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
Making Sen$e Jan 04What orchestras can teach executives about conducting business
Corporate executives are getting a lesson in leadership and communication from the conductor’s podium thanks to the Music Paradigm, a program that trains business leaders in the fine art of teamwork. Paul Solman goes behind the scenes of a recent…
Making Sen$e Dec 14Who will reap the wealth of the GOP corporate tax cut?
The corporate tax rate is set to drop 14 percent under the new tax bill. Will big businesses invest more in American plants and factories? What will it mean for American workers? Economics correspondent Paul Solman breaks down the numbers.
Making Sen$e Nov 30Cities dream of wooing Amazon, but is it worth it?
The pitches have been quirky, some might even say desperate. City officials across North America are trying to get Amazon's attention in hopes that the fourth-largest company in the U.S. will build its next big tech hub in their community.
Making Sen$e Nov 23Why your Thanksgiving cranberries might be more trouble than they’re worth for local growers
The price of cranberries has been sinking for more than five years due to overproduction. Families like the Rhodes, who own Edgewood Bogs in Massachusetts, are used to periodic cycles of oversupply and falling prices, but new bogs in western…
Making Sen$e Nov 16What limiting foreign trade would mean for the U.S. economy
President Donald Trump ran on a campaign promise that he would “put America first” by pulling out of multilateral trade agreements. But for many top industries, outsourcing in the global market is essential for business, not to mention vital to…
Making Sen$e Nov 16Can Trump’s go-it-alone approach work in a global economy?
President Donald Trump has pushed a go-it-alone approach to trade that could reshape America's relationship with the global economy.
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.