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Walking the Walk

The Seminar Center's Eli and Elsie Marcus don't just talk the talk. Their actions--compared to their shady competitors'--speak volumes.

This story appears in the August 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Brian L. Weiss, M.D., author of famed past-life therapy accounts like Many Lives, Many Masters (Simon & Schuster) and Messages From the Masters (Warner Books) comes quickly to Eli Marcus' mind when pressed about who has moved him to strive for self-betterment. Able to emit more positive energy across a telephone line than most, Eli, co-founder with his wife, Elsie, of New York City adult-education organization The Seminar Center Inc., says he's continually awed by Weiss' genuine soul. "He's not out there tooting his own horn," says Eli, 42. "He lets the world do that for him. He's become renowned and accomplished without having to get on the pulpit and say, 'Look at me; buy my products.'" With The Seminar Center a virtual David pitted against a Goliath of a national competitor, Eli hopes his own humility and compassion will lure attendees who are weary of being merely another number at larger institutions. But equally as essential, he hopes to prove that clean rivalry and running an honest business can prevail.

"We believe if you put good things out there, good things will come back to you. And you should concentrate on your own house and make sure that's in order-not squash your competitor," says Eli, who started The Seminar Center in 1997 to enlighten fellow New Yorkers.

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