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$e Nov 29How technological innovation could amplify income inequality
Technological advancement often brings the promise of increased efficiency in the workplace. But it also means apprehension about humans potentially being replaced by automation and artificial intelligence. In a new series, "The Future of Work," Paul Solman explores the concept…
Making Sen$e Nov 28Why a Nobel laureate in economics thinks bitcoin is toast
The price of bitcoin has slowly gained back up some of its value after a precipitous drop this month.
Economy Nov 22On Thanksgiving, a look back at colonial capitalism
Similar to today’s immigrants, the pilgrims journeyed to Plymouth, Massachusetts, in search of reprieve from the economic, political and religious hardship they faced in Europe. In order to survive, these settlers worked the land and sent profits back to investors…
Making Sen$e Nov 08Has Amazon selected its next headquarters?
For over a year, cities across North America have competed to lure Amazon's next headquarters, which the company said would bring up to 50,000 jobs to the chosen site. But as Paul Solman explains, new reports indicate the company may…
Nation Nov 01Elderly Maine considers tax hike to fund universal home care
On November 6, Maine voters will consider a proposal to provide free home care to people 65 and older and those with disabilities. The plan, “Question 1” on the ballot, would be funded by an additional 3.8 percent tax on…
Making Sen$e Oct 305 new ways China can retaliate in the tariff war
There are a number of ways China could fight back against U.S. tariffs. The question is whether those steps would hurt China more than the U.S.
Making Sen$e Oct 25How these penny-pinchers retired in their 30s
Eschewing consumer culture, Pete Adeney, also known as Mr. Money Mustache, practices an extreme frugality that allowed him to retire at age 30. Avoiding car use, DIYing and investing in stock market index funds are among the tactics he and…
Making Sen$e Oct 24Who is winning the U.S.-China trade war? Look at the stock markets
One way to look at the results since Trump fired the first salvo in the trade battle is to compare the performance of the rivals’ stock markets since that day.
Making Sen$e Oct 11Loss of Chinese export market drives new ideas for repurposing recyclables
China’s decision to buy less recyclable material from the U.S. has prompted major questions about how we handle waste in America. What will we do with our abundance of plastic bottles and pizza boxes, if exporting them is no longer…
Making Sen$e Oct 04Why your recyclables might have no place to go
Until this year, China had been America's -- and the world's -- number one recycling market. But China has shut its doors to plastic waste, which could result by 2030 in more than 100 million tons of trash with nowhere…