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Making Sense: Not-So-Simple Solman

Name: Trish Miller

Question: You’re speaking and reporting “over the heads” of most of the general public. Perhaps, even the PBS audience. I’ve taught in a business school for 25 years…even undergraduates, graduates and MBAs don’t comprehend the financial industry. Only the top tier business schools produce half of their students who understand. I suggest you do a few segments of Economics 101, Business 101, Finance 101. Or, specifically state EXACTLY THE IMPLICATIONS AND CONSEQUENCES.

Paul Solman: Okay, this is a first, and maybe even an ominous one. Over the years, I’ve been knocked, but almost exclusively for oversimplification — “Simple Solman” a detractor once called me, though not to my face. (In all the 34 years strangers have approached me, not a one has ever been less than nice, except maybe for the guy at a restaurant who said I looked better on TV than in person.) Emailers have griped, of course, sometimes decrying my back-to-basics approach; at others, my antics to make difficult issues palatable. But if I am in general over the head of the PBS audience or even MBAs, heaven help us.

That said, Ms. Miller, I would commend you — and all teachers out there — to a series of videos I originally presented to accompany introductory economics textbooks. Four hours’ worth, covering everything from “rational maximizing” to the IMF. The website spells my name wrong — it’s Solman, not “Soloman” — but so what: I’m glad to see the videos available to everyone.

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