American Experience
A Brilliant Madness: American Nobel Economists
William F. Sharpe

Another Boston native, Sharpe moved with his family to California during World War II. In his first economics course at UCLA, he was "greatly attracted by the rigors and relevance of microeconomics," so he switched his major from business to the field in which he'd win a Nobel. He was hailed as the author of the capital asset pricing model, the device that gave Wall Street the concept of the "beta value" -- a coefficient designed to measure a stock's riskiness and volatility relative to the performance of the stock market as a whole.

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