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Marsalis has always given back to the musical community. Trumpeter Nicholas Payton, 22, one of jazz music's new stars, says that when he was 13 his father was on the phone with Marsalis, who, after hearing young Payton playing in the background, invited him over to practice. Says Payton: "That someone of his stature would take the time out to do that says a lot. He believes in the perpetuation of this music."
Now the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, Marsalis has worked to make the music more accessible through educational programs, symposiums and films. His approach has sometimes come under fire as stuffy. But Marsalis has answered his critics through his extraordinary work, most notably Blood on the Fields, a Big Band jazz epic on slavery performed at the center in 1994; it will be released as an album this year. Says Marsalis: "We want to bring jazz to the people in all its grandeur and glory. And we don't believe the music is above people."
STEPHEN COVEY Human-Potential Guru
No one can accuse this man of not practicing what he preaches. In his The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which spent 250 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list, Stephen Covey draws a distinction between what he calls the Circle of Concern and the Circle of Influence. The first circle contains things that people worry about--the weather, the stock market, the war in Bosnia--but can do little or nothing about; the second comprises problems--job performance, household budget, social activities--that they can control. "Proactive people," he writes, "focus their efforts in the Circle of Influence."
Over the past 25 years, the "proactive" (translation: the opposite of "reactive") Covey has pushed his circle of influence toward the global. He has met with President Clinton and consulted over the phone with House Speaker Newt Gingrich. His Covey Leadership Center, founded in Provo, Utah, 13 years ago with a staff of two, employs 700 and last year grossed $78 million. The center--and Covey's inspirational lectures across the country--have drawn thousands of aspiring trainees, including employees of more than half the Fortune 500 companies and the U.S. Postal Service. Entire communities have adopted Covey's management ideas. Steve Helmich, president of the Chamber of Commerce in Columbus, Indiana (pop. 36,000), says the Covey regimen has made his town a better place to live. "It may sound a little warm and fuzzy," he concedes, "but I know this methodology works."
The essence of Covey's message--that self-knowledge and control must precede effective dealings with the world at large--seems unremarkable. Says Ronald Heifetz, director of the Leadership Education Project at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government: "He is packaging common sense as if it were original and making a fortune doing it." Covey, 63 and a devout Mormon, demurs: "What's common sense just isn't common practice."
DICK MORRIS Political Consultant