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
Making Sen$e Jan 31Why former NFL tight end Martellus Bennett now creates children’s books
Super Bowl LIII is just days away. For some players, it will be the pinnacle of their professional football careers. But after the glory and glamour of the NFL spotlight are past, these former athletes face a major challenge: What…
Making Sen$e Jan 24A career truck driver on why his is no longer ‘a middle-class job’
Jobs in the trucking industry are increasingly threatened by technology and the rise of driverless trucks. But what explains the contradictory dynamic between fears of job elimination and a current shortage of truck drivers in the U.S.? The NewsHour returns…
Making Sen$e Jan 17Why tech industry monopolies could be a ‘curse’ for society
In the early 20th century, Standard Oil was broken up because of its vast power. Today, many think Facebook, Google or Amazon present similar threats, but they proceed unchallenged. In "The Curse of Bigness," law professor Tim Wu argues that…
Economy Jan 10Evaluating Trump’s economic policies, 2 years in
How have Trump’s economic policies fared during the first two years of his term? Paul Solman sits down with the president’s top economic adviser, Kevin Hassett, to discuss recent stock market volatility, the Federal Reserve, tariffs, trade and whether the…
Making Sen$e Jan 09Column: What the Ocasio-Cortez/Scalise debate teaches us about the marginal tax rate
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has proposed hiking the top marginal tax rate to fund green energy investment.
Making Sen$e Jan 03Could socialist policies give American women better lives?
Socialism is becoming increasingly appealing among young Americans who value universal health care, free public college and living wages. In her new book, “Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism,” Kristen Ghodsee argues that implementing socialist concepts would make women’s…
Making Sen$e Dec 24What history teaches us about the latest stock market plunge
How are today’s stock investors going to react if the market continues to plummet?…
Making Sen$e Dec 20Comedy duo the Lucas Brothers on ‘survivor’s guilt’ and Bernie Sanders
The Lucas Brothers are an identical twin comedy duo raised in the inner city of Newark, New Jersey. Keith and Kenny both graduated from college and began law school before deciding to pursue comedy. Now in their 30s, the brothers…
Making Sen$e Dec 13Can a high school dropout turned top economist give a new perspective to the Fed?
Mary Daly dropped out of high school and ended up as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. As a part of our weekly series Making Sense, Paul Solman travels with Daly to Boise, Idaho, where through a…
Making Sen$e Dec 06Could driverless vehicles spell the end of the road for truck drivers?
The trucking industry has long faced a driver shortage, in part because of high risk, low pay and long hours. The rise of autonomous vehicles could alleviate that problem--but it could also eliminate jobs for a population of older men…