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.
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…
Editor's Note: Last month, Congress extended federal unemployment benefits for people who had been out of work up to 99 weeks. But for the millions of Americans who have been jobless longer than that -- the "99ers" -- there will…
// Editor's Note: Paul Solman is reporting from Greece and Spain this week on Europe's economic woes. This entry is cross-posted on his business desk blog. Jose Antonio Martinez Soler is a distinguished Spanish journalist who was tortured in…
// Editor's Note: Paul Solman is reporting from Greece this week about the country's financial crisis. Above, watch the second half of his interview with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou about how Greece is handling the crisis. He also talks…
_pap_embed_custom('news01s41a1qf06',482,304,""); Editor's Note: On Tuesday's NewsHour, Paul Solman reports on how the people of Greece are responding to the austerity measures the country has imposed to deal with its debt crisis. "Obviously we have a daunting [...] prospect to change…
We here at Making Sen$e have long been fans of Nashville investment adviser Jon Shayne, who became known to us as Merle Hazard, the singer and author of country-and-western songs about economics. We featured snippets of his performances…
We here at Making Sen$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…
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…
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…
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…
Support Provided By:
Subscribe to Here’s the Deal, our politics newsletter for analysis you won’t find anywhere else.
Thank you. Please check your inbox to confirm.