in Review: Reporting on the Growing Ranks of the Unemployed
It's been an odd year for anyone who, like your correspondent, makes a living in and around economics. Odd because, for me at least, there's a version of survivor guilt: The worse the world has gotten, the more interest there's…
Economy Mar 21How much weight does the U.S. president have on interest rate changes?
Question/Comment: How much weight does the U.S. president have on interest rate changes? The news talks about the Federal Reserve, but it seems it was Bush’s idea to bring them down low, so everyone can own a home. I know…